Last season, we witnessed a few Eagles that made huge strides in their game, some expectedly and some unexpectedly. Those players would be Desean Jackson, Brent Celek, Winston Justice, Leonard Weaver, and Akeem Jordan(before injury). Each of them had breakout seasons. So who's going to step up and have a breakout year? What exactly is a breakout player? My definition, after the jump...
A non-rookie(typically young) that had his best season by an overwhelming margin compared to his previous year/s in the league. All those players mentioned above fits the criteria.
- Desean Jackson: Had 256 more receiving yards, averaged 3.9 yards more per catch, 7 more receiving touchdowns, 5 receiving touchdowns of 50 yards or more compared to 0 in 2008 and averaged 6.4 yards more per punt return(led the league by far with a 15.2 average). He also made the pro-bowl as a wide receiver and punt returner, something he didn't achieve in his rookie year.
- Brent Celek: In his first two seasons, Celek had a combined 43 catches, 496 yards, and 2 touchdowns. In 2009 alone, he amassed 76 catches, 971 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Celek emerged as one of the league's best tight ends and was arguably the biggest pro-bowl snub of 2009.
- Winston Justice: When Justice was drafted with the 39th pick in the 2006 Draft and most of us expected him to take over Tra Thomas at LT or at least, Jon Runyan at RT. However, he was a HUGE disappointment his first three years in the league and as we remember all too well, surrendered 6 sacks(2nd most all-time) to Osi Umenyiora in his first start in 2007. In 2009, Justice surprisingly played much, much better and started all 16 games at right tackle for us. His play earned him a 4 year, $18.7 million contract extension.
- Leonard Weaver: Weaver was pretty widely known as a "very good" fullback in his 4 years at Seattle. In 2009 with the Eagles, he became a first-team All-Pro selection. In addition to his consistently good blocking, Weaver had a career high, 70 rushing attempts for 323 yards and doubled his previous career touchdown total.
- Akeem Jordan: In 2008(16 games - 6 starts), Jordan had 61 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 passes defended, and 0 interceptions. In the first 8 games of the 2009 season, Jordan already had 46 tackles, 1 sack, 5 passes defended and 2 interceptions. He was on his way to an outstanding season but he missed the next 4 games with a knee injury and wasn't the same the remainder of the season.
.....and that just about rounds up last year's breakout performers but the question is.... who will be this year's?
WR JEREMY MACLIN or.....MACLYN
Maclin was one of the top three rookie wide receivers along with Percy Harvin and Hakeem Nicks last year. In 15 games(13 starts), Jeremy amassed 54 catches for 773 yards and 4 TD. After a prolific rookie campaign by Jackson, Maclin followed it up with one of his own. He showed great speed, quickness, hands and crisp route running. I honestly think he will surpass Desean as the best wide receiver on this team although, Desean will probably still be the better player. Jeremy has the intangibles, talent, and skill to be great in this league. My biggest knock on him right now, is that he goes down waaaay too easily. Many times he went down by an arm tackle or a slight trip. If he can improve his body control and strength, he will be a YAC machine. Will he be the next Reggie Wayne, who some people compared him to coming out of college? We will soon find out! I wouldn't bet against him.
RB LESEAN McCOY
Like Maclin, Lesean was one of the top three rookie running backs from last year, along with Knowshon Knowshon Knowshon!!! and JIBTA's man crush, Beanie Wells. McCoy rushed for 637 yards, with a 4.1 avg, and 4 TD. He has some huge shoes to fill as he is taking over the spot the greatest Eagles running back of all time held. McCoy has what it takes to be very good in this league. He is quick, shifty, well balanced and has capable speed, good catching ability, and decent vision. His blocking and carrying has improved as the season progressed. He swayed his arm around way to much causing him to fumble twice in the first 10 games of the season. No fumbles since that point, although Weaver took a chunk of his carries. Another issue with him was that he danced too much at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes, he just needs to hit the hole and hard. McCoy recently said he did some extra lifting and has gotten stronger this off season. That should come into play next season. I don't expect him to be the next Westbrook but he is looking to be very promising.
QB KEVIN KOLB
This guy has the biggest pressure on him next season. Similar to McCoy, he is taking over the greatest Eagles player at his position, Donovan Mcnabb. An NFL team runs through the Quarterback position. If Kolb fails, the Eagles fail. However, all reports on Kevin has been quite positive so far. The coaches love him, team mates love him, and most fans, especially EvilBanner loves him! He has already become the leader of this team. He has shown excellent accuracy on his short-mid range throws, ability to read defenses and find the open man quickly, and good command of the offense. He is a proto-typical West Coast Quarterback(offense not geography). The main concern I have of him is his vision. The three biggest interceptions he threw in his short career so far were all because he missed the safety or linebacker in coverage. During the Reed, Shanle, and Sharper(garbage time) interceptions, Kolb was locked on to his man and ignored the coverage around him. Well, one of those interceptions was in his second appearance in an NFL game in which he came in cold in the middle of the game. The other two were against the reigning Superbowl champs in his first ever start. Sooo, they are excusable. In the Chiefs game, there were a couple really close calls and Kolb was extremely lucky it wasn't intercepted. Against a better defense, those would have been picks. Nonetheless, I expect him to improve on that and play well for us next season.
.......Alright, the first three were gimmes, now it's time to get sexy!
G MAX JEAN-GILLES
JIBTA just got a hard on. Yes, I am a believer in MJG. I wasn't before but I am now. Why? Because, the guy is determined to get better. He just underwent lap-band surgery so he could lose 60-70 pounds. The procedure is having a band tightened around the top of the stomach to reduce food intake and hunger. This is the same procedure Rex Ryan went through this off season and lost a ton of weight. He said, he already has lost 15 pounds in the first week and his diet is mostly consisted of soup and water. He will be ready by the OTA.
Every year the Eagles say they want me to compete for the starting job, but my weight would be an issue and I'm tired of them talking about it, said Jean-Gilles.I want to get down to what I weighed my junior year in college, Jean-Gilles said. I haven't seen that body in years -- and nobody will have anything to say to me about my weight anymore.
That, my friends gets him major props from me. He already has started 16 games the past 4 seasons and just hasn't started enough due to his weight issue. He seems to be getting that fixed permanently so I'm gonna go ahead and say he will start at least 10 games at guard for us next season and get an extension. The more likely option here would be Mike Mcglynn since he has been sharing 1st team Center reps at mini camp but I said I was going sexy!
^ His only two youtube vids are interviews so I picked this one because the chick is hot!
P DURANT BROOKS
Bye, bye Sav Rocca! Say hello to our new punter. All I know about this kid is that he was drafted in the 6th round by the Skins' in 08. He won the Ray Guy Award for best collegiate punter in his senior year at Georgia Tech. He played in six games with the Redskins his rookie season and had a gross average of 39.6 yards per punt and a net average of 32.1 yards per punt. The Redskins replaced him midseason with Ryan Plackemeier and he finished his rookie year on the Packers practice squad. He was out of a job in '09. Whatever! I don't care! He's gotta be better than Rocca! I won't be able to tolerate another shanked punt! Maybe, Bobby April can coach his ass up and turn him into a pro-bowler. I don't know. You were the best in college, now be at least half as good here and you'll be golden!
Well, those are my top 5 candidates for breakout players of 2010-11. Just for fun here are my....
TOP FIVE DUDS OF 2010-11
Dud: A player that will either A. Suck. B. Not make the final roster. C. Get cut. D. Lose his job as a starter. E. I just hate or F. All of the previous.
- MACHO HARRIS - See - Denver Game
- MARLIN JACKSON - No knees? No thanks!
- KEENAN CLAYTON - You could be good. I just hate you because the Eagles spent a 4th rounder on your ass and I wanted a lot of other players at that spot!
- JUQUA PARKER - Cole, Tapp, Graham, DTO, Sapp, and Abiamiri. You're the odd man out or OLD man out.
- SAV ROCCA - Go back to playing rugby, ya damn Aussie!
Add in your own studs and duds in the comments section and give your reasoning!