By the time the play-offs finally rolled around, the Eagles had no less than 11 Players on IR, including 4 rookies selected in the 2010 Draft, and 4 starters. Last season we all eagerly awaited the return of Stewart Bradley to solidify the Linebacking Corps, and marvelled at Jamaal Jackson's quick recovery from his ACL tear, both of whom of course made the first day roster as starters. Who can we expect to recover and make the roster for the September 11th showdown with the Rams?
Player Analysis After the Jump
DE: Victor Abiamiri
It is forgotten that he was the 2009 opening day starter and only gave way to Juqua Parker due to injury. He was recovering from Microfracture surgery last season off-season, but spent the whole season on PUP & IR. The DE position is crowded with Cole, Tapp, Sapp, Graham, Parker, Hunt & Teo Neshiem plus himself and a possible FA. With Jim Washburn at the helm tutoring a healthy Abiamiri, he could be a Wildcard to start opposite Cole in week 1.
FS: Nate Allen
Definitely the Eagles Rookie of the Year last season. Was playing well until rupturing his patellar tendon against the Giants. Patellar Tendon tears are less serious than ACL tears so we can expect to see Allen in the starting line up for week 1. However as with all late season knee injuries he may not return to form until Mid-Season.
CB: Jorrick Calvin
Apart from his hilarious end zone stroll against the Cowboys can we remember anything from his time as a KR? I surely can't! Even coming back from injury he will face stiff competition at KR and may end up the odd person out at CB (stuck behind Samuel, FA, Lindley, Marsh & Hanson). Regardless of recovery, prospects for making the roster are very low.
DE: Brandon Graham
We can't wait to see Brandom Graham being coached by Jim Washburn, who in turn rated him as the top DE in last years draft. However he is recovering from a Torn ACL suffered in Week 14. As the injury was so late in the season the likelihood of him being opening day starter is low. But by mid-season should be pushing for the starting role again.
A roster casualty of his own injury. Signed a 1 year contract last off-season, and hit IR before ever playing a down. Unless Allen, Jackson never leave IR and Coleman, Jarrett, Adams & Anderson all perform poorly, Harris will not be near the opening day roster.
CB: Ellis Hobbs
After tossing up possible retirement following 2 season ending head injuries in 2 seasons, it is unlikely that Hobbs does return. However if he does return he is a FA. I cannot see the Eagles resigning him as he will go to a team with dire need for a starter at CB. The likelihood of him returning to the opening day line-up is pretty much zero.
C: Jamaal Jackson
After a miraculous recovery to make the opening game last season, he was hit by the injury bug again after less than 2 quarters. After a full 18 months of recovery for his torn ACL, and a full year for his torn biceps, Jackson can be expected to fight McGlynn for his starting role once more. The likelihood of his displacing McGlynn for the spot as opening day starter is 50/50
FS: Marlin Jackson
Was meant to fight it out to play as opening day FS with Nate Allen. Unfortunately he picked up a torn achilles tendon to go with his 2 previous ACL tears leading to another visit to IR. If he can finally stay healthy, he could push Nate Allen for the starting role at FS, or even for time at CB, his previous position. Will probably be a reserve safety on opening day if he stays healthy.
DT: Jeff Owens
In a cruel twist of fate, having forced his way into the roster following being drafted in the 7th round of the 2010 draft, and spending all season on the practise squad he finally got his first NFL appearance against the Vikings in week 16. Before the game was up he had a torn ACL. Although most of the season the Eagles only dressed 3 DT's (even 2 when Bunkley injured his elbow) it is likely that Jim Washburn will not limit DT snaps by placing DE's inside on passing downs. Due to sustaining the injury so late in the year, it is likely he will not make the opening day roster and may remain on PUP until mid-season.
DE: Ricky Sapp
A 5th round selection last season who hit IR before playing a single pre-season snap due to a knee injury. Expect Sapp to compete for a roster spot for the opening day. He is a fast edge rusher who appears to fit washburns scheme well.
FB: Leonard Weaver
A hugely disappointing story for him last off-season. Going from an All-Pro Fullback signing the richest FB contract in history, to suffering one of the worst ACL tears in NFL history which included nerve damage. Even if Weaver makes a full recovery (not likely) he has to beat out Owen Schmitt, who performed well in the passing game last year, or newly drafted Stanley Havili to the FB spot. Opening day prospects are minimal, most likely he will retire or might sit on PUP for a season if the Eagles really want him.
Ok he wasn't on IR last season, but I do expect him to really push for a roster spot. He was on IR in 2009 and picked up an injury just prior to the pre-season games in 2010 and was cut. He spent this season on & off the practise squad near the seasons end. With a full year removed from any injuries we could finally see how he performs. In the 2009 Draft he fell to the 4th round due to injury concerns (although had 1st round talent) and tore his ACL again. There is no reason why he cannot finally reach his potential this season. Opening day prospects is that he could displace Clay Harbor as Celeks back-up.