Young Eagles players poised for key roles in 2013

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Last season, the Eagles featured several first-year players that were in pivotal roles. Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Boykin and Cedric Thornton were key players on defense, while Nick Foles, Damaris Johnson, Bryce Brown and Dennis Kelly saw heavy playing time on offense. The results for the rookies, outside of Cox, were mixed.

This season, the Eagles are in a similar spot with several inexperienced players likely to see the field in key positions. First-round pick Lane Johnson is seemingly a lock at starting right tackle, Zach Ertz seems destined for several targets per game and Bennie Logan, Matt Barkley and Earl Wolff will have the opportunity to work their way into the lineup. Overlooked players like Jordan Poyer and Russel Shepard could also be factors on special teams and in their respective positional rotations.

With several first and second-year players on the field, there should be some serious patience by the coaching staff and the front office. If Chip Kelly is to transform the Eagles into a winner by using his philosophies, it is imperative that he reaches the youth on the roster. Between Johnson, Cox, Thornton, Kendricks, Ertz, Brown and young veterans like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Bradley Fletcher, the Eagles are primed for the future. The foundation for the team's success should not be rushed or pressured, but should be developed and nurtured.

Rebuilding gets an ugly connotation by fans. However, rebuilding is the key to success for most teams. Recently-successful franchises like the Seahawks, the Packers and Falcons all had growing pains on the way to the top of the league. Now it is Philadelphia's turn to build something new and improved.

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