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Where the Eagles stand for 2013


With the season winding down it's worth taking a look at where the roster stands heading into the offseason. There are some very talented players on this roster and good depth at some positions but poor play in the secondary and on the offensive line (because of injury) really crippled the team's chances. Here are my rankings of the Eagles' players:

Quality starters

1. Evan Mathis, OG

2. Brandon Graham, DE

3. Demeco Ryans, MLB

4. LeSean McCoy, HB

5. Desean Jackson, WR

6. Fletcher Cox, DT

7. Trent Cole, DE

Mathis is easily the Eagles' best player. He played up to the new contract this season, especially lately as he's overcome some pass protection struggles from early in the year. Watch him mash on opposing defenders in the run game, there's simply no one better. Over to defense and for me Graham's done enough to move up to second on this team. He's generated more pressure per snap than any other player in the league this year. Ryans rounds out the top three, as a recent dip in form doesn't take away what he did earlier this season.

Two skill position players and two defensive lineman round out the "quality starters" group. McCoy was back to his best last week as he continues to make plays as both a runner and receiver. Credit where it's due, Jackson really stepped up with a new contract in hand. He ran better routes, broke more tackles and dropped fewer passes in 2012. Cox has been a really pleasant surprise as he's shown potential both as a pass rusher and run defender. He's done exceptionally well for such a young player. Finally to Cole who is still productive but a shadow of his former self. He would have started at two this season and now he's on the verge of falling out of the category, hopefully it's just a temporary blip.

Average starters

8. King Dunlap, OT

9. Cullen Jenkins, DT

10. Stanley Havili, FB

11. Brent Celek, TE

12. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB

13. Jake Scott, OG

Dunlap continues to get less respect than he deserves. He may not be the best run blocker but his pass protection is amongst the best of all left tackles. Inside on defense, Cullen Jenkins remains a very good pass rusher who excels at disrupting quarterbacks. His poor run defense is a real problem however. Havili and Celek are two guys with inconsistent hands. The former blocked well this year though while the latter was below average in that department. DRC is such a frustrating player. His effort, especially against the run, is pitiful but he definitely has cover skills. Finally to the grizzled veteran Jake Scott who has played decently since being added. He displays nice athleticism blocking for screens and the run game but struggles a little with pass protection.

Struggling starters

14. Jeremy Maclin, WR

15. Nick Foles, QB

16. Dennis Kelly, OT

17. Colt Anderson, S

18. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB

19. MyChal Kendricks, OLB

20. Dallas Reynolds, C

21. Jamar Chaney, OLB

22. Kurt Coleman, S

Maclin has played better of late but his drops, fumbles and poor routes from earlier in the season are etched too deep into memory to easily forget. The Eagles need someone to better compliment Jackson if you ask me. Foles and Kelly are two rookies who have looked good at times but have struggled for the most part.

The next two players both start in the secondary but aren't alike. Anderson has shown potential since coming into the starting lineup especially in coverage while Asomugha is too slow to play cornerback anymore and lacks any semblance of the physicality needed to play safety. Next comes Kendricks who hit the rookie wall early and has been terrible at times this season. The Eagles need him to be better in year 2.

The bottom three features two players who were backups at the start of the year and one who should be (if that). Reynolds has definitely improved since taking over for Jason Kelce but his pass protection is still poor and his run blocking below average. Chaney has managed to reclaim a starting spot but that's more due to default than play on his part. Finally to Coleman who is still starting despite being a terrible tackler, having terrible instincts and no range in coverage.

Quality backups

1. Jason Avant, WR

2. Damaris Johnson, WR

Jason Avant is a good player with one major deficiency, redzone production. Still, he stepped up when Vick went down and the Eagles were forced to go with the rookie. Damaris Johnson meanwhile seems to make plays whenever he's on the field. He's broken more tackles (5) than Maclin (3)*.

* All statistics courtesy of PFF

Average backups

3. Brandon Boykin, CB

4. Cedric Thornton, DT

5. Clay Harbor, TE

6. Dion Lewis, RB

7. Riley Cooper, WR

8. Bryce Brown, RB

9. Akeem Jordan, OLB

Boykin has had a solid rookie year. He made some athletic plays in man coverage but needs to work on his zone awareness. Thornton flashes but is inconsistent from play to play, sometimes he'll fly into the backfield to make the tackle but others he's driven way off the ball. Harbor can generate separation and is a good blocker, but his poor hands are holding him back. Many will be surprised to see Lewis ahead of Brown but I really believe the former is superior. Lewis is really elusive and has good vision while Brown, although difficult to tackle, has fumbling issues and tries to bounce too many runs outside for big plays. If Brown starts going north and south and holds onto the ball he'll be the better player but there's still a long way to go.

Cooper is a nice player to have in the redzone and a good special teamer but he struggles generating separation. You can get by with him as a starter but it's not ideal. Jordan meanwhile has played well in the past but looked a different player this year. He is at least a valuable special teamer.

Struggling backups

10. Derek Landri, DT

11. Nate Allen, S

12. Michael Vick, QB

13. Danny Watkins, OG

14. Demetress Bell, OT

No one could have predicted Landri's struggles before this season began. He was so good in 2011 it's a surprise to see him struggle so much. Allen's "progression" has gone in the reverse direction. He started off well and has slowly got worse. Many fans think Vick has always been the player he was in Atlanta but 2010 and 2011 were different to this year. He definitely showed an improvement in the intermediate and deep passing game in his first two years with the Eagles but then regressed significantly in year 3. The final two players were expected to start in 2012 but did worse than disappoint. They highlight the recent failures of this organisation.

Question marks

. Jason Kelce, C

. Todd Herremans, OT

. Jason Peters, OT

This is the trio of injured players who will hopefully come back and perform as well as they did prior to getting hurt. Kelce especially looked good in the first start of his second year, hopefully the injury hasn't robbed him of his athleticism.

. Curtis Marsh, CB

. Vinny Curry, DE

These two are guys we haven't seen enough of to make a final judgement. It's a little worrying that Marsh still hasn't been able to unseat Asomugha but it may be that the coaches are holding out some hope of him turning it around. Curry should see more action in 2013.

. Philip Hunt

. Mike Patterson

The final pairing features two guys who have been terrific at times but pedestrian at others. Hunt especially had an incredible start to his career before tailing off recently. Patterson on the other hand has had to deal with injuries recently that probably hampered his play.

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