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Eagles Mailbag: Underrated players who could make the roster

Eagles Q&A.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Rookie Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the latest edition of the Bleeding Green Nation mailbag! Every week I'll be taking some of your Philadelphia Eagles questions and answering them here in this post. As always, thanks to everyone who sent me a question on Twitter (@BrandonGowton).

@WriteWhatuLove asks: Who is an underrated prospect that could make the roster and contribute?

I don’t know if you’d consider him a prospect at age 26, but Aaron Grymes came to mind when I thought about this question. He flashed in offseason practices last year and he picked up right where he left off. Considering how the Eagles gave him some looks at first team nickel corner, he could be a nice contributor for the team this year. The feeling here is he might even be able to unseat Ron Brooks. Then again, Brooks is viewed favorably by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Another name that stood out to me when looking at the Eagles’ roster is Kamu Grugier-Hill. The 23-year-old quietly finished third in special teams tackles last season. Grugier-Hill could potentially be the WILL linebacker if/when Philadelphia trades Mychal Kendricks.

@M_donaher asks: What are the chances Nelson Agholor carries his hot spring into the season and how long can he realistically keep it up?

Indeed, Agholor was a pleasant surprise this spring. But can he keep it up? Let’s put it this way: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Saying Agholor has “struggled” to this point in his career would be a massive understatement. He’s literally been one of the worst wide receivers in the NFL over the past two seasons. He’s arguably been THE worst wide receiver in the league.

I wouldn’t expect Agholor to suddenly be good. Expectations should be kept relatively low. I think the realistic expectation is that Agholor becomes a solid role player and no longer a total liability when he’s on the field. If he becomes more than that, great. I’m just not counting it based on a small sample of spring practices.

@TCCanning3 asks: Is there a possibility that Nelson Agholor beats out Jordan Matthews for the slot position?

No. Matthews is a much better and much more proven player than Agholor.

The only way I could see Agholor “beating out” Matthews is if he continues to look so good in the slot that the Eagles decide to trade JMatt. The Eagles were OK with trading Brandon Boykin a few years ago because of how JaCorey Shepherd performed in the offseason. I doubt that situation happens with Agholor and Matthews, but that’s the only way I could see Agholor getting more playing time with Matthews.

@astevenon4 asks: What separates Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey from Byron Marshall? And what are Marshall’s chances of making the 53 as a RB/WR/Utility with Pumphrey in similar role?

To put it bluntly, I think Smallwood and Pumphrey are just better overall players. Smallwood is a better pure runner, though he’s versatile enough to be a receiving option. The Eagles are really high on Pumphrey’s receiving ability.

I don’t think Marshall has a good chance of making the team. There’s already some redundancy with Pumphrey and Darren Sproles. Marshall could very well end up on the practice squad for the second year in a row.

@therealdesean10 asks: Is Wendell Smallwood in jeopardy of not making the team?

No. This wasn’t a great offseason for Smallwood because he’s fallen behind LeGarrette Blount, Sproles, and Pumphrey on the depth chart. But he’s still an important player at his position. Smallwood could be the team’s kick returner. He also could be handling a bulk of the team’s carries if Blount is ineffective or injured.

Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley really likes Smallwood. That was a big factor when Smallwood was drafted last year. They’re not going to give up on him this soon.

@GuruOfNBA: What is the range of passing touchdowns you'd project for Carson Wentz?

Wentz threw for 16 touchdowns last year. He’s definitely going to go over that number this season. ESPN projects Wentz to have 22 touchdowns. I was going to say the 20-25 range, so that falls right in line. This might seem like a modest projection to some but I’m tempering my faith in Wentz until I see more from him. I’m not down on him by any means, but I want to see him play better before I project bigger numbers.

@tjosephbreen asks: If our offensive line plays to its’ potential, do you see the Birds making a deep run in January?

I don’t think a deep run in January is particularly likely this season, but if the offensive line is playing really well, I wouldn’t rule it out. Think back to how well the Eagles offensive line performed in 2013. Nick Foles, who is a mere backup quarterback, went 27-2. LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing. Philadelphia’s offensive line stayed incredibly healthy and played very well that season. It really made a difference for the team. Of course, the Eagles lost in the first round of the playoffs that year.

I don’t think the Eagles have the best offensive line in the NFL as PFF suggested. But assuming everyone is healthy and playing to their best, I do think it could be a top five unit. Jason Peters played at a high level last year. Lane Johnson is arguably the team’s most important player not named Carson Wentz. Isaac Seumalo showed some potential in 2016. Jason Kelce has been on the decline but his athleticism is still an asset. Brandon Brooks is a really good guard.

@MattGrumbrecht asks: If you could box any sports media personality who would it be? Who would you want to take a swing at?

I gave this question some thought but nothing came to mind. I’m not a violent person so this wouldn’t be my style.

That’s a boring answer, though. The thing that bothers me most about sports media personalities is when they make shit up. It’s one thing to have unpopular opinions. It’s another thing to spread fake news. So I’d box personalities who fall in that category. Everyone knows who they are.

@Stevenmrys asks: You can only have one type of sandwich for the rest of your life. You have any ingredients at your disposal. What sandwich do you make?

If we were talking about sandwiches you could buy, I’d be tempted to say Woodrow’s cheesesteak, obviously. But in this case I’d go with pepperoni, cheddar cheese, mayo, lettuce, salt, black pepper, bacon, and jalapenos on a hoagie roll. That’s my favorite order from Wawa.

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