I’m sure I’m not the only one, but my favorite part of training camp is watching players battle it out for the starting spots on the roster. Last year we saw some good competition at receiver, defensive end and in the secondary. It looks like this season will be no different, with a few other positions thrown in the mix as well. With a young team like the Eagles have, the young bucks brought in should come into training camp with all cylinders firing to show the guys in the head office they’re going to earn their keep. But don’t expect the veterans to roll over and give up without a fight.
There are few battles at the receiver position to watch out for. The top 3 guys on the WR depth chart are pretty much set, but recently signed draft pick Riley Cooper and Hank Baskett, who is on his second tour of duty for the Eagles, will battle it out for the 4th spot on this list.
Brent Celek had a break out 2009 campaign and has earned the spot at the top of the tight end depth chart heading into Lehigh, but Cornelius Ingram has been turning heads after returning from a torn ACL. I don’t really expect him to take Celek’s spot, but it’s always good to have someone behind your starter that can not only step in when needed, but also to keep them on their toes.
(On a side note, please read this article from the Burlington County Times about how Ingram is grateful for his knee injury last season. Powerful stuff indeed.)
There’s hardly a position group on the defensive side of the ball that doesn’t have an interesting fight going on. In the secondary, Nate Allen has been given the nod at free safety after Marlin Jackson went down for the season due to injury. Asante Samuel will be starting at one of the corner spots no doubt, but I’d predict that Joselio Hanson and Ellis Hobbs will compete for the other spot with the advantage going to Hobbs. The strong safety situation is a bit murky, but it seems as though Quintin Mikell is the current front runner. Expect Macho Harris to give everyone in the secondary a run for their money though. He was playing safety last season but he was moved back to corner during rookie camp. But this was before Jackson’s injury, so he could easily be back at safety again. Fourth round draft pick Trevor Lindley will also attempt to make his name known at corner. And we mustn’t forget about Quintin Demps.
At defensive end, we all know that our stud Trent Cole has his spot locked down, but who will rush from the opposite end? My money is on rookie first round draft pick Brandon Graham, who some are even predicting a will produce a defensive RoY-type campaign. But look for names like Parker, Sapp, Tapp, and Te’o-Nesheim to challenge him. Whoever starts opposite Cole will be set up to have a great season, with most teams double teaming Cole and freeing up the opposite side a bit.
Strong side (SAM) is the most open for competition in this linebacker unit. Moise Fokou is the projected starter now, but he will face heavy competition from veterans like Omar Gaither and Akeem Jordan, and some new faces such as seventh round pick Jamar Chaney and former Cleveland Brown Alex Hall. Fokou, in my eyes, leaves a lot to be desired at this spot and I’d welcome some competition for him here.
As far as special teams go, who will return kickoffs has a lot to do with who wins a starting job in the secondary.
It’s going to be a very interesting camp to say the least. Luckily, we have our very own Ryan Messick to fill us in on all the great battles. He will be blogging, tweeting, and relaying everything you need to stay up to date on the 2010 training camp. Check out the snippet below for more info.
Training Camp Coverage
Visit InsideTheIggles.com for exclusive training camp coverage, including practice recaps and scouting reports from the Lehigh Valley. ITI’s Ryan Messick will be reporting from Training Camp throughout the day on July 31st, August 1st and August 5th through 8th. Check back often for updates, and follow him on Twitter at @Ryan_Messick along with @InsidetheIggles .