By all accounts, the Eagles' 13-man draft class last year was a fine bounty. All but three of the players they selected appeared in games for the team — a remarkable achievement — playing in a combined 102 games, with a collective 34 starts between them. The three who did not appear in any games were RB Charles Scott, who was traded to the Cardinals for effective KR Jorrick Calvin; QB Mike Kafka, who spent the year as the No. 3 quarterback and holds a place in the team's future plans; and DE Ricky Sapp, who underwent knee surgery in August, ending his season before it began.
That said, the Eagles want to see more of these players develop into quality contributors — and in some cases, front-line starters.
It starts with the top pick, DE Brandon Graham, who remains a gem in the coaches' eyes, but he struggled a good amount before suffering a season-ending ACL. Their second pick, FS Nate Allen, was having a fine season as the starter before he fell to a season-ending knee injury. Both players are expected to be top-notch starters as soon as this season, but the pressure will be on them to return healthy.
Bigger questions lie with their next two picks, DL Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and CB Trevard Lindley. At times Te'o-Nesheim looked completely lost early on, and one league observer wondered if he even was an NFL-caliber talent, but Te'o-Nesheim flashed a bit late in the season and started the final regular-season game. Lindley wasn't able to crack the RCB rotation despite all the problems there and must at least challenge for the nickel spot this year to inspire confidence that he's improving.
There will be opportunities for fourth-round LB Keenan Clayton and seventh-round LB Jamar Chaney to perhaps start this season. Clayton stood out in the nickel package, flashing good speed. And Chaney proved to be a heady pickup, stepping in late with some strong play.
TE Clay Harbor, WR Riley Cooper and FS Kurt Coleman fall under the category of quality reserves who will be big factors on special teams. It will be hard for any of them to crack the starting lineup considering the players in front of them, however.
It would be difficult to project Sapp or DT Jeff Owens being big factors heading into 2011. Both are coming off major injuries and are strong candidates for the PUP list.