The Eagles rookies and selected veterans report to training camp on Monday, July 26. The rest of the team will report on July 29, and there figure to be a lot of training camp position battles this year.
On offense, Kevin Kolb is obviously the starter at quarterback going into the season. Unfortunately, we have a backup quarterback who is going to have the cameras on him all throughout training camp. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles utilize Vick this season. At running back, LeSean "Shady" McCoy is the starter, and I expect him to have a very good season, and quickly establish himself as an elite running back. Mike Bell backs McCoy up for now, and the 3rd RB battle will between Eldra Buckley, and rookie draft pick from LSU, Charles Scott. At fullback, Leonard Weaver has a lock on that spot, and is one of the best in the game.
At wide receiver, the Eagles are very young, and will have DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin as the top 2 receivers. The 3rd receiver in the slot will be Jason Avant, who seems to get better every year. He will be counted on to have a bigger role this year. The battle for the 4th and 5th wide receivers looks like it will be between Hank Baskett and rookie Riley Cooper. At tight end, Brent Celek is coming off a great year, and can hopefully continue to improve on that. Cornelius Ingram should be able to win the backup job, assuming he can stay healthy. I am very interested to see what Ingram can bring to the table, as I had high hopes for him when the Eagles drafted him.
On the offensive line, there are a few battles that will look to take place. Winston Justice and Jason Peters are the tackles. Winston Justice needs to show he can continue to improve upon his solid season last season. At the one guard position, Todd Herramans is the starter, assuming he is healthy. At the other guard, it could be a battle between Stacy Andrews, and Max Jean-Gilles. Neither player showed much last season. At center, Jamaal Jackson will start the season injured, and it looks like Nick Cole has the edge to start the season at center. I think Mike McGlynn should get a serious look to start at center, and could outplay Nick Cole in training camp.
On the defensive side of the ball, there will be even more position battles. The Eagles really struggled last season on defense, and need to bounce back this year. Up front, the defensive tackles will be the same - Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson - both solid players, but both of whom struggled at times against the run up the middle. Pro bowler Trent Cole has been solid ever since being drafted by the Eagles. Unfortunately, he has never had any help from the opposite defensive end. This could all change with first round draft pick Brandon Graham from Michigan. Graham could end up starting at the opposite end. However, Graham, like every other 1st round pick is unsigned, so he will need to get into camp as soon as possible if he wants to battle for the starting end spot. Darryl Tapp, the acquired free agent from Seattle, Victor Abiamiri, and Juqua Parker will also get a look to start. This left defensive end position looks to be one of the better camp battles to keep an eye on.
At linebacker, the Eagles appear like they are set. Obviously Stewart Bradley holds down the middle linebacker position, if healthy. The outside linebacker spots look to be held down by Ernie Sims, acquired in the offseason from the Detroit Lions, and 2nd year player Moise Fokou. Fokou will need to improve on a somewhat disappointing rookie season, but the Eagles appear to really like him.
The secondary is a large concern in my opinion, and a lot thinner than most people are talking about. At the cornerback position, the Eagle are no longer with Sheldon Brown, who will be replaced by Ellis Hobbs it looks like. Asante Samuel has the other cornerback spot locked up. Hobbs is good, but I'm not sure can step in and be a 2nd cornerback. This also means Joselio Hanson will step in to be the 3rd cornerback possibly, which I'm not sure I like either. Look for rookie Trevard Lindley to get a strong look this camp also.
At safety, Quintin Mikell is the starting strong safety. He will need to improve on his play last season, as he really struggled without Brian Dawkins. The Eagles brought in Marlin Jackson, but he already is out for the season. This means that rookie 2nd round draft pick Nate Allen is the starter right now at the free safety position. Nate Allen is also unsigned currently. The Eagles got absolutely nothing from the free safety position last season, and never adequately replaced Brian Dawkins. Hopefully Nate Allen is that player, but I'm not so sure he is. Quintin Demps should also get a look here, but never looked very good when he was in the game. Macho Harris was just terrible last season.
The Eagles are counting on their top 2 rookie picks this year to play big roles on defense, and need to get both guys signed and in camp, as they need to contribute right away. Either way, training camp should be interesting this season to see how all of these battles play out.