I was playing around on ESPN this afternoon and saw that they have assigned a rating between 20 and 99 to every NFL player on every team. I’ve heard of doing this to college prospects and high school recruits, but never on a level where players cannot climb any higher. I was pretty intrigued by the rankings (which were hopefully not changed since the beginning of the season, judging by the fact that Derrick Burgess is listed as better than LeSean McCoy) and have decided to compile some of my own. So, I have ranked the 61 Eagles that I believe have a legitimate chance of being on the 2011 roster. Therefore, I left out guys like Victor Abiamiri, Ellis Hobbs, Jamar Adams, and Bobby McCray. This isn’t something I take very seriously, but just because the NFL calendar has reached a dull point and I love to speculate and rank and compare whenever the opportunity presents itself. I can’t blame you if you’re not interested at all, but here it goes. In reverse order.
61. Eldra Buckley, RB: A decent special teamer, Buckley offers little in terms of running the football and is just not a special player in any way.
60. Jeremy Williams, WR: The youngster out of Tulane went undrafted in 2010 but has some talent and is probably a practice squad guy at this point.
59. Jorrick Calvin, CB: Calvin won’t be asked to play any defense, but offers value as a return man, though he’s not going to blow anybody away with his speed or elusiveness.
58. Mike Kafka, QB: Kafka is tough to rank because I’ve seen so little of him at the NFL level. He looked good in college, but is still a long way away from starting a game for the Eagles.
57. Sinorice Moss, WR: Santana’s little brother is fast and explosive, but never lived up to his potential as a former second round pick. He will challenge Chad Hall and Jeremy Williams for a roster spot.
56. Austin Howard, OT: Howard is a freak of nature who has an unbelievable amount of potential, but he was abused by DeMarcus Ware last year. He could end up being a solid player though.
55. Brandon Hughes, CB: I was very impressed with Hughes against Dallas when Roy Williams could not get any separation when working against him. He’s a sleeper to make the final roster.
54. Clay Harbor, TE: He’s physically gifted, but hasn’t proven anything yet besides a nice touchdown catch against the Vikings. He also had a terrible drop against Dallas.
53. Cornelius Ingram, TE: Ingram is extraordinarily talented, but his injury history is really setting his career back. He has the potential to be a great second tight end who can split out wide as a receiver.
52. Reggie Wells, OG: He didn’t crack the active game day roster most weeks, which means that he was worse than Nick Cole. Ouch. He’s only this high because of all the starts he logged with the Cardinals.
51. A.Q. Shipley, C: I have no idea how Shipley is doing, but he was pretty dominant at Penn State and should push Nick Cole for a roster spot if given the opportunity.
50. Jeff Owens, DT: Short, squatty, and strong as hell. Owens is exactly what the Eagles want in a defensive tackle, but he needs to prove he’s worth a spot on the team.
49. Nick Cole, C/G: Cole was a solid reserve in years past, but was absolutely horrendous when he was asked to play in 2010. He should either be cut or buried very, very deep on the depth chart.
48. Colt Anderson, S: Anderson proved to be a very valuable special teams player, but he has a ways to go before he should see regular snaps on defense.
47. Chad Hall, WR: Hall is versatile, but doesn’t do anything particularly well. He turned in a pretty good performance against Dallas though, and is a serviceable fifth receiver who will contribute on special teams.
46. Marlin Jackson, S/CB: Jackson was a pretty good player for the Colts before his knees started blowing out. If he can stay healthy, and that’s an enormous if, he should push for playing time.
45. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE: Jim Washburn really likes the youngster out of Washington, and hopefully he will be more effective than he was last year in very limited action.
44. Keenan Clayton, OLB: The Eagles are pretty high on Clayton, but he hasn’t sold me yet. He’s an ideal special teams player, but he’s not ready to push for a starting job.
43. Trevor Laws, DT: Laws was pretty solid in the early part of 2010, but really faded after the first few games. He’s talented, but the Eagles may cut him if he doesn’t step up his game in his fourth season.
42. Omar Gaither, LB: Gaither is a valuable special teamer who is a veteran presence on the field. I would feel comfortable if he had to start a couple of games next season.
41. Ricky Sapp, DE: Sapp spent last season on IR, but is a very athletic pass rusher who can flat out get to the quarterback. He was talked about as a second round pick prior to the 2010 draft.
40. Phillip Hunt, DE: Hunt has dominated on every level he’s played on. I’m pretty confident that the Eagles will be able to get 10-15 good snaps from him per game. Admittedly, he’s probably not the next Cameron Wake.
39. Riley Cooper, WR: Cooper has a great blend of size and speed and is a nice vertical threat. He could develop into a very valuable complementary receiver in the near future.
38. Ernie Sims, OLB: Sims was awful in 2010, but has the athleticism and experience to rebound in 2011 if he’s coached up right.
37. Akeem Jordan, OLB: I would have liked to have seen Jordan get some more playing time in 2010, but he wasn’t all that impressive when he was given a chance. He’s a good reserve, but that’s about it.
36. Dimitri Patterson, CB: Patterson is very physical and plays with a great attitude, but the speed is simply not there to be a successful NFL corner. He’s best suited as a safety, but I doubt the Eagles will let him switch.
35. Trevard Lindley, CB: Lindley is a lanky cover man who can play. He has a nice skill set and will compete for the nickel job or possibly even man the right corner spot.
34. Joselio Hanson, CB: Hanson is shorter and slower than you would prefer, but he’s a savvy veteran who is a quality nickel corner. Unfortunately, he may have to start on the outside unless somebody like Ike Taylor is not brought in.
33. Juqua Parker, DE: Parker has a great motor and understands how to play the defensive end position. However, he wears down quickly and his snaps must be watched closely. He’s no longer a starter.
32. Mike McGlynn, C: McGlynn improved as the season progressed in 2010, but he’s not the ideal signal caller for the offensive line. He should slide over to right guard instead, allowing Jamaal Jackson or a rookie to play center.
31. Jamaal Jackson, C: Jackson is a quality starter when healthy, but he’s coming off of two major injuries and I wouldn’t count on him to be the player he used to be in 2011.
30. Max Jean-Gilles, G: People trashed MJG in 2010, but he was much better than Nick Cole and I can live with him as a starter since he plays a position that isn’t exactly crucial.
29. Leonard Weaver, FB: Weaver is perhaps the best fullback in the league, but is coming off of a nasty injury. The Eagles would love to have him back if he can indeed return at full strength.
28. Brandon Graham, DE: Graham remains optimistic that he can return in 2011 after tearing his ACL, and could really benefit from Jim Washburn’s coaching. He still has a lot of developing to do before he turns into a great player.
27. King Dunlap, OT: Dunlap was one of the unsung heroes of the 2010 season as he filled in admirably on both the right and left side. He handled all-pro John Abraham and held his own against the Giants. Outside of Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, Dunlap is probably the most improved Eagle.
26. Jerome Harrison, RB: Harrison didn’t see many carries in 2010, but he’s very talented and fits the scheme perfectly. If you’re not aware of what he did in 2009 with the Browns, check out YouTube or his stats.
25. Owen Schmitt, FB: Schmitt isn’t the 25th most valuable player on the team, but he’s the 25th best. He is a tough blocker and a pretty reliable receiver out of the backfield.
24. Winston Justice, OT: Justice wasn’t as terrible in 2010 as people make him out to be. He and Nick Cole have become scapegoats for an offensive line that had more problems than just those two guys. Justice had his moments and can compete for a starting job in 2011.
23. Brent Celek, TE: Celek is a good blocker, tough, and understands how to play the position. However, he had a pretty bad phase last year where he dropped about half of the passes that came his way.
22. Nate Allen, S: Allen was great in September, but made a lot of mistakes in coverage towards the middle of the season. He’s pretty pedestrian at this point, but he will continue to improve and could develop into a stud at safety.
21. Jason Avant, WR: Avant dropped some easy ones this year, but he’s as tough as anybody in the league in traffic and remains one of the most reliable third down receivers in the NFL. A poor man’s Hines Ward.
20. Kevin Kolb, QB: Kolb had his ups and downs in 2010, but is capable of starting for somebody. Until he gets a year to prove himself, it will be tough to tell if he can be the cornerstone for a franchise or not.
19. Kurt Coleman, S: Coleman was drafted in round 7 in 2010, but was great when he got his chance. He’s a great tackler and very sound in coverage. I love his competitive fire as well.
18. Stewart Bradley, LB: Bradley is one of best run stopping linebackers in the league, but was terrible in coverage. Hopefully, he’ll be quicker in his second season after his surgery to repair his torn ACL. He can still be a pro bowl caliber player.
17. Brodrick Bunkley, DT: Bunkley played through a pretty serious arm injury all season, and was consequently pretty ineffective. In years past though, he’s proven he can be a force on the defensive line.
16. Darryl Tapp, DE: Tapp didn’t play nearly enough. When he was in the game, the quarterback went down. He’s very disruptive and he has 12 sack potential under Washburn this season.
15. Moise Fokou, LB: The Eagles always seem to be able to stuff the run when Fokou’s in the starting line-up. He’s a very underrated SAM linebacker who will continue to grow into a fine young player.
14. Quentin Mikell, S: Analysts love to call Quentin Mikell one of the most underrated safeties in the game, and while I wouldn’t go that far, he has a great nose for the ball and has a very complete skill set. It would be a lie to say that he hasn’t lost a half step though.
13. Jamar Chaney, LB: Chaney was outstanding as a rookie filling in for Stewart Bradley. He is the Eagles’ top cover linebacker and has great range against the run. He may be a better fit as a WILL linebacker when Stewart Bradley gets healthy again. Chaney could develop into a top linebacker if he mentally adjusts to the pro game better.
12. Todd Herremans, G: Herremans missed a few blocks and committed a few stupid penalties, but overall he was the most consistent Eagle offensive lineman and is a rock at the left guard spot.
11. Antonio Dixon, DT: Antonio Dixon was one of the more effective run stuffers in the league in 2010 and was truly an unsung hero on the Eagle defense. He should be rewarded with a contract extension soon.
10. Sav Rocca, P: Keeping in mind that these rankings throw positional value out the window, Sav Rocca was one of the better punters in the league. He has a huge leg and has never made a mistake as the holder for David Akers.
9. DeSean Jackson, WR: Jackson is an elite playmaker, but he’s not higher up on the list because he’s not a complete player. He can break a game open, but hasn’t offered any type of consistency yet.
8. Michael Vick, QB: Vick is a special talent, but teams started figuring out how to beat him down the stretch. Vick needs to be better in a more traditional pocket passer role if he wants to be an elite passer in the NFL, not just an elite weapon.
7. Trent Cole, DE: Cole wasn’t a dominating pass rusher like DeMarcus Ware or Tamba Hali, but he can still get to the quarterback and is exceptionally smart, tough, and instinctive. He’s simply a stud on the defensive line on any down.
6. David Akers, K: Akers missed a few big field goals over the course of the season, but is clearly one of the three or five most reliable kickers in the league. The Eagles are fortunate to have his unflappable attitude behind the tee.
5. Mike Patterson, DT: Patterson was absolutely phenomenal in 2010 against the run, anchoring an interior triangle that was very tough to run on. At under 6’0″, he is impossible to beat in a battle of leverage.
4. Jason Peters, OT: Everybody loves to call Jason Peters overrated, but he does his job. Nobody’s mistaking him for Orlando Pace, but he rarely receives help and consistently stuffs opposing pass rushers. Even the elite rushers usually never get more than one sack against Peters.
3. Jeremy Maclin, WR: Maclin has developed into a complete and dangerous receiver who is really has the total package. He’s one of the three Eagles that the team simply cannot do without as he is the only reliable and explosive pass catcher the Eagles have. There aren’t too many of those around.
2. Asante Samuel, CB: Asante Samuel is perhaps the most feared cornerback in the league because while he is not as dominant in coverage as Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis, he creates turnovers better than any player besides perhaps Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu. When opposing quarterbacks are scared to throw to their top receiver, an entire dimension of their offense is lost. Therefore, and entire dimension of the Eagle defense is gained.
1. LeSean McCoy, RB: McCoy is the one Eagle weapon that most opposing defensive coordinators are most worried about, and it’s easy to see why. He’s extremely elusive in the open field and can touch the ball in so many ways. He keeps defenses honest and can make huge plays on any given snap. Without him, the offense is much more predictable and unbalanced, which in turn puts a lot more pressure on the passing game.