Eagles Stock Market
By Lance Epstein
Graphic By: Michael J. Skulsky
In this segment, I will breakdown three players, management officials or front office personal that have seen their stock take a drastic hit or has risen over the course of the week or couple of weeks.
Additionally, I will mention one player, coach or idea that should be sold (meaning not believe the hype) and one which the fans should buy (not believe the criticism).
Ellis Hobbs: Entering the 2010 draft, the cornerback position was the one spot that every media outlet, fan and analyst thought the Eagles would select high in the draft. However, general manager Howie Roseman threw a curveball into the equation and did not take a cornerback until the fourth-round in Trevard Lindley. It has been several weeks since the draft and Roseman has been glowing about Hobbs is an adequate replacement for Sheldon Brown at the starting right cornerback position. This is a dream scenario for Hobbs coming off a severe neck injury in 2009. He is on the last year of his contract and if he plays up to the way Roseman believes out, he could be in store for a nice payday.
Trent Cole: While fans were upset the Eagles did not trade up for either safety Earl Thomas or Eric Berry, the happiest guy in the Eagles locker room was Trent Cole. Every year and every single game, Cole sees double teams due to the Eagles not having a consistent threat at left defensive end. With the addition of Brandon Graham and his non-stop motor, teams will not be able to strictly double-team Cole. Graham is relentless and his talent has been compared to a mini Dwight Freeney. He will free up Cole him up for more one-on-one match ups and he will have the potential to surpass his single-season sack total of 12.5.
Michael Vick: Why is Vick's stock up and he is still upset that he is the second string quarterback? Well, during the team's Post-Draft Minicamp, many believed he had a better camp throwing the ball than the starting quarterback in Kevin Kolb. This is not a particularly good sign for Kolb since he wanted the competition and hasn’t proven a whole lot yet. Remember though, Vick was going up against the team's second-string defense. Furthermore, it is still very very very unlikely that Vick will be the starter. Nevertheless if he continues to shine in practice, a team might be calling for his services in August. Then he will get the chance to start like he has been yearning for during this offseason. Do not be surprised if the Bills start calling Reid during training camp.
Cornelius Ingram: Last year, the Eagles were raving about the fifth-round tight end they got out of the University of Florida. Now that seems like a distant memory for Cornelius Ingram. This year's training camp, he will be in a battle for his No. 2 tight end position with Clayton Harbor. Harbor has the confidence, swagger and athletic ability to be a threat for the Eagles. Ingram is coming off injury and has not been able show his worthiness of being a No. 2 tight end. For Ingram, it is not an encouraging sign that the Eagles decided to take a tight end in the fourth-round. Additionally it speaks volumes about his knee and long-term future.
Victor Abiamiri: There might not be a player on the roster that has had a worse offseason than Victor Abiamiri. First, the Eagles go out and trade for Darryl Tapp. Tapp was expected to compete and probably win the team’s starting left defensive end position. Second, the Eagles go into the draft and select three defensive ends and one in the first round. Lastly, the news came out that Abiamiri had to have microrfracture surgery this offseason and he probably will not be ready to even run until a week before the season kicks off. While Abiamiri can be put on the PUP list [not eligible until week 6], he might not even make the squad. With the depth, youth and talent at the defensive end position, he might wind up being a casualty.
Cornerback position: While Hobbs is happy to be starting, so are the rest of the teams on the Eagles schedule. Besides Asante Samuel, the Eagles have a bunch of question marks and unknowns at the cornerback position. Hobbs is returning from a severe neck injury that cost him half the season last year. In addition, he was not that impressive before the injury. As for Joselio Hanson, after his four-game suspension, he was not nearly the same player. The acquisition of Marlin Jackson could be a steal except his knee might prevent him from being the player he was earlier in his career. Finally, Macho Harris and Lindley have not proven they can play the cornerback position at the NFL level. Harris played safety last year and did a mediocre job. Plus scouts question if he has the speed to play corner. The problem with Lindley is that he cannot stay healthy. This could be the weakest link on the entire team, so Roseman better hope the Eagles have an outstanding pass rush. Especially with the wide receivers and quarterbacks in the division.
Kelly Green Jersey: The kelly green jerseys the Eagles will sport in week one are spiffy and a great way to celebrate the 1960s championship squad. However, the helmets are actually cooler than the jersey itself. The early 90s kelly green jerseys with the old school Eagles logo on the sleeves are far more impressive than these kelly greens. These are just a shiny green jersey with white numbers stitched on. Many have said that the uniform remind them of a high school team's jersey. Give credit to owner Jeffrey Lurie for honoring the team and bringing back the kelly green that everyone loves, but the jersey is a bit bland.
Stewart Bradley's return: There is no player on the Eagles team that was missed more in 2009 than Stewart Bradley. During the '09 season, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott used six different middle linebackers. Not only that, Bradley was an up-and-coming star in this league before a torn ACL halted his career. With the return of Bradley, the team gets its athletic middle linebacker back, but more importantly a leader. On the field, Bradley is like an orchestra conductor. He gets guys where they are supposed to be and he shuts down opposing team's tight ends. If Bradley returns to form [looked good in minicamp], the Eagles defense is vastly improved.