Philadelphia Eagles News: Unheralded Players Could Help the Eagles Become the 'Dream Team'

  on June 21 2012 1:46 PM

The dream team, also-known-as the Philadelphia Eagles, were not expecting the 2011 season to pan out the way it did.

Coming into the season they felt this was a Super Bowl-caliber team, and there was no reason why they shouldn't have gone to the big dance.

Now, only two months before the start of training camp, the Eagles are once again confident enough to make the claim that they are capable of making it to the Super Bowl.

While it's always hard to tell how teams will be so early in the preseason, the Eagles organization feel that they will have many players break out this year.

 It's very difficult to block for a quarterback like Michael Vick, which is why they only pursue the most athletic lineman available, Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins.

After two years of development of those players, the Eagles believe they have found the two best linemen for the future.

A former sixth-round-pick, Kelce was clearly the most productive draft pick last year, as he started all 16 games as a rookie.

Just having a year under my belt, and having a year with this unit, I feel much more comfortable, Kelce said. I think the guys feel much more comfortable with me being the guy to make the calls.

The Eagles hope that Danny Watkins will be able to help out along the inside of their line. Watkins was the Eagles first-round pick in 2011 and they are hoping he will play to his full potential this season.

Watkins, who was a star at Baylor University, has been working hard with offensive line coach Howard Mudd, to improve his game and bring it to the next level.

After not giving up a single sack all season, the Eagles expect Watkins to become a star and a force in the NFC East.

On the other side of the ball, where the Eagles faced most of the troubles last season, is where they looked to improve the most.

The secondary, which on paper seems to be one of the best in the league, did not live up to expectations.

The Eagles are optimistic however, due to an underrated and under-sized cornerback who plays much bigger than his stature.

Brandon Boykin, standing 5-foot-9, started 38 games at the University of Georgia, and looks to fight for significant playing time in his rookie season.

Boykin makes up for his diminutive size thanks to a freakish 37-inch vertical, and he has been picking off passes left and right throughout the early part of camps.

As a defensive back, when the ball's in the air it's very important to elevate at the highest point and try and go get it, Boykin said. For somebody like me that's 5-9, having to play that long ball, people would probably think the receiver would have that advantage.

The Eagles are still shocked that they were able to add him to the roster so late in the draft and feel like he could potentially be a steal as a fourth round pick.

Besides competing for playing time at the nickel, Boykin is expected to be the starting kick returner to aid the ailing special teams.

On the defensive line, the Eagles believe they have found their gems in defensive end Brandon Graham, and utility defensive tackle Derek Landri.

Plagued by injuries early in his career, including a torn ACL and microfracture surgery Graham is out to prove that he is not a draft bust. He has played in just 16 games since he was drafted in 2010 but he shed some pounds and is coming to camp with a 265-pound athletic frame that he hopes will stand up to the punishment at the NFL level.

While at Michigan, Graham was incredible. He recorded 29.5 sacks and 56 tackles for loss in his college career and many believe he can become the next Trent Cole.

Derek Landri, who has been considered a tackling machine, is said to be the secret superstar that Philadelphia has been waiting for.

Although undersized for a defensive tackle at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds, his athletic ability allows him to get off snaps faster than the guy assigned to block him, creating havoc in the backfield.

The Eagles are set to open camp on July 22.

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