Originally posted on The Pass Rush  |  Last updated 8/5/13
We are five Sundays away from the start of the NFL season. At this point in the season, I’m working on my 2013 fantasy football rankings, pinning down the right online sportsbook to use throughout the year like Bovada sportsbook, and following by beloved Eagles. The Eagles always seem to have some huge offseason story. In 2009 it was Michael Vick’s return to the NFL, then in 2010 it was Michael Vick taking the reigns as the starter, and 2011 was the year of “The Dream Team” which went terribly wrong. This year the Eagles are dealing with Riley Cooper’s racial comment and trying to find a replacement for Jeremy Maclin, who they lost for the season with an ACL injury. Although the loss of Jeremy Maclin is huge, I’m not too concerned with the loss. Now that the Eagles offensive line is back, if they can give Vick protection and get the running game going, Vick will be able to effectively spread the ball around. The Eagles were decimated with injuries along the offensive line last season. They lost Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters and C Jason Kelce very early in the season. With Jason Peters and Jason Kelce back along with first-round draft pick OL Lane Johnson, the Eagles can shift Todd Heremans back to guard and this offensive line starts looking like one of the best in the league. With a a quality offensive line, LeSean McCoy has the ability to return to his his 2011 form rather than his 2012 form and the Eagles can take the load off of him with the emerging Bryce Brown, who showed flashes of greatness last season if it wasn’t for his fumbling problems. Coming out of high school, Bryce Brown was the top prospect at running back ahead of Trent Richardson. Now we get to the receiving game. The Eagles drafted TE Zach Ertz out of Stanford in the 2nd round. Ertz is off to a great start in camp. Brent Celek and Zach Ertz will make for a great two tight-end set. Who will step up at the WR1 spot? Riley Cooper is currently at the top of the depth chart despite the public backlash over his insensitive comments. From a pure talent standpoint, Riley has all the tools to be a dependable receiver for the Eagles. He’s a big receiver at 6’3″ 222 lbs. He has great hands capable of making difficult catches. He merely lacks blazing speed, but you have DeSean Jackson on the opposite side of him for speed. I’ll be keeping my eye on a few receivers in preseason. Someone I wanted the Eagles to take a flyer on in later rounds that they now have is Greg Salas. Salas was an epic slot receiver at Hawaii posting 119 receptions for 1,889 yards in his senior season. That success never translated to the NFL after two seasons, one with the Rams and the other in New England where he was waived. With with two season under his belt and an opportunity to have a bigger role in an offense with Maclin out, perhaps Kelly will be able to utilize a guy like Salas in the slot. The other reason I’ll be keeping a close eye on during preseason is undrafted rookie free agent Russell Shepard. Can Russell Shepard be the Eagles’ Victor Cruz, another undrafted receiver that explodes onto the scene? I certainly hope so.
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