Continuing the theme from yesterday when we asked which member of the Eagles is the most vital heading into the 2010 campaign, today we want to know who you think is the most likely to bust the mold this upcoming season. This is a lot less clearly defined, as it can be somebody who makes the jump to the Pro Bowl, or simply a guy who develops into a capable, above average starter.
Kevin Kolb is once again an obvious choice. A 3,000 yard/20 TD campaign on a .500 or better team is going to shine the spotlight very bright on the first-year starter. Rookies are always a safe bet, too. Brandon Graham is being pegged by some as a Rookie of the Year candidate, and Nate Allen is currently penciled in to start at free safety.
I'm going to cheat a little though. There are a bunch of young, hungry players who can make huge leaps in 2010, but I'm going with somebody who's already begun to make his mark: Brent Celek.
You may think I'm a little late to the party on this one. His 76 catches last year for 971 yards and 8 touchdowns were all among the best in the league by a tight end. In his first full season as a starter, he nearly doubled his career totals. That, by its very definition, is a breakthrough.
Yet Celek didn't really get the attention he deserved for his terrific season. The biggest indicator is he was passed over for a spot in the Pro Bowl. Sure, that's no big deal and does nothing to tarnish his efforts, but the fact is he belonged there.
Brent Celek had a better season on paper than Cowboys' tight end Jason Witten, but the votes gave the nod to the perennial all star. They may have got it wrong though. Witten bested Celek in catches 94 to 76, but Celek made much more of an impact with the football, having a higher yards per catch (12.8 to 11.0) and scoring eight touchdowns to Witten's two.
Of course, Witten also excels as a blocker, which still gives him the nod as a better overall tight end, but the scary thing is Celek's numbers can increase with Kolb at the helm. The two were drafted together, worked together, even roomed together. They are extremely comfortable with one another, and it showed in Kolb's two starts last season. Celek had almost identical lines in each, going for 8 catches and 104 yards, plus a 35-yard touchdown versus the Chiefs.
Think about what they can do with a full season together. If Kolb is as good as Andy Reid thinks and we're all hoping, Brent Celek can ring up stats that Pro Bowl voters simply cannot ignore any longer.
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