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Can Brandon Graham and Nate Allen Repeat Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy’s Impact?

In 2009, the rookies that were selected in the first and second round had a big impact for the Eagles. Both of these players, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, made consistent contributions to the offense throughout the season and were ready to see the field immediately when the season started. This year, the Eagles took defensive players in the first and second round. The question is whether Brandon Graham and Nate Allen can make the impact in 2010 that Maclin and McCoy in 2009.

The Eagles have a lot invested in Brandon Graham and will definitely look to get as much playtime out of him as possible. If he’s not listed as the starter for the opener, I’m sure he will get a substantial amount of play time in the game. I also see him being listed as the starter at some point during the season if it doesn’t come on the opening game.

As far as Nate Allen, I think he is going to be a great player, but he may be the type of guy the Eagles try to ease into the starting role. We saw the struggles the Eagles had trying to fill the position last year. They couldn’t find a consistent starter and will have two of those guys who couldn’t get the job done last year competing for the starting spot again this season. Allen and Marlin Jackson will also compete for this spot so there should be a great competition in Training Camp.

Allen should be able to get some solid play time as I’m not confident in any of the other guys solidifying the job. If Allen can perform consistently well, he could be the starter the entire season.

The difficult thing with comparing the top two rookies this year and last year, is that offensive stats are much flashier than defensive statistics. Unless Graham has a ton of sacks or Allen has a ton of interceptions, their numbers won’t jump out at you like receiving or rushing yards and touchdowns.

However, I think Graham and Allen have the type of talent where they can put up solid defensive statistics. If Graham draws a lot of attention on the line, that’s a huge plus that won’t show up in the stats.

Allen doesn’t need to have a Pro Bowl season, but if he can play at a high level and provide consistency, that will also be invaluable for the Eagles defense.

These two guys won’t have the flash that Maclin and McCoy did, but I think they’re ready to make big contributions to a defense who desperately needs them.

Nate Allen

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