On the bubble: Five Eagles who need to shine in final games

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With just two games left, the end of the season is rapidly approaching for the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s been a bumpy road, but an enthralling one nonetheless, but Doug Pederson has turned his attention to the younger guys on the roster, which means these last two games could well be regarded as auditions for those fighting for their future.

The Eagles Salary Cap situation is less than ideal and with so many pending free agents, we may be primed for another wild offseason. There has been a swift culture change in the City of Brotherly Love..and these five players will need to show that they’re “all in” if a roster spot is to be secured.

 

Byron Marshall:
After making his NFL debut last week, Byron Marshall could once again be relied upon by the Eagles. With Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner sidelined, the versatile back will look to build upon a game in which he flashed brilliance after adjusting to the ruthless nature of the NFL.

The undrafted rookie is in a favorable position. Ryan Mathews has always been electric when healthy, but the last part of that statement is the most important. Darren Sproles isn’t getting any younger and with both Smallwood & Barner only able to watch, it’s a chance for Marshall to steal the spotlight and prove himself worthy a role in Doug Pederson’s Offense.

The committee effort has been somewhat marginalized this year, making the slight overcrowding in the Eagles backfield even more harmful to the likes of Barner and now Marshall. Two big final games would not only make a stern statement, but potentially open up the committee playbook once again.

 

Marcus Smith:
The first year under Jim Schwartz was thought to be a shot at redemption for Marcus Smith, but thus far it’s been another underwhelming season. Although Smith has actually doubled the amount of tackles he’s recorded in comparison t last season, being lost in DE rotation is only hurting his chances of making up for lost time.

Beyond Brandon Graham and arguably Connor Barwin however, the consistency and efficiency of Eagles DE’s has varied. With Pederson focusing on the development of younger players, it’s a chance for Smith, similarly to Marshall to break out and make a statement.

The former first round pick is yet to really “wow” this season, but if he can end the season on a high, there’s no telling just what Roseman’s thinking will be heading into the offseason.

Smith is running out of time to assert himself as a regular starter. With Graham’s incredible form and Curry’s recent contract extension, at best Smith will be the next man up. But to secure that role, he simply has to flash in these closing games.

 

Nelson Agholor:
It’s fair to say that Nelson Agholor has endured a difficult season. Whether it was the early dip in form, issues with drops or just an admittance that he’s struggling mentally, Agholor hasn’t been as productive as many had hoped or expected.

The Eagles had reportedly made a push for Torrey Smith at the trade deadline, but the Niners were unwilling to lower their price. The intention alone signifies that the Eagles will no doubt be looking to strengthen the position during the offseason. From DeSean Jackson to Alshon Jeffery, the rumor mill has been ripe with targets for Howie Roseman, but if the Eagles signed a big free agent name..what would happen to Agholor?

His future, while likely still in Philadelphia now, remains uncertain in terms of what role he will play going forward. Theres’ no doubting a surge in effort that has presented itself in the last few games, but can Agholor find the form to match his work ethic? A late burst in production could make all the difference when addressing the Offseason needs..and could make an even bigger difference to the future of the former USC wideout.

 

Bennie Logan:
Logan’s extension has been speculated for months now and after yet another solid season, the pending free agent is still waiting to put pen to paper. The Eagles DT has shone this year..but will that drive up his price?

The DT free agency market could overflow during the offseason, with the likes of Hankins, Williams, Fairly and Campbell all in their final year of contract. The Eagles salary cap isn’t the most friendly in the league, but this could well be the redeeming factor..Logan becomes affordable.

The Eagles have been trusting the likes of Destiny Vaeao and Beau Allen much more in recent weeks, without a real drop in production. The hustle shown by Logan has been beyond impressive, but are the Eagles experimenting to see which combinations work? Especially since their focus is now on development, it makes a lot of sense.

If Logan can have another explosive outing, just as he did against the Ravens, then it will help his case massively. But right now the dominant defensive tackle remains in limbo..and that’s something two big games could swing in his favor.

 

 

Leodis McKelvin:
The Eagles cornerback play has been suspect from start to finish and Leodis McKelvin has arguably been the most inconsistent corner on the roster, despite coming in with the most promise.

Physicality and experience haven’t been enough to carry the Eagles secondary and with Carroll already in his contract year, Jalen Mills flashing all over the field during an injury crisis and a glaring need for a playmaker, McKelvin’s future is in jeopardy.

He has had a few impressive games this year, but they have been few and far between. McKelvin needs to emerge as the shutdown corner he developed into as a Buffalo Bill if he is to have any hope of retaining a roster spot next season.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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