DeSean Jackson is the Eagles rookie who grabs the headlines. He has electrifying moves and the ability to break the big play. He is already thought to be the savior at punt returner and wide receiver for the Eagles.
Another rookie Trevor Laws is supposed to step in and fill the void in the defensive tackle rotation. Playing time should be guaranteed for Laws.
Though he is not grabbing the headlines, the rookie who could have the must impact in 2008 is Quintin Demps. Demps, a safety, was drafted in the fourth round out of UTEP.
Demps is playing a position that could be considered the weak link of the Eagles defense, safety.
Dawkins, though a future Hall of Famer, is coming back from an injury plagued 2007 season. Can Dawkins stay injury free and continue to play at an elite level or are those days behind him?
The other starting safety is Quintin Mikell. Mikell has been a starter for only one year. Behind Mikell and Dawkins is the injury prone Sean Considine, who struggles with consistency, and JR Reed, who struggles to keep a roster spot from season to season.
Enter Demps. Demps has the skill set of most cornerbacks, allowing him to play both safety and cornerback. The reports on Demps are that he is outstanding in coverage, has great hands, and doesn’t shy away from the hits.
His collegiate stats validate the praise. Demps' 17 interceptions were the most among active players in the NCAA in 2007. He is also one of only seven players in college history to gain more than 400 yards (404) in returns on interceptions in a career.
Demps gives the Eagles one more playmaker in the secondary. While at UTEP Demps scored tochdowns via the interception, kickoffs and fumble recoveries.
Demps can also be a weapon on special teams. In addition to his 17 interceptions, Demps averaged of 22.4 yards per kickoff return and 13.3 yard per punt return as a senior.
Jackson may be grabbing the headlines now, but don’t be surprised if Demps has a say in the success of the 2008 Eagles.