Five players to watch during 2014 season

A new season brings on excitement and energy. As we saw in the final preseason game for many of the starters, watching a team fire on all cylinders only to wait two weeks for the season to really begin feels like an eternity.

But as the new season begins, the Eagles bring in a host of new players and several returning faces.

Today, the focus is on five players worth watching in 2014. This isn’t your usual list. You won’t find Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy or DeMeco Ryans on this list. Those players deserve your attention as it is.

But here are five under-the-radar players who will garner attention and may be the surprise players of the season.

Jordan Matthews: The Eagles second-round pick this season feels more like the first. Marcus Smith II as the potential to be a solid linebacker, but he’ll get swallowed up the way Brandon Graham did early in his career and have to grow. Jordan Matthews will be thrown into the fire. He may start slow, but by the end of the season, he may be a go-to target for Foles.

Beau Allen: The Eagles seventh-round pick was the surprise of camp. It was no surprise, based on his performance that he made his way onto the roster. It’s hard to miss the sizeable lineman. After a strong preseason, he’s expected to keep growing throughout the season.

Cody Parkey: Was there any doubt that Parkey wouldn’t make this list? As long as the kicker makes field goals, he won’t be a problem. But given the way Alex Henery’s tenure ended in Philadelphia, all eyes will be on Parkey whenever he’s on the field.

Nolan Carroll: Carroll was impressive in training camp and didn’t see the field for game action until Week 3 of the preseason. That said, he made a nice interception in his lone game, showing signs of taking what his practice production into the game setting. Upgrading the secondary was a key to the Eagles offseason. Malcolm Jenkins was more of a splash signing. This was an under-the-radar deal that could pay big dividends for the Eagles.

Zach Ertz: The second-year tight end is in a similar position to Nick Foles. He’ll have a much bigger role in his sophomore season. However, the sky is still the limit for the Eagles tight end. Ertz is more than just the future at tight end for the Eagles. He’s a future offensive star. Big things are expected in the coming seasons starting with Sunday’s opener to 2014.

Honorable Mention – Darren Sproles: When you think running back for the Eagles, you think LeSean McCoy. But the addition of Darren Sproles may be one of the most regarded by season’s end. Sproles is going to add a whole new dimension to the Eagles offense and it should be noticeable in the early portion of the season.

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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