Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bunkley Moving Up The Charts Quickly

Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley brought with him a big contract and even bigger expectations. He has done nothing to make people downplay the hype in his first two weeks with the Eagles. Bunkley missed 29 practices and one preseason game due to a prolonged contract holdout, but since he joined the team on Aug. 8, he has been turning heads.
The 6-foot-2 Bunkley says he needs to lose about another five pounds from his 310-pound frame, but he has been extremely impressive during camp at Lehigh and now at the Nova Care Complex and in the preseason games.
He will receive extended playing time in Friday's game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Tuesday (Aug. 22) he worked with the first string defense for the first time in practice. It could soon be a common occurrence.
In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if he's in the starting lineup for the Eagles' opener Sept. 10 in Houston against the Texans.
Bunkley's physical strength has enabled him to run over offensive linemen and he is a major reason why the Eagles should have a vastly improved pass rush.
And that's not even mentioning run defense, where Bunkley will occupy more than one blocker and allow middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter to roam more freely and make big plays.
The only concern is if Bunkley suffers an injury because he's trying to make up so quickly for lost time. However, if Bunkley stays healthy, the Eagles should significantly increase their total of 29 sacks last year.
And one could see the defensive tackle tandem of Bunkley and Mike Patterson hanging around for the next seven to eight years.
It's only been two weeks, and his learning curve and conditioning will be factors, but Bunkley is playing like a first round pick.
Not one who held out and missed valuable camp time, but one who is obviously making up for that lost time.