The Eagles came into training camp top-heavy at defensive end. They had two Pro Bowl players in Jason Babin and Trent Cole, a former first-round pick in Brandon Graham, a former second-round pick in Vinny Curry, a former CFL sack leader in Phillip Hughes and another proven player in Darryl Tapp.

But now three of those players are battling injuries – Babin (calf), Cole (shoulder) and Curry (ankle). And that means more playing time – and more chances to impress the coaches – for the other defensive ends on the roster.

“Those guys now have an opportunity to get more reps,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “We always preach that every rep you get is an opportunity to show what you can do and be able to better yourself as a professional football player. When another man gets hurt it gives you an opportunity.”

Few players need that opportunity as much as Graham, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency since the Eagles selected him with the 13th overall pick in 2010. The way things look now, Graham will be a starter for the preseason opener vs. the Steelers next Thursday, and that will really be his chance to shine.

“That’s going to be the first time for me to show them what I’m going to do in the games and that’s how I’m taking it,’’ Graham said. “It’s like it’s my first step to where I want to be and hopefully it goes exactly how I planned it to go, how I envisioned it to go. All I can do is work hard and that’s what I’m going to do and we’ll see when that day comes.”

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSSportsNFLPHI.