You’ve probably heard people say “the future” looks bright ad nauseam about Philadelphia’s sports teams.
Each squad has been going through growing pains as the Flyers attempt to start a new era of competitiveness, the Eagles battle to win the worst conference in football and the 76ers and Phillies attempt to completely overhaul their rosters in historic rebuilds.
But each team currently seems to have a radar-worthy rookie that could, potentially, anchor the future of each of Philly’s franchises. Here’s a brief look into the starts of Philly Sports future:
Eagles: Jordan Hicks, linebacker
The Birds’ rookie inside linebacker was the team’s leading tackled and gaining a lot of steam before his season-ending injury against the Cowboys in November ended his freshman campaign.
The third-rounder out of Texas was even calling the plays before he went down, filling in admirably for the revolving door at inside linebacker with DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks each nursing early-season injuries.
In addition to 50 tackles, Hicks had two interceptions (including a pick-six), a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He’ll certainly be a main piece for the Eagles upon his return in 2016.
76ers: Jahlil Okafor, center
The kid from Chicago has had his share of growing pains, but at 20-years-old, it’s hard to blame him. Despite a few off-court issues (including some altercations in Boston that earned him a two-game suspension), the 6-foot-11 third-overall pick is averaging a hair under 18 points and eight rebounds per game.
The Sixers continue to struggle, but Okafor has proven he can be a productive player offensively and a double-double machine in the future.
Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere, defenseman
The Flyers’ rookie defenseman is an offensive mastermind, looking comfortable both on the rush and at the point.
And though he’s made his share of first-timer mistakes, he’s also netted three overtime game-winners already this season and is one of Claude Giroux’s favorite targets.
Ghost has six goals and six assists in 16 games thus far in 2015-16 and has been everything the Flyers hoped he would be and more.
Phillies: Maikel Franco
It’s been a long time since the Phillies had an all-around third baseman they could trust. Perhaps not since Mike Schmidt have Philadelphia baseball fans really had a man at the hot corner with as much potential as Franco, who batted .280 and had 50 RBI before injury woes sidelined him late summer.
If healthy, Franco not only possesses a sure glove at third, but also yields a bat that could be the cornerstone of Philly’s lineup for years. The 23-year-old has pop and can hit for average and has the positive energy and drive fans came to know and love in the 2008 World Series squad