Team: Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Record: 9-7
Notable Off-Season Moves:
Lost Jay Ajayi, Jordan Hicks, Jordan Matthews, Golden Tate, Chris Long, and Michael Bennett.
Saw the return of former Eagles: Desean Jackson, and Vinny Curry from Tampon Bay.
Added linebackers L.J. Fort, and Zach Brown
Traded for Jordan Howard, and added veterans Malik Jackson and Andrew Sendejo.
Had their Carson Wentz insurance policy lapse, aka, Nick Foles headed south for the winter.
In a word, good. In another word, precarious. Granted the Eagles precarious position is not one where they’re alone. Many, if not all NFL teams would experience a serious drop in production if their franchise quarterback were to go down. The primary differences why its pointed with the Eagles is that, for one, their franchise quarterback has shown a propensity for going down, and the other is that they’re not used to not having an extremely qualified understudy.
While I’m not a huge Nick Foles guy. I remember how much he floundered with the Chiefs and Rams following his then thought to be break out performance under Chip Kelly. But there is no denying the impact he had coming to the rescue for the Eagles the last couple of years.
Lets for a moment though assume good health follows Mr. Wentz. He is surrounded by weapons. There may not be a Premium Grade A Beef option on the menu, but there is a smorgasbord of yummy B level options to choose from.
The tight end room boasts All Pro level talent in Zach Ertz, while also developing behemoth second year player Dallas Goedert. I’m not so secretly wishing for a time to come when Goedert absolutely owns the Cowgirls in a big NFC East game, just so people can bemoan Dallas on Dallas crime.
The wide receiver room lost trade deadline acquisition Golden Tate to the Giants, and slot receiver Jordan Matthews once again left for the west coast after reviving his career last season. The good news is that new arrivals Desean Jackson and rookie JJ Arcega Whiteside should offset those losses. Jackson is entering his 12th year and is getting long in the tooth, but he is still a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. Meanwhile, Arcega Whiteside should develop into a prime red-zone target with terrific jump ball skills.
With returners Alshon Jeffrey, and Nelson Algholor, the second and third leading receivers last year (after Ertz) returning, the group is not at a loss for continuity. I’m still a believer in Mack Hollins ability to make plays, but barring injury, he’ll be fighting for a roster spot, let alone game reps with this group.
In the backfield, great news was gotten just before training camp got underway as Darren Sproles decided to return. The only player left from SuperBowl 3, and that great Joe Namath prediction. He’ll see a couple of new faces when he walks in the room as Jordan Howard was acquired via trade from Chicago. He’ll likely be counted on heavily at the goal line, and when the weather drops below freezing, which in Philly should be around week 3.
The Eagles used a second rounder on Saquon Barkley’s Penn State successor Miles Sanders. He’s the closest things the Eagles have to an every down back, and is likely Howard’s replacement as the bell cow come 2020.
Holdovers Wendall Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Josh Adams have all flashed at one time or another over the last couple of years, but it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll all be around when final cuts come down.
The line returns, bolstered by the added depth of first round draft pick Andre Dilliard of Washington State. Dilliard will take over for Jason Peters at left tackle, the question is, when. Peters entered the league during the Bush administration,, the first term, and has missed time over the last few years. It’d be nice if he’s able to get through 2019 unscathed, giving Dilliard an opportunity to get his feet wet as a swing tackle. But I wouldn’t count on it. Dilliard will likely see the field sooner rather than later. How he performs protecting Wentz’ blind side will go a long way towards showing the league the Eagles are back after their 2018 superbowl hangover.
The front seven lost 2 of their more stable, well on the field stability anyways, (Bennett can be a whackadoo) veterans with Michael Bennett’s trade to New England and the retirement of Chris Long.
Their front seven is far from being barren, with a good mix of old and young. Vinny Curry returns after getting his payday from Tampa Bay. Fletcher Cox is easily the best player on the defense, if not the whole squad. Former first rounder Derek Barnett is ready for more responsibility, Brandon Graham of superbowl fame is still around, Malik Jackson can plug some holes in the middle, and fourth rounders Josh Sweat (’18) and Shareef Miller (’19) have some upside.
Its a good thing the down linemen can produce some pressure, because the Eagles secondary is good, but not elite. Ronald Darby is a solid corner. He’d be best off as a sidekick instead of the leading role he currently enjoys. Another year removed from major surgery could prove useful for Sidney Jones, and it wouldn’t shock if he emerged this season as Philly’s best corner. Malcom Jenkins still shines as a safety, but the end is near for the former Buckeye.
The Eagles defense is still decent, but they don’t have the layer upon layer of talent to keep throwing at you like they did 2 seasons ago.
The Eagles will be in the hunt for the NFC East crown, going toe to toe with the Cowgirls. The loser of the competition will vie for a wild card berth. Best case scenario, Wentz is all the way back and flashes that MVP level talent that he did the first portion of 2017. If that happens, the Eagles are one of a handful of teams capable of representing the NFC in the superbowl come February.
Names to know for your Fantasy Drafts:
- Carson Wentz
- Nate Sudfield
- Jordan Howard
- Miles Sanders
- Darren Sproles
- Wendell Smallwood
- Josh Adams
- Corey Clement
- Zach Ertz
- Dallas Goedert
- Alshon Jeffrey
- Nelson Algholor
- Desean Jackson
- JJ Arcega Whiteside
- Jake Elliott
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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