The Eagles – Still celebrating 2017?
Result: NFC East Champion
2019 Regular season record: 9-7
2019 Scoring Offensive Rank: 12th 24.1 PPG
2019 Scoring Defensive Rank: 15th 22.1 PPG
2020 Draft First Pick: 21
Coach: Doug Pederson
The Offseason Scenario:
It’s hard to gauge the temperament of Philly fans. I mean, we’re talking about a fan base that booed Santa at Christmas.
The Eagles won the division.
But they only won nine games in the worst division in football and wouldn’t have made the playoffs if they were in any other division. Eek.
On the plus side, they got a whole season out of Carson Wentz, so maybe their gamble to part ways with Nick Foles wasn’t as foolhardy as I thought (jury is still out if you ask me). That being said, there’s not a lot that Doug Pederson could do to get run out of town, the guy most definitely has the all-you-can-eat cheesesteak card at both Pat’s and Geno’s.
2017 still looms large in the City of Brotherly Love, and I can’t fault them to be honest.
It was a FUN Super Bowl to win.
But the Eagles team from the 2019 season bears little resemblance to the unit that took every risky chance in the book to outscore Tom Terrific and the Patriots. That unit was dominant in the trenches on both sides of the ball, while last year’s Eagles were solid defensively against the run, they struggled to contain opposing receivers, and didn’t boast much in the way of a running game, either. Philly’s top rusher, Miles Sanders ranks outside of the top twenty in yardage, and averaged a scant 50 yards per contest. They’ll need to get back to basics and rebuild if they want to reach the top of the mountain again in 2020.
Free Agent Frenzy:
I often counsel caution and even tempers when discussing free agency but looking at the list of Eagles players who are up for free agency, I see a lot of guys that need a change of scenery.
Nelson Agholor was a hero a few years ago, but missed five games this season, and finished the season well outside the top 100, ranking below not one, but two tight ends and a running back from his own team. He’s clearly not Wentz’ favorite target.
Jason Peters is likely bound for a gold jacket after he retires, but at 37, I can’t see the Eagles bringing him back, they need to get younger and faster along the O-Line…not to mention cheaper.
Jordan Howard looked like a home run coming over from Chicago, but he’s been more sizzle than steak since pulling on the green jersey. He’s never recorded a 100-yard rushing performance for the Eagles and seems somehow mired in the depth chart. Let him go.
What are they in the market for? Young offensive linemen, a legitimate deep threat and help in the secondary. Obviously, they can’t solve all those problems in free agency, but I expect they’ll attack two of the three. They’ll have roughly $42 million to spend so a big man and a top echelon corner aren’t out of the question.
Seriously Premature Draft Hunches:
This is the draft to target wide receivers, and at 21st overall, I expect Philly to have more than a few options.
Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow’s favorite target might well still be on the board, as might Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. The Colorado product is a bit of a gamble, but he might have the highest ceiling among the WRs in this draft. His combination of size and strength (6’1”, 227lbs) with lateral mobility will make him tough to corral after the catch, and he might be flat-out uncoverable for a lot of the league’s speedier defensive backs.
If not for a slowdown in production in 2019 due to inconsistent quarterback play and an offseason surgery to repair core muscles, Shenault would more than likely be a top-ten pick. Someone is going to take a chance on him. Why not the Eagles?
For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.
Image Source: AP Images