Howie Roseman has put together an offseason like no other. Smart free agent signings, a masterful draft, and the occasional trade, have helped sustain the impressive level of talent that runs throughout the Eagles roster. But how does it compare to the roster that won the Super Bowl two years ago?
Make sure you check out Ben Solak’s take on this angle too, to see how the two viewpoints align or contrast!
For this though, I decided to take the angle of how did the roster look before the season? What players were available to the Eagles during the offseason in comparison to those fighting to make the team now? Otherwise, you end up in a mess of a roster including a midseason trade that compares to one fresh off an offseason build.
2017: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld (Practice squad)
2019: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Cody Kessler, Clayton Thorson (practice squad?)
We start off with a very ‘glass half empty, glass half full’ kind of debate. Would you rather have a quarterback position primed for the future, or one that’s primed for instant success, even if your starter goes down?
Losing Nick Foles was a large blow, but the development of Nate Sudfeld is definitely encouraging. His progression from what we saw with the Redskins and at Indiana, to the confidence portrayed last preseason, is night and day. Is he ready to be dropped into the deep end during a crucial week 13 matchup? He may not have to be.
There is a slight chance that Cody Kessler could sneak onto the roster and somewhat alleviate that strain given that he now has over 16 games worth of starting experience at the NFL level despite being just 25-years old. He may not ever replace Sudfeld, but the battle between the two will be interesting as it gives the Eagles a ‘fringe starter’ to grade him against.
As of right now, the edge goes to 2017. Wentz is now coming off of his second consecutive season-ending injury which will unfortunately carry question marks. The experience and calmness that Nick Foles brings to any situation almost built up this unbreakable shield when he entered the game. The younger quarterback’s don’t have that just yet.
2017: LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey
2019: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott
Let me start by reminding you that Jay Ajayi didn’t arrive on the scene until late October. It would be unfair to grade a running back group saved by a mid-season trade, against a fully healthy and recently built equivalent.
There was a significant amount of promise around the 2017 lineup, but Smallwood hadn’t too much during his rookie campaign, Clement was an undrafted free agent and Sproles was set to play a key role. Can we not mention Pumphrey, please?
The 2019 backfield just looks more dangerous. You get a younger, bullish running back in Jordan Howard who will replace what Blount brought to the table and then add some juice, while the idea of a second-round pick just adds that extra sprinkle of promise.
Even with Ajayi in the fold, I think the Eagles have a much clearer direction with this current roster.
2017: Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Chance Warmack
2019: Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski, Matt Pryor (practice squad?), Jordan Mailata (practice squad?)
This is interesting. Yes, the Brandon Brooks injury is important, as is the age of Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. But this unit has so much more direction once more. It’s really quite enthralling to see the fundamentals of a position one year, and two years down the line, see the next building blocks placed down as opposed to being taken out by a whirlwind.
A first-round pick, a versatile fifth-round selection from one year ago, and of course the presence of Jordan Mailata, all factor in here. I’m not sure how the Eagles are going to carry all of the players listed, but that’s a good problem to have.
The Eagles have an offensive line made up of four pro bowlers, and a legitimate talent at left guard. In fact, all five starters from 2017 return but with the next generation now waiting firmly in the wings. Easy win for 2019 here.
Continued on the pages below.