Better or worse? How this Eagles’ roster compares to last year’s team

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As eyes turn towards the potential return of OTA’s and a small training camp, it’s time to take a deep breath and examine the Eagles’ roster. The team underwent substantial changes this past offseason, but just how much of an improvement was made?

Quarterback

2020: Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts, Nate Sudfeld, Kyle Lauletta

2019: Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld

This all comes down to subjective perception. If you want a position that’s primed for development with the wildcard of some spicy dual-quarterback looks, then hello 2020. If you’d rather a proven veteran behind Carson Wentz, a backup that has, like it or not, been called into action every season he’s been in the NFL, 2019 has the edge.

The Eagles want to become a quarterback factory though and if we’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that Nate Sudfeld still isn’t ready to jump up to a QB2 role. Jalen Hurts could flip this offense on his head, and such a heavy investment can’t be ignored.

I’m also here for all of the Kyle Lauletta preseason snaps.

Winner: 2020

Running back

2019: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott

2020: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Elijah Holyfield, Michael Warren, Adrian Killins

This is a tricky one to gauge. The Eagles are officially all-in on Miles Sanders and while they are actively seeking a veteran downhill rusher, they’re also reportedly refusing to pay much more than a veteran’s minimum.

The 2020 group is light, but it finally appears as there is some clarity a the position as opposed to a band of backs who can’t quite seem to find a groove until injuries set in as we’ve seen in recent years. However, the lightning and thunder combo of Howard and Sanders was so, so electric in 2019 that losing that and refusing to add to the position outside of UDFA’s has to be seen as a slight dropoff.

Winner: 2019

Offensive line

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?)

2020: Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor, Jack Driscoll, Prince Tega-Wanagho, Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig, Julian Good-Jones, Casey Tucker

The Eagles haven’t just lost Jason Peters, but also Halapoulivaati Vaitai. There is a total lack of experience behind the starting tackles now and although Jack Driscoll’s versatility and Prince Tega-Wanagho’s addition could be important in years to come, 2019’s O-line was about as complete as one could ask for.

Winner: 2019

Tight end

2019: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Joshua Perkins, Will Tye

2020: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins, Noah Togiai

The Richard Rodgers experiment has failed dramatically, and Joshua Perkins continues to develop under the radar as a leaner pass-catching tight end. The signing of UDFA Noah Togiai is an intriguing one, but the position still lacks a solid TE3, not that they ever really had one in Rodgers.

Winner: Tie

Wide receiver

2019: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Braxton Miller, Greg Ward Jr, Charles Johnson, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson

2020: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, J.J Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward Jr, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, Robert Davis, Khalil Tate, Shelton Gibson, Manasseh Bailey, Marcus Green

Do I really need to say anything here? The change in positional outlook within the space of just a few short months is monumental. It’s a total overhaul and the Eagles now have more speed and talent than they’ll know what to do with.

Winner: 2020

Defensive End

2019: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller, Joe Ostman, Daeshon Hall

2020: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller, Joe Ostman, Daeshon Hall, Casey Toohill, Genard Avery

The loss of Vinny Curry is going to put a heavy load on the shoulders of Josh Sweat. Seeing as Shareef Miller played 2 special teams snaps last year, depth is absolutely crucial here and the Eagles just don’t have enough at the position for it not to be a little concerning. Derek Barnett is entering a crucial stage of his career and BG isn’t getting any younger.

Winner: 2019

Defensive Tackle

2019: Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Timmy Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway, Bruce Hector, Treyvon Hester, Anthony Wilkins

2020: Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway, Anthony Rush, Bruce Hector, Albert Huggins

The 2020 DT group is monstrous. It may be the most dominant group in the entire league. It’s stacked with depth, potential, upside, and elite talent. Easy decision here.

Winner: 2020

Linebacker

2019: Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Paul Worrilow, Nate Gerry, Alex Singleton, T.J Edwards

2020: Nate Gerry, T.J Edwards, Alex Singleton, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, Duke Riley, Dante Olson, Jatavis Brown

The Eagles lost both Nigel Bradham and KGH this offseason, but the linebacker position was woefully inconsistent last year anyway. Through the additions in the secondary, you can see how they’re planning to negate that with versatility this time around. I wouldn’t put too much stock into the intended lack of depth here. T.J Edwards looked great last year and Davion Taylor should be an exciting player to watch.

Winner: 2019

Cornerback

2019: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Jay Liggins

2020: Darius Slay, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Trevor Williams, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Grayland Arnold, Trevon Smith, Michael Jacquet, Prince Smith, Elijah Riley

Much like wide receiver, there isn’t much that needs to be said here. The Eagles have a shutdown corner for the first time in forever and have some real gems in Trevor Williams and Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Winner: 2020

Safety

2019: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan, Blake Countess

2020: Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace, Marcus Epps, Rudy Ford

The Eagles lost Malcolm Jenkins this offseason, but negate that with a flurry of versatile faces. Some are familiar, and it won’t take names like K’Von Wallace long to be listed in the same way. This is a big improvement from last year’s transient safety spot.

Winner: 2020

Results

2019: LB, DE, RB, OL
2020: QB, WR, CB, DT, S
Tie: TE

2020 wins this battle 5-4. I know it’s a primitive way of grading a roster’s improvement or regression, but I also feel as though just going case-by-case ignores the bigger picture at each position. Overall, the Eagles put pieces in place at each position that wasn’t significantly improved so that in years to come, it most definitely is. The only spot exempt from that is DE. This was a masterful offseason by Howie Roseman. We just need to find out if the team can make that count on the field.

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