3) Speed Kills
Howie Roseman set out on a quest to make the Eagles a faster team in 2020. There’s no question that he accomplished this on both sides of the football. The Eagles draft class, which included three linemen, was the most athletic of any team. They will welcome back DeSean Jackson and also added Marquise Goodwin (a track star — who we won’t see until 2021), Darius Slay (ran a 4.36 coming into the NFL), Jatavis Brown (85th percentile speed, ran a 4.49) and Nickell Robey-Coleman (89th percentile agility score).
The defense may be one of the most athletic in football. Paired with a group of physical monsters on the defensive line, the back seven will be made up of players that are among the quickest at their position. Along with Slay and NRC, Avonte Maddox (99th percentile agility), Rodney McLeod (98th percentile agility), and Jalen Mills (87th percentile agility) will be the presumed starters in the secondary. Nathan Gerry (100th percentile agility) and Duke Riley (87th percentile agility) will likely play alongside T.J. Edwards – who is the only player of the bunch that isn’t in the top percentile in that category. Good luck pulling a fast one on that group.
On offense the Eagles will come stocked with burners all over the field. Rookie Jalen Reagor will spell DeSean Jackson on the outside, with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott rotating in the backfield. Any of those players can take it to the house. The loss of Marquise Goodwin is nothing to scoff at but allows opportunities for the other speedsters the Eagles added in the draft. John Hightower (4.43) and Quez Watkins (4.35) will compete for depth spots at receiver. Whoever wins that battle, there will be no shortage of speed on offense for the Eagles.
To Howie Roseman: mission accomplished.
To Eagles fans: Buckle your seatbelts.
2) The Eagles have a Special Secondary
Speaking of that defensive back seven, it will be a fascinating group to watch in 2020. In addition to the athletic potential of the group as a whole, almost every player brings a heap of versatility to the table. Outside of Darius Slay, every player has spent some time in their career playing all over the field.
Nickel Robey Coleman will likely exclusively play in the slot, but has spent time on the outside as well. Will Parks lined up at almost every position imaginable in Denver. The Eagles have used Rodney McLeod all over the formation. Avonte Maddox has played slot, outside corner, and safety for the Eagles. Even Jalen Mills will look to transition to safety after spending his NFL career at corner. Eagles fans have endured years of heartbreak thanks to the secondary, but that may all be in the past now.
This leaves a whole lot of options on the board for Jim Schwartz, who has always loved to play the match-ups game. We may see the Eagles on the verge of positionless football in 2020 — at least in the secondary. It will be an incredibly difficult task to game plan for this bunch.
Sure the Eagles will miss Malcolm Jenkins, but the possibilities that this secondary brings to the table are endless. Movement, mismatches and mischief will be all over the field on defense — and I’m all for it.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
26 year old Eagles writer from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.