Saturday was full of ups and downs for the Eagles as they continued to make all the necessary decisions to cut the roster down to 53. They let go of key young talents like Joe Ostman, Deontay Burnett, and Noah Togiai. They also got rid of players that haven’t contributed to the roster as they hoped they would, like Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas. Here’s my complete breakdown of the tough job that was completed at 4pm yesterday.
– Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts
The Eagles shocked the world when they drafted Jalen Hurts. For every reason that anyone could think of, it just didn’t make sense. You just signed your franchise QB to a lucrative deal and he’s coming off a season in which he played all 16 games but Howie isn’t your ordinary GM for good reason. The Eagles needed a young player to develop behind Wentz for the foreseeable future.
If Wentz is to go down then it makes sense to have his replacement in house and under a team-friendly contract. Now the Eagles will be entering the season with Wentz, Sudfeld, and Hurts in the quarterback room with Carson being the established veteran. Hurts could end up pushing Sudfeld for the number two spot but that may be unlikely due to the kind of offseason that Hurts didn’t have to prepare.
Hurts provides more than just Quarterback skills, the rookie QB can unlock the full potential in a very creative offensive coaching staff. With Marty Mornhinweg on board, the team could treat Hurts just as they did with Lamar Jackson in his rookie year. Hurts could be asked to come in and use his mobility as a weapon more than his arm. While Jackson was able to take the starting role away from Flacco, don’t expect the same to happen to Wentz.
Running backs (3)
– Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement
For the first time in a long time, the team will have a running back room that’s led by a featured back. Miles Sanders has shown the Eagles that he can be the guy with the ball in his hands. Sanders broke the Eagles rookie records of total scrimmage yards and all-purpose yards. He also led the team in rushing last season with 818 rushing yards in 16 games. Sanders averaged 4.6 yards on 179 attempts last season on an average of 11 attempts per game.
Another player who will be seeing the ball a lot more is Boston Scott. Scott made some tremendous strides last season when his name was called upon, especially against the Giants. With a full offseason under his belt and the confidence to know that he is the number two back, Scott could really provide some lightning when Sanders is out for a few plays.
As for the final back, Corey Clement was re-signed this offseason with the expectation that he’ll have to work for his roster spot. Clement has changed his diet and workout regimens to ensure a healthy comeback.
Tight Ends (2)
– Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert
It’s hard to understand why the Eagles are sticking with only two tight ends. The Eagles face a similar predicament last season and it hindered them more times than they would’ve liked it too. The team could be changing this dynamic within the next couple of days but for now, let’s rave about the incredible tandem that they’ve put together. Ertz and Goedert will be focal points on this offense as the team will mostly line up in 12 personnel.
With the added speed on the outside, expect Goedert and Ertz to commandeer the middle of the field with ease at times. The Eagles have the top tight end duo in the league and they showed that last season as both tight ends caught for more than 600 receiving yards and combined for 11 touchdowns.
Wide Receivers (7)
– DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward Jr, John Hightower, Quez Watkins
The fact that the Eagles stuck with seven receivers this time around means one thing: They’ve learned their lesson Each one of these receivers has shown that they belong on the opening day roster except for one.
Alshon Jeffery is still rehabbing but seems to be ahead of schedule as he may make his debut sometime this month. Which should be great but then again, no one knows which Alshon will show up. Will it be “I’m going to help win MVP” Alshon or will it be Alshonymous? That’s one of the reasons to be worried about this group.
The second reason is health. Can D-Jax manage to stay healthy for at least 14 games and maybe the playoffs? Will Reagor be another DJax-no surgery situation? There are a few reasons to be concerned, but the good news is that the front office overstocked the position with speed and playmaking ability.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside may have the biggest boom-or-bust potential out of the group due to his awful rookie season that was one to forget. JJAW came into this offseason in better shape and a better mindset which may have earned him the starting nod come opening day. The way I see it is JJAW’s spot is his to lose and his only competition may be the ghost of Alshon Jeffery’s 2017 season. If he can show that the Eagles are better off with him than AJ then maybe, just maybe he was the right pick in 2019 but only time will tell.
While we’re on the topic of good picks, let’s talk about the dynamic that is Quez Watkins and John Hightower. Both rookies seemed to have shown out during camp as the Eagles brass have nothing but excitement for these two. While Hightower may have the upper hand right now, don’t sleep on the necessary speed that Quez Watkins has. It’s going to come in handy at the right time for a team that desperately needed it last season.
Offensive line (8)
– Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor, Lane Johnson, Jack Driscoll, Nate Herbig, Jordan Mailata
The offensive line will be the group to keep your eye on for the foreseeable future. While first-round pick Andre Dillard landed on the IR, the Eagles are faced with a tough decision. Doug Pederson has been raving about the right guard play of Jason Peters while it seems like everybody that has filled in at left tackled has struggled.
The Eagles may have already made their decision and plan to keep it in the house until next Sunday or they may really be moving forward with JP at the right guard. If so, expect either Matt Pryor, Jack Driscoll, or even Jordan Mailata to fill in the void. Driscoll may have the most potential out of the group but the Eagles will be going with whoever they feel is a sure thing to protect Wentz’s blindside.
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Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire