Philadelphia Eagles

Do the Eagles have a stronger roster than they did in 2020? Offense edition

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It’s been a transformative offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only has their once-beloved franchise quarterback been offloaded to the Colts, but the team decided to snatch some of Indy’s coaching staff in the process of replacing Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz. With the dust now finally settled, it’s time to look at whether the roster has improved and by how much.

Quarterback

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

2021: Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, Nick Mullens

It’s easy to look at this and say 2021, but we have to remember the expectations at this point in 2020. Nobody expected Carson Wentz to suffer the regression that ends all other regressions. With that said, it’s always hard not to lean towards a younger, cheaper quarterback, in an environment where in which he has a veteran to mentor his development and a new arsenal of weaponry.

I’d also go as far to say that Nick Mullens is very viable QB2 candidate and stands head and shoulders above someone like Nate Sudfeld. As far as QB rooms go, the Eagles have one that will be filled with competition and play that should lift the roster through the rigours of Training Camp.

Verdict: 2021

Running back

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

2021: Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, Kerryon Johnson, Elijah Holyfield, Jason Huntley, Adrian Killins

There was a clear vision with the backfield last year, but it was more built on doubling down on talent within the room as opposed to investing in the position as a whole. The Eagles have changed that this offseason, backing a renewed intent to run the ball under Nick Sirianni.

Kenneth Gainwell and Kerryon Johnson could be great additions to a running back room that lacked in both pass-protection and receiving production last year. This makes for a much more complete stable of backs than the one we saw in 2020.

Verdict: 2021

Offensive line

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

2021: Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Landon Dickerson, Brandon Brooks, Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Matt Pryor, Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig, Casey Tucker, Le’Raven Clark, Brett Toth,
Kayode Awosika

The Eagles now have a strong competition at left tackle and most of their starters likely returning to health after an embarrassing 2020 campaign that saw injuries ravage the group from the Summer onward.

The addition of Landon Dickerson is a big one after the team had opted waited a long time to find a long-term replacement for Jason Kelce. His versatility should also provide some insurance of Brooks isn’t ready to go. In a scenario where Dickerson can’t recover quickly enough from his own injury setback, the versatile former Colt Le’Raven Clark should be able to hold the fort.

Verdict: 2020

Tight End

2020: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins, Noah Togiai, Richard Rodgers, Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom, Tyree Jackson

2021: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Jack Stoll, Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom, Tyree Jackson

Not much has changed here other than the Eagles exchanging UDFA Noah Togiai for UDFA Jack Stoll. Stoll offers more in the way of versatility and there is a big cloud looming over Zach Ertz. Had it not been for the late addition of Richard Rodgers, 2020’s unit would’ve probably walked this due to Ertz coming off of a strong 2019.

Having said that, the team have not done enough to prepare for the long-term this offseason. Contract talks with Goedert are encouraging, but the SDSU product has to overcome some durability hurdles of his own and even then it’s not like there is a certified TE2 behind him. That may change next offseason, but if the team do move on from Ertz before the season starts, it’s Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers versus the world.

Verdict: 2020

Wide receiver

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

2021: DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, J.J Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward Jr, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, Jhamon Aubson, Michael Walker, Trevon Grimes (IR)

The Eagles have well and truly witnessed the passing of the torch here. The opinion of this year’s room being the more appealing group doesn’t take a lot to justify. A Heisman winning wideout joins a former first-round pick in Jalen Reagor, a reliable slot wideout in Greg Ward, and a plethora of young guns who each have high ceilings if Aaron Moorehead can push them in the right direction. No stupid contracts, no injury-plagued receivers, and a new coaching staff who should be able to avoid mistakes from years past.

Verdict: 2021

Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire

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Liam is a 25-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.

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5 comments

  • Dave says:

    The roster is much stronger. At the risk of merely repeating what has been said, the OL is the key to this season. If the starters can remain healthy, it is one of the best in the business. I think it will be Mailata, Seo, Kelce, Brooks and Johnson. Mailata gained much experience playing last year. The guy is a huge human being at 6’8″ 345 lbs. His skills are only starting to be tapped into. For never really playing organized football until coming to the Eagles, he has made huge strides and to retard his development would be foolish. This guy has the potential to be Tra Thomas/Jason Peters rolled into one. He is incredibly athletic as witnessed by his rugby videos where he was dragging 5-6 guys like it was nothing, in for the score. I don’t care how much Dillard has improved, we heard that last year about how he had bulked up, but before his injury, guys were bull rushing him. It’s kind of hard to move Mailata. Seo is solid, but I would not at all be opposed to Dickerson challenging him for playing time or winning the job. I think Seo has it by experience, but it’s good to know this guy s around since this is going to be Kelce’s swan song. It’s going to be hard to replace Kelce. Dude’s an ironman. Except for a season ending knee injury requiring surgery in 2012, and sports hernia surgery before the 2014 season where he only missed 2 games, he has played in every game, every snap until garbage time. He has been the leader on that line and his experience will be very hard to replace. Brooks has finally torn pretty much everything you can tear and usually the repair makes you stronger than before. He has certainly had a lot of injuries, but when he is on the field, there is nobody better. Johnson has had a nagging ankle injury since 2018, and this offseason, has finally gotten surgery to fix it once and for all. If you look at the eagles record, there is a direct correlation when he’s in the game, to wins and losses. I agree with Eddie in that we have guys who have now gotten NFL experience and if they make that second year jump, you basically have 2 OL’s that you can count on.

    I’m looking forward to the running game. I’m hoping it’s Sanders, Johnson, Gainwell and Scott. Sanders and Scott are self explanatory. Your backs aren’t any good unless you give them the ball. Dougie’s always pass first mentality, will now be a run first mentality. Gainwell and Johnson, could really make this a devastating backfield. Every one of them is an excellent receiver, so that’s a lot of added potential. I think Hurts has worked incredibly hard all offseason, and Reuben Frank gave 5 reason why Hurts will be better this year. Experience, better receivers, balanced offense, offensive line and a completely new offense that will really, once and for all play to each player’s strengths. In that article, when the pass/run ration was 67-33, which it was in the first half of the games he played, Hurts completed 62% of his passes. When it jumped to an out of control 82-18 in the 2nd half, his percentage dropped to 48%. Cunningham, McNabb, Josh Allen, Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck, all started with low percentage their first year and look what happened after.

    The receivers are going to be much better than last year. No more J’s – Jeffrey, Jackson, JJAW. Bye Bye. Now DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward Jr, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, Jhamon Aubson, Trevon Grimes have a chance to make the roster. The first four are pretty much a lock, and from there it will all depend on not only their skills, but being good on special teams to grab a roster spot. We finally have a real #1 receiver that the D will key on. That will leave Reagor and Fulgham with more opportunities. Lots of people say Fulgham faded out. I don’t think it was that as much as Doug or Howie giving mad minutes to Jeffrey, who was next to useless after he was put back in the lineup. He cut Fulgham’s minutes when he was on fire, even though Fulgham had a shoulder injury. When the 3 J’s are the top receivers you have, you’re in trouble. I like the idea of Reagor getting time in the slot. It cuts into Ward’s playing time, but Reagor works better with the ball in his hands so we will see a lot of him over the middle to get him in open field. Smith is a crafty receiver. I was kind of against him because of his weight, but they guy is a precise route runner, who can find that opening for those quick passes over the middle or out routes to gain 12-14 yds. all day long.

    I’m quoting Reuben Frank here:

    “Hurts’ average yards-per-completion was 13.8, highest by any NFL rookie since Vick in 2001 and second-highest of ANY quarterback in the last six years. Over the last five weeks of the season, Hurts completed nine passes of at least 30 yards. Only Tom Brady had more (13) during that span. And Hurts only played half of two of those games”.

    This has the word potential written all over it. Will he be a super star this year…probably not, but I think we can expect a huge jump in completion percentage…I’m going to predict 62%. In that short stint (remember he didn’t play in two halves of those 4 games) he still threw for over 1000 yds. This season…4,200 yds. sounds about right. Last year he had 4 interceptions in those 4 games which would be 17 over the season…. I’m guessing 9 or less. He had 6 TD’s, so extrapolate that out and you are looking at 24 TD’s over those 16 games throwing to inexperienced, and over the hill guys. 2021….I’m thinking closer to 29 TD’s. Combine all that and you are looking at a QB who completes 62% of his passes, throws for over 4,200 yds. with 29 TD’s and 9 INT’s. Not to mention, he ran for 354 yds. with a 5.6 yd. avg. That translates to over 1,200 yds. over a full season. Even if you cut that in half, that’s still 600+ yds. rushing. That’s only 200 yds. less than Sanders and twice what Boston Scott rushed for. I’ll take those stats any day

  • Eddie Oscar says:

    I agree with every positional group except o line. With the exception of really only Dickerson, everyone in that group has been able to play meaningful minutes and elevated their game, thanks in large to Jeff Stoutland. Right now, I’d argue if every starter went down before the season and our o line went Dillard-herbig-Dickerson-Operta-Driscoll, I would still have confidence in it.

  • Brian Brungard says:

    2021 O line seems much stronger this year with quality depth now at all spots.

  • David Millili says:

    2020 Peters on OL?

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