After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
Today we take a trip to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Let’s talk Eagles…
How Did Last Season Go?
Let’s be honest, it didn’t exactly work out how the Eagles would have liked. Yes, the Eagles made the playoffs, just and they won a playoff game against the 3rd seed Chicago Bears but let’s not paper over the cracks here… these guys were the Superbowl champions and they’d largely managed to keep the band together.
The Eagles struggled for a long while to open up the year, opening up 4-6, Carson Wentz didn’t start til week 3 and even then, he wasn’t at his best and wasn’t healthy for all that long.
The two biggest blows were dealt by the New Orleans Saints; first off, a 48-7 week 11 drubbing was the largest loss suffered by a defending champion and then later, in the divisional round, a 20-14 loss, again in the Superdome, ended the season once and for all.
Throw in the small matter of being swept by the Cowboys and it doesn’t look pretty at all. In fact, for both of those teams, it didn’t look great until injuries caught up with the Redskins, who looked like East champions in waiting for a lot of the year. So it could have been much worse.
Cap space: $21m
Draft picks (7): Round 1, 25th overall, round 2, 53rd & 57th overall, round 4, 127th & 138th overall, round 5, 163rd overall & round 6, 197th overall.
First and foremost, the Eagles allowed Nick Foles to opt out of his contract option, allowing him to become a free agent and choose his next destination. An apt thank you to their Superbowl winning passer.
Elsewhere Howie Roseman has had a real big spring clean. On offense, Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Mike Wallace and Stefan Wisniewski all all gone and have not re-signed with other teams at the time of writing, ditto Timmy Jernigan on defense.
The following players have left Philly and have signed elsewhere; Jordan Hicks, Jordan Matthews and Golden Tate (was he ever actually there?) AND Haloti Ngata has retired. Folks, that’s a lot of turnover and we haven’t gotten to trades yet…
Michael Bennett is now a Patriot. So that celebrated Eagles defensive line that had so much depth has lost a whole host of players that won the Superbowl together a year or so ago.
So, who is coming in to replenish the stocks?
First off, Vinny Curry is back, one year after going to Tampa Bay. Malik Jackson also comes in after being a cap casualty in Jacksonville. Together the soften the blow on the D-line.
Further back on the defense, linebacker L.J Fort and safety Andrew Sendejo are in to bolster things up.
On offense, DeSean Jackson is back after he also spent a little bit of time down in Florida too and the biggest offensive acquisition was that of Jordan Howard for what could be a 5th round pick (what a deal, by the way).
After all those ins and outs, I feel like the Eagles have freshened things up and gotten no worse when it comes to the starting lineups, at least… they probably just need a little more depth.
Which brings us on to the draft.
Sitting at 25 with what is still a pretty strong roster, the Eagles are in the enviable position of being able to let the draft come to them and take the best player available at a position of need. But what are those positions of need?
To me, an interior offensive lineman wouldn’t go amiss. Nor would finding your long term replacement for Jason Peters at left tackle. Adding more depth of the defensive line also wouldn’t be a bad shout.
Three options for those three areas; D tackle, Christian Wilkins, OT, Andre Dillard or interior lineman Chris Lindstrom. Shout outs to Jeffrey Simmons, Yodny Cajuste and Erik McCoy too, as secondary options.
Outlook For Next Year
I’d have Philly down for a little bit of a bounce back year. As I’ve said above, they still have a strong nucleus of a roster and have added some nice pieces, in addition to that, I like the way they draft so I’d back them to add further talent to their roster in a couple of weeks time.
However, the schedule is pretty tough in places. As I said yesterday with the Cowboys, the NFC East matches up with the NFC North and finishing 2nd means you’re going to get another couple if tough games, namely Seattle and Atlanta in the case of the Eagles.
The good news is the East is very winnable and their AFC conference opponents for 2019 the the East… so there’s at least 3 wins, right off the bat.
I can see the Eagles going 10-6 and probably taking the East title with that record.
The difference between today and yesterday with Dallas, aside from the Cowboys having a slightly tougher schedule, is really just coaching. I trust Doug Pederson and a fully healthy Carson Wentz so much more than Garrett and Prescott and I don’t mean that as a slight of Prescott because despite being a game manager, he does step up when required. With the coaches, Garrett does not whereas I’d back Pederson so pull a rabbit out of the hat with a play call.
There’s a lot of fantasy options on this roster. A great QB in Wentz who can do it on the ground when the time is right as well as throw to a bevy of weapons.
Jeffrey is a really nice option at wide receiver, like Amari Cooper yesterday, he’s a WR1 on his team who should see lots of volume but won’t cost you an arm and a leg when your draft rolls around. DeSean Jackson is going to be, well… exactly what you’d expect, a high variance guy who will go off some weeks but frustrate you others.
Zach Ertz is one of the top 3 tight ends in the league and will be valued in fantasy as such, so if you want him, expect to pay a premium.
New addition, Jordan Howard should see a lot of action for his new squad serving as the battering ram but be aware that Corey Clement and Josh Adams will take snaps from the former bear (both of whom are viable PPR roster fillers). Howard will be a nice RB2 to have especially if you can pair him with one of the premier fantasy runners… just don’t fall into the trap of valuing him too highly and leaving yourself bare at fantasy’s most valuable position.
Lastly, Nelson Agholor has got his full time slot role back so should see a nice amount of production, so again, you could do worse when filling out your team at the back and of drafts.
Aaaand lastly, lastly, it’ll be interesting to see how Dallas Goedert is used and progresses in year 2. You probably don’t want to draft him considering Zach Ertz’s standing on the team but if Goedert is a factor, he might be a nice waiver wire add later down the line.