Today the new league year started for all teams, meaning moves that were made known a few days ago (the signing of DT Malik Jackson and the trade for WR DeSean Jackson) could become officially announced.
With big additions to both the defense and the offense, we're taking a look at which Jackson will play a bigger role for the 2019 Eagles.
Making the case for Malik Jackson
The Eagles provided a big boost to not only their defensive line, but their entire defense in general when they signed Jackson to his three-year deal.
First of all, Jackson is as healthy as an ox, playing in 106 consecutive regular-season games. That was a problem the team had to deal with last season with Tim Jernigan missing pretty much the entire season recovering from his back injury he suffered in the 2018 offseason. A sense of stability will be a breath of fresh air for Jim Schwartz this season, since he had to rotate players all over his defense last season to cope with the losses of defensive linemen and defensive backs.
Since Fletcher Cox will likely be double-teamed for most snaps in 2019, Jackson's ability to stay on the field will allow him to face one-on-one matchups often. According to the team, Jackson is 9th among NFL DTs in sacks (23) and tackles for loss (36) since 2015. Jackson will keep that same pace or maybe even improve in 2019 thanks to Fletcher Cox being at his side.
Finally, now that the Eagles will have two of the best pass rushers clogging up the middle of the field (and some solid pass rushers on the outside d-line too), the rest of the defense will flourish. The d-line will cause so much havoc, that they will have opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable and make them rush their throws. As long as the cornerbacks can lock down their receivers right at the line of scrimmage, they will either put themselves in a position to intercept passes, or will cause quarterbacks to hold the ball a split second too long for the d-line to sack and strip.
Making the case for DeSean Jackson
Even though he is on the wrong side of 30-years-old, Jackson is still a productive wide receiver - he lead the NFL in yards per catch last season (18.9). That big-play ability will benefit the Eagles in 2019, as they missed those game-changing plays last year (T-27th in 40+ yard plays) thanks to Mike Wallace suffering a season-ending injury in Week 2.
Jackson's ability to stretch the filed will make life easier for his follow pass catchers as well. Down in Tampa Bay in 2018, Jackson only caught 41 balls. But his ability to stretch the field allowed his teammate Mike Evans to end the season 3rd in the league in receiving yards (1,524). It also helped Evans (17th - 86) and Adam Humphries (26th - 76) both finish in the top 30 in league in receptions.
Now that he will be stretching the field for the Birds, Jackson will now open up the middle of the field for Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz. There will be hope that Jackson's addition will allow Alshon Jeffery to put up production numbers similar to the numbers Mike Evans had in 2018. As long as the pass blockers don't let Carson Wentz down, Wentz should be able to find an open man on almost any play.
Both players will fill needs the Eagles desperately needed to address this offseason. At the end of the day, I fell that Malik Jackson will be the bigger acquisition of the two Jacksons.
Why? Because last season fans were screaming for Jim Schwartz's head to be brought to them on a stick, even though Schwartz didn't do anything wrong - a majority of his starting defense was missing for most of the season!
Now that the Eagles have added Malik Jackson to their defense, Schwartz will have a chance to bring the Eagles defense back to the way it was in 2017 - with the defensive line bringing most of the pass rush and have extra defenders in the passing game. The Eagles defense in 2017 was nasty, especially at home where they would barely give up any points. If they can replicate that now in 2019, the offense will only need to be average-above average to win games.