Optimism Should Be High for the 2020 Eagles
Just last year, the Philadelphia Eagles seemed poised for a Super Bowl or bust season. The team shored up the wide receiver position and seemingly had depth everywhere. While nobody could predict the numerous injuries the team endured, the Eagles still found a way to win the NFC East and make the playoffs.
One year later and the world seems to be crashing down around the NovaCare complex. There's only one thing Eagles fans everywhere need to do right now -- RELAX. There are many reasons to feel optimistic about the 2020 season, including where the roster is at post-draft. First, let's take a look at where the Eagles improved this offseason.
At this point last year, Josh McCown was not a part of the Eagles' plans. After Carson Wentz, the team had Nate Sudfeld and Clayton Thorson. Thorson is now on the Dallas Cowboys' roster, and the Eagles now have Jalen Hurts who will contribute to the team in various ways this year. Like the pick at #53 or hate it, Hurts is a talented quarterback that will have plenty of time to learn how to be a professional. Let's not all forget Wentz played all 16 regular-season games last year, and if it weren't for one cheap shot, would have finished his first postseason game.
Admittedly, the combination of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders seemed really tough to beat. This year, Sanders and Boston Scott will be the featured duo. Mix in Super Bowl hero Corey Clement and undrafted phenomenon Adrian Killens Jr., and we have ourselves a great situation. Duce Staley will have a lot of fun with this group, and it will be nice to see a fresh rotation of backs even with Sanders as a true number one threat.
This group was supposed to be one of the most feared corps in the league last season with the additions of DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. It turned out to be a massive dumpster fire with injuries, dropped passes and a lack of production. Now, the team has a healthy DeSean Jackson (we hope), Marquise Goodwin, late-season hero Greg Ward and a mix of speedy rookies. The 2020 outlook should be higher than last season's with the amount of speed Howie Roseman has surrounded Wentz with.
Hard to improve in one of the strengths of the team, but adding Javon Hargrave to play next to Fletcher Cox is downright unfair. Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway should be coming off the bench to play. These are two guys that could start just about anywhere else in the National Football League.
A weakness for what seems like forever for the Eagles seems to have taken a turn for the better. Darius Slay is a true shutdown corner, which will free up Sidney Jones and/or Avante Maddox to play against number two and three receivers. The addition of Nickell Robey-Coleman as a slot corner makes this group an obvious choice for an improvement over 2019.
While six position groups seemingly improved, two stayed about the same, and two groups have some areas of concern.
Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are the two stars. Josh Perkins made some plays late in the season in 2019 that helped the team make the playoffs. This group didn't improve, but it's pretty hard to when it's the best group on the team.
This easily could become another "stayed the same," but that can't change until the Eagles decided to possibly bring back Jason Peters. Andre Dillard will be fine at left tackle if given the chance, but it's hard to argue against Peters as an upgrade. The rest of the offensive line stayed in place. The problem here is depth vs. last season.
This group didn't improve, but they also didn't go south. Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett are the clear starters, but Josh Sweat, Genard Avery and Shareef Miller will also fight to see time on the field.
Losing Malcolm Jenkins to free agency was a major blow to this group. Jenkins was the emotional mouthpiece of the defense and will have to be replaced by someone. Rookie K'Von Wallace could be the future of this defense with the potential and confidence that he has. While Wallace won't be the emotional leader, he and free agent addition Will Parks could change the landscape of games with their pads. Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod as starters will help shape the way the Eagles' secondary plays in 2020.
All in all, the Eagles haven't made any massive splashes that most fans are looking for in free agency or the draft, which has brought out the doubters in a big way. But at the same time, the team has improved in so many ways. This team still is poised for a big 2020, so get ready to enjoy a great season, as long as the injury bug stays away.