76ers vs Thunder Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers will be taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at 7:00 PM EST! This is a very important game for the 76ers; they’re on a 4-game skid, and this is a perfect time for them to turn it around before the end of the season. There’s also a chance they get some key reinforcements back!

Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia has blown their last 4 games to the Warriors, Suns, and Bucks (twice). However, injuries have played a major role in their — quite frankly, pathetic — losing streak. As a result of the losing streak, Sixers currently hold the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. It shouldn’t be a tough turnaround, though, as Philly has the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to ESPN, while the Brooklyn Nets (who currently hold the 1st seed), have to play the Bucks (twice), Nuggets, and Mavericks.

PHI Injury Report:

  • Joel Embiid – QUESTIONABLE
  • Ben Simmons – QUESTIONABLE
  • Danny Green – QUESTIONABLE
  • Tobias Harris – QUESTIONABLE
  • Furkan Korkmaz – QUESTIONABLE
  • Paul Reed – QUESTIONABLE

Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City has been absolutely atrocious this season; they sit near the bottom of the Western Conference (13th seed; 20-40), and are in the midst of a 13-game losing streak. However, this is the youngest team in the NBA and one that is, thus, rebuilding. Thunder have also dealt with several injuries, and that doesn’t change tonight.

OKC Injury Report:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – OUT
  • Luguentz Dort – OUT
  • Josh Hail – OUT
  • Mike Muscala – OUT
  • Gabriel Deck – OUT
  • Tony Bradley – QUESTIONABLE

A loss tonight would be absolutely embarrassing. Whether or not we are missing 2 guys on the injury report or all of them, we’d have to try to lose this game.

Important Information for Tonight’s Game:

  • Against? – Oklahoma City Thunder
  • When? – 7:00 PM EST
  • Where? – Wells Fargo Center
  • TV? – NBCSP

A Darkening Future: The Tale of Carson Wentz

The Philadelphia Eagles currently have two quarterbacks in the NFL Hall of Fame, Norm Van Brocklin, and Sonny Jurgenson. The latter of the two played his last game for the Eagles in 1963. It’s fair to say that the Eagles haven’t found a great deal of success at the position. Of course, players such as Ron Jaworski, Randell Cunningham, and Donavan McNabb are the more recent examples of fruitful quarterbacks for the Eagles. 

Although, from the names I mentioned, none of them were the “future of football”. McNabb, having the best case to argue, didn’t even seem possible to overthrow Peyton Manning, and certainly not Tom Brady as the best player in the league. Yet, only a few distant years ago the Eagles, fans, and the league thought there might be one coming out of Philadelphia. 

Carson Wentz, the former second-round pick, former MVP contender, was thought at the start of the 2020 season to be fighting to reclaim his rank at the top of the NFL. Noone thought that within ten games he would be fighting to keep his job. Yet, that is where we currently stand, the future of Philadelphia football is at a critical standpoint as the team faces the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. 

Rumors from this past week have foreshadowed a potential change coming at the quarterback position, as Jalen Hurts, the team’s second-round pick, is waiting in the wings. Tonight could be the conclusion of an era that was believed to last decades. The stark reality of the Eagle’s current starting quarterback is in the most danger that it’s been since his arrival. 

Of course, the looming change doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watched the Eagles play this season. The team’s putrid 3-6-1 record speaks volumes of the struggles that the team, and it’s quarterback, has faced this year. With errant passes, poor decision-making, and lack of consistency, Carson Wentz has become more of the problem than the solution. 

As mentioned, reports leading up to the game have drawn in the idea that Jalen Hurts will receive more playing time, potentially without Wentz on the field. When the Eagles drafted Hurts in last year’s draft, many assumed that this was merely an expensive insurance policy, few imagined he could be the future. When I state “many assumed” of course those set on the demise of Carson Wentz saw the draft pick as an easy decision to dump the former second overall pick. 

When it comes to replacing a quarterback, especially one that was deemed the future of the franchise last year, it isn’t easy. Considering that the Eagles tied themselves to Wentz by signing him to a 4 year, $128,000,000 contract, averaging $32,000,000 per year, they made it almost impossible to move on. But why would they? Wentz at the time was one of the best QB’s in the league, if anything the concerns of his health were the cause for concern. Never was his performance brought into question, when evaluating the contract when he initially signed.

 Wentz’s contract goes through the 2024 season, and it isn’t until next year, and the years after that his annual salary jumps even higher. 

The takeaway is, the Eagles crash if Wentz does. This isn’t an explanatory piece on how the Eagles can break or buffer the blow if the Eagles move on. Simply, I’m stating the implications of moving on. 

Further, bringing in Jalen Hurts draws into question of whether this decision would work for a team that doesn’t just have quarterback issues. If Doug Pederson truly believes that Hurts is the heir apparent, or at this point, the next best thing, to take over, the Eagles, is this the way to go at it?

Assuming in the next couple of games, Wentz is benched; throwing in a rookie quarterback to a dumpster fire, doesn’t scream great outcomes. Although, this is one of the reasons he was drafted for, right? Of course, the question that has yet to be fully examined is if Jalen Hurts is even good? When the Eagles drafted him, the conversation was more about the implication of the pick rather than the value of it. 

From evaluation, Hurts was deemed as second to third-round pick, so with that, this is the talent that the Eagles should expect. It doesn’t take a genius to review the history of second-round quarterbacks. They usually don’t work out. 

Mahomes, Jackson, Allen, Murray, the names have become synonymous with the future of the NFL, all of them were first-round draft picks. Again, this also isn’t an article breaking down if Hurts can succeed with the Eagles. But just showing the other aspects of a move as major as the one being considered, is needed to understand the full matter at hand. 

If the constant rain, and thunderstorms today is any sign for how the Eagles will fare tonight, it won’t be great. Yet, as the saying goes, “after every rain comes a rainbow”. The question is, will the sun have already set before the rainbow can reach across the sky? 

“Wentz” Did It Go Wrong?

17-0…17-24

*sighs*

For those who are unaware, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost to the Washington Football team. In rather embarrassing fashion might I add, squandering a 17-0 lead. Last year it was the Eagles who came out of the tunnel after halftime and rode hot handed DJAX to a eventual comeback of their own. This year, the Eagles came out hot, and lost all steam once Jack Driscoll was removed from the game.

The negatives of this game are abundant, and positives are few and far between, but, there are a few;

Jack Driscoll- The rookie tackle had a few hiccups, none resulting in anything catastrophic and all fixable mistakes. He’s a bright spot simply because once Mailatta was forced to replace him, the drop off was VERY evident. Overall, at this point Jack Driscoll is no Lane, true. I think more importantly we know he’ll be at worst servicable down the road, pending his injury diagnosis.

Defensive Line- Realistically Washington didn’t light us up offensively, Haskins took advantage of numerous short field situations. A product of our either a interception or failed 4th down conversion. The defense held up and players like Josh Sweat and Malik Jackson made some big plays, this is huge to see as they are key contributors going forward.

Wentz and DJAX are OK- As trivial as it sounds, we have to be happy two of our “projected” key contributors stood healthy. We have to assume they will move on to week 2 eager to erase the memory of the week 1 loss.

Rams are next….Let’s just say if this offensive line isn’t in tact by then, Aaron Donald may have a field day.

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Is Jason Peters Worth A New Contract?

Will the body guard need to make his return to LT?

With the NFL kickoff mere days away, The Philadelphia Eagles face a major decision. As many may have heard second year LT, Andre Dillard, suffered a season ending bicep tear causing Philly to orchestrate a major reshuffle of their 2020 offensive line.

When announced Brandon Brooks would likely be out for the remainder of the season, Howie called upon old reliable. Jason Peters a perennial pro bowler, 6x all pro, as well as a part of the NFL all decade team is a lock for the Hall of Fame. Has his age finally become an issue though? At the ripe age of 38 the all world LT was called to fill the hole Brooks injury created. He did so on a team friendly low cap hit contract.

Now that we face a major injury at the position that earned him the moniker, “The Bodygaurd”, most eagle fans assumed he’d slide right back into his previous role. Well, not so fast, he’s not made clear that he is NOT willing to move back to LT without a revision to his contract.

One thing about me is, I’m a player first type of fan, but to me this mentality is selfish and unwarranted quite frankly. Jason Peters has not stayed healthy nor consistent the past few years. If we were to bet on a elite or even above average out put from him is in my opinion unrealistic.

My decision would be to give these young Lineman a shot and revisit the issue after game one if necessary. The future is now for Philadelphia Eagles and they need to treat this move with that in mind. Jason Peters needs to be a team player in this situation.

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BATTLE BREWING FOR CB2

CB2 BATTLE

A lot has been made of the arrival of lockdown corner, Darius Slay, rightfully so. Yet with all the stability Slay adds to one side of the secondary, we face just as much doubt on the other.

Candidates for CB2 include familiar faces such as, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and fan favorite Avonte Maddox. With the latter seemingly more fit to run slot does that make it a two man race?

I believe the three will battle for the CB2 spot well into the season, do not be surprised to see a rotation at CB2 even if only for the first few weeks. I feel as though Sidney Jones is the best on paper fit for the role, but will need to become far more consistent. Rasul, while having the prototypical size and arm length, he lacks the speed and overall ability to follow the Terry Mclaurin’s or even the Slaytons on our schedule.

Which brings me to Avonte Maddox, I believe he is our best CB outside of Darius Slay. I do, however feel due to his size being an outside corner may be a bit more than, the 5’9 183 pound 24 year old, can handle. Yet with the Nickel Roby-Coleman looking like all but a lock to start in the slot, the outside may be all that is left for Maddox.

Quez Watkins turns on the afterburners against CB Rasul Douglas in one on ones

My prediction is, Sidney Jones begins as the “#1 CB” but wouldn’t be surprised to see Maddox fight him the whole year for playing time. As far as Rasul goes, unfortunately I don’t see him being an Eagle much longer.

What are your thoughts? Who do you see winning the CB2 battle?

Written by; Joe Castro of Philly Philly The Podcast

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NFC BEAST? OR NFC LEAST?

2020 RECORD PREDICTIONS

While times seem to become more uncertain off of the gridiron, the NFL looks to add a bit of normalcy to our lives. Multiple reports indicate the 2020 season will be beginning on time. So I decided now is a good time to give my division picks. Will the NFC East reclaim its powerhouse reputation, or will all the drama be too much for some teams to overcome? Here’s my take;

Eagles: Philadelphia while not totally drama free (see DJAX posts) we have been able to avoid major issues. Same head coach, same playbook, and for the most part those commonalities should propel the Eagles to a division title. I predict the Eagles will go 11-5 and win the division led by Carson Wentz and sophomore sensation Miles Sanders.

Giants: This is a shocker to most, understandably, but I am a believer in Daniel Jones and Saqoun Barkley. I don’t think they will be a wildcard team but I do believe they will navigate their EXTREMELY tough schedule this year, and see an improvement in record to the tune of 7-9. With the exception of a couple arrests, the Giants have been able to avoid negative media attention.

Cowboys: Obviously this isn’t an indictment on their talent, I do believe they are on paper the most “talented” team in the division. My concerns are solely based on Dak Prescott, while he has great stats and has lead the Cowboys to a playoff win, his lack of contract speaks volumes to the confidence Jerry world has in the QB. Dak will be playing under a microscope for the entire season, not to mention having a proven starting quality QB (Andy Dalton) chomping at the bit to take over at a discount if Dak was to falter. I see the pressure being the undoing of this team, new coach, new system, and too much uncertainty. I see the Cowboys regressing in a big way, 6-10 for “Dem Boys”

The Team in Washington: I’ll begin by saying, they have the talent to compete. Now that is out the way, this organization is a sinking ship. I see this year being a complete rebuild starting with the culture. While I love AP, no amount of old man strength will save this franchise at least not this year. I see the Washingtons(lol?) as basement dwellers, 3-13 might be a generous record.

Who do you have as your division winners?

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The Eagles Offensive Situation

Ben Carlson

QB: The QB situation for the Eagles is pretty straight forward. Carson Wentz will obviously lead the team as the starter as long as he is eligible to play, and Nate Sudfeld will likely back him up. The addition of Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the draft confused a lot; however, I am confident that Coach Pederson and Howie drafted Jalen Hurts mainly to use as a gadget player like the Saints use Taysom Hill.

RB: With the departure of Jordan Howard this offseason a lot of people are wondering what the Eagles will do to replace him for the 2020-2021 season. Their have been some big names popping up such as Carlos Hyde, Shady McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Me personally, I have a ton of faith in Miles Sanders as an RB 1; however, bringing in a vet that can help with the workload and potentially guide Miles for a year isn’t something I wouldn’t be opposed to.

WR: The front office did a great job at adding new weapons for Wentz this offseason. The additions consisted of Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Pederson and Howie were obviously going for speed and I’m all for it. I have high hopes for Jalen Reagor, I think he will have an impact from the start of the season. Marquise will be a good speed guy to have along side D-Jax. As for John Hightower and Quez Watkins, they were both good picks (especially for when we got them) and from the looks of their college tape if needed they will be ready (I really do think they are better than being just random backups but I don’t know what the front office will do about it, for we have a lot of WR on the roster) . To top that all off we still have Alshon Jeffery, Greg Ward, JJAW, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett and Shelton Gibson

TE: The TE situation similar to the QB room is also really straight forward. We have the three headed snake from last year consisting of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedart and Josh Perkins. I’m a big fan of our TE corp, year after year they continue to be reliable and consistent.

O-Line: As usual we still have a dominant O-Line; however, Vaitai left and is now on the Lions. A solid player and a pretty big lose, but definitely replaceable. As of right now it looks like the starting lineup will be Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson. This is a lineup I’m extremely confident in despite Isaac Seumalo’s super mediocre past. The front office did make some moves this offseason to pad the line such as draft Jack Driscoll and draft Prince Tega Wanogho. Both excelled in college and were good picks in the 4th and 6th round. The main obstacle is not being able to avoid injuries, we need to stay healthy. That doesn’t go for just the O-Line, the entire roster needs to stay healthy if we want to succeed this season.

Speed is Going to be Key for the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had a goal going into the off-season to get Carson Wentz’s speed. I think it’s fair to say that I got some speed. Now the talent of that speed is another question, but let’s evaluate the need for speed the Eagles have.

It’s clear that the Eagles missed Desean Jackson last year. Considering that Jackson totaled the fifth-most receiving TDs’ for the Eagles this season while only playing three games (only one full one), was a problem. We all saw what could happen when Wentz had an option that could get open 25 yards plus, and catch the ball. In particular, the two plays that we all remember from Wentz to Jackson last year were the two touchdowns in week 1. Both of those plays were 50 yards or more (51 and 53 yards to be exact). Even with two 25+ yard touchdowns in one game, Wentz went on to only have three more in the other 15 games of the season. So it’s clear that the Eagles needed speed.

“But we already knew that!”

Yet there is a pattern to Wentz’s performance to the amount of TDs’ of 25 yards or more he has per season. Wentz had five touchdowns that met that criteria in 2019, three in 2018, eight in 2017, and three in 2016. It makes sense, the more big plays you have, the better your team will be.
Wentz’s best year was in 2017 when he was arguably on his way to win the MVP award. It makes sense that his most “big plays” came in that year. For 2019, arguably his second most impressive year, and then 2016 and 2018 follow behind. The Eagles investing a first-round pick in Jalen Reagor, trading for Marquise Goodwin, and drafting John Hightower and Quez Watkins in the later rounds was an attempt to give Wentz more speed.

In the games when Carson Wentz throws 25 yards or more for a TD, the Eagles are 10-4 in those games. For games when he throws 30 yards or more and it results in a touchdown, the Eagles are 9-2 in those games. 40 yards or more 6-1. The outlier in the last one was the Titans game from 2018, so that really doesn’t count.

All those statistics are just evidence to show that Wentz with speed, equals wins. With all of this speed, the Eagles are trying to build a foundation that gives the teams weapons down the field. With Ertz, Godert, Jeffery, and whoever 25 yards and in placing options for Wentz, Jackson, Reagor, and Goodwin will cover everything else.

No Eagles fan will question the method of getting speed for the Eagles, now the players that they acquired to do so, maybe.

“Are Reagor’s hands good enough?”

“Can Jackson or Goodwin play a 16 game season?”

“Why did they draft Jalen Hurts?”

Okay the last one might be for a different matter, but nevertheless before you blast Howie Roseman for having the worst draft ever, evaluate. The Eagles did get faster, Wentz now has speed. We don’t know right now if Reagor over Jefferson was a mistake, or spending two later round draft picks on players with the same skillset was the right decision.

In conclusion, Howie Roseman addressed the speed aspect for Carson Wentz. The players we can debate, but the fundamental ideas were addressed. I’m not saying Roseman has given Wentz everything he has ever wanted, nevertheless, the Eagles have answered on speed end for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Could This Unconventional NFL Draft be the Best Ever?

The 2020 NFL draft will go on as the world is shut down due to COVID-19. The draft will not be in Vegas, instead, it will be in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s basement. It would be an understatement to say that this draft will be unconventional. General managers, scouts, coaches, and owners who are used to sitting in a state of the art war rooms, will now make decisions that could cost them their job while their kids may be fighting in the other room. Of course, things could be MUCH worse but it’s less than ideal circumstances for the teams trying to pick the best player. At face value, these new situations that teams are placed in would make you think that this draft will probably have more busts and more players that just don’t work out. Yet will it? Could these altered interactions help the NFL teams draft better?

 It’s not just the actual NFL draft that had to be changed due to COVID-19 but also the events leading up to the draft. In a normal NFL year leading up to the draft there is the combine (which the NFL was able to get in), and then the other major events which are pro days. Pro days are held by schools to help showcase their talent, think of it as a mini-combine. At these pro days, it provides players an opportunity to show their skill to scouts of NFL teams that they can help their team if they are drafted. This is an opportunity for players who ran too slow at the combine to get a second chance and allow players that weren’t invented to the combine to showcase their skills to scouts. Unfourtantly, pro days were canceled this year due to the coronavirus. Yet, there are two other key aspects of pro days that play pivotal parts in helping a player get drafted. That’s scout communication and player-team conversations. 

 First, with scout communication, this is a key element of the draft process. NFL scouts are human, so when they travel to all of these pro days across the country, they talk. Some of those conversations are about the NFL draft and about where they have players ranked and who they may like. I’m not saying one scout is giving the other his team’s draft board, but there is a communication of which players they may like. Of course, the obvious thing right now is that this doesn’t exist. Scouts may be talking with scouts from other teams but the odds of the team finding similarities make it much more difficult. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network sent out a tweet this week detailing the exact point saying there will be “less groupthink in the draft this year”. Now, what does that mean?

 Since there will be less awareness about which players are valued as superior, the more likely we see players that are low on some boards to be ranked higher on others. The advantage of this is for the players. Teams will rely more on what they see and take players based on the talent from the tape rather than what everyone else thinks. A lot of teams may second guess taking a player higher because other teams don’t value player X that high. Less of that will happen in this draft because teams will go with their instinct and draft player X because they won’t have as much knowledge of what other teams are thinking. 

 The second element of this equation is the removal of person-to-person interactions that teams use to interview players. Now luckily in today’s society, we have Skype, Zoom, and hundreds of more ways to talk to people through devices. Although, anyone that has ever used any of these devices realizes that it doesn’t exactly feel like the same experience. Teams will place lesser emphasis on this interaction because it simply isn’t the same thing as sitting across from someone and looking them in the eye. Then how is this a good thing? I’m going to rely on Malcolm Gladwell to help me with this.

 A lot of people have made a similar reference that I’m about to make, but this example might have more than one connection. For that reference, I look back at Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book Talking to Stranger. Those not familiar with Gladwell’s work, he proposes theories that are backed up through historical references and tied together to make a point. One particular part of the book connects closely to this idea of social interaction being a deterrent in our ability to judge someone’s character. Gladwell uses the example of when British prime minister Neville Chamberlain met Adolf Hitler. Just wait, it ties together.

 If you don’t know how this infamous meeting unfolded, I’ll explain. Chamberlin decided to meet with Hitler, at his request to talk about Hitler’s future plans. The year of this meeting was 1938 which was before WW2 began and Chamberlin wanted to make sure that this would never happen (spoiler alert it did). Hitler at the time was talking about invading Sudetenland, which if he did would have started WW2. So Chamberlin sat down to talk to Hitler, and Chamberlin shifted the questioning, to if Sudetenland was all that Hitler wanted. Of course, Hitler said yes, and Chamberlin came away with the impression that Hitler was “a man who could be relied upon when he had given his word.”

“a man who could be relied upon when he had given his word”

Neville Chamberlain on meeting Adolf Hitler

 Chamberlain would fly back to talk to Hitler two more times and he stayed convinced that he would stick with his word. Obviously, Hitler didn’t stick to his word and the events later would, of course, be the start of WW2. So why did I mention that? The connection that Gladwell drawls from this event connects to the draft (obviously on a very different scale). When people interact it’s impossible to know their real intentions, and it creates a bias. When we talk to someone face to face we create a connection and everything we do in the conversation gives us a basis on how to feel about a person. It’s clear how this connects to the NFL draft. 

 When a team talks to a player, no matter what, they are now going to be influenced by the interview (obviously). The question then arises, how much does that help? Teams have tape, numbers, references from the player, why do they need to talk to them? People usually answer this with, “You can learn a lot by looking a man in his eyes”. From the example, maybe not. If Adolf Hitler could convince someone that he was loyal, then an NFL draft prospect can easily convince someone of some small detail that the team is questioning them on. I’m not saying that all prospects lie, or that nothing can be gained from the person-to-person interaction. What I am saying is that, when evaluating if a player is talented enough to be chosen with a first-round pick, how much do you gain when talking to them? Just through one example, it’s evident that we have much more to lose. 

 Of course, there is a downside to this alternative draft system that the NFL has thrown together. There is less systematic data to rely on, and the other main downfall is limited medical information. For Tua Tagovailoa, the former Alabama QB who suffered a dislocated hip and posterior wall fracture is one of the players that is going to be hurt by this pseudo draft process. Since team doctors can’t meet with the players, there are less reliable sources giving information about the impacts that his injury may have. It’s going to hurt his draft stock, but the fraction of players, like Tagovailoa, that fall into this category is small. Also, even if teams could check out his injury, the past has shown that this also may be misleading, just ask the Dolphins with Drew Brees. 

 Overall, I’m by far not saying this is a great outcome for the NFL. The world right now is suffering and the NFL draft will serve as a much-needed distraction for people. I understand that people are angry that they aren’t able to attend the draft, and for the prospects who are stuck inside as their lifelong dream comes true. For those same fans and players, I believe that a little bit more of them will be able to celebrate at a later time, possibly in Canton. 

Grading the Eagles' Free Agency Moves

After letting some big name free agents slip through their hands on day one, Eagles fans seemingly lost hope in the front office. Byron Jones signed with the Dolphins, Stefon Diggs got traded to the Bills, and most of the names Eagles fans wanted to target were off the market. The signing of Javon Hargrave only exacerbated the frustration of Eagles fans as the front office chose to superload a position of strength when there were glaring weaknesses on the roster. Then Darius Slay happened. The trade for Darius Slay was a phenomenal move by Howie and the rest of the guys. The Lions were in a poor position after they signed Trufant and were forced to trade Slay in a couple of hours. This allowed the Eagles to acquire Slay at an extremely low price. The birds followed this acquisition with a couple of strong depth signings. That being said, here are the grades for our free agency moves thus far:

Resigning DB Jalen Mills to a 1 year/ $5 million deal: A-

I’m still not sure how the Eagles managed to sign Mills for such a cheap price. Mills came back from his Lisfranc foot surgery in an emphatic way. He solidified his position as our CB1 and offered stability at a relatively unstable position. The move to safety is one that I, and many other Eagles fans, am excited to see. Mills played safety at LSU and excelled there. If it weren’t for off the field issues he would not have dropped to the 7th round. He has been told that he will assume the Malcolm Jenkins role. These are obviously huge shoes to fill. But if anyone can do it, it’s the Green Goblin. He has this gaudiness to him that makes him fit to be a CB, S, or LB. His tackling ability is top notch and he backs down to no man. Much like Jenkins, he embodies the Philly mentality. Losing Jenkins was gut wrenching and left a sour taste in the mouths of all Eagles fans, but the resigning of Mills should act as a mint.

Signing DT Javon Hargrave to a 3 yr/ $39 million deal: B+

The duo of Cox and Hargrave will give offensive coordinators literal nightmares. Fletcher Cox had a poor statistical season last year because of the constant double teaming he faced. If teams double him this year with Hargrave lined up right next to him? Good luck. Now this signing didn’t address our principal needs which is why it didn’t reach an A, but this is going to be fun to watch. Hargrave is a strong, bull of a man who simply knows how to attack the QB. He was shadowed by Tuitt, Watt, Dupree and many other talented defensive Steelers last year, but with more reps, he will prove how he is a force to be reckoned with. The move was a bit puzzling at first, but after watching some film, one can understand how disruptive Hargrave truly is. We already know that Schwartz rarely blitzes but with this signing, it seems as if he doesn’t even have to. Oh, and did I mention Malik Jackson is rostered and healthy as well? The best part of this signing is that we can finally see Cox getting one on one matchups. Because Schwartz rarely blitzed, Cox was the target of a lot of offensive gameplans and thus, a lot of double teams. This year will have a different narrative.

Trading for and signing CB Darius Slay to a 3 yr/$50 million deal: A

Darius Slay is a straight playmaker. The clear differentiation between him and Byron Jones is that Slay has a knack for locating and intercepting the ball. The Eagles haven’t had this type of talent at CB since Asante Samuel. Now, we’ve seen the Nnamdi Asomugha experiment fail and the same thing be done for the Byron Maxwell signing. But this just feels different doesn’t it? To make matters better, in the two games Darius Slay has faced Amari Cooper, he has been utterly shut down. Cooper has 0 TDs and averages only 21 yards per game when being followed by Slay. Darius Slay is the type of cornerback to welcome a challenge against opposing teams number one guy. In fact, he prides himself on doing just that. And in a 2020 schedule when the Eagles face Hopkins, Beckham, Thomas, Green, Kupp, Cooper (twice), McLaurin (twice), and Smith-Schuster, the acquisition of a true CB1 who is not afraid to cover any receiver in this league was crucial. The Eagles simply delivered. They covered up a hole that has been a detriment to this organization for years. And they only traded a 3rd and a 5th to do so. Howie has outdone himself with this signing, and the fact that Slay is in Philly for 3 more years is exciting to say the least.

Signing LB Jatavis Brown to a 1 year deal: B

This is the definition of a low-risk, high-reward type move. Jatavis Brown had a down year last year, but had more than 90 tackles in 2018. He’s athletic and most importantly, he’s young. He wasn’t a full time starter in Los Angeles, but a change of scenery may turn him into just that. With the departure of Nigel Bradham, the depth at the LB position has thinned and the Eagles were (and still are) in dire need of quality LBs. At the worst, Jatavis will come in an immediately help in Special Teams, but an impressive training camp could bump him into being a starting linebacker.

Signing S Will Parks to a 1 year/$1.6 mil deal: A

When two sides want to make something happen, chances are that it’ll happen. Philly native Will Parks wanted to come back to his hometown in such a great fashion that he took a paycut to play for the Eagles. He’s a physical, passionate player who in my eyes, should take over the Malcolm Jenkins role. He lacks elite coverage skills, but he makes up for it in tackling and athleticism. I would love to see him in the box, confusing the defense and acting as the wildcard for our defense. The cheap price tag is the most mind boggling part of this deal. Parks could’ve easily signed for more money elsewhere. Instead, he chose to come to Philadelphia. We should all respect that fact.

After receiving some criticism on day 1 of free agency, Howie has delivered in an emphatic way. Headlined by the Darius Slay move, the Eagles free agency period has improved the talent on the team without breaking the bank and has left them flexibility to sign a couple more role players. What Howie Roseman has done so far is remarkable. And draft season is only getting started…