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.
The ink is beginning to dry, leases are being signed, and moving trucks are being rented. The Philadelphia Eagles have announced their 53 man roster, and while there were many surprise cuts made, one man defied the odds and earned his spot.
When you think of 7th round picks, you think practice squad hopful, when Casey thinks 7th round pick, he thinks opportunity! The Eagles for much of their franchises life span has prided themselves on their ability to solidify the trenches. Our defensive line was a strength going into this year, while we knew there would be a couple people fighting for rotational spots, no one could have predicted the outcome.
At pick 233, The Eagles selected a 23 year old LB/DE out of Stanford. North of 240 pounds, Casey ran an impressive 4.6 40! Combine that with a 10.5 inch broad jump and some impressive cone drills, scouts took notice of the athleticism Casey possessed. At the time of the selection, the overlying issue was whether he’d be a stand up lb or DE at the next level.
Eagles signed him to add depth to a pass rush that is getting older by the minute. Anchored by veteran Brandon Graham, and a underwhelming Derek Barnett. Younger players such as, Shareef Miller, Genard Avery, Josh Sweat etc all fought for playing time. Well, that fight continued through training camp and Miller unfortunately was deemed the odd man out.
I’m excited to see what Casey can do, he needs to work on using his hands and becoming a solid run stopper, but let’s be honest if he can consistently get to the QB we can work with the rest.
What do you guys think? Who was a suprise cut for you? Watch this weeks Sunday Sports Talk now on youtube for my analysis on breaking news and the upcoming Thursday night game.
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.
We’re slowly witnessing a new page being turned in the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. Jason Peters and the Eagles have parted ways, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are bound to departure, Darren Sproles has retired, and it’s time for new players to step up and fill the void that these talented players are leaving. The Eagles could quickly find themselves in a rebuilding stage if young players fail to perform at a high level. It’s absolutely imperative that Eagles have a number of breakout players in 2020.
1) Andre Dillard
Dillard is now in the spotlight after the news of Jason Peters and is left with one of the most important roles in football. To put it in perspective as to how important left tackle really is, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, (yes, I had to google how to spell that) our current backup tackle, is in the market for $12 million/year. The importance of protecting a quarterback’s blind side cannot be stressed enough. And considering we’ll play Chase Young, Demarcus Lawrence, and many other talented pass rushers two times a year, Dillard needs to step up. And I really think he will. He showed flashes of excellence last year and is one of my favorite draft choices in recent memory. He has quick feet, a long reach, and has a beautiful kick-slide. He has the talent to fill Jason Peters’ shoes, but it’s always hard to follow up such an accomplished player such as Peters.
2) Dallas Goedert
When Ertz was struggling with injuries last year, Goedert assumed the role of TE1 and proved his value to the Philadelphia Eagles for years to come. I believe his play opened the eyes of some of the coaches and now more than ever, an emphasis will be put on 2 TE sets. And when the Eagles bolster their WR core, the middle of the field will open up for Goedert and Ertz. You have to remember that last year, teams were doubling Ertz and Goedert because of the lack of offensive firepower and they still managed to produce. I expect defenses to gameplan for Ertz, leaving the door open for Goedert to have a career year.
3) Nathan Gerry
The Eagles declined Bradham’s team option are now in a bit of a limbo at the linebacker position. With no proven players, it has become a hole in our roster and is a position of need. Joe Schobert and Blake Martinez highlight some of the free agent linebackers, but if history tells us one thing, it’s that the Eagles likely won’t sign a free agent linebacker. Gerry and Grugier-Hill both are candidates to break out, but I gave Gerry the edge because of his speed. Sideline to sideline linebackers are becoming more and more popular in today’s pass happy league and Gerry fits that prototype. If he can improve his tackling and physicality, the former safety from the University of Wisconsin can truly break out in the 2020 season.
4) Miles Sanders
This one is a bit of an anomaly on this list because unlike everyone else, Sanders has already proved himself among Eagles fans and coaches. The next step for Miles Sanders is proving himself to the world. His combination of running and pass catching is second to none and he has the ability to become a top 5 all around back in this league. A full season as a starter will only boost his stats, and I can’t wait to see what he can do next year.
5) Derek Barnett
Aside from a strip sack recovery, Barnett has underwhelmed as a high first round pick and has many people questioning his future in Philly after his rookie deal expires. One thing I love about him is that he was able to perform well in college without insane physical talent; he is just a very crafty and skillful player who knows how to get to the quarterback. He has experienced a plethora of small and persisting injuries throughout his young career, and a healthy 2020 campaign is crucial.
6) Josh Sweat
I must preface this by admitting my bias towards Josh Sweat. For whatever reason, I am a HUGE fan of Josh Sweat. I love how tall he is, how imposing he is, and how diverse his bag of tricks is. As a pass rusher, it’s important to have a mix between power and finesse and Sweat has both of those boxes checked. He played a limited amount of snaps last year and was able to sack the quarterback four times. With more snaps, I truly believe Sweat can break out in the 2020 season. The issue is that it’s going to be tough for him to get those snaps. The depth at defensive end is a good problem to have and Schwartz has done a good job at rotating all of his pass rushers to keep them fresh, but Sweat deserves more of an opportunity. However, if Barnett fails to stay on the field, Sweat could vulture some of his snaps and potentially “Wally Pipp” him.
The draft is absolutely essential for any team who is trying to make a deep playoff run. A good draft class can boost a team into playoff contention, while a bad one can set them back a couple of years. Last year, the years scored on Dillard and Sanders, but seem to have missed on JJ Arcega Whiteside. The rest of the draft was lackluster, and the Eagles are now sitting at pick 21 with the future of the organization at stake. The Eagles are the second oldest team in the NFL, and infusing youth into the organization is imperative. This draft has massive repercussions on the future of the Eagles. The importance of the 2020 draft cannot be stressed enough.
Round One: Tee Higgins, WR from Clemson
It’s no doubt that the biggest weakness of the 2019 Eagles was the wide receiver position. Drafting a 6 foot 4, 215 pound receiver with an unbelievable catch radius and proactive athleticism will certainly help with that issue. There are other receivers that the Eagles could select such as Justin Jefferson, but Higgins feels to be a better fit. This is also assuming that Henry Ruggs is not available, and if he runs the 40 yard dash at the combine, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be available at 21. Even still, Tee Higgins would be a great selection that not many fans would disagree with.
Round Two: AJ Terrell, CB from Clemson
Another Clemson product, Terrell is excellent in man to man coverage, something that will certainly fit well with Schwartz’s scheme. He’s got range, height, and excels in press coverage. His only issue is tackling, but as long as we have quick, versatile linebackers and safeties, the Eagles should be able to hide him in that regard. Overall, Terrell is another solid pick at a position of need. That’s a common theme in this mock draft.
Round Three: Michael Pinckney, OLB from Miami
The future of Nigel Bradham in an Eagles uniform is in question. Many, like myself, believe that the Eagles should decline his option and let him explore free agency. That being said, LB is a position of need and the departure of Bradham would only hurt our LB core. Pinckney is a sure tackler and is able to record a sack here and there. The only issue is his pass defense, but much like we did with Bradham, we can hide him in coverage. Think of this pick as replacing Bradham with a guy with a similar skillset, just very raw. With the right coaching, he can develop very well.
Round Four: Leki Fotu, DT from Utah
I hate to say it, but Cox and Jernigan aren’t going to last forever. Neither is Malik Jackson. And drafting a young guy with potential (like Fotu) would be wise because he can learn behind Cox and our other elite interior linemen. Fotu is raw, yes, but then again it is the 4th round. He has strong hands, an excellent two gap player, and has a tremendous tackle radius in the backfield. He can stop the run, but doesn’t look versatile enough to play multiple gaps. But if we could find a sure run stopper in Round 4, it would be a solid pick.
Round Five: Jace Whittaker, CB/S from Arizona
Jace Whittaker was a CB who converted into Safety his senior year. His instincts led him to succeed at that position. His football IQ compensated for his short and skinny frame (5 foot 9 inches) and he has a similar playstyle to Avonte Maddox. Maddox has also been considered to make the transformation to safety. The two can compete and make the each other better.
Round Five (via the Patriots): Bryce Sterk, DE, Montana State
Never hurts to have more pass rushers right? Especially in Schwartz’s scheme, the more pass rushers the better. Sterk is a towering 6 foot 5 inches and can get to the QB in a hurry. He was second in the Big Sky in sacks and why not take another chance on a small school player? It worked for Carson Wentz. He struggles with quickness, but his strength made up for that in college. The transition from a small school in Montana to the NFL may be tough, but it is worth the risk, especially in the 5th round.
Round Six (via the Falcons): Cesar Ruiz, Center, Michigan
It’s very probable that Ruiz doesn’t fall this low. I wouldn’t be shocked if we select him in the 5th or even 4th round, but I’m feeling ambitious this mock draft. Ruiz is a special talent. He is powerful, quick, and athletic. And if you haven’t noticed, the common theme in this draft is to draft successors to our veteran players. Ruiz is exactly that. Kelce is not getting any younger and quite frankly, the Eagles playbook extremely reliant on Kelce and his mobility. Think about all the screens we run; I can’t name one other center who can do what Kelce can do. If Ruiz cuts a few pounds he can model Kelce a little bit. And Kelce can act as a mentor to Ruiz.