August 07, 2017
The conventional wisdom is that general managers build Super Bowl contenders through the NFL Draft. As the entire Dan Snyder era is proof of, NFL free agency is generally a loser’s game.
With trade-ups in the draft, whiffs on top draft picks, and a regime change, the Eagles have relied heavily on free agency to plug holes on the roster over the past few seasons. And according to ESPN Insider’s Scott Kacsmar, the Eagles rank 25th in the NFL in under-25 talent:
As for the rookies, expectations are low this season. First-round defensive end Derek Barnett was very productive at Tennessee, but may have to learn more behind veterans Chris Long and Brandon Graham this season. Second-round cornerback Sidney Jones tore his Achilles tendon at his pro day. He'll prepare to play this season, but there is a good chance he won't debut in the NFL until 2018.
Unfortunately for the Birds, the Cowboys and Giants rank first and second according to Kacsmar. Even if these rankings are unscientific, it would help if some of the younger players on the Eagles roster can step up in 2016.
1. Practice notes: Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews are still doing their touchdown handshake. And Shelton Gibson and Patrick Robinson have had a decent few days!
2. Coach Dawk: Brian Dawkins is officially in the Eagles scouting department, but he’s also unofficially on the Eagles coaching staff. Related: Brian Dawkins is still pretty cool.
3. Trying to break out: Nelson Agholor talks about attempting to get on track after two very disappointing seasons. Good quotes here from the former Eagles first-round draft pick.
4. Holding up: Jim Schwartz had one question about Nate Gerry heading into camp, how he would hold up against the run. So far, the Eagles rookie has impressed his defensive coordinator.
5. Bumble Beau: Beau Allen is seemingly keeping busy while he rehabs.
6. Slot him in: Frank Reich's words indicate (to me, anyway) that Eagles are sold on Nelson Agholor in the slot.
Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Brandon Lee Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation
Gowton has the Eagles keeping six linebackers on the roster, not including Mychal Kendricks:
I have the Eagles going heavy at linebacker in part due to Bradham’s potential impending suspension. Goode has spent time as the top backup at both MIKE and WILL. Grugier-Hill’s had a nice summer for himself. I haven’t noticed Walker a ton lately. Gerry seemed to hold up in the run game when the Eagles put the pads on last week. I think the overall depth at this position is a little better than most seem to think. As for why Mychal Kendricks isn’t listed here, I’m projecting a trade. Keep an eye on the NFC West and NFC North.
Carson is the Key: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
Lawlor draws on some Eagles history for perspective on the team’s short-term vs. long-term outlook:
CB isn’t the most important position. The Eagles had a pair of outstanding CBs from 1996-1999. Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor were a dynamic duo that did great things for the Eagles. And yet the team went 24-39-1 in that span. Why? Poor QB play. The best CBs in the world don’t do you much good when you have bad QB play. The Eagles had both good CBs and a good QB starting in 2000 and they were a Super Bowl contender for years.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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