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June 21, 2024

What they're saying: The Eagles had the NFL's best offseason

According to experts around the NFL media landscape, the Eagles have already started winning.

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Jalyx-Hunt-Eagles-minicamp Colleen Claggett/for PhillyVoice

Jalyx Hunt #58 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up during practice at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pa. on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

We've reached the only real slow point in the NFL calendar. With the Eagles players and coaches at home, or on vacation for the next month or so — between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp at the end of July — there isn't a lot of NFL news this time of year.

But that doesn't mean the Eagles content stops. 

Here's a roundup of some of the more interesting takes, observations and predictions about the Birds currently flying around:

Perfect marks

Seth Walder | ESPN+

Over at ESPN, the analytics department looked at each of the 32 NFL teams' offseasons and gave them grades for their respective moves. The Eagles top the entire list, getting a solid 'A' ahead of several other teams with A-minus grades. Most of the high marks come from the front office's attention to upgrading the defense. The only bad move, according to Walder, was the team's big commitment to running back Saquon Barkley. A snippet from his analysis:

Philadelphia engineered a pass-rusher swap of sorts with the Jets, signing Huff in free agency, then dealing Reddick back to New York. Philadelphia came out ahead. Even though Reddick is the more proven pass-rusher, Huff's metrics -- he ranked eighth in pass rush win rate at edge rusher in 2023, one spot behind Reddick -- suggest he's a similar player (and four years younger). The Eagles also got a conditional third-round pick (which could become a second). Toss in defensive end Josh Sweat and defensive tackle Jalen Carter, and this team will be able to get after the quarterback.

The secondary was a weakness, but they threw resources at it, drafting cornerbacks Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean and bringing back safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson. And they still have corners Darius Slay and James Bradberry, who could easily bounce back.

I wouldn't have paid Barkley real money like they did ($26 million fully guaranteed), but he should be an upgrade at running back, adding to the team's plethora of skill position riches along with Brown, Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. [ESPN+]


Mike Jones | The Athletic

The Athletic rounded up all 32 NFL teams' offseasons as well, breaking them into groups of winners and losers. The Eagles, no surprise, were among the winners. And a lot of the credit goes to Howie Roseman for his decisions during the draft:

A highly productive draft — highlighted by steals of defensive backs Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean — followed a strong free-agent shopping period that featured the signings of running back Saquon Barkley and defensive playmakers C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Bryce Huff and Devin White. The Eagles also worked out extensions with the dynamic pass-catching duo of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Howie Roseman’s squad took a bit of a slide backward in 2023 after losing in the Super Bowl the season prior, but the GM has Philadelphia poised to rebound in 2024. [The Athletic]

Breaking out

Glenn Erby | Eagles Wire

Which Eagles will have breakout campaigns in 2024? Over at Eagles Wire there are 10 names they suggest for big leaps forward this coming season. Many them are familiar faces, like Dallas Goedert. But the Eagles blog has faith in one big ticket item who was met with some skepticism and controversy when it went down this past spring — new acquisition Josh Huff who essentially replaced fan favorite, home grown Haason Reddick:

At 25 years old, Huff has increased his sack production each season, jumping from 3.5 sacks in 2022 to 10.0 this past season. More of a situational pass rusher than a true defensive end or SAM linebacker, Huff played in just 42 percent of the Jets’ defensive snaps, as he was used solely in pass-rushing situations. He still logged ten sacks in 2023, and one season after Philadelphia brass was left extremely disappointed with the pass rush’s production, Howie Roseman signed a natural pass rusher. Vic Fangio won’t be dropping Huff into coverage on 50% of the downs, and his arrival should spur an uptick in sacks and pressures. In 2023, Huff led the Jets with a career-high ten sacks and recorded 68 quarterback pressures in 312 pass rush attempts — an NFL-leading 21.8% pressure percentage, according to Next Gen Stats (minimum: 300 rushes). [Eagles Wire]

Some questions

Dave Zangaro | NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles will enter the new season with yet another new defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio. The veteran coach brings with him pedigree, an old school mentality, and a lot of questions. As the offseason trudges on, NBCSP's Dave Zangaro posed a handful of queries that are front and center as the new defense starts to take shape in South Philly. We'll take a look at the team's abundance of riches in their newly reformed secondary:

The biggest storyline during spring practices was the play of the Eagles’ cornerback group. This offseason, the Eagles turned a weakness into a strength. While Darius Slay will be a starter on one side, the other outside corner position is open and there are really three candidates who seem to be fighting for that job: Quinyon Mitchell, Kelee Ringo and Isaiah Rodgers.

Mitchell is the No. 22 overall pick and was the top cornerback in the draft but the Eagles aren’t going to let him cut the line. If he’s going to be the starter, Mitchell is going to have to earn it. Ringo had a promising end to his rookie season and seems to have all the tools to be a starter in the league a year after he was drafted in the fourth round. And Rodgers showed no signs of rust this spring after serving a year-long suspension in 2023. He seemed like a long shot before the spring but he’s now firmly in this competition.

And at the nickel corner spot, it’ll likely come down to Avonte Maddox, Cooper DeJean and Tyler Hall. Maddox is the incumbent starter in that spot but injuries have really hampered him throughout his career. Maddox also took reps at safety this spring. DeJean was the No. 40 overall pick and while he has some position versatility, it seems like his best chance to see the field is at nickel. And don’t completely sleep on Hall, who has flown under the radar as a free agent signing but has some experience under his belt over the last few years with the Raiders. [NBC Sports Philadelphia]

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