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July 29, 2020

Eagles power ranking roundup: Pre-training camp edition

Eagles NFL
118_01052020_EaglesvsSeahawks_Carson_Wentz_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Carson Wentz's legs look weird here. #Analysis.

Are power rankings completely dumb and meaningless? Yes. Yes, they are. However, personally speaking, whenever I see them, I click. And now that I've sucked you in with promises of many power rankings, you'll read it and like it.

Here's where people around the country have the Eagles ranked prior to the start of training camp.

ESPN: 6th (future power rankings)

Why they're here: The Eagles feature a potential MVP candidate in Carson Wentz, who showed an ability to raise the talent around him 2019. Coach Doug Pederson is resourceful, innovative and confident, while GM/executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman has infused the roster with talent while maintaining his status as a salary cap wizard who can find ways to keep this roster intact going forward. -- Yates

Biggest worry: The Eagles have upgraded the speed and skill level exceptionally well at the wide receiver position as compared to what they finished the season with last year. The question is whether they can now make it all work, on the field, where Wentz is as skilled a thrower as there is in the league. Chemistry is a big part of the game of football. They need to make it happen in Philly. -- Riddick

Looking ahead: Jason Kelce is done after this year, Jason Peters is now a 38-year-old guard and Brandon Brooks is coming off an Achilles tendon tear. The interior offensive line needs reinforcements. And so does the linebacker spot. The Eagles have addressed the front and back ends of the defense, and a high-pedigree sideline-to-sideline player would complete the mission. -- Fowler

Top stat to know: Among QBs currently under 30, Wentz has recorded the third-best QBR season: his 2017, when he posted a 78.5. He has shown the upside, and -- performance wise -- is fairly reliable looking forward. If I had to bet on the current quarterbacks most likely to be above average in five years, Wentz is no lower than sixth (behind Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott). That kind of certainty is worth a lot.

#JimmySays: Our Matt Mullin covered ESPN's "future power rankings" already, but I'll throw in my two cents as well. I generally agree that the Eagles are in decent shape long-term, largely on the strength of Wentz, who is a top-tier quarterback who will give the Eagles a fighting chance to make playoff runs in any season he can remain healthy. However, I don't think the ESPN analysis factors in the age of the roster enough, which would be among my biggest concerns.

My other quibbles:

• Riddick notes "chemistry," seemingly as a knock on the Eagles, if I'm reading that correctly. In my view, chemistry is potentially a huge advantage for the Eagles, who are returning their head coach, quarterback, and defensive coordinator for their fifth seasons with the team, while every other team in their division has new coaching staffs.

• Jason Kelce is definitively "done" after this year? If that's sourced information, Fowler should say so. If not, while Kelce is certainly a retirement candidate every year from now on, it's bold to make a definitive statement like that. 

• Prescott isn't better than Wentz.

ProFootballTalk: 10th

The good news for 2019 is that quarterback Carson Wentz stayed healthy for the entire regular season. The bad news is that few other players did. If they can avoid the injury bug in 2020, the Eagles can get back to the playoffs and make a run at another Super Bowl.

JimmySays: Yes, health is important. Thanks.

USA Today (For the Win): 14th

The Eagles reshuffled their coaching staff, traded for Darius Slay, signed Javon Hargraves, and … didn’t really do much else. So, basically, Howie Roseman is hoping that 2019 was just an off-year and things will rebound in 2020. My concern: All of the issues with this team last year could very well be issues again. The success of the receiving corps is contingent on a rookie (Jalen Reagor) and the health of two receivers (DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery) who are never healthy. There still isn’t a true outside corner on the roster outside of Slay so teams could easily avoid him if need be. And the offensive coaching staff is largely the same only with different titles. Carson Wentz is really the only thing keeping the offense together at this point now that the offensive line looks shaky after Brandon Brooks suffered a brutal injury. Good thing Wentz doesn’t have a track record of missing games.

#JimmySays: I really don't know where to start here, but there's a lot to disagree with in one paragraph.

• Hargrave.

• Yes, teams can easily avoid Slay if they choose, and if so, the Eagles will chalk that up as a huge win, assuming Slay is following the opposing offense's No. 1 receiver all day.

• "The offensive coaching staff is largely the same only with different titles." To begin, they did add a few assistants to help diversify their attack and infuse new ideas, but even if they didn't, is the takeaway here that the Eagles' offensive coaching staff has been bad or something? The job that Doug Pederson and his staff did with Nick Foles, playing to his strengths during the Super Bowl season was a masterclass in coaching, and they have made due, continuing to score points, despite devastating injuries in each of the last two seasons.

• Even with the loss of Brooks, how many teams wouldn't trade their entire offensive line for the Eagles' offensive line? 

• Also, should the perception that the Eagles "didn't do much" this offseason be viewed negatively, after this COVID nightmare of an offseason played out the way it has? I thought Zach Berman of The Athletic made a great point on a recent Birds With Friends podcast about the 2011 Giants, who also didn't do much during a CBA-less offseason. They were criticized for not doing much, and then won the Super Bowl.

USA Today (Touchdown Wire): 16th

Last season, the Eagles somehow won nine games and the NFC East despite an injury-ravaged receiver group that gave Carson Wentz very little to work with when the playoffs came around. The hope is that the return of DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, along with tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and first-round receiver Jalen Reagor from TCU, will give Wentz a compensatory wealth of targets. If that’s the case, aligning that with an above-average defense fortified with the presence of ex-Lions cornerback Darius Slay makes this a formidable team. Certainly, you’d expect injury luck to err on the positive side for the Eagles this time around.

#JimmySays: Did someone say compensatory? Also, I would not expect the injury luck "to err on the positive side for the Eagles."

Also also, for what is probably the most positive actual written words about the Eagles here, they ranked Philly 16th, lol.

TheScore: 13th

Additions at receiver and in the secondary are reasons for optimism if you're an Eagles fan, but keep your fingers crossed that the injury bug finally leaves them alone.

#JimmySays: The "injury bug" finds its way into more analysis. 7th

The Eagles poured off-season resources into remaking their receiving corps and their secondary; two units now loaded with top notch speed and talent.

#JimmySays: While improved, I will respectfully disagree that the Eagles are "loaded with top notch talent" at WR and CB.

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