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July 09, 2017

Mailbag: Who do the Eagles match up favorably (and unfavorably) with in the NFC East?

In our weekly Eagles chat on Friday, there were a lot of good unanswered questions that I was not able to get to, as well as some answered ones that could use a little more color. We'll cover them and some recent emails here in an Eagles mailbag.

Question from Kephas: What do you see as the most/least favorable matchups between the Eagles and the other NFC East teams? For example: MOST: Fletcher Cox vs. Jonathan Cooper, or LEAST: Dez Bryant vs. the Eagles corners?

I liked this question a lot. I think the most favorable matchup the Eagles will have this season will be their defensive line against the Giants' offensive line. As we noted in our Giants dumpster fire article, the Giants have among the worst set of offensive tackles in the NFL. Their interior is a little better than what they have on the edges, but even then, there's a pretty significant hole at RG there as well.

The Eagles' defensive line (and other defensive lines around the league) should be able to take advantage of that this year. 

As for the least favorable matchup, I think you nailed it. In the past, I think the Redskins' receivers really gave the Eagles trouble, especially with the speed of DeSean Jackson. With Jackson and Pierre Garcon bolting in free agency, you'd probably have to look at Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams as a trio of receivers capable of beating the Eagles' corners at will as long as the Cowboys' OL can pass protect. 

To note, the Giants have very talented receivers as well, but I don't think they will be able to pass protect consistently, thus negating the effectiveness of their receivers to some degree.

Question from Norm Snead: How much better off would the Eagles be at CB if they still had Eric Rowe?

I think he’s a more talented corner than Jalen Mills, or anyone else on the Eagles’ roster that will be healthy heading into the season, for that matter. However, the notion that he was some kind of great player for the Patriots last year is wrong. He played 43 percent of their snaps on defense last year, and less than two percent of their special teams snaps.

The Eagles will get a third- or fourth-round pick in return from the Pats next year depending on his snap count this season. Let’s see what they’re able to do with that pick.

Question from JZ: Do the Eagles need Sidney Jones to get healthy and play at some point this season to make the playoffs?

If Sidney Jones can play this season and actually somehow be good, call it a major surprise win. Personally, I don’t think the Eagles are in any rush to get Jones out on the field, nor should they be.

Do you think Howie will try to get a bunch of compensatory picks next offseason?

The way they would achieve that would be to allow players to walk in free agency, without signing players of their own to offset those losses. I would project that the Eagles have three free agents who might get enough money on the open market where they’d get you a fifth-round pick or higher if you lose them. They would be Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, and maybe Jordan Matthews.

If Jeffery plays well and stays healthy, I think the Eagles will make it a priority to lock him up long term, and even use the franchise tag if need be. Meanwhile, I don’t think the Eagles would have traded for Jernigan if the team didn’t see him as more than a one-year fix at DT after the departure of Bennie Logan. In other words, I think the Eagles get something done with Jeffery and Jernigan, if they're worth keeping.

The rest of the 2018 Eagles free agent class isn't going to get you much in the way of compensatory pick capital, so no, I don't think that sitting out 2018 free agency is a worthwhile strategy to gain a few extra very late draft picks.

Comment from Michael (via the comment section, as well as Twitter): Jimmy, I love you, but what a MORONIC thing to say! Reggie White is the greatest supplemental draft pick of ALL TIME! Who was more important to NFL history? to Eagles history? its not even close! DUH!

This dude was all over me after we published an article about this year's supplemental draft prospects, in which we just happened to note that the Eagles found perhaps the best supplemental draft pick of all-time in 1987, when they nabbed Cris Carter in the 4th round.

If you Google Reggie White, yes, you will see that he was selected in a "supplemental draft," but it was not even remotely close to the yearly supplemental draft that the NFL conducts for players who have had a change in circumstances in regard to college eligibility after the deadline to declare for the real NFL Draft.

In 1984, the NFL held a draft for all the college seniors that signed to play in the USFL. NFL teams would retain the rights to those players if they ever came to the NFL from the USFL. In that draft, 84 players were selected, including guys like White, Steve Young, and 10 other eventual NFL Pro Bowl players. By comparison, the regular NFL Supplemental Draft has had 43 players selected in 40 years.

So no, Reggie White was not part of the yearly NFL Supplemental Draft in any way whatsoever. He was part of a one-time only oddball draft for players that went to go play in the USFL instead of the NFL.

Question from Shig: Hey Jimmy, I was just wondering if you ever browse the comment sections? I always wonder what you think of us.

Hi Shiggy. To begin, I love you all. That's what I think of you, and I absolutely appreciate that you all comment here.

And yes, I read the comments. Earlier in my career, I read nearly every comment on every article I posted. I think they give you a good sense of what you're doing well and what you're doing poorly as a writer. That was good for me when I first got going in this business. Hell, I used to be a regular commenter when my career was in sales, and not this.

Nowadays, I'm a single father with a lot of time requirements outside of football, so I don't have as much opportunity to dig in as much as I would otherwise, but I do read them. There are a lot of funny comments in there.

Actually, I'm curious if you have any suggestions on how we can improve the comment section. Leave them below, please, if there's anything you'd like corrected.

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