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May 13, 2017

Mailbag: How far away are the Eagles from being Super Bowl contenders?

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In our weekly Eagles chat on Wednesday, there were a lot of good unanswered questions that I was not able to get to, so we'll cover them here in an Eagles mailbag.

Question from Cody: When do you see the Eagles being Super Bowl contenders? One or two years away… or more?

The NFL can be somewhat predictable in some ways, in that every year you know the Patriots will be good and the Browns will be bad. In other ways, it can be totally unpredictable.

Take last year, for example. The Cowboys were coming off a four-win season, and then their quarterback got hurt in the preseason. At that point everyone (self included) went, “Welp, they’re done.” And then they won 13 games. Or how about Atlanta? From 2013 to 2015, the Falcons were a combined 18-30, and they had a 25-point lead on the Pats in the second half of the Super Bowl. The Cowboys and Falcons were the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NFC last year. Who saw that coming?

So things can all kind of click at once. Is it likely that will happen with the Eagles in 2017? No, probably not, especially with their cornerback situation still a mess, and some other depth issues on defense. If the 2017 draft class really pans out and Carson Wentz continues to progress, maybe 2018. I do think they have enough quality pieces on their roster to build around that they’re not that far away.

Question from Hinkie: What do you feel Carson Wentz’s ceiling is? I am a huge fan but I think too many of us think he’s a sure-fire franchise QB. If he never progresses from last year, he’s an average QB. How good can he get? Consistent top 5? Fringe Pro Bowl guy? MVP candidate?

Physically and mentally, he has everything you want in a quarterback. Physically, he’s big, sturdy, and strong. He has a good arm, he can run, and he showed ability to escape the pocket and make throws on the move. Mentally, he’s smart, he works hard, and he has the respect of everyone on the team.

That’s a great start. He still has work to do on his mechanics and accuracy, which, if you’re a glass half full kind of guy/gal, is a good thing in that there’s plenty of room for growth. But I don’t think you have to worry much about him not progressing.

While I’m not necessarily making predictions here, I think that with his physical and mental traits, he has the chance to become one of the best players in the league. We’ll see.

Question from unknown: You think part of the problem with Wentz’s deep balls was vision? He did have Lasik surgery.

I don’t. I think the biggest reason is because he was throwing to Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Bryce Treggs.

Question from EFNJ: Every team always has a love affair with all of its picks after the draft. That said, it’s rare that they all stick or even make the practice squad. So from the third round on, who’s getting cut or at best, making the practice squad? And yada yada yada, it’s early etc.

First, thank you for the “it’s early, yada yada” disclaimer. Not having legitimately watched any of these guys in practice yet, I would say Nathan Gerry is the guy who is probably the most likely not to make the team, simply on the reasoning that the Eagles are having him transition from safety to linebacker. That’s not a huge leap from one position to another, but he’ll be really undersized at his new spot.

Question from nlong96: Do you think Alshon Jeffrey will be on the team in 2018?

If he’s good, yes, and I think he will be.

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