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August 01, 2020

Mailbag: My Eagles two-way squad

Eagles NFL
Miles-Sanders_010620_Kate-Frese Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Eagles running back Miles Sanders.

In our Eagles chat on Thursday, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow, as well as some commonly asked questions on Twitter and via email.

Question from RKotite: If you had to make a squad of two way players from the Eagles roster who would it be? Eleven players only who play both sides of the football, give me their position on offense and defense.

So I gave this some legitimate thought, and it was a tougher exercise than I thought. Here's what I came up with:

Carson Wentz is my quarterback. I think some might take Jalen Hurts here because of his athleticism. I’m not doing that at quarterback. The dropoff from Wentz to anyone else, at quarterback, is too great, and Wentz has some athleticism of his own. I’ll just find a spot to hide him on defense. Let’s go with OLB. I’ll just have him cover tight ends.

Miles Sanders is my running back (duh), and he’ll play safety for me on defense. I actually think he could be a good safety. He has speed, ball skills, and he likes to hit.

DeSean Jackson is one of my receivers. He would obviously have to play corner on defense.

• I’m taking Jalen Reagor too to play receiver, though he’s going to be my other safety on the back end alongside Sanders. Reagor has some strength and I like his potential as a tackler.

Darius Slay could be effective enough as a slot receiver because of his speed, quickness, and ball skills. Obviously, he’d play corner on defense.

Dallas Goedert is my tight end. I’ll take him over Zach Ertz, because I wouldn’t know where to put Ertz on defense. Ideally, Goedert would play DE for me. I think he has the athleticism and temperament to be effective enough there, but he can’t because I have to put one of the bigger-bodied guys there. So he has to play OLB.

Jason Kelce is my center, and my middle linebacker. He’d actually be smaller than Levon Kirkland, and certainly faster, and I trust that he’d figure out how to get everyone lined up right.

Lane Johnson at right tackle is obvious. He’d play DE for me on defense.

Fletcher Cox will play LG and DT DE.

Javon Hargrave will play RG and DT.

• Left tackle / defensive end was really hard for me to decide on. Andre Dillard isn’t making the cut, because I’m not sure if he can play left tackle yet, much less somewhere on defense. Do I put someone like Brandon Graham at LT? He’d make plays on defense, but could he block other DEs? Probably not. So I think first and foremost I want my OL to protect my quarterback. I think I’d take Jason Peters at LT, and he’ll have to play DT, which means that I would probably move Cox out to DE. 

My final offense:

Position Player 
 QBCarson Wentz 
 RBMiles Sanders 
 WRDeSean Jackson 
 WRJalen Reagor 
 WRDarius Slay 
 TEDallas Goedert 
 LTJason Peters 
 LGFletcher Cox 
 CJason Kelce 
 RGJavon Hargrave 
 RTLane Johnson 

My final defense

Position Player 
 RDELane Johnson 
 RDTJavon Hargrave 
 LDTJason Peters 
 LDEFletcher Cox 
 OLBDallas Goedert 
 MLBJason Kelce 
 OLBCarson Wentz 
 CBDarius Slay 
 CBDeSean Jackson 
 SMiles Sanders 
 SJalen Reagor 

Question from Mark Simoneau: Are there any free agent linebackers out there the Eagles could sign cheaply, similar to the Zach Brown signing last year? Perhaps with a Schwartz connection?

I took a look, and it's really just a lot of junk. Darron Lee was a guy I liked for the Eagles a year ago, but the Eagles didn't seem to have interest then, and Lee wound up having a non-impactful season with the Chiefs. They did add Jatavis Brown, so they didn't completely ignore the position in free agency, but obviously that was not a big-name signing.

At this point in the offseason, it looks like they're just going to stick with their young guys. Could they maybe make a player-for-player trade for a linebacker? Saaaayyyy, maybe dangle Rasul Douglas or Sidney Jones or something? Sure, I could see that, but I don't think any of the free agent options into August are going to make or break your season.

Question from Mrhoban: Who will be a surprise cut in September?

There usually aren't any huge surprises. I think that maybe Stefen Wisniewski was a mild surprise last year, or at least he would have been thought of one at the start of last year's camp. Would Jordan Mailata be a surprise at this point? Shareef Miller? Rasul Douglas? Hassan Ridgeway? Cre'Von LeBlanc? Yes? No?

Question from Tom: I was quite angry the Birds gave up their non-compensatory third-round pick when trading for Darius Slay. Obviously, he’s about to be “on the wrong side” of 30, he wanted out of Detroit, and hated the head coach. Clearly, he wouldn’t be back. Once the deal was done, couldn't they have simply sent their compensatory third-rounder instead of their regular third-rounder? Anyway, reason I’m asking is how much shade Jamal Adams threw on Jets ownership and coaching. I know Adams is an all-world defensive weapon, but to still grab two (late) first-rounders and come out on the better end of the third-round/fourth-round “swap,” did Howie make a better deal for Slay than I/we give him credit?

Well that question was quite a journey!

Leading up to the new league year, I felt very strongly that the Eagles would be better served to simply sign Byron Jones than to give up picks and also make Slay the highest-paid corner in the NFL. After the dust settled, it was clear that Jones got more than the Eagles would ever pay him, and the deal they worked out with Slay was actually quite team-friendly. I thought the compensation of third- and fifth-round picks for Slay was fine, especially given that the rumors were that it would cost a 2.

The Eagles had to make a major move at corner, and it was going to come at a cost. Would the trade have been marginally better if they traded their compensatory third round pick (103rd overall) instead of their regular third round pick (85th overall)? Sure, but would the Lions have accepted that? The Eagles had to get a corner, and they did. I think there are probably better things to quibble over than the difference of 18 draft slots at the end of Day 2 of the draft. 

In the end, I think the Eagles are better off with what they gave up for Slay than what it would have cost to have landed Jones. I would look at it like this. Which would you rather have:

  1. Slay and Davion Taylor
  2. The 85th pick (which might have also been Davion Taylor), the 103rd pick, a 5, an enormous hole at corner, and some extra cap space?

I'll take No. 1.

As for the Adams portion of the question, I just think the Seahawks made a crazy trade. Also, I'm not so sure we can automatically put in ink that those will be "late" first-rounders. They play in arguably the best division in the NFL. We'll see.

Question from Fred: Big surf coming this week. Are you heading out?

Yep, Hurricane Isaias is sending swells up the coast, and it looks like it has the chance to be a really fun day. I'm hoping to be in the water by noon, and then I'd like to stay there until around 5. Don't you dare do anything today, Howie.

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