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August 28, 2017

Should the Eagles trade or keep Mychal Kendricks?

The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly almost traded Mychal Kendricks this offseason to the San Francisco 49ers, and according to a source, would still be willing to deal him for the right offer. 

Kendricks is not an ideal scheme fit, seeing as arguably his best attribute – blitzing the quarterback – was not often used by Jim Schwartz a season ago. Meanwhile, perhaps Kendricks' worst attribute – covering running backs and tight ends man to man – is a skill that Schwartz’s scheme prioritizes.

There are some Eagles observers, however, who believe that the team would be better served to simply keep Kendricks, citing his good play in the preseason as well as a lack of proven depth at the position otherwise. 

Both arguments make sense. In the Eagles' three preseason games, Kendricks has four tackles, a sack, three interceptions, and a pressure that forced a bad throw that was picked off by Ronald Darby.

Kendricks' three interceptions were of the "lucky" variety to some degree, as he has capitalized in being in the right spot. For example:

Still, Schwartz gave Kendricks credit for the plays that he has made.

"I don't know if you could have any more production than him in the preseason," he said. "Good gracious. A little bit of it is being opportunistic, but he's been in the right spots. When he's gotten those tipped balls  there's a certain aspect of I want to say luck of getting a tipped ball. But, he's been where he's supposed to have been, and that's why the tipped balls have come right to him. I think that's good."

Schwartz also revealed that perhaps the reason he did not blitz Kendricks more last season was because he did not trust his cornerbacks on the back end.

"He's rushed the passer well," said Schwartz. "That ties into a lot of other things. That ties into the corners' ability and our confidence in our corners being able to how much we can blitz him. I've been very impressed with (Kendricks), his attitude, and embracing everything that had to do with practice. He's stayed really focused in training camp. He's found a way to be productive. I'm impressed by that."

With the addition of Ronald Darby, and Jalen Mills making strides in his second year in the league, perhaps Schwartz will feel more comfortable utilizing Kendricks' blitzing ability with more frequency because of potentially improved play from his corners.

When asked if Kendricks could see more playing time after a strong preseason, Schwartz acknowledged that he might.

"That really depends on so many things that go further on down the line," he responded. "Right now, we've worked, even in practice yesterday, we have worked some stuff where Nigel Bradham moved into the MIKE linebacker and (Kendricks) moved into Nigel's spot to get those guys out there in nickel together, and that’s something Nigel hasn't done.

"If we had a game today, Jordan Hicks couldn't play. It's our responsibility to get the guys that can best produce on the field. He's certainly forced himself into that conversation."

Or maybe gotten other teams to notice? We'll see.

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