Possible trades and draft philosophy in Eagles mailbag

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Possible trades and draft philosophy in Eagles mailbag

We got a ton of questions this week, so the mailbag was split into two. 

The first part included questions about Jay Ajayi and appropriate Eagles fandom (see story). Today, we’ll get into some possible trades and the impact of this year’s draft.

Let’s go: 

I don’t know. Now, before you kill me for that answer: they don’t know either. The Eagles won’t know until that night. It really depends on how the draft shakes out before then. If there’s a prominent player (quarterback … Lamar Jackson) on the board at 32, then the Eagles will probably get some offers. That happened a few years ago when Teddy Bridgewater was drafted. 

The Eagles have only six picks and don’t have a second- or third-rounder, so the idea of trading back is attractive. It will depend on how many players they like at the spot. If there’s a guy that’s clearly ahead of the others, they draft him. If they like five guys around the same and have the opportunity to trade back four spots, why not? 

It’s possible, but I wouldn’t call it likely. After all, this is the 37th consecutive year Mychal Kendricks has been on the trade block. I understand why. He has a big cap hit and the team just re-signed Nigel Bradham. But Jordan Hicks is coming off another Achilles injury and I’m not sure the team can count on him. After that, do they feel comfortable with Corey Nelson or Paul Worrilow becoming a real starter? Maybe, but Kendricks is a great insurance policy for another year. He was a big part of the 2017 Super Bowl. 

The Eagles have six picks in the draft. And they can go in a lot of different directions. The only position that wouldn’t make a ton of sense would be quarterback. They love building along the lines, so both of those are on the table. Tight ends and running backs should be attractive.

But how about this one: they have a ton of cornerbacks, but safety is an under-the-radar position. And if the Eagles get a good one, that rookie could play a ton in 2018. Think about it. Malcolm Jenkins was all over the field last season, so much so that he was barely even a safety anymore. That meant aging vet Corey Graham played a big role. Graham is a free agent and could possibly return, but the Eagles could stand to draft a younger replacement. 

I’d imagine this is still on the table. The reason is easy to figure out. The Eagles have a stable of young cornerbacks: Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Daryl Worley and Darby. Of the bunch, Darby is the most tradable. He has one year left on his deal and if the Eagles don’t have him in their future plans, they can get some sort of return out of him. He’s still just 24 and it might make sense to see what he can do in his second year in the defense, but if he’s the guy to go, he’d probably bring back a mid-round pick. If the Eagles could get a third-rounder for him, that would be about right and it would also help fill their draft pick void. 

Sure. You nailed the first two. The Eagles emphasize building along the offensive and defensive lines and offensive tackle and defensive end are the two most important. But I’d argue it doesn’t end there. After all, their highest-paid defensive player is DT Fletcher Cox and their highest-paid offensive player is OG Brandon Brooks. So I’d argue the positions they value the most after quarterback are all along the offensive and defensive lines. 

After that? Probably receiver and defensive back. I’m hesitant to say cornerback because the Eagles have so little money tied up with their corners, but have paid their safeties a ton. They really value versatility in the secondary and that’s part of the reason. 

Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

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Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

Eagles fans will probably never stop reliving the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

While watching highlights, wearing championship apparel and occasionally just looking in the mirror and reminding yourself, "We won the Super Bowl" are all good ways of remembering what the Birds accomplished, there's a pretty unique new way that you'll be able to experience it all over again.

On July 24, the Mann Center will be hosting "A Championship Season," a special event to honor the Eagles. 

Going by the Mann Center's description, it should be an incredible night.

The Mann Center, NFL Films, and the Philadelphia Eagles take center stage this summer to celebrate the Eagles’ Championship Season with the world premiere of this “Philly Special” concert event. Hosted by the “Voice of the Eagles,” Merrill Reese, relive NFL Films’ stunning video highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles Championship Season on three giant screens alongside the great Philadelphia Orchestra, performing live the inspiring, uplifting and wonderfully symphonic music of NFL Films. 

Part of the proceeds from "A Championship Season" will benefit the Eagles Autism Challenge and the Mann Center's free art education programs. 

If you want to be part of the epic celebration, get your tickets here

Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

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Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

He was among the NFL’s best in virtually every category. Fourth in passer rating. First in touchdown percentage. Eighth in interception percentage. Second in TD-to-INT ratio. He was even third in wins despite missing the last three regular-season games.

So what’s Carson Wentz’s approach going into 2018?

“I think we can improve everywhere,” he said. “Overall, I think we can keep making strides and keep our foot on the gas.”

And that starts with completion percentage.

Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 23rd of 30 quarterbacks who threw at least 400 passes. 

Ahead of only Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Mitch Trubisky, Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer.

Not the kind of company he wants to keep.

Wentz was so good in every other area he still fashioned a passer rating over 100. In fact, his 101.9 rating was the highest in NFL history by a quarterback completing 60.2 percent of his passes (minimum 400 attempts).

The league average last year was 62 percent. And for the sake of comparison, Nick Foles completed 64.7 percent of his passes if you combine the regular season and postseason.

Wentz dropped from 62.4 percent as a rookie to 60.2 percent last year.

Among 36 active NFL quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 1,000 passes, Wentz’s 61.5 completion percentage ranks 21st.

 “I know I’d like to see my completions go higher,” Wentz said last week. “I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area.”

After 2016, Wentz identified red zone and third down as two areas he hoped to improve on. 

And he wound up leading the NFL in both red zone efficiency (NFL-best 116.3 passer rating) and third-down efficiency (NFL-best 123.7 rating).

“Third down, red zone, we were really good,” he said. “That’s something we really focused on from Year 1 to Year 2, but we (still) all feel we can definitely improve in those areas.”

Wentz also committed nine fumbles in 13 games, and only Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson had more.

“I think we had too many fumbles,” he said. “Balls on the ground too many times.”

Wentz, now nearly five months out from his knee injury, said he’s used a lot of his extra time at the NovaCare Complex this offseason focusing on what he can improve on in 2018, and one of those things is his upper-body strength.

“With all the extra rehab and not being able to run and do a lot of things early on you’ve really just got to focus on some different things and I got to do a lot of seated throwing and trying to build my arm strength and really take care of my upper body more than I have in the past,” he said.

“It’s been an interesting process not being able to get that true conditioning and that rehab in, but it’s exciting to start easing into the running and conditioning stuff. … 

“I feel good. I definitely feel working with the strength guys, we had some friendly competition stuff with the other (injured) guys in there rehabbing and I definitely feel like I’m making some strides in there.”