The Eagles are dealing with two pretty familiar problems in the 2020 season. They have had injuries at receiver and cornerback.
And to add to the frustration, three of the guys they drafted to fix those positions long-term are making plays elsewhere.
As the Eagles were losing to the Steelers 38-29 on Sunday, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas and Nelson Agholor were all making big plays for their new teams.
You gotta be kidding me.
That’s not to say the Eagles weren’t necessarily wrong to part ways with any of them. Agholor was a free agent after five years in Philly, Jones was cut after another disappointing summer and Douglas didn’t do enough to make the team. (For what it’s worth, I probably would have kept Douglas of the three as a backup.) But to now see former first-, second- and third-round picks have success elsewhere has to be frustrating for the Eagles’ front office.
Jones had his best game as an NFL player on Sunday in the Jaguars’ loss to the Texans. He started and played 38 defensive snaps (66%). Jones had three solo tackles, an interception and four PBUs, one of which was picked off by his teammate.
According to ProFootballFocus, Jones was targeted five times on Sunday while covering Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller. He gave up one catch for nine yards.
And his third career interception was a beauty:
The Eagles drafted Jones in the second round back in 2017 despite an Achilles injury. They hoped he would eventually blossom into the type of star player they thought he was before that injury but that never happened in Philly. If it happens elsewhere, it would be tough to swallow.
Then there’s Douglas, who has already become a starter and leader for the Panthers, who are 3-1 with him as a starter. Douglas has played every defensive snap in the last three games. On Sunday against the Falcons, in a 23-16 win, Douglas had 8 tackles and a PBU.
Since Julio Jones was out on Sunday, Calvin Ridley was the Falcons’ top receiver. According to PFF, Ridley had just three catches for 25 yards against Douglas. When Douglas wasn’t on him, Ridley had five catches for 111 yards. In total, Douglas gave up just four catches for 38 yards on Sunday.
Of the three players we mentioned here, Douglas is the one I probably would have kept. He already agreed to a contract restructure and I don’t know why the Eagles didn’t expect cornerback injuries; it happens every year. Before a quarter of the season was gone, the Eagles had to slide Jalen Mills back to corner from safety.
I’m not saying Douglas is a Pro Bowler and he’s probably not going to keep playing as well as he has so far in his time in Carolina, but he’s at least a decent depth piece and the Eagles could have used that instead of cutting him.
Everyone knew Agholor’s time in Philly was over after the 2019 season. It was an injury-plagued year and the Unlike Agholor guy had a much better season than the real Agholor.
But on Sunday, Agholor caught two passes for 67 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr as the Raiders upset the Chiefs 40-32.
Agholor isn’t having a great season, but he has 10 catches for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns through five games. And he has started the last two for the Raiders.
Agholor was the Eagles’ first-round pick back in 2015. He had some highs and lows in his Eagles career. His five years were like a perfect bell curve with the peak being the Super Bowl.