We got so many questions this week, I split them into three separate mailbags and still didn’t get to all of them. If I missed yours, I apologize.
It’s a fair question and I like the idea of rolling with Jalen Hurts this year. But I also think the Eagles will take a long, hard look at the quarterbacks in this year’s draft. If they have any doubts about Hurts being the long-term starter — nothing he did last year proved or disproved that — then they need to seriously look at this crop. And knowing how much the Eagles value the quarterback position, I think it’s definitely fair to say that’s on the table.
Another part of this is that they have the No. 6 pick and while their roster doesn’t look strong enough to really compete next year, there’s no guarantee they’ll be back in the top 10 next year. I get what you’re saying, though, because if Hurts isn’t good then the Eagles probably won’t be good either and they’ll have another high pick. But one scary scenario is that Hurts ends up being decent and the Eagles end up being decent. That’s not what they want. The Eagles understand the importance of having a top-notch quarterback and if they think one of these draft picks has the chance to be that, then I wouldn’t be surprised even a little bit if they went in that direction.
The reason the Eagles’ offensive line struggled last year was injuries. Had they gone into the season healthy and stayed that way, they would have been fine. It’s really hard to play well when the OL is different almost literally every week.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t serious questions about the OL going forward. Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks are two of the best in the league, but they’re both coming off serious injuries and are over 30. Jason Kelce has at least been contemplating retirement, so that would obviously be a big loss. And then there’s the likely competition between Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata this summer. There are questions but if Kelce returns and Brooks and Johnson are healthy, this line could be back to being one of the best in the league. And I even like their depth with guys like Nate Herbig and Jack Driscoll.
The Eagles have a lot of holes and could use help at a lot of positions. But they also don’t have cap space to make any splashes. The top positions where they should probably add a player are quarterback (they’ll need a backup if they stick with Hurts), corner, receiver, defensive line and safety. Those are probably their top needs right now so that’s where I’d start if we’re talking about what positions they might add players in free agency.
The second question is a tough one to answer. Because if the Eagles are going to have success, they’re going to need players. I think the key will be developing younger players. With 10 draft picks last year and another nine or so this year, the Eagles are going to have an influx of talent. I know fans don’t trust Howie Roseman to draft well but it’s almost as important for this new coaching staff to develop that new talent that comes in. That will be the sign of success for me in 2021.
The Eagles aren’t in a very good situation right now but there are positives. There are always positives. This is like a Dave’s Positivity Corner from the Eagle Eye podcast.
Here are a few reasons for optimism:
1. The Eagles are in a tough cap situation this year but things get much better in 2022. Right now, OverTheCap has them projected to have $73 million in cap space next season. That will change depending on who they bring in this year or who they extend and it’ll change based on where next year’s cap gets set. But better days are coming from a cap standpoint and if the Eagles get some good young players in the draft, they’ll be able to supplement the roster with free agents next year.
2. The Eagles are projected to have nine draft picks this year and four picks in the top 85. This is the first time they’ve had four picks in the top 100 since 2013. In fact, they had it in 2013 and 2014. In 2012, the Eagles came away with Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry and Nick Foles. In 2013, they got Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Bennie Logan and Matt Barkley. The Eagles really built their teams with those two drafts and they have a chance to do it again in 2021 and 2022, when they’ll have two first-rounders.
3. I think there are reasons to be optimistic about the new coaching staff. I know Nick Sirianni wasn’t the most popular choice, but Jeff Lurie has an impressive track record when it comes to hiring coaches, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Sirianni has put together a young coaching staff but it looks to be a pretty talented staff too. Fans should be excited to see what the coaches bring.
Was never a big fan.
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