Eagles Stay or Go — Two key DBs and a fringe DE

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Eagles Stay or Go — Two key DBs and a fringe DE

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Rodney McLeod
Roob: McLeod is a solid complement to Malcolm Jenkins and is one of the few guys on defense who actually made big plays in the Super Bowl. He had two third-down tackles that probably saved touchdowns. McLeod's cap hits are sizable moving forward — $8.406 million this year, $9.906 million next year and $10.906 million in 2020. They could in theory save close to $3 million in cap space by releasing him, but I think he's too valuable. It's not like there's a stable of young safeties, unless the Eagles start converting part of their young corner surplus. He had a bit of a tackling problem for a couple weeks but for the most part McLeod is a solid, valuable piece.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: When the Eagles signed McLeod, I thought he had Pro Bowl potential. Well, he hasn't been that good, but he did put together another really solid 2017 season and he seems to really mesh well with Jenkins. Having McLeod gives the Eagles the freedom to move Jenkins around to nickel corner and even up in the box like a linebacker sometimes. McLeod has three years left under contract and he's still playing at a solid level. 

Verdict: STAYS

Steven Means
Means is an interesting guy. Whenever he plays, he seems to make an impact. On this defense, however, he rarely plays. Means doesn't play a whole lot of special teams, but he comes cheap, he's a smart guy, good locker room guy, only 27 years old. As long as Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett are here, there won't be many snaps for a fourth defensive end. But I'm not sure you're going to find a better one with a cap figure under $1 million.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: There might not be a more well-liked teammate in the Eagles' locker room than Means. He's not supremely talented but he can play a little bit. Every time he gets chances, he makes the most of them. Now, even after the Eagles extended him through the 2018 season, there's no guarantee he makes the team. We'll see who else the Eagles add. But Means should have a chance to earn back his spot for another year. I think he gets it done. 

Verdict: STAYS

Jalen Mills
In the span of 18 months, Mills transformed from a rookie late-round pick scrambling to stick on the 53-man roster to a guy starring at Super Bowl media day singing Ricky Martin songs for a battery of TV cameras. The bottom line is that Mills has never backed down, either as a rookie who was often overmatched in 1-on-1 matchups or a much-improved second-year pro who thrived on covering the opposing team's best receiver. Mills, 23, is the youngest cornerback to start for a Super Bowl winner since Tracy Porter with the Saints in 2009. He's going to get only better.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: From the moment Mills was drafted in the seventh round, there have been a bunch of people who have said he isn't fast enough or good enough to be a starter in the NFL. He's been proving them wrong. And in 2017, his play began to catch up with his confidence. Who knows how he fits into the team's long-term plans, but it would be hard to take him off the field right now. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

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Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

We’ve officially reached the only sort of dead period on the NFL calendar. The Eagles are through their spring practices and won’t be back at the NovaCare Complex until July 25 for the start of training camp. 

That sounds far away, but it’ll be here before you know it. 

You guys were great and gave me a ton of questions, so I’ll answer half today and half Sunday. Let’s go: 

I’m tempted to say defensive tackle just for healthy concerns surrounding Tim Jernigan, but I have to answer linebacker. Jordan Hicks appears to be healthy after tearing his Achilles last year, but as good as he is when healthy, it’s just tough to count on him. Two years ago, he was able to play a full season and things were looking good, but then he suffered another serious injury. If Hicks and Bradham stay healthy, linebackers aren’t a concern. The Eagles will have either Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry or Corey Nelson take the weakside spot on base downs and they’ll be OK. 

But without Mychal Kendricks, it’s fair to be concerned about their depth at the position, especially after veteran pickup Paul Worrilow was already lost for the year. Kendricks came up huge last year as a fill-in; not sure the Eagles have that kind of depth this year. 

Not sure yet. What I can tell you about De’Vante Bausby is that he was impressive this spring and the coaching staff seems to love him. I remain very, very skeptical that he’s good enough to keep Sidney Jones off the field. With that said, I do think he’s talented enough to make the 53-man roster. We’ll get a better sense at camp when the pads go on, but I have him penciled in to make the team. 

Yes on both. The Nate Sudfeld hype is real. In our first extended looks at the young quarterback, he’s been incredibly impressive. It’s starting to make sense why the Eagles snatched him from Washington and then blocked the Colts from signing him last season. They kept him on the 53 in the second half of last year, so they’re completely prepared to keep three QBs on this year’s roster if Foles is still on the team. 

This is going to be the summer of Nate Sudfeld. We’re going to see him play a ton in those preseason games and that will let us know if he’s ready to be QB2 behind Carson Wentz. But the fact that the Eagles didn’t bring in a more experienced veteran after Wentz went down last year pretty much tells you all you need to know about what the Eagles think of him. 

We tried that. Didn’t work out well. We’re up for suggestions. 

You have no idea how out of water this fish is. This is like taking a fish from the ocean and dropping it in Kansas. 

How about Portugal? I’ll go with them because of Ronaldo. 

Where should Carson Wentz land on NFL's top 10 list?

Where should Carson Wentz land on NFL's top 10 list?

We now officially know Carson Wentz will be somewhere in the top 10 of the NFL Network’s top 100 players of 2018. 

We just don’t know where he’ll land. 

As far as the other Eagles on the list, the Super Bowl champions weren’t extremely well-represented: 68. Zach Ertz, 69. Fletcher Cox, 95. Lane Johnson, 96. Malcolm Jenkins. 

Before tearing his ACL and LCL on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles, it seemed like Wentz was on his way to an MVP season. In 13 games, Wentz threw for over 3,200 yards and a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes. 

Wentz is the only player in the top 10 who has never been anywhere on the top 100 list before. Can he go from off the list to No. 1?

Here’s the list of players (in alphabetical order) who will be unveiled in the top 10 on Monday night. 

  • Le'Veon Bell 
  • Tom Brady 
  • Drew Brees 
  • Antonio Brown
  • Aaron Donald 
  • Todd Gurley
  • Julio Jones 
  • Von Miller 
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Carson Wentz

In the comments below, leave your top 10 in order. We’ll see how close everyone can get. 

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