Dave Zangaro

Donovan McNabb weighs in on Carson Wentz's durability and expectations with Eagles

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Donovan McNabb weighs in on Carson Wentz's durability and expectations with Eagles

Everyone has an opinion on Carson Wentz, even the former franchise quarterback of the Eagles, Donovan McNabb. 

This morning, 5 was on CBS Sports Radio with Zach Gelb and spewed his take on Wentz, one that doesn’t offer the new franchise quarterback much of a leash. 

Here’s what he said on the topic: 

I think in the next two years or so, he needs to find a way to get out of the second round of the playoffs. What Nick Foles was able to do, take them to a Super Bowl and then possibly take them back to the NFC Championship proves that, hey, some people can get into that offense and be very successful. [Wentz] hasn’t been healthy. He hasn’t really proven to me, besides the year before he got hurt, in his first year, of really the MVP candidate. He needs to get back to that mode. 

I think, personally, if he can’t get out of the second round in the next two, maybe three, years, but really two years, to be honest with you. If he can’t get out of the second round, they should look to possibly draft another quarterback because you just don’t know about his durability. Staying healthy is very key in this league. The team only goes as far as their quarterback takes them. And they put so many eggs in the basket with Carson Wentz and he has to prove that in the next two years. 

Well, the first thing here is that we should correct McNabb. The year Wentz got hurt was his MVP-caliber season. Had he played those last three games, he probably would have won the award. No harm done. Moving on. 

Now, let’s get to the gist of McNabb’s point. He has Wentz on a very short leash. If Wentz can’t get to an NFC Championship game in two years, they should move on, according to McNabb.  

I get part of what McNabb is saying even though he didn’t really say it. The Eagles are clearly in win-now mode; their window to win Super Bowls is open right now and they need Wentz to play well for that to happen. But to say he needs to get out of the second round because “you don’t know about his durability” doesn’t really make much sense. Sure, if he’s healthy, he’ll probably be good and the Eagles will find success. Is McNabb’s point that if Wentz isn’t healthy, they should move on? Well, that’s a salient one, I suppose. 

Here’s the thing, though. The idea that the Eagles should just draft another quarterback is a hard proposition. Franchise QBs don’t grow on trees. It’s why the Eagles were so aggressive to trade up in 2016…because they identified Wentz as that guy. And it seems unlikely the Eagles are going to stink if Wentz is on the field. So, then we’re talking about a pretty big jump up in the draft to get another elite quarterback. 

Maybe McNabb didn’t put too much thought into this answer. Because getting into the NFC Championship Game in two years seems like a pretty arbitrary goal. What if Wentz plays well in the playoffs and the Eagles lose close games in the divisional round in back-to-back years? Still moving on? Yeah, probably not. 

And we didn’t even talk about the contract. The Eagles have seemed pretty on-board with getting an extension done with Wentz this offseason or next. If that happens, you can forget about them moving on. Then they’ll be locked in with Wentz for better or for worse.

McNabb was also asked about some other stuff pertaining to the Eagles and around the league. Listen if you want: 

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Are Eagles more likely to trade up or down in 2019 draft?

Are Eagles more likely to trade up or down in 2019 draft?

During his joint 42-minute pre-draft media availability this week, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was asked a simple question: 

Are you more interested in trading up or down in the first round? 

His answer was not nearly as simple: 

Who’s on the board? What’s the value? What are we getting?

His point, of course, was that they’ll have to see how the first round is going before figuring out whether or not they’d be willing to trade up to target a player or trade back to acquire more draft picks. At No. 25, it seems like they’re in a good position to do either. And Roseman is never shy about making draft-day trades. 

I still think the Eagles are more likely to trade up to get what Roseman calls a “difference-maker,” but that doesn’t mean a trade down isn’t possible. 

Remember, for Roseman, the draft isn’t about just getting good players; it’s about getting good players for good value. Earlier this week, Roseman outlined three reasons to make a trade in the first round: 

1. Trading up: If there’s a fall-off point in talent in the first round, it makes sense to move up to get a difference-maker. The Eagles are sitting at 25, so if they have 20 players they think are first-round worthy (even though their grading scale doesn’t work by round), there’s a chance they’ll have to move up to get one of those top players. They’ll do their research, but won’t truly know if one of those top-tier players will be available at 25 until the players start getting picked off the board. 

2. Trading down: If the Eagles are on the clock at 25 and they have, say, four players who are graded equally or close to it, they could add value by moving back three or four spots. They would get more or better later-round picks and still get a player they view as an equal to whomever they’d get at 25. 

3. Trading down: If they’re on the clock at 25 and they don’t think any of the players are worthy of that pick, they can hope someone else sees value there. In that case, they can trade back and get into a pocket of that round or the next round where they’d feel more comfortable making a pick. 

Since he became the Eagles’ GM in 2010, Roseman has been in charge of eight drafts (not including the 2015 draft under Chip Kelly). In those eight years, he has made 25 draft-day trades and four of them include first rounders. That’s over 3.0 per year and he’s never not made a trade during the draft. (This doesn’t include the two trades in 2016 to get in position to draft Carson Wentz; those happened before the draft.) 

Of the four Round 1 trades, two were to trade up, two were to trade down. 

• In 2010, the Eagles traded picks Nos. 24, 70 and 87 to move up to No. 13 to draft Brandon Graham. 

• In 2012, the Eagles traded Nos. 15, 114 and 172 to move up to No. 12 to draft Fletcher Cox. 

• In 2014, the Eagles traded No. 22 down to No. 26 to draft Marcus Smith. The Browns wanted Johnny Manziel. The Eagles also got No. 83. 

• In 2018, the Eagles traded out of the first round (No. 32) when the Ravens wanted to draft Lamar Jackson. The Birds ended up trading back up higher in the second to take Dallas Goedert the next day. 

Roseman has talked before about the usual talent cutoff in first rounds. There are only a certain amount of “difference-makers” atop every draft — it differs by team — and on Tuesday, he said most drafts don’t have “32 legitimate first round grades” on players. He, of course, didn’t say whether or not this is one of those years, as to not tip his hand. But the Eagles are already running through all the hypothetical situations. And this is the time where preliminary phone calls between teams about draft-day intentions start happening. Roseman always says trades happen because of relationships around the league. 

So the reason Roseman didn’t answer the question on Tuesday is because he probably really doesn’t know what’s going to happen when the draft kicks off. He certainly has more of an idea than he let on — I still think the Eagles are in prime trade up territory — but there’s no point in tipping his hand. 

The only thing we know for certain: Roseman isn’t one to shy away from draft-day moves, so there’s a good chance we see one again next week. 

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Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

Eagles open as big favorites over Washington in Week 1

If you quickly thought “W” when you saw the Eagles were hosting Washington at the Linc to open up the 2019 regular season, you’re not the only one. 

The Eagles opened up as eight-point favorites on FanDuel. That’s pretty consistent with other sports books too. I’ve also seen them at 8 1/2. 

That eight-point spread is the biggest of Week 1 in the NFL, but that shouldn’t be too surprising. Maybe if Washington trades for Josh Rosen, that changes. Maybe if they draft a quarterback in the first round, that changes. But for now? That seems about right. 

Washington fell apart last year, but the Eagles beat them 28-13 in Week 13 and 24-0 in Week 17. In the last two seasons, the Eagles are 4-0 against the Skins and have beaten them by an average of 15 1/2 points per game. If that continues, they'll cover easily. 

Elsewhere in NFL Week 1, the Seahawks are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Bengals, the Cowboys are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Giants and the Saints are 7 1/2-point favorites over the Texans. Those three favorites are also at home. 

Taking a quick look at FanDuel’s futures odds, the Eagles are tied for the seventh-longest odds to win the Super Bowl at +1,600. That means if you bet $100, you’d win $1,600. 

Here are current Super Bowl odds: 

Patriots: +700
Chiefs: +800
Saints: +850
Rams: +900
Browns: +1400
Chargers: +1400
Bears: +1600
Colts: +1600
Eagles: +1600
Packers: +1800
Vikings: +2000
Steelers: +2000
Cowboys: +2300
Falcons: +2600
Texans: +2800
Seahawks: +2900
49ers: +3000
Jaguars: +3300
Ravens: +3400
Panthers: +5000
Titans: +5000
Raiders: +5500
Broncos: +6000
Giants: +6000
Jets: +6000
Buccaneers: +6000
Bills: +8000
Lions: +8000
Redskins: +8000
Bengals: +10000
Cardinals: +11000
Dolphins: +12000

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