The Philadelphia Eagles came into 2019 with a legitimate shot at winning the NFC. The season didn’t exactly go according to plan, though.
Philadelphia was 5-7 at Week 13 after three straight losses. But then the team rebounded by winning its last four games of the season to clinch the NFC East title. The Eagles rallying to make the playoffs was impressive, especially given the slew of injuries they suffered throughout the season. Then their bad luck struck again when Carson Wentz had to leave the playoff game against the Seahawks with a head injury.
The Eagles can turn their fortune around with a strong offseason.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7), lost in Wild Card Round
There are a few positions the Eagles can prioritize to help them get back to the playoffs — and ensure they’re not done in by a lack of depth again.
Before free agency:
- Wide receiver: By the end of the season, the Eagles had lost starters DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor. Agholor is a free agent this season, and his production hasn’t been good enough to keep him around. Luckily, there are plenty of talented wideouts in this year’s draft class that the Eagles can target with the No. 21 overall pick.
- Cornerback: The Eagles were hurting at cornerback in 2019. By Week 9, they had played 23 games in a row with at least one starter in the secondary missing, and the team had started 16 different defensive backs during that time. On top of that, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are set to become free agents. Philadelphia will likely add a corner in free agency.
- Linebacker: The Eagles declined to pick up Nigel Bradham‘s option, while Kamu Grugier-Hill will also be a free agent. Those two combined for 18 starts and 84 tackles last season. Nathan Gerry led the group with 52 solo tackles, but he definitely needs some help around him.
What Bleeding Green Nation wants most this offseason: Speed! The Eagles must get faster on both sides of the ball. Philly doesn’t have any legitimate deep threats outside of Jackson, who’s turning 34 after missing most of the 2019 season. Howie Roseman needs to finally give Wentz some explosive weapons to work with. Defensively, it’s been tiresome to watch the Eagles’ cornerbacks get roasted on a weekly basis. With Darby and Mills set to be free agents, there’s an obvious need to upgrade the secondary. — Brandon Lee Gowton
After free agency:
The Eagles addressed some of their needs in free agency. They boosted the cornerback position by trading for Darius Slay and adding Nickell Robey-Coleman. But there is still a lot of work to be done, especially at receiver. Most notably, the Eagles released their best safety, three-time Pro Bowler Malcolm Jenkins, and re-signed Jalen Mills, who will move to safety.
1. Wide receiver: The Eagles didn’t address wide receiver in free agency. Although GM Howie Roseman said the team was focused on defense primarily in free agency, Philly has to make receiver a priority in the draft. A receiver like LSU’s Justin Jefferson or Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. should be available at pick No. 21.
2. Offensive line: Jason Peters is a free agent and Halapoulivaati Vaitai signed with the Lions. Unless the team brings back the 38-year-old Peters, then Philadelphia could add some depth to its line in April.
3. Linebacker: The Eagles signed former Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown to a one-year deal, but they could use some more help there in the draft.
After the draft:
The Eagles, to no surprise, targeted a wide receiver with their first pick. What was a little bit of a surprise, though, was that they took TCU’s Jalen Reagor (they also traded for receiver Marquise Goodwin on draft weekend and selected Boise State’s John Hightower in Round 5).
However, the biggest surprise came in the second round when Philadelphia opted for a quarterback, despite having 27-year-old Wentz under contract through 2024. So what role will Alabama/Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts fill? Maybe a little bit of everything.
The Eagles drafted two offensive linemen but not until Day 3: Auburn guard Jack Driscoll (fourth round) and his college teammate, tackle Prince Tega Wanogho (seventh). Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor, a third-round pick, is a bit of a project but has a high ceiling.