With the NFL Combine officially come and gone, March 9th and the official start of the league season is just around the corner. With everything that’s going to happen in the next month, here’s everything you need to know for the Eagles offseason. You’ll find potential FA targets for the Eagles, who they can trade or release to make some new cap room, scouting reports on different players who could interest the Eagles, a full 7-round Eagles only mock draft, and more.
Who stays and who goes?
The Eagles are a little strapped for cash this offseason, carrying roughly $10 million after the release of CB Leodis McKelvin. While it’s not a lot, contrary to popular belief, the lack of funds won’t stop the Eagles from signing a big name free agent if they want to. There will be several more moves made to free up cap space before the free agency starts, and Howie Roseman is actually rather good at working team friendly deals. To start, here’s a list of Eagles players who could be cut or traded to free up cap space, and whether or not I think they’ll be suiting up in midnight green next season. As I’m sure most of you know, Leodis McKelvin has already been released and Jason Peters will stay with the team, so I’m going to leave them off the list.
- Connor Barwin – Barwin is the guy who’s most likely to be playing for another team in the coming season in my opinion. Which sucks, because besides being a really good football player, Connor Barwin is a great guy for both the team and the city. Unfortunately, Barwin simply doesn’t fit the Eagles scheme. Barwin still has trade value, and Howie should look high and low for a trade partner before they cut him.
- Jason Kelce – Personally, I think the Eagles should keep Kelce for another year. Consistency along the offensive line is extremely important in general, but even more so with a second year QB. While I am a big fan of Isaac Suemalo (he was in several of my mock draft’s last season) I don’t see the point in starting him when you can give him another year of development. Still, the Eagles could save a decent chuck of cash by releasing him.
- Mychal Kendricks – Linebacker depth will be an issue for the Eagles if they move on from Kendricks, which is why I’m on the fence about him leaving. But Kendricks has more trade value than any other “expendable” player the Eagles have, and I’ll have some serious concerns if Howie can not get it done. Pretty much every team that uses a base 3-4 defense could use a linebacker with the blitzing ability like Kendricks, and the Eagles could get a solid return from him.
- Dorial Green-Beckham – Many see DGB as a prime candidate to be cut, but if I were a betting man, my money would be on him returning for another season. With a cap hit of less than $1 million, and the fact that he still has plenty of promise, DGB will likely get another shot with the Eagles.
- Brent Celek – With a $5 million cap hit and Ertz and Burton emerging as a dangerous combination, it would seem that the Eagles might want to move on from Celek. But the Eagles would also need to eat his dead money value of $4 million, which simply does make sense. He’ll be around for at least one more season.
On the other end of things, here’s a list of the free agent names I think the Eagles should look hardest at this offseason, and whether or not the Eagles make a run and/or land them.
- Trumaine Johnson – It’s looking like the Rams are planning to franchise tag Johnson for the second straight season, but if they don’t, the Eagles should make a hard run at signing him. The Eagles can’t afford to go into next season with no veteran corner’s, and Johnson is one of the best in the NFL. He’ll command a large payday, but he’s well worth it. That being said, as much as I would love Johnson, if the Rams don’t franchise tag him, some team with a lot of cap space is going to give him a huge contract. I doubt he’ll be suiting up for Philly next season. (Note, Johnson has been franchised tagged by the Rams)
- DeSean Jackson – A reunion between Jackson and the Eagles has been talked about for a while now, and it does make sense. Jackson would bring serious speed, something the Eagles offense has been really missing, as well as good route running and a solid hand’s. His age and price tag give are cause for concern, but Jackson can still play with the best of them. If the Eagles have serious interest in Jackson (I would guess that they do), then then there are ways for them to pay him the amount he’s asking for. Of all the free agent wide receivers linked to the Eagles this offseason, Jackson is the one most likely to sign with Philly in my opinion.
- Kenny Stills – Personally going to have to take a hard pass on Still’s. Sure he’s only 24, but nothing about Stills really pops to me when watching tape. He seems to have a lot of his biggest plays in the slot, and while he is fast, I don’t see him as a true number 1 guy. He’s also never had more than 1000 yard’s receiving in one season. Rumor is that he want’s $12 million a year, and if the Eagles are going to pay that much, they might as well just target Jeffery.
- Latavious Murray – Eagles fans often consider recent running back free agent signings to be failures. But in all honesty, except for Demarco Murray (and that was really Chip Kelly’s fault) the most recent signings, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, have both been huge parts of the Eagles offense this past few seasons. Sure the Eagles could land a better prospect in the draft, but Murray is a potentially cheap prospect who could give the Eagles really good production. I have my doubts that the Eagles will bite, but he’s not a bad option.
- Alshon Jeffery – Jeffery is obviously the big name free agent connected to the Eagles this offseason. Easily the most talented wide receiver on the market, Jeffery is a big target who will make most catches. He’s a good route runner and brings good speed too. But Jeffery has plenty of question marks, including a recent four game suspension and injury problems. He’ll command a heavy price tag, but if the Eagles think he can turn it around, he’s no doubt the guy they should go after.
Strengths: Wilson is my number two corner in this year’s draft. Great size and good speed to match. Wilson’s best quality by far is his competitiveness, he’s more than willing to accept the job of being a team’s top corner. Has really good strength, which can help make up for some athletic problems. He’s got good anticipation in coverage, and can read routes well. He’s a good tackler, more than willing to to be part of the run defense, something that’s important for corner’s in Schwartz’s scheme.
Weaknesses: Hips and footwork could use some work, can get stuck in transition. Relies on his speed more than he should in space, ignoring footwork. If he worries he’s going to be beat, he’ll rely on his hands more than his footwork, which can lead to unnecessary penalties.
Bottom Line: While he’s not totally clean in his coverage, Wilson has the attitude that NFL corner’s absolutely need. With a few years to develop, Wilson has all the tools to develop into a top NFL corner.
Strengths – Great size, speed, and route running. Wins at the line of scrimmage with good hand and footwork. Good at high pointing the ball and making contested catches. Great attitude, always wants to win. Consistent production over four years. Great in the intermediate and deep parts of the field. Control and use of speed in route running makes him even more dangerous.
Weaknesses – Could be truly dominant if he sells his route running better. Has issues with focus drops, and sometimes lets the ball come to him on short routes. Not a great blocker.
Bottom Line – One of the NFL’s next great wide outs. If he can fix the drop issues, he can reach A.J. Green/Julio Jones levels. A quarterback’s best friend, Davis is going to be a great addition to any NFL team.
Strengths – Big, strong, physical receiver that has the size and speed combinations that NFL teams love. Fantastic boundary receiver who catches most of what comes his way. Can play anywhere on the field. Footwork is solid, but needs fine-tuning. Tracking ability is phenomenal, pinpoints the ball with incredible precision while its in the air. Huge threat in the redone, if the ball is near him, he’ll catch it.
Weaknesses- Route running needs work, especially at the intermediate level. While Williams has solid speed, he’s not explosive, and the need for improved footwork means he will be easy to jam at the line playing against physical corner’s. Huge injury concerns.
Bottom Line – Mike Williams is the perfect plug and play guy. He’s going to win around 65% or more of his contested catches, and can be both a great number 1 receiver and an QB’s fallback plan. His route running, focus, and footwork could all use improvement, but his ability to play at a high level while refining those skills is what makes Williams the best receiver in this draft.
Strengths – Footwork is exceptional and paired with a long, smooth stride he can easily fool and outrun most defenders. Can fool defenders with his feet, eyes, and body movement and has the intelligence to know what moves will work best at different levels of the field. His balance and vision will make him a threat any time he touches the ball. Solid catcher out of the backfield.
Weaknesses – Dalvin Cook is reportedly falling down draft boards for three big reasons. Ball security issues, injury concerns, and off the field issues. He can also be too quick t bounce outside, and has a tendency to duck his head and finish runs earlier than he should. Fights his hips more than he should, which can cause him to to stiff up and react slowly. Not a reliable blocker.
Bottom Line – Dalvin Cook controls his future. He’s got the ability to be a huge threat as both a runner and a pass catcher in the NFL. But maturity issues as well as ball security could cause him plenty of problems. His issues are easy to fix, but he needs to fix them fast. If he can do that and focus on the game, he’s got consistent all-pro talent.
Strengths – Smooth stride, fierce competitor, physical at the line. Probably the best eyes in this draft. Good anticipation and patience. Good tracker, knows when to watch his man and when to watch the ball. Doesn’t let mistakes bring him down. Really good footwork and good speed means that even when he is beat, he can recover quickly and still make plays.
Weaknesses – The biggest knock on Jones is his size. Good height, but he needs to gain upper body weight, probably 5-7 pounds, in order to compete with big physical receivers. Fights his hips too often, and struggles to make an impact in the run game.
Bottom Line – If Jones can add some more muscle, he’ll be remarkably similar to another Washington corner, current NFL star Marcus Peters. If he can add to his frame without sacrificing his speed, he’ll be a lock down corner for a very long time.
It’s no secret, this year’s draft is stacked in the positions the Eagles need the most. From big needs like cornerback and wide receiver, to more underrated ones like defensive end depth, the Eagles have a really good chance to addresses the glaring holes in the roster. Here you’ll find a list of my top-10 graded players at positons of need for the Eagles. It will include corners, wide receivers, running backs, linebackers, and offensive guards. I’m leaving out tackles and centers not because the Eagles shouldn’t address those positions, but because for now, Isaac Suemalo and Big V are the hopeful future and were just drafted last year.
- Marshon Lattimore
- Quincy Wilson
- Sidney Jones
- Gareon Conley
- Fabian Moreau
- Jourdan Lewis
- Teez Tabor
- Tre’davious White
- Cordrea Tankersly
- Adoree’ Jackson
- Mike Williams
- Corey Davis
- John Ross
- Zay Jones
- Chris Godwin
- Cooper Kupp
- Carlos Hendeson
- Juju Smith-Schuster
- Chad Hansen
- Isaiah Ford
- Leonard Fournette
- Dalvin Cook
- Joe Mixon
- Christian Mccaffery
- Alvin Kamara
- D’onta Foreman
- Marlon Mack
- Wayne Gallam
- Brian Hill
- Kareem Hunt
- Reuben Foster
- Zach Cunningham
- Haason Reddick
- Raekwon McMillan
- Anthony Walker
- Vince Biegal
- Paul Magloire Jr.
- Duke Riley
- Jalen Reeves-Maybin
- Kendell Beckwith
- Dan Feeney
- Forrest Lamp
- Dorian Johnson’
- Zach Banner
- Greg Pyke
- Damien Mama
- Nico Siragusa
- Isaac Asiata
- Sean Harlow
- Chase Roullier
Those are my top-10 players at the positions I think the Eagles most need to address in the draft. And speaking of the draft, here’s my second Eagles only mock draft of the season.
Round 1: Sidney Jones, CB – Jones can pretty much do it all as a corner. He has a silky smooth stride and use’s his hands well. He’s great at targeting the ball when it’s in the air, and just as good at reading the QB. If he can pack on 5-7 pounds, he’ll be easily comparable to another, Washington CB Marcus Peters. He needs to learn to be more patient in press coverage, but he has all the tools to be a successful NFL corner.
Round 2: Chris Godwin, WR – The Eagles need a young wide receiver, and after a dominant combine, Chris Goodwin may be their guy. Even though he’s a tad undersized at 5’10 (and no, that really doesn’t matter too much) he plays like he’s 6’2. He put on an incredible display of athleticism in the combine, and as many Penn State fans will tell you, he catches pretty much everything. It also helps that he can play anywhere on the field. Paired with a free agent WR, Godwin can become an immediate threat for Carson Wentz and the Eagles.
Round 3: Joe Mixon, RB – Reports on Joe Mixon are all over the place. Some say he’ll hear his name called early on day two, while others say teams have an un-draftable grade on him. Bottom line is this, Mixon is an increadibly talented back worthy of round one consideration if it weren’t for his off the field issues. The new organization has shown that they’ll draft “troubled” players, and Mixon would instantly be the best running back on the team. Paired with Sporles and Smallwood, Mixon would take pressure of Wentz to win games by himself.
Round 4: Bryan Cox, EDGE – For the wide-9 to work, the Eagles need constant pressure from their EDGE rushers, and also need depth to get that. Cox isn’t the most refined player, but the natural instincts and athleticism showcase a guy who could seriously excel in the wide-9 with a little development. His athleticism means he could probably play right away if needed, and in a year or two could become an important part of the rotation at DE.
Round 4: Marquez White, CB – White is a developmental guy through and through. From a physical perspective, he’s got the attributes that NFL teams loves. At 6 foot and 185 pounds, he’s got both the size and speed to play against anyone although he could stand to gain some weight. He’s got long arms and big hands, but just isn’t refined enough. He fights his hips to often, and needs to smooth out his stride, especially his backpedal. But talent is obvious, and with good size and a few years’ development, White can be a really good number two guy.
Round 5: Steven Taylor, LB – The Eagles have a lot of needs, and among them is linebacker depth. Drafting Steven Taylor here would help make that a lot less of a need. Another developmental guy, Steven Taylor can do all the things required of an NFL level linebacker, he just doesn’t have the athleticism you’d want. That being said, a few years behind guys like Jordan Hicks, and Taylor can be a valuable player for the Eagles,
Round 6: Dede Westbrook, WR – Westbrook went into the combine with a chance to prove he should be considered among the top WR in this class. Instead, he dropped his value even lower. His interviews went poorly, and a lot of teams even said they consider him un-draftable. Grabbing him in the 6th round gives the Eagles another option at WR. A low risk, high reward type pick like this is the one the Eagles should be making. Westbrook has the talent to succeed in the NFL, he just needs to prove that he wants to.
Round 7: Mitch Leidner, QB –Competition makes players better. While Leidner is nothing more than a career 3rd string QB or camp body, the Eagles need both when it comes to QB, so he’s the pick here.