It has always been said that the game of Football is determined at the line of scrimmage, so that is where I will begin my State of The Eagles Address. With Kelce, Mathis, and Peters all receiving offseason awards for their play, a young budding star in Lane Johnson, and the average Todd Herremans (lol), the Eagles boast arguably the best offensive line in the league. I envision them standing pat and keeping the entire core intact, while probably drafting lineman in the later rounds of the draft (something that could definitely pay dividends in the future). Defensively, Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Bennie Logan are all under the age of 25. Cox and Thorton are 3-4 DE studs, and I’m anticipating a profound leap next year--Cox's second in Billy Davis’ system. Logan was a pleasant surprise the second half of the year, and although he got pushed around by the Saints in the final game of the season, he was only a rookie and New Orleans boasts two of the best guards this league has to offer. As displayed by Seattle, the key to a productive defensive line is depth. The depth along our line is something that will need to be addressed this offseason; most realistically in the mid-late rounds of the draft, and one or two mid-level Free Agency signings that Howie Roseman has voiced his affinity for. Although I have high hopes for Bennie Logan, bringing in a monster NT like B.J Raji, or drafting someone like Louis Nix III are realistic possibilities, and something I am most definitely on board with. I just do not view it as much of a glaring need as other positions.
With Nick Foles, Shady and D-Jax, the big three will be back and poised to break the records they set this past year. I am also very excited about the development of TE Zach Ertz. I feel as though it usually takes tight ends a year or two to get their play on solid footing, and I envision a Jordan Cameron-like breakout year for Ertz, especially with Chip Kelly at the helm. Depth at Wide Receiver has been the hottest topic of the offseason. I’m praying for the "return of the Mac", and feel like our money could be best spent elsewhere if the market for Riley it too high. I envision a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick on a WR, and a mid-level FA signing--- would love to get James Jones if the price is right.
The back 7 of the defense is, no question, the biggest concern our Front Office has to have. Demeco Ryans and Trent Cole are past their primes, both Cornerbacks—although I love their size and physicality, could be described as average, and we all know how brutal the safety position has been since the departure of Brian Dawkins. The real question here is do they envision Brandon Boykin sliding to the outside? He was ranked #1 by PFF at his position, and was 2nd in the NFL in interceptions while only playing half of the snaps. Simple and plain, he needs to be on the field every single play. I believe that we will stand pat at this position, most likely drafting a tall, physical cornerback somewhere in the early to middle rounds of the draft. That player will take over the duties of Roc Carmichael this year and hopefully we can groom him into the player to replace Fletcher or Williams. The cornerback position will be fine as long as we can upgrade the pass rush, and safety positions. I would be absolutely thrilled if Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr slide down draft boards enough to make it realistic for us to trade-up and get one of them. While the most likely scenario is us going after someone like Dee Ford to be the pass rush specialist this year, and develop into the eventual replacement for Trent Cole. The biggest question mark for us is the safety position. Every other area on this team I said that we should sign a mid-level (cheap) free agent, or address the position in the draft . This leads me to Jarius Byrd. If I’m Howie Roseman there is no doubt in my mind that I NEED Byrd. He is a playmaking, all-pro safety that will single-handily upgrade our entire defensive unit. Look at the difference he made in the Buffalo Bills. Without Byrd, someone like Ward or Whitner are a necessity, and something I will be extremely disappointed if we do not pursue. As far as Nate Allen goes, that is a judgment call, but I would much rather sign Jarius Byrd, and roll with Earl Wolfe at depth to compete with a top draft pick (Buchanon, Pryor, Clinton-Dix).
OFFSEASON SOLUTION: (key players)
Re-structure: Contracts of Trent Cole, Demeco Ryans, James Casey
Re-Sign: Maclin, Donnie Jones
Sign: Jarius Byrd or TJ Ward, James Jones, Defensive Line depth, Kicker (Graham Gano?)
Draft: Round 1: OLB/S
3: CB/ WR
The only impact player not coming back for the Eagles will be Riley Cooper. In Chip Kelly’s scheme I do not think that will affect this offense whatsoever. With a huge upgrade at the safety position, some mid-level free agent singings, a productive draft impacting the pass rush, safety, wide receiver, and O-Line/D-Line Depth, the Eagles will still be boatloads of money under the Cap, and have a young, talented and hungry core ready to fuck shit up next year lets goo!!