Eagles Mailbag: Playoff Expectations, Earl Wolff vs. Nate Allen, and more

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles Q&A.

Welcome to the BGN Mailbag. Thanks to everyone on the BGN mailbag thread and Twitter who sent in a question. I couldn't get to all of them, but here are the ones I did answer.

T-rade asks: What do you consider the best/worst case scenario as far as potential for Eagles draft picks barring injuries?

In the best case scenario, I see five eventual starters coming out of the Eagles 2014 NFL Draft class. That would be Marcus Smith, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Jaylen Watkins, and Taylor Hart. Reynolds could eventually challenge for a starting job but might be more of a special teams player and third safety to start. Beau Allen fits in as a situational nose tackle and depth player.

In the worst case scenario, the Eagles walk away with some solid starters but no real difference makers. Smith doesn't bring anything special as a pass rusher. Matthews and Huff are just effort players. Watkins and Hart are backups at best. Reynolds and Allen aren't on the roster in 2015.

@PatrickVoltage asks: If Foles underachieves in '14 does Chip go after his replacement before '15 season or after?

This question brings up a point no one wants to think about. What if Foles is merely good but not good enough? He's theoretically due a contract extension after the 2014 season, and quarterbacks do not come cheap. The Eagles can't give Foles that kind of money unless they're absolutely 100% sure he can be the guy. If Foles produces again in 2014, this won't be a concern. But if he seriously struggles the Eagles QB situation will get complicated.

EaglesForever20 asks: Which game(s) do you think the Eagles will qualify as a trap game?

Just look at that Tennessee Titans game sitting there on the Eagles' schedule. The one that follows a game against the Green Bay Packers and precedes the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving match-up. If the Titans are as bad or mediocre as expected to be, it should be a very winnable game. But it's a trap.

jimmyrustler asks: What Pre-season/Camp battles are you most looking forward to? Who's the surprise player to make the team that you're rooting for?

The battle for the last wide receiver spot should be interesting. I'm assuming the Eagles keep six, with the first five being Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, and Brad Smith. And perhaps B.J. Cunningham could be that sixth guy. I really enjoyed watching BJC play at MSU. He didn't get a chance to show anything last summer because he was waived/injured early in camp. He's a huge long-shot that I'll be keeping an eye on.

Green_Go asks: Do you think Wolff will beat out Allen for the starting safety spot?

Nate Allen enters this competition with an edge because he proved to be a capable starter in 2013. Wolff was a little more up and down. I see Allen winning this job unless Wolff clearly beats him out. The loser of Wolff/Allen will still see rotational playing time as the third safety.

EaglameetsDr.Philly asks: What’s a realistic expectation for the Eagles this year in regards to playoffs?

The playoffs are a crap shoot, but I think they win at least one playoff game this year. They have a good shot to win the NFC East and host another home playoff game.

connerr25 asks: Nick Foles was not ranked anywhere in PFF s top 101 players of 2013. Thoughts?

I don’t think it’s crazy to say there were times where Foles’ stats didn’t match up with the eye test. Take the Vikings game for example, or even the first half of the Saints game. There were times where Foles was missing easy throws or leaving plays on the field. I vividly recall a third down play in the Saints game where Celek was wide open 20+ yards down field and Foles just didn’t see him and instead checked down to Avant. The Eagles had to punt.

That’s an area where he needs to improve.

StoneColeKiller58: Is Ced Thornton on the roster in 2016?

So many things can change from now until then but I will say yes for two main reasons. One, Thornton is an absolute force as a run stopper. And two, I think Chip Kelly likes him a lot. Kelly often lauded Thornton as one of the best players on the Eagles' entire defense in 2013.

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Don't forget to check out the BGN mailbag thread itself for the other questions that I answered.

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