ESPN gave the Philadelphia Eagles a mere "B" for their 2014 offseason. The grades were determined by averaging a panel of five ESPN personalities (Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Field Yates, Matt Williamson, and Mike Sando) plus some assistance from an anonymous current general manager. Entire explanation below, via ESPN In$ider:
Re-signed: WR Jeremy Maclin, P Donnie Jones, S Nate Allen, WR Riley Cooper.
Veteran additions: LB Bryan Braman, CB Nolan Carroll, OT Andrew Gardner, FS Malcolm Jenkins, FS Chris Maragos, RB Darren Sproles, QB Mark Sanchez.
Veteran subtractions: FS Colt Anderson, WR Jason Avant, FS Patrick Chung, FS Kurt Coleman, DT Clifton Geathers, DE Phillip Hunt, QB Michael Vick, WR DeSean Jackson, CB Brandon Hughes, RB Bryce Brown.
Draft picks: 1-Marcus Smith (DE), 2-Jordan Matthews (WR), 3-Josh Huff (WR), 4-Jaylen Watkins (CB), 5a-Taylor Hart (DE), 5b-Ed Reynolds (S), 7-Beau Allen (DT).
Analysis: Williamson and Yates gave the Eagles B-minus grades. Polian gave them an A. The gap between highest and lowest grades was large enough to invite another opinion. The GM consulted for this piece gave Philly a B-minus without knowing how anyone else had graded the Eagles. He called Jackson a cancer and predicted good things for Sproles in Chip Kelly's offense, but he also said the draft did not fall right for Philadelphia -- through no fault of the Eagles.
"They wanted [safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix] at [No. 22], but it didn't work out for them, so they took Marcus Smith, who was closer to a second-round talent and not a great scheme fit," the GM said, in reference to Clinton-Dix coming off the board at No. 21 and Philly then trading back with Cleveland to No. 26, where the Eagles took Smith.
Williamson said he'd much rather have Jackson than the Eagles' second-round choice, Matthews, at wide receiver. He predicted the offense would fall off some and didn't see where the team would be noticeably better. Polian thought the Eagles did what they had to do with Jackson, a player they'll now have to defend twice a season.
"Not only are they following the plan, they are doing it in a way that makes perfect sense when you consider what their objectives are," Polian said. "They didn't make a lot of splash. They want to improve the defense and improve it within the context of their system and they have done that pretty dramatically. They got rid of a guy [Jackson] that clearly did not fit with what the coach wanted and replaced him with people who do."
• The grade discrepancy is worth noting.
• Interesting to see an (anonymous) GM admit that DeSean Jackson was a locker room "cancer."
• It is true the Eagles' first round selection did not go as planned. Howie Roseman admitted as much. The Eagles had six targets they really wanted at pick No. 22 and none of them were on the board. They didn't want to trade up because it would have been too costly and they only had six picks to begin with.
• I'm not sure why Marcus Smith wouldn't fit the Eagles scheme. He's long, tall, athletic, and versatile. Those qualities seem to make up exactly what the Eagles want from their outside linebackers.
• I don't know why we're comparing DeSean Jackson and Jordan Matthews. Neither does Matthews. "I’m a totally different player than DeSean Jackson. I don’t even know where those comparisons would come from."
• Polian's sentiment is agreeable. I wouldn't describe the Eagles offseason moves as random. There is a plan, and it's about bringing in talented players who fit both Chip Kelly's scheme and culture. I do question Polian's use of "dramatically." I'm not sure the Eagles defense has improved to that extent.
• NFC East offseason grades: Dallas Cowboys (C), New York Giants (B), Washington Redskins (C)
Now it's your turn. How would you grade the Eagles offseason?