ESPN has released their annual NFL Future Power Rankings (In$ider) which aim to project how teams will fare over the course of the next three seasons. The rankings are generated from a panel that consists of ESPN personalities Field Yates, Louis Riddick, and Mike Sando.
The Philadelphia Eagles finished 24th this year with an overall score of 63.5 out of 100. That's nine spots down from where they ranked last year at No. 15. It's fifteen spots down from where the Eagles ranked at No. 9 in 2014. The Birds continue to trend in the wrong direction.
The Eagles rank third in the NFC East and fourth to last in the conference. NFC teams ahead of the Eagles include: the Seattle Seahawks (1), Carolina Panthers (3), Green Bay Packers (6), Arizona Cardinals (7), Minnesota Vikings (8), Washington Redskins (12), New York Giants (16), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17), Atlanta Falcons (18), Detroit Lions (T-19), New Orleans Saints (T-19), and Chicago Bears (21). The Dallas Cowboys rank below the Eagles at No. 26. Chip Kelly's 49ers are second to last overall.
Here's how the Eagles ranked in all five future power ranking categories. The number in parentheses represents how the score has changed since 2015. All scores are out of 100.
Roster: 61.7 (-17.8)
QB: 63.3 (+10.3)
Coaching: 63.0 (-20.0)
Draft: 61.7 (-6.6)
Front Office: 66.7 (-4.0)
Firing Chip Kelly and hiring Doug Pederson is the biggest reason why Philadelphia's overall score dropped. Kelly clearly had issues, but he also led the Birds to 26 wins over three seasons. There are certainly head coaches who have done much worse. Meanwhile, Pederson is a complete unknown as a rookie head coach. The fact that he wasn't highly sought after could end up being irrelevant, but it's not very inspiring.
The other big area where the Eagles downgraded in ESPN's eyes is their roster talent. That's odd because the Eagles didn't lose many, if any, significant players this offseason. If anything, they got rid of players who were bad in 2015 such as Kiko Alonso and DeMarco Murray. The Eagles made some nice additions in free agency with the likes of Brandon Brooks and Rodney McLeod. I don't think the Eagles have a great roster, but I don't see why the score drop-off was this big.
Quarterback is the only area where the Eagles improved. That's due to the Carson Wentz acquisition. The Eagles finally have some hope at the QB position again.
Here's what ESPN identified as the Eagles' high point.
In assessing a roster's future outlook, it's important to be mindful of the financial side of football. For Philly, a strong core of talent has been locked up to extensions already, which bodes well for the years ahead. Players like Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson and Vinny Curry will be in Philly for the long haul. How the QB situation unfolds during the season is a big question mark, but the roster around the signal-caller is steady. -- Field Yates
Here's what ESPN identified as the low point of the team.
Chip Kelly is no longer around to be everyone's favorite whipping boy. Howie Roseman has always desperately wanted to be known and respected as a "football guy," and now he will get his chance to be responsible for everything that goes right or wrong. That includes the draft, where he gave away a boatload of draft capital to move up and select QB Carson Wentz with the No. 2 pick. He also took a chance on some players with character issues in the later rounds. I'm an admitted nonbeliever. We will see. -- Louis Riddick
Riddick used to work for the Eagles. It's no secret he's not a fan of Philadelphia's executive vice president of football operations. Riddick once ripped Roseman in a radio interview.
Riddick's criticism, though potentially fueled by having an axe to grind, isn't totally off-base. There are valid reasons to be skeptical of Roseman. So far, Roseman has seemingly put together a good offseason. His future job status is ultimately tied to the success/failure of Wentz, however.
So, do you think the Eagles are ranked too low? At least one ESPN writer thinks there's reason for optimism.
What could change: I had the Eagles' future roster ranked among the NFL's top 10 based on the extensions they have signed. Philly's roster ranked just 17th once we tallied all the votes, however. The quarterback situation appears muddled for the short term, but the longer-term future is clear. Wentz projects as the obvious starter for 2018. That seems like a good thing. -- Mike Sando
Overall, I think this rating is a little too harsh on the Eagles. I'd have them ranked in the late teens or so at this point. We won't have a great sense of their future outlook until we get to see more of Wentz.
At the very least, I don't see how the Giants are so far above them. New York has been so bad/mediocre since 2011 and now they have an unproven head coach. Their starting quarterback turns 36 after this season and they don't have a viable succession plan in place.
Where do you think the Eagles should be ranked?