The Philadelphia Eagles probably won't win the Super Bowl this season (gasp!). The team simply isn't optimized to contend with the best squads in the league. The Birds are likely going to have Sam Bradford, who has never even won eight games in his career, as their starter. Other rosters holes and a general lack of offensive talent will impede their title chances.
The Eagles intentionally weren't so focused on the short-term this offseason as much as they prioritized building for the long-run. Spending the most guaranteed money in the NFL to lock up a core group of key players and acquiring a potential franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz could prove to be moves that pay off in the future.
But when will those rewards be realized? How far away is this Eagles roster from legitimately contending for the Super Bowl? What still needs to be done? In order to address these questions, let's revisit Pat Kirwan's 13-question activity to determine whether NFL teams have enough roster depth to win a title.
1) Does the team have a backup quarterback who can go at least 2-2 in a 4 game stretch?
Yes. Or at least that's what the Eagles think. The team wouldn't have signed Chase Daniel to a deal worth $21 million over three years if they didn't believe in his ability.
During spring practices, it was easy to see why the Eagles like Daniel. He looked pretty solid overall. He clearly has a good understanding of Doug Pederson's offense. He doesn't make mental errors with the frequency that Mark Sanchez used to.
Daniel is .500 as a starter in the NFL; he went 1-1 in his two starts. I don't think it's crazy to say he could go at least 2-2. He's arguably one of the best backups in the league.
2) Does the team have a real swing offensive tackle, a guy that can play left or right tackle and has experience?
Maybe. I guess Allen Barbre could be the team's swing tackle if he doesn't end up starting at left guard. Otherwise the Birds could be relying on the likes of Dennis Kelly and/or Matt Tobin. Those guys have experience, yeah, but they haven't been very good.
The Eagles made a good decision to address the offensive line this offseason by signing starting right guard Brandon Brooks and selecting Isaac Seumalo and Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the draft. Despite these additions, offensive line is still a need moving forward. Especially at tackle, too. Jason Peters turns 35 after this season.
3) Does the team have a solid inside offensive lineman that can play guard or center?
Yes. Stefen Wisniewski can play all interior positions. The 27-year-old offensive lineman has 77 career starts under his belt. The only problem is that he's on a one-year deal. The good news is that Seumalo has the versatility to play at multiple interior spots as well.
4) Is there a quality second running back that can deliver a 100-yard rushing day if he had to start?
No. The Eagles don't even have a reliable starting running back who can deliver a 100-yard rushing day performance. If Ryan Mathews is healthy, he has the ability to be able to do it, but it's always a matter of time until he gets hurt. And then at that point the Eagles don't really have any backs behind him who can step up big. Darren Sproles is a role-player. Rookie Wendell Smallwood doesn't have the makings of a good full-time player just yet. The Eagles are set on using a running-back-by-committee for a reason: they lack talent at the position.
5) Is there a good second tight end on the roster?
Yes. The Eagles are totally set with Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, and Trey Burton. The Eagles might even carry Chris Pantale as a fourth tight end who can also play fullback.
6) Can the third wide receiver step up and start in the two-WR packages if a starter went down?
Maybe. For now, we'll assume Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor are Philadelphia's top two starting receivers. The third guy, then, would be Rueben Randle. The 25-year-old Randle had decent production with the Giants. Despite this, New York didn't make much of an effort to re-sign him. He then received little interest on the market. Randle isn't necessarily out of place as a starter but he's hardly going to be a dynamite option. The Eagles need to add more receiver talent moving forward if their young guys don't step up.
7) Does the team have a designated pass-rush specialist who could play the early downs if need be?
Yes. It'll be interesting to see how the defensive end rotation shakes out. Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry took the bulk of the first team reps in spring practice. Brandon Graham also figures to get a lot of playing time, too, though. The Eagles could opt to move Curry on the inside in obvious pass rush situations while also getting Barwin and Graham on the field on the ends. This group should be able to excel in Jim Schwartz's 4-3 defense that features the wide-nine.
8) Is there a third defensive tackle that not only plays in a rotation but could play the whole game if need be?
Maybe. Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan are the starters. Mike Martin appears to be the first defensive tackle off the bench if one of the two starters goes own. Martin has some NFL experience. The scheme Tennessee was running may not have been optimal for his skill set. Martin is on the smaller side for his position but he's very athletic. His ability might be better utilized in Schwartz's scheme. He's not a proven option yet for the Eagles, so we'll see.
9) Is there a quality nickel corner on the roster, since most teams are at least 50 percent sub defenses?
Maybe. It appears former Bills defensive back Ron Brooks is favored to start in the slot for now. He took most of the first team reps in the nickel during spring practices and looked good while doing it. Again, like Martin, he's hardly a proven commodity right now so it's not a lock.
10) Is there a fourth corner for dime packages?
Probably. Rookie seventh round pick Jalen Mills flashed ability this spring. Many thought he would go as high as the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft if not for his character concerns. The talent appears to be there and he could be in line for some action as a dime cornerback. If he doesn't end up as a starter on the outside, Nolan Carroll could also resume the role of playing in the dime like he did in 2014.
11) Is there a third safety for big nickel defenses?
No. Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins figure to be good starters, but the depth behind them is very questionable. Chris Maragos is mostly a special teams ace. Guys like Ed Reynolds, Blake Countess, and Jaylen Watkins are competing for a third safety spot. That's not the most inspiring group.
12. Is there a return specialist that can either handle both punt and kick returns or contribute as a real position player?
Yes. Darren Sproles is still arguably the best punt returner in the NFL. Sproles led the NFL in punt return yards (446) in 2015. He had the second highest average (11.7) and most touchdowns of any player (2). The problem is Sproles is 33 so the team won't be able to rely on him for too much longer. Note that his contract expires after the season.
13. Does your team have a special-teams linebacker that leads the specials and can play inside linebacker in a pinch?
Yes. Najee Goode can contribute on special teams and serve as a backup to all three linebacker positions. Rookie Joe Walker is a guy to keep an eye on in this role for the future.
If this activity is any indication, the Eagles have some issues they need to address moving forward, but they aren't in terrible shape. The important thing is that Philadelphia seemingly has a core in place. They've laid the foundation. The next step is for the Eagles to surround Wentz with more weapons and fill in other roster gaps. Some of that might not be able to be achieved until the 2017 offseason.