Each week we’ll look at the Eagles opposition and drool over a player or two, wondering if only they were were on the Eagles.
This week is too easy, so we’re going to have to cheat a little. The Cleveland Browns aren’t exactly loaded on talent, having won 3 games last year and starting all over again with another new front office and coaching staff. But they have one player that pretty much any team would take: wide receiver Josh Gordon. And considering the state of the Eagles WRs, Gordon is a no brainer. But he’s suspended for the first four games, so he wouldn’t be eligible for Sunday. There are some other appealing options on the Browns roster that would.
If the Eagles can’t poach a weapon for Carson Wentz, then the next best thing they could do is get him better protection. There’s two good options for the Eagles: left guard Joel Bitonio and left tackle Joe Thomas. Bitonio is 24 and in his third year in the league after being a 2014 2nd round pick by the Browns, and started all 26 games he has appeared in. He missed six of the final seven games of last season with an ankle injury, but is healthy as the season begins. A very good and young left guard would fit in perfectly with the Eagles offensive line. But they drafted Isaac Semualo in the 3rd round round this year, and his future may be at left guard. Meanwhile the long and short term situation at tackle is murky at best. With Lane Johnson facing a 10 game suspension and Jason Peters now 34, it would make some sense to take Joe Thomas. At 31, Thomas is no spring chicken, and in the real world neither he nor Peters would be enthused about playing right tackle. But a Peters/Thomas duo would be better than the Peters/Allen Barbre pairing that the Eagles will have to go to if and when Johnson is suspended.
Other offensive options include rookie WR Corey Coleman and second year center Cameron Irving.
Pickings are pretty slim on defense as well, the Browns had one of the worst units in the league last year, and they play a 3-4, so on both accounts there aren’t many players who could slide into the Eagles starting lineup. One player that would is Joe Haden. The Eagles have a group of solid but unspectacular corners, which the trade of Eric Rowe thinned a bit. Haden was a Pro Bowler in 2013 and 2014 and was a 2nd team All-Pro in 2013. He missed 11 games in 2015 with multiple injuries and started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but if you wanted to look at defense, he’s too talented to turn down.
Other defensive options include second year players LB Nate Orchard, NT Danny Shelton, who are best used in a 3-4 but are young and promising, or 2016 rookie DEs Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib.
If you were the Eagles, who would you take?