This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.
The boys are back in town, specifically the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia, and with their arrival comes great optimism because, hey, anything is possible in the NFL, right? With the voluntary offseason conditioning program underway and with the NFL draft a week from Thursday, it’s time to catch up … and to look ahead …
- Quarterback Carson Wentz met the media on Monday and was his usual solid, not spectacular, self with the reporters. I love how he handles the questions. I love his wisdom. I love his confidence. I’m reminded of all of the Eagles quarterbacks who I’ve covered – all the way back to Ron Jaworski in the latter days of his career – and Wentz is the most polished, the most poised and when you combine that with the talent he has and the desire he has to be the best, Wentz has a chance to be the very best Eagles quarterback in this modern era. The kid has all the tools. Weaknesses? Oh, there are nuances to smooth out in his delivery, but it’s nothing major. His accuracy will improve as he has receivers who will give him a larger window through which to throw. He’s athletic, he’s smart, he’s a beast at 6-feet-5 and 240 pounds and he is smart as all get out. Wentz is on his way to a dynamic career. Enjoy what you see as he develops and expect him to make a big jump this season. It’s OK to be excited.
- Nobody has really talked about a group the Eagles need to improve in this offseason and that is the linebackers. Jordan Hicks is a terrific young talent. Nigel Bradham fits into the scheme and is the best SAM linebacker this team has had since, well, Carlos Emmons? But on the weak side, Mychal Kendricks just didn’t get reps last season and it’s fair to wonder what his role is here moving forward. The Eagles need depth here, and they also need an answer for the WILL position. A linebacker in Round 1 next Thursday? Maybe, but I don’t know if I see that. No question, though, the Eagles need to answer some questions about depth and that WILL spot.
- Wendell Smallwood is very much in this team’s plans at running back, but is he a 15-carry-a-game back? Maybe not. I say the Eagles will think long and hard about running back early in this draft, but because of the depth at the position they don’t have to reach. They can get a back, and it would make sense to do so. Ryan Mathews is expected to be healthy in the summer, but how much can the Eagles count on him staying that way?
- Maybe I’m in the minority here but I very much like a foursome at wide receiver of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. I think Agholor can be a help on special teams and he can become a Jason Avant-type of player. Not necessarily a slot receiver, but someone who can line up and be a go-to target on third downs. I look for Agholor to have a bounce-back season now that he’s got a lot of the attention going in Jeffery’s direction.
- How deep are the Eagles at safety? This is a draft supposedly loaded at the position. Again, would not surprise me to see the team think long and hard about adding some depth there.
- Biggest needs on this team? From this perspective, here they are: Cornerback, defensive end, running back, linebacker, safety, wide receiver. A lot of needs, yes. The Eagles really need to hit it in this draft.
- My view of the NFC East: Dallas is the team to beat, of course, but the Cowboys have lost a lot on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason. Washington has some offensive firepower to replace, as well as two coordinators on the coaching staff. The Giants have big-time questions about the offensive line and the running game. Mix it all up and let’s have some fun in the division this year. By the way, there has been no repeat winner in the division since the Eagles of 2003-2004.
- Who will the Eagles take in the first round of the draft next Thursday? Honestly, no idea. I could give you 10 names. And there are going to be two or three projected top 10 picks that fall because of the way teams value the quarterback position. This is a total crapshoot. I don’t know. I admit it.
Subscribe to the Eagles Live Podcast with Dave Spadaro by clicking here.