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.
I don’t know how it’s all going to play out. I know that, as history dictates, how we lay it all right now isn’t way the Eagles 2017 season is going down. You have that game in Kansas City marked as a loss, do you? Well, stranger things have happened … Same goes for the projected roles for players. There were some players who didn’t perform as hoped in 2016, and some of those guys are due for a bounce back in 2017. Some of the candidates are …
Nelson Agholor, WR
There are no pads on. Nobody is pressing Nelson Agholor at the line of scrimmage. He’s got a long way to go to live up to the first-round draft pick status from three springs ago. Agholor had one of the weirdest, most disappointing seasons in 2016 that I’ve seen from a young player. He was all kinds of screwed up.
But the Nelson Agholor who is taking the practice field right now looks different. He’s playing faster. He’s catching everything. He’s got some pep in his step. No doubt Agholor prepared with more diligence in the offseason than he did last year, and maybe that will pay off for him.I think he’s going to make this roster and I think he’s going to be productive. Wouldn’t even surprise me if Agholor challenges Torrey Smith for a starting job.
Vinny Curry, DE
One of the prime storylines from this time a year ago was that Vinny Curry would thrive in the 4-3 after toiling in the 3-4 scheme under then-defensive coordinator Bill Davis. Didn’t happen. Why not? The best explanation I’ve heard is that “Vinny gets in his own head sometimes,” and maybe that’s the case.
So it was good to see Curry running with the starters in OTAs when they began. I think that’s important for Curry, to know that he’s at the top of the depth chart, no matter how long that lasts. If he plays well, he starts. And if he starts, that means Curry is on the road to a productive season.
Fletcher Cox, DT
We expect Fletcher Cox to dominate on every snap. He’s got the big contract and the big rep. Now he’s got Tim Jernigan next to him and I think that’s going to help Cox so much. No offense to Bennie Logan, a solid and quality player, but Jernigan disrupts things. It took all of one OTA session to see how he attacks the line of scrimmage. He is John Randle, who was just awesome for all of the 1990s and into the early 2000s with Minnesota and Seattle. Cox will benefit. His numbers will increase. He is going to dominate, because offensive lines can’t commit two and three blockers against him on most snaps of the football.
Jason Kelce, C
It’s not the weight, says Kelce, who hopes to play at around 300 pounds this year. It’s the technique, which was sloppy early last season. Kelce has been working hard on his game. I think that he’s got a chance to have a really good season as the Eagles surround him with some bulk. Kelce is still a great athlete and he’s a tremendous mind and he works well with quarterback Carson Wentz.
It says here that Kelce goes back to the Pro Bowl this season. That’s how bullish I am on him.
Brandon Brooks, OG
Signed as an unrestricted free agent last year, Brandon Brooks was OK last season. Just OK. Not great. He was signed to be great. Brooks had his off-the-field challenges with his health, and hopefully that is a thing of the past. Brooks can really thrive playing with Kelce to his left and Lane Johnson to his right. This can be a road-grader right side of the line, particularly with the 250-pound LeGarrette Blount carrying the football.
Ron Brooks, CB
He is not quite all the way healthy yet after rupturing his quad last season, but Ron Brooks figures to have a key role as a nickel cornerback for the Eagles. He’s pretty darn good at it, too. With the Eagles pass rush, which should be fearsome, with an offense that should score some points, the Eagles secondary can be better than last season, even with the questions about the cornerbacks. I just think that Brooks is an under-the-radar kind of player who can be solid and trustworthy and productive in the nickel.
Nick Foles, QB
I was talking with Ron Jaworski on the sidelines about Nick Foles, and Jaws felt that Foles was never really in a good position with the Chip Kelly coaching staff after that historic 27-and-2 season of 2013. The offense never evolved, and then Foles was shipped off to a dysfunctional Rams offense. He played well in the spot duty he saw last year in Kansas City and now Foles is back as an Eagle. And he’s a big-time upgrade over Chase Daniel. The Eagles are in good shape at the quarterback position. Even having a No. 3 quarterback – Matt McGloin – who has started and won games in the NFL is reassuring.
Mychal Kendricks, LB
What Mychal Kendricks does well is play downhill football and blow things up. And I think that’s the role he will have in the defense this year: Go find the football and make plays.
I’m not going to get caught up in the snap counts with Kendricks this year. Instead, I think he’ll be around the football a bunch in Jim Schwartz’s scheme. The veteran coordinator has to find a way to play to Kendricks’s strengths, and I think he will. It will be a bounce-back season for Kendricks. To what extent, I do not know. But he’s put in a lot of good work in the offseason and it’s going to pay off for Kendricks when the games count.