What does the current Philadelphia Eagles opening day roster look like compared to last year’s version? Have the reigning Super Bowl champions improved, stayed the same, or gotten worse? Read on for a position-by-position breakdown.
2018: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld
2017: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles
Kind of a tricky one here since we don’t officially know when Wentz will be back. And even when he does return, will he be 100%? Will he regress a little from last year? I’m not down on Wentz by any means. He could take a little step back and still have a great season. There’s just some uncertainty here. The same uncertainty applies to Foles being a real high variance quarterback. I will say that the Eagles’ depth improved now that Sudfeld has had a year in the scheme. You have to feel better about him backing up Foles than you did at this point last year. Overall, though, I think I have to say they’re worse here. Again, that doesn’t mean I think they won’t be fine here. It’s just that they were SO good at this spot in 2017 that I think they’re naturally bound to see some kind of drop off.
2018: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood
2017: LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, Donnel Pumphrey
Remember when the Eagles kept FIVE running backs on their original 53-man last year? Fun times. I think the Eagles are in much better shape now with Ajayi, Sproles, and Clement as their main three. And that’s no disrespect to LG, whom I’ll always have lots of love for. But Ajayi could be really good; he averaged 5.8 yards per carry in the regular season last year. Sproles still looks like Sproles. Clement improved so much from Week 1 to the Super Bowl last year. He’s poised to be even better in Year 2. You could do worse than having Smallwood as a fourth guy, I suppose.
2018: Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, DeAndre Carter, Markus Wheaton
2017: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson
Another tricky one because Jeffery will likely miss at least two games. Hollins is also out for Week 1. I do think Wallace is a definite upgrade on Smith. I also think Agholor could be even better than he was last year since he’s had an awesome offseason. He could very well lead this team in receiving. Gibson had a strong preseason; he definitely took a step forward. I feel good about Carter and Wheaton as depth players. I will say this group is better than last year’s once they get back to full force. Keep in mind the injury Jeffery is still recovering from is the one he had to play through all last year. Maybe he can be more effective once he moves beyond that.
2018: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins
2017: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
Ertz has had a strong offseason and I feel confident the 27-year-old will give the Eagles good production yet again. Rookie tight ends notoriously take time to develop but Goedert might be able to buck that trend because he looks pretty unstoppable at times. At the least, I think he’s an upgrade on Celek. Richard Rodgers would’ve been the tight end here if he didn’t get hurt. Instead, it’s Perkins, who is definitely a downgrade from Burton. I think Goedert > Celek and Perkins < Burton cancels out to make this group the same as last year.
2018: Jason Peters, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Chance Warmack, Matt Pryor, Jordan Mailata
2017: Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack
The Eagles arguably had the best offensive line in the NFL last year and they’re one of just a handful of teams returning all five starters. I’d say that’s a pretty good situation. Although Big V certainly isn’t without his struggles, he did play well enough that the Eagles were still able to win a Super Bowl with him starting at left tackle. Seumalo might be improved from last year. Overall, I don’t think there’s enough improvement to say that the entire group is better, but that’s fine, because there wasn’t much room for them to go up anyway.
2018: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Josh Sweat
2017: Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Steven Means
Gone is Curry and in is Bennett. It can be easy to underrated Bennett’s ability since he won’t even necessarily be “starting” for this squad. Making him a rotational player could be a wise move since he’ll be required to play fewer snaps. Graham is coming off offseason surgery but he should be motivated as ever as he enters a contract year. Barnett could take a step forward. Long figures to be a really good player. Sweat likely won’t play much, if at all, in 2018 but he has potential. Overall, this group looks better to me, and Bennett has a lot to do with that.
2018: Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector, [Timmy Jernigan on NFI]
2017: Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls
After winning the Super Bowl, Cox said his next goal is to win Defensive Player of the Year. Given the way he looked unstoppable in the preseason, I don’t think he was joking around. He might be in for a career season. The defensive tackles outside of Cox are not so inspiring. I think Ngata can be solid but it’d be much more ideal if he was a No. 3 guy in Beau Allen’s old role as opposed to having to start. Missing Jernigan for at least six weeks (and maybe even the entire season?) hurts this group. Vaeao doesn’t do a ton for much and Hector is an undrafted rookie free agent. It’s easy to say the Eagles got worse here.
2018: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham (suspended Week 1), Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry, LaRoy Reynolds
2017: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Joe Walker
Having Hicks big is pretty significant. I feel like people might be sleeping on his presence. Yes, he gets hurt a lot, but he’s damn good when healthy. Thankfully Bradham will only have to miss one game, but it’s still a factor here. It’s hard to say for sure we know Grugier-Hill and Gerry will be better than Kendricks, who turned in a good effort in 2017. I think I’ll have to say the Eagles are worse off with Kendricks gone and Bradham missing a game. I don’t think it’s dramatically worse but I can’t say “better” and “same” just doesn’t seem accurate.
2018: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox
2017: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Dexter McDougle, Rasul Douglas, [Sidney Jones on NFI]
Darby and Mills both had fantastic offseasons. They were among the top performers from practices and preseason games. I feel good about both of them potentially being better than last year. Darby will be especially motivated since he’s in a contract year. I think having him for a full year in the system (as opposed to last year) also really helps. The area where the Eagles likely got worse is at slot corner. That’s not even a knock on Jones; it’s just that Robinson was SO GOOD as the nickel in 2017. Jones is talented, without a doubt, but he could go through some growing pains. I like Maddox as depth player more than McDougle and I think Douglas, while he has his ups and downs, has made some progress since being a rookie. Overall, this is an improved group.
2018: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Tre Sullivan, Deiondre’ Hall (one game suspension), [Chris Maragos on PUP]
2017: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Chris Maragos, Jaylen Watkins
Not a lot of change here. The top three guys are really the only ones who will play (barring injury). I think it’s fair to say this group is the same as last year.
2018: Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
2017: Caleb Sturgis, Donnie Jones, Rick Lovato
I’d say this group has the potential to be worse with the punter change. Jones was the best punter in franchise history, statistically speaking at least. I’ll give Johnston the benefit of the doubt since I thought he showed up in preseason games. He’ll need to maintain that consistency to keep his job safe each week. I don’t think he has an incredibly long leash when it comes to making mistakes.
Out of 11 positions listed here, I think four are better, three are worse, and four are the same. Last year at this time I thought eight were better and three were the same. But the Eagles were also coming off a 7-9 season and not a Super Bowl win. There was a lot more room for improvement back then.
Overall, I still feel pretty good about this Eagles team. You have to consider that there are many ways in which they’re in better shape than a lot of teams out there. The Vince Lombardi trophy is a nifty reminder of that very fact.
Do you think the 2018 Eagles roster is better, worse, or the same as last year’s group?
This poll is closed