ESPN is back with their annual “NFL Future Power Rankings” as training camps are (potentially?) about to begin. As a reminder, this activity is designed to project which teams have the best outlook over the next three seasons.
The Philadelphia Eagles finished No. 1 overall coming off their Super Bowl LII win in 2018 and then No. 3 last year. Now the Birds rank sixth in the rankings with three other NFC teams — the San Francisco 49ers, the New Orleans Saints, and the Dallas Cowboys — ahead of them.
Specific category grades and rankings can be seen below. The number in parentheses represents how the score has changed since 2019. Scores are out of 100.
OVERALL ROSTER MINUS QB: 78.0 (-9.7) — 15th in the NFL
QUARTERBACK: 86.0 (-4.0) — 6th in the NFL
COACHING: 89.3 (+3.3) — 6th in the NFL
DRAFT: 75.5 (-6.2) — 15th in the NFL
FRONT OFFICE: 85.5 (-2.8) — 5th in the NFL
Many believed the Eagles had the league’s best roster heading into 2019. Now the Eagles are thought to have a relatively average roster outside of quarterback.
The Eagles’ quarterback score changed but they retained the same ranking from last year. Same thing for the coaching category.
Drafting dropped from fourth last year to 15th this year. The front office rating also dipped from third to fifth.
Here’s the overall explanation why the Eagles finished sixth:
The Eagles feature a potential MVP candidate in Carson Wentz, who showed an ability to raise the talent around him 2019. Coach Doug Pederson is resourceful, innovative and confident, while GM/executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman has infused the roster with talent while maintaining his status as a salary cap wizard who can find ways to keep this roster intact going forward.
The Eagles definitely have a stable foundation with the Wentz-Pederson-Roseman triumvirate in place. It’s hard to envision them being flat out bad with this structure in place. But their combined power clearly isn’t strong enough to have them projected as the bonafide kings of the conference.
The biggest stated worry for the Eagles is the wide receiver situation coming together after being an abject disaster in 2019. ESPN acknowledges the Eagles added some speed but the reality is there are still more questions than answers at that position.
ESPN also correctly highlights the Eagles’ offensive line outlook as a potential long-term issue. Jason Kelce could feasibly retire after the 2020 season. Andre Dillard needs to prove he’s the answer at left tackle. Brandon Brooks has suffered three major injuries since January 2019 and will be 32 by the next time he plays a regular season snap. Lane Johnson turned 30 in May.
But the Eagles are hardly alone when it comes to potential pitfalls; the three NFC teams ahead of them have their own issues as well. The 49ers seem to be in good hands with Kyle Shanahan at the helm but there are still questions about Jimmy Garoppolo. The Saints are an elite regular season team that’s choked in the playoffs each of the last three years. Oh, and Drew Brees is 41 years old. The Cowboys have surrounded Dak Prescott with an enviable supporting cast but they’ve failed to sign him to a long-term deal, thus clouding their future outlook.
The Eagles underachieved admittedly lofty expectations the past two years. It’d be nice to see them get back to being an elite squad in 2020. The potential is there but they have to prove it.
The Eagles finished sixth in ESPN’s NFL Future Power Rankings. That is ...
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