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Eagles News: Philadelphia really needs their young players to step up

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/23/23.

Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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Five Important Takeaways From the First Wave of NFL Free Agency - The Ringer
5. The Eagles have a lot riding on their 2022 and 2023 draft classes. The Eagles traded up during last year’s draft to take defensive tackle Jordan Davis at 13. He battled through injuries and was a nonfactor as a rookie. Now he’ll be called on to replace Hargrave and make an impact. They drafted center Cam Jurgens with the 51st pick as Kelce’s eventual replacement. But Kelce is back, and Jurgens could now be asked to start at guard in place of Seumalo. The Eagles drafted linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round. He barely got on the field as a rookie but now too could be a projected starter. The Eagles also have two first-round picks and four picks in the top 100 in this year’s draft. Their depth will likely be tested more in 2023. Having a couple of rookies contribute in meaningful ways would be helpful. As mentioned above, the NFC should be wide open, and the Eagles are better positioned than most of their peers. But with players who are 30 and older, you go in knowing that not everyone will be able to sustain their level of play from the previous year, and improvement is highly unlikely. To balance that out, the Eagles will need their first- and second-year players to pick up the slack.

Seahawks Soar in FO’s 2023 Free Agency Grades - Football Outsiders
Improved Roster: D-, Used Resources Well: B, Coherent Plan: A-, Overall Grade: C. Kevin Cole, formerly of Pro Football Focus, keeps a tally of what he calls his Offseason Improvement Index over on his new Unexpected Points substack. He has the Eagles as the team with the biggest decline this offseason when you combine roster moves and upcoming draft value. And yet, I still think the Eagles went into this offseason with a coherent plan and made good moves. They were just stuck with a lot of free-agent talent and there was no way they could keep it all. Let’s talk first about who the Eagles kept. They managed to sign Darius Slay to a new extension when it was rumored that he would be a cap casualty. They re-signed James Bradberry, meaning both starting cornerbacks will return. They also re-signed some of their older but still useful players: Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham are all running it back. They also lost a lot. But the Eagles have a plan and should be able to fill some of the departures with 2022 rookies. They were prepared for this. Jordan Davis moves into the starting lineup to replace Javon Hargrave at defensive tackle. Cam Jurgens, who is still Jason Kelce’s heir apparent, can also play guard for a year to replace Isaac Seumalo. Nakobe Dean replaces either Kyzir White or T.J. Edwards. C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s departure may be the biggest problem. The Eagles haven’t added many players. Rashaad Penny replaces Miles Sanders, which is nice if Penny can stay healthy because he has always had nice metrics. If. The Eagles are near the bottom of the league in cap space—technically they were still negative as of Tuesday — so they probably won’t be adding many players in late free agency either.

Spadaro: State of the Eagles a week into free agency -
Perhaps the first week of the 2023 League Year hasn’t gone exactly the way Roseman blueprinted, but that’s why the best teams – and the Eagles are among the best teams, make no mistake about that – make contingency plans and evaluate all scenarios. So, there are good players who have moved on – tackle Andre Dillard to Tennessee, linebacker T.J. Edwards to Chicago, safety Marcus Epps to Las Vegas, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to Detroit, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to San Francisco, wide receiver Zach Pascal to Arizona, running back Miles Sanders to Carolina, guard Isaac Seumalo to Pittsburgh, and linebacker Kyzir White to Arizona. The Eagles can’t keep everybody – this is the part where the team has to consider the future and players to target for contract extensions – and they will receive compensatory draft picks for the 2024 NFL Draft because of those players lost, likely everything from a third-round pick for losing Hargrave to a sixth-round pick for losing Gardner-Johnson. As Roseman predicted at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Eagles could have 12 draft picks next spring. The Eagles knew this was coming, and they know there is work to do. They have some young players waiting in the wings – the first three picks from the 2022 NFL Draft will have opportunities, so Davis, Cam Jurgens, and Nakobe Dean are in the midst of extremely important offseasons. The Eagles also reached out in free agency and added to the roster.

Eagles All-22 Film Review: Greedy Williams is a high upside signing with low risk - BGN
I really like this signing because it is a high upside signing with low risk. The talent on film is really obvious. You can see the speed, athleticism, and length immediately. Some of the interceptions he has had in the past are really impressive. He has the tools to be a really good starting outside cornerback which is why he was a 2nd round pick just 4 years ago. However, the flaws in his game are incredibly obvious the more you watch him. I have no idea what the Browns’ defensive backs coach has been doing with him but it hasn’t worked. He seemed to play an equal amount of snaps at left and right cornerback too which I am sure can’t help when your technique is already bad. He opens up his hips too early all the time and it makes him so vulnerable to inside or outside breaking routes. He is far better when he can run vertically with a receiver on the outside. He is a long, lengthy corner but he doesn’t know how to use his hands at the LOS either.

The EPA Podcast #19: Grading the Eagles offseason moves so far + Who will the Eagles miss most? - BGN Radio
Victor Williams and Shane Haff look at the big picture, recapping everything that’s happened with the Eagles in legal tampering and free agency.

Top Heavy - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles have a pair of elite receivers in AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith. They can move the chains and stretch the field. They make incredible catches and big plays after catching short passes. They just might be the best WR duo in the league. After that things fall quite a bit. Quez Watkins played well in 2021, going 43-647-1. The addition of Brown meant Watkins would have a different role in 2022. There wouldn’t be as many passes coming his way. Still, it was hoped he could find a niche and continue to be a playmaker. Watkins went 33-354-1 and really struggled at times. Instead of going forward, he took a step back. Zach Pascal was a good #3/#4 receiver. He made some key catches without getting a lot of touches. Pascal was a terrific blocker and a key player on STs. He won’t be returning, though.

NFL free agency: Additions, subtractions, what’s left for each team - ESPN
Biggest remaining roster hole: Safety. Both of their 2022 starters, Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps, moved on in free agency. Reed Blankenship showed promise in spot duty his rookie season, but the Eagles need to add at least one veteran safety between now and the start of the season. It’s worth keeping in mind that they didn’t acquire Gardner-Johnson until late August last year. There’s still plenty of time to fill out the roster.

NFL trade grades: Weighing deals for No. 1 pick, Jalen Ramsey, Brandin Cooks and more -
Flamed last March for sending Amari Cooper to Cleveland for a bag of spoons, Dallas now sits in the fleecer’s seat. No longer held hostage by Zeke Elliott’s unwieldy pact, the Cowboys landed a player in Cooks who arrives as another alpha beside wideout CeeDee Lamb. It was Lamb who begged the front office to “surround” Dak Prescott with weapons, telling the Around The NFL podcast during Super Bowl week: “You go look at the Eagles, and they’ve got three receivers, a great tight end group, they run the ball well, the O-line is very phenomenal. You look at San Fran, they surrounded their quarterback and you get success ultimately. I mean we’ve got just as many weapons, but that extra player, all it takes is one. You can be so close to the Super Bowl and it can be a deciding factor.” Cooks thrives in the slot and outside and allows Dallas to go elsewhere at No. 26 overall. The 29-year-old receiver has been traded a record-tying four times, but Bill Belichick, Sean McVay and Bill O’Brien all pined for his services after Sean Payton drafted Cooks in New Orleans back in 2014.

Report: The ‘door is closed’ on OBJ; With Fowler signed, focus shifts to Hankins - Blogging The Boys
Fowler returns as a rotational pass rusher that found the fountain of youth returning to work with Dan Quinn. The nine-year veteran had six sacks on the season and played a massive role in wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans in 2022. With No. 56 back along the defensive line, it also allows Micah Parsons to roam around more and not spend as many snaps at defensive end. Parsons was banged up towards the end of the season, so Fowler’s return and Sam Williams entering his second season should help keep the Lion fresh down the stretch. The remaining player in the Cowboys’ focus right before the draft is defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. In October of last season, Dallas traded for Hankins from the Las Vegas Raiders to plug the leaking run defense from earlier in the year. His presence improved the defense and helped elevate the play of others around him. Moore makes it clear the Cowboys want Hankins back for another run in Dallas.

Giants’ Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka and more to attend the Ohio State pro day - Big Blue View
Way back when, in the days of Jerry Reese’s tenure, we used GM visits to pro days as a barometer of the teams’ interest in a prospect. Just based purely on the amount of brass present, the Giants are clearly very interested in the Ohio State prospects — and we can also make some educated guesses in whom the Giants are interested. It’s notable that no defensive coaches are present on the list, so we can probably assume that the Giants don’t have an overwhelming interest in any of OSU’s defensive prospects. Most of the eyes in Columbus will be trained on quarterback C.J. Stroud, but it would be a stunning development if the Giants had real interest in him. The more likely candidates are WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and C Luke Wypler. The Giants had dinner with Smith-Njigba Tuesday.

Washington Commanders Sale News: Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos takes the tour; joins the bidding - Hogs Haven
The Washington Commanders have another billionaire interested in purchasing the team from owners Dan and Tonya Snyder. Adam Schefter is reporting that Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos has toured FedEx Field and the team’s training facilities in Ashburn, VA. Two other bidders are known(Josh Harris/Mitchell Rales, Tillman Fertitta) and Amazon founder has been rumored to be interested in placing a bid if the Snyders allow it.

The NFLPA explains how their team report cards are changing football - SB Nation
On March 1st the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) released its first “Team Report Cards,” which graded teams in a variety of areas from player health, facility quality, as well as how families are treated by the organization. It was a unique opportunity for fans to learn about substandard levels of care in some NFL teams, while also shining a light on the lack of universal standards across the league. JC Tretter played nine years in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, now he serves as President of the NFLPA. SB spoke to Tretter about the team report cards, what the union is learning so far, and how the league should change moving forward.


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