I like to start every year by doing my pre-pre-season look at the depth chart we still have a lot of questions regarding this lineup. The Eagles have their obvious starters in Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce, and Alshon Jeffery, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, and Nigel Bradham. Other than that, they have questions at every other position.
The quarterback situation is straightforward, Carson Wentz is Philadelphia’s starter. Recently picked up quarterback Cody Kessler is probably the backup, and Nate Sudfeld is most likely going to be the third-stringer.
Now here is an excellent problem to have. The Eagles have too many receivers to consider for the number two, three, and four spots on the depth chart. It could be DeSean Jackson as the second receiver or Agholor or the new guy JJ Arcega-Whiteside. My thinking is it will be a mix of DeSean and Arcega-Whiteside playing as the outside receivers with Alshon and then Nelson Agholor getting most of the slot receiver routes. Don’t be surprised to see Sproles get some time in the slot too as he has to share the backfield with a ton of other running backs which I will be getting to soon. Also, don’t forget about Mack Hollins, he’s a valuable special teamer who has shown glimpses of being a good receiver in the league too. One person I can see affecting this would be Dallas Goedert. The 2ndyear tight end out of South Dakota State showed a ton of promise in his rookie season and reminded me a lot of Travis Kelce. To pair him with Ertz and Alshon would be incredible.
Next up is the backfield. Most likely, newcomer Jordan Howard will once again be sharing carries just as he did in Chicago with Tarik Cohen. This time it will be with 2ndround pick Miles Sanders, who in my opinion, was a steal. Sanders showed that he could be a big-time running back at Penn State and watching him first hand showed me he could quickly grow into a star in the NFL as well; especially behind Philly’s offensive line. In addition to the two of them, we still have Sproles, Josh Adams, Corey Clement, and Wendell Smallwood. I think Sproles and Clement will stay, and the rest will be traded or cut from the team.
The offensive line is the heart and Soul of the Philadelphia Eagles, and there is a huge gap in it. They don’t have any guards. Luckily, Stefan Wisniewski is now back after previously letting him walk in free agency this year. Obviously, Brandon Brooks is still on the team, but there is still no timetable for his return still. Who will be the starting guard in Brooks’ absence? The only other option right now at this position is Isaac Seumalo, who hasn’t shown much promise. Rumors are floating around that even moving Jason Peters to guard could be an option. That would open the window for rookie Andre Dillard or Halapoulivaati Vaitai to fill in as the starting left tackle. The other option is a free agency where there are not many starting caliber guards left or a trade. At tackle, we have Peters and Lane Johnson, and at Center, we have Jason Kelce.
At Tight End the Eagles have the two pass-catching sensations in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. I think it is safe to say that this position is set for many seasons to come.
Now defensively, it is a little trickier just because we rotate a lot of players on and off of the field often under the Jim Schwartz run defense. The Eagles defense was already pretty intense towards the end of the season after Jim Schwartz fixed the scheme back to the one we used to win the Super Bowl in 2017.
I’ll Start with the Defensive line. Obviously, the Eagles have Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham fresh off his new three-year extension. Also, they have Derek Barnett returning from his injury, as well as newly acquired Malik Jackson (Pro Bowl in 2017). Now add in Timmy Jernigan, Vinny Curry (yes, he’s back), and rookie pass rusher, Shareef Miller to this line and it looks like it could possibly be the best line in football. No team can triple team Cox anymore because that leaves Malik Jackson one on one and Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett not really being focused on as much now either.
Linebackers are complicated thanks to the departure of Jordan Hicks. We still have Bradham, Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry. We also added Paul Worrilow from the Lions, LJ Fort from the Steelers and Zach Brown from the Redskins. Each of them has a shot at starting on this team and will come off the bench in rotation or because of injury.
The Cornerback situation never seems to leave the Eagles no matter what they do. We resigned Ronald Darby, which was very good. Darby was the birds’ number one cornerback last year going into the final stretch of the season until he dropped out of the lineup after an ACL tear. The roster still has much of the same guys from last year alongside Darby. Avonte Maddox opened some eyes, and everyone else really can’t do much worse than last year. Most likely, Darby will remain the CB one, supported by Jalen Mills or Maddox as two or three. Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones most likely will play a lot too. Look for Sidney Jones to break out this year. He was projected to be a top 10 pick before tearing his achilleas, which does take a while to come back from. Now that he is probably back to full health, let’s see what he is capable of.
Philly has a safety issue too. Once again, though, it’s a good one. They have Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and the new addition of Andrew Sendejo the hard-hitting safety from the Minnesota Vikings. Not one, not two, but three pro bowl caliber Safeties on this team. I don’t know how they will all be used, but I’m excited to watch this unfold.
This team has the talent and coaching to go very far again this year. They really need to stay healthy and play Eagles football. I don’t see many teams that’ll want to mess with the Birds if they can do just that.
(My thoughts on most of the depth chart)