When the Eagles traded up 11 spots in 2016 to draft their franchise Quarterback Carson Wentz, Howie Roseman knew he had to put talent around his young quarterback to maximize his potential. In 2018, Wentz took a giant leap forward. Before getting a season ending injury in week 14 against the Rams, Wentz was having arguably an MVP season. He led the Eagles to an 11-2 record while throwing for 3296 yards, 33 TD, and just 7 INT.
The 2019 season was a tough one for Wentz. He was bothered by his ACL recovery, and was ultimately shut down for the season due to a back injury. Coming into 2020, Wentz and the Eagles were anticipating a 2017 repeat performance from their Quarterback. Wentz played a full regular season for the first time since his rookie year, and after a slow 5-7 start, he righted the ship and the team finished 9-7 that concluded with a wild card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He still hasn’t played a full playoff game, as he was knocked out of the wild card game with a hit from Jadeveon Clowney in the first quarter.
The Eagles started 5-7 and the offense looked to be stuck in neutral. While Wentz wasn’t his MVP self, Wentz as well as the His All-Pro TE, Zach Ertz, was on pace for another 100 catches, and the defense was coming off of holding the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks to a combined 34 points the previous two weeks. So what was preventing the Eagles franchise QB from regaining his MVP form? It was a lack of consistency and injuries from his weapons.
While injuries are a part of the game, and there is little you can do when they occur, having depth can save your season. The Eagles lost Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson from their offensive line, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor from their receiver core, and running backs Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles.
Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor were supposed to take steps forward this year and become reliable targets for Wentz. Instead they did everything they could to hurt the offense. Dropped passes, lack of effort, injuries, and bad mouthing “anonymously” about the quarterback to the media highlight some of the issues between Wentz and his targets.
After a disappointing performance against the Miami Dolphins in week 13, the Eagles decided to change up the look on offense. With Jordan Howard and Nelson Agholor still on the shelf with injuries, Doug Pederson made a personnel change by starting WR Greg Ward Jr and giving RB Boston Scott more reps in games. The result was a whole new lock offense, 4 straight wins, an NFC East title, and a home playoff game.
Nelson Agholor’s contract is up and Jordan Howard has signed a 2yr $10million dollar deal with the Miami Dolphins. All signs lead to Agholor playing in another city, as he’s had a tumultuous career in Philadelphia. Alshon Jeffery had his contract fully guaranteed for this upcoming season at the start of last season. Meaning if he was to be cut this offseason, the $20+ million dollar cap hit the Eagles would take can be spread out over the next couple years. With the toxicity that surrounds him and Carson, I expect the Eagles to take the expensive cap hit and move on from Jeffrey.
When the Eagles were at the NFL Combine a few weeks ago, GM Howie Roseman talked about continuing to build around Wentz. They have 10 picks over the three days starting with number 21 in the first round. This draft is deep at WR and it would make a lot of sense for the Eagles to address this need early. However, picking one just to pick one because the draft is deep isn’t the right move.
Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III are the consensus top 3 WR in the draft, and all could possibly be taken before the Eagles pick. Jeudy and Lamb are almost locks to be gone before pick 21. With 10 draft picks, if they fail to address the offensive side of the ball through free agency and trades, moving up to grab an impact player should be in the cards. Regardless of where the Eagles go in the first round, they need to make putting explosive weapons around Wentz the main priority.
(Over the next few weeks, stay tuned for Eagles mock drafts, as well as player profiles on players we should be paying attention to.)