TDT NFL Power Rankings No. 18: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are rebuilding around Carson Wentz, but do they have a shot at the playoffs this year?
When the Philadelphia Eagles selected Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, they knew they had found their quarterback of the future. After a decent rookie campaign by Wentz, the Eagles brass realized that they need to build an offense around him in order for this team to fully thrive. After some moves in the offseason, they appear to be heading in the right direction. But will it be enough to get them to the postseason?
What I Like: The Eagles were aggressive this offseason in acquiring reliable veteran weapons to surround Wentz with. They brought in both Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery, who both have had down numbers as of late but are capable of much more. Jeffery is a big body who we can expect the Eagles to use often as a mismatch in red zone situations. Smith is a speedy guy who can really stretch in the field in the right offense. Philadelphia did just trade Jordan Matthews, but these moves give them something to work with.
What I Don’t Like: The Eagles have a huge hole at cornerback. This position struggled mightily for them last season, as numerous opposing quarterback enjoyed big days at their expense. Two of the biggest culprits, Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll are now gone. They have Ron Brooks and the newly acquired Patrick Robinson, which causes very little excitement. The Eagles also drafted Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas, who should be solid contributors later down the line. They acquired Ronald Darby in the Jordan Matthews trade, but even he struggled at times last season.
Offensive MVP: QB Carson Wentz. This offense will only go as far as Wentz carries them. The Eagles brought in some proven skill players to put around Wentz — Smith, Jeffery and running back LeGarrette Blount, but ultimately the pressure is on Wentz to deliver. That’s a lot to ask for a guy heading into his second year, but that’s just the reality of it. If he can build on the success of his rookie season with more weapons, this offense could be hard to stop.
Defensive MVP: MLB Jordan Hicks. The Eagles already have a star in Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox, but I guarantee Hicks will be joining him soon. He was a force for the Eagles in 2016, recording 85 combined (58 solo) tackles, to go along with five interceptions and a sack. He stops the run and defends the pass. What more can you ask for? Hicks will be the anchor of this Philly defense in 2017.
Season Outlook: It will obviously take a few more years for Wentz to develop into the player the Eagles drafted him to be, but he appears to be heading down the right path. There is no longer a shortage of skill players. If everyone can remain healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them put up some big numbers. The defense, on the other hand, I’m a little concerned about. There are definitely some holes that haven’t really been addressed. Cox and Hicks are great players, but they can’t cover the entire field. Playoffs are a possibility, but I think they miss out on them this season.
9-7, 3rd in NFC East