Eagles: Assessing Whether Each Position Has Improved or Not This Offseason


While some of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ roster is still in the “wait and see” category, it’s becoming more clear whether the team has improved or not at individual positions. Chip Kelly blew up the team’s roster and has left it looking a lot different than it did in 2014, especially at many of the skill positions. Here, I go through each position and determine whether their offseason moves have improved the group of players at that position, whether they’ve gotten worse, or if they’ve stayed the same.


The team added Sam Bradford through a trade that involved sending Nick Foles to St. Louis. Any time a team trades its starting quarterback and brings in a new one, there’s probably going to be some controversy. Quarterback is the one position where it’s probably the most up in the air whether or not they’ve improved. Bradford definitely has the potential to be better than Foles was in Philadelphia, but his injury history may hold him back a bit, or at least in his first season back. They’ve also added Tim Tebow in free agency, which at the end of the day, is inconsequential. Verdict: to be determined

Running Back

They totally blew up the running back position, losing LeSean McCoy and Chris Polk and signing DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews (and almost Frank Gore). There’s no question that McCoy is still a top back in the league, but when healthy, Murray is better and will likely fit into Kelly’s system better. Mathews is a former starting running back that will move into a lesser role, assuming he stays healthy as well. And one can’t forget about Darren Sproles, the x-factor at the position who has proved to be an exceptional receiver. I think this one’s pretty clear. Verdict: improved

Wide Receiver

Losing Jeremy Maclin will obviously hurt, but adding Nelson Agholor in the first round of the draft should help keep the position group from looking poor. In fact, it should be a very solid group with the hopeful emergence of Jordan Matthews as the team’s top receiver. They also added Miles Austin and Seyi Ajirotutu, but the former hopefully won’t play much and the latter is likely going to focus on special teams. Overall though, losing Maclin and adding a rookie, at this moment, won’t make the group better. Verdict: worsened

Tight End

Strictly based on additions and subtractions of players on the roster, the tight end position essentially stayed the same. Trey Burton might get some more reps as the third guy with the release of James Casey, but they didn’t really need to get better here. Verdict: remained the same


Jason Kelce is still the starter, so there’s really no question that this remains a strong position, and thus, not one that needed any improving. Verdict: remained the same

Offensive Guard

It would be very difficult to prove that the guard position got better for them. Losing an All-Pro in Evan Mathis and their other starting guard, Todd Herremans, will hurt them this year. Will it have an enormous impact? Possibly not, considering both guys missed a bunch of games in 2014 anyway. Matt Tobin, John Moffitt, Allen Barbre and maybe even Dennis Kelly will fight for the two openings. Verdict: worsened

Offensive Tackle

Jason Peters and Lane Johnson will remain the starters, there’s no question about it. The backups might switch around a bit, especially if Barbre starts at guard, but that won’t have much effect. These two starters will have a tremendous impact on the offense in 2015. Verdict: remained the same

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Defensive End

The Eagles were already very strong here with a three-headed monster of Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Vinny Curry. Plus, they still have Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart as backups. They did add Brian Mihalik in the draft, but essentially, this is the same group. Verdict: remained the same

Defensive Tackle

Similar to defensive end, the defensive tackle (or nose tackle to be specific here) position mostly is the same. Bennie Logan is expected to be the starter again and Beau Allen is a solid backup. Verdict: remained the same

Outside Linebacker

The Eagles lost long-time starter Trent Cole, deciding to re-sign backup Brandon Graham instead to take over Cole’s role. Cole was great, but Graham has spent long enough as a backup, and a great, efficient one too. One problem could be the depth at the position with only Travis Long and Marcus Smith, but Kelly appears to be high on Long. Still, losing Cole might hurt the group’s overall effectiveness unless either Long or Smith makes a huge improvement. Verdict: worsened

Inside Linebacker

One could make a strong case in saying that the Eagles’ best position in terms of talent and depth is inside linebacker. They not only retained Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans, but they added a young stud in Kiko Alonso. They also got Najee Goode back from an injury and drafted Jordan Hicks. They even have Emmanuel Acho too, who is pretty solid as well. I don’t think all five of those guys will make the team, but either way they’re stacked here. Verdict: improved


This is the number one position the Eagles needed to improve, and there’s no doubt they did that. They unloaded last year’s starters in Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher and added Byron Maxwell, the top free agent at the position. Regardless of who starts on the other side, they’re already improved. Kelly has been high on Nolan Carroll and there’s a very real chance he could be the other starter, but so could guys like Brandon Boykin or rookie Eric Rowe. Either way, everything about this position got better. Verdict: improved


The team’s top safety, Malcolm Jenkins, is returning, and they got rid of Nate Allen. Allen took a lot more criticism than he should have, but he was nothing more than average at the end of the day. They signed Walter Thurmond, who has played cornerback in the past, but has been practicing at safety. They also have guys like Earl Wolff and Jerome Couplin who could make a run at the starting job, or maybe even Eric Rowe. Regardless of who ends up winning the battle, they’re in a better situation than last year. Verdict: improved

Kicker/Punter/Long Snapper

All three of these guys are the same, but they’re all solid, so there was no need to change them anyway. Verdict: remained the same

Overall, my assessment has it that four position groups improved and three worsened, while one still has to be determined (quarterback). The rest either had negligible changes or remained the same. Based on that, it may appear that their roster is more or less of the same skill level, but the improvements were much bigger in effect than the position groups that “worsened.” I listed wide receiver and outside linebacker as ones that worsened, but in reality, the amount that they worsened isn’t going to be enough to have a drastic impact on the team. Thus, in general, the team was much improved.

Next: Predicting the Ceiling and Floor for Each Eagles' Quarterback

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