What is this? February? Why does it feel like the Philadelphia Eagles' Wild Card Round loss was six months ago? Why are we still in agony? Why does it feel like this team is so far away from another Super Bowl win when last offseason we thought we were close?
Okay, this misery can't continue! Where's our silver lining? We know! We'll talk about the young guys and hope for the future.
Our memories are a tad hazy, but if they serve us correctly and we were truly handing out report cards and using grade-school scales to do so, we think the breakdown is something like this:
B - Above Average
C - Average
D - Below Average
Yeah... That looks about right. The Eagles season is in our rearview mirror. Now that we have had a chance to decompress, let's discuss the youngsters. How are you guys feeling? We're feeling like we have some hope.
Here are final grades for the Eagles' 2023 rookie class.
To be fair, we didn't feel like practice squad players and the like had earned enough opportunities to show us what they could do. For that reason, we focused on the 2024 draft class and one very talented former undrafted free agent that worked his butt off and made the team.
Jalen Carter - A-
Well, this one's kind of a no-brainer. Jalen Carter's future is a bright one. That's obvious.
He would have earned a perfect score had it not been for slamming head-first into a rookie wall. That's okay! He never played so much football in his life. He'll be better prepared for the grind next season.
Nolan Smith - C
We don't care much about the depth chart and who Nolan Smith had ahead of him. When guys are drafted in the first round, they are expected to make immediate contributions, and we aren't discussing simply special teams.
Smith will be fine and a great Eagle. We truly believe that, but we hoped for more pop in year one. Remember... Some would have been happy had he been the first Eagles first-round selection had Jalen Carter not been available.
Tyler Steen - B+
Tyler Steen will have to settle for a reserve role for now, but that's okay. Teams can never have enough good offensive linemen, and this is a good one. Plus. who knows where we'd be had he not jumped on that fumble in that home game versus the Dallas Cowboys.
Sydney Brown - B+
If we're going to give Nolan Smith a little tough love for underperforming, we have to give Sydney Brown, a third-rounder, a pat on the back for being better than we thought he'd be. Don't get us wrong. We knew something was there, but if this guy can morph into a better coverage safety (and bounce back from a late-season injury), he has a shot at being a great Eagle for a long time.
Kelee Ringo - B+
Kelee Ringo's draft grades were all over the place. Some saw a star. Some saw a guy that wasn't ready, but when injuries came, and Philly needed the rookie, he wasn't that bad, minus that time he committed pass interference, grabbed the opposing receiver's facemask, and still gave up the reception we mean.
He enters the coming season expected to be a backup again. He's someone to watch, and watch him we shall. There's a lot to be excited about here.
Tanner McKee - C
We knew we'd never see Tanner McKee in a game that counted against the win-loss total, but that's okay. We liked most of what we saw during the preseason, so we're going to grade him on a curve. We just don't feel right about placing him in above average territory, at least not yet. Hey, that's fair, right?
Moro Ojomo - Undetermined (for now)
Okay, we remember Moro Ojomo playing at some point. We just don't remember when that was and how we felt about it. Simply put, Philly had a lot of defensive tackles, and we don't have a large enough sample size to give the former Texas Longhorns standout a grade of pass or fail.
Eli Ricks (UDFA) - C+
Eli Ricks is okay. He isn't awful. He isn't elite. Philly may have made a mistake by trying to test him in the slot corner role. He's more of an outside guy. Still, a couple of nice plays during preseason games do not an elite NFL cornerback make.
Keep working with this guy Philly. He has earned that, but he isn't ready for primetime yet.