Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Youth Movement

Ask Howie Roseman about some of his young guys, and he’ll offer you this stat: The Eagles have 36 players on the active roster under the age of 26.

“That’s a lot,” the Eagles general manager said.

The Eagles, according to our friend Jimmy Kempski’s tabulations, began the season as the 10th youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.74. To break it down further, 15 of the 53 players on the roster (28 percent) right now are 23 or younger. It’s no secret what the Eagles plan is: go young, build through the draft and supplement the roster with veterans that can provide some guidance.

In order for that blueprint to work, of course, you need to hit on your draft picks. And while the jury is still out, early returns on the past two draft classes have generally been positive. Players like Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Bennie Logan and Earl Wolff are all making an impact in some way.

After too many swings and misses in the ’10 and ’11 drafts, the Eagles lost significant strength in their core. They’re trying to build that back up.

“We have a good group of scouts and we have a good connection in the building, personnel and coaching working together,” said Roseman. “And I think the process is good now. If you have a good process I think you get good results. It’s gotta be that way, it’s gotta start with that. You  have to pick the best players and not force anything, and if we continue to do that we’re going to have a good team.”

Here is the list Roseman referenced:

Bryce Brown 22N
Fletcher Cox 22Y
Matthew Tucker22N
Emmanuel Acho23N
Matt Barkley 23N
Brandon Boykin 23Y
Zach Ertz 23N
Lane Johnson 23Y
Dennis Kelly23N
Mychal Kendricks23Y
Jake Knott 23N
Bennie Logan23Y
Chris Polk23N
Matt Tobin23N
Earl Wolff 23Y
Nick Foles24Y
Najee Goode24N
Damaris Johnson24N
Jeff Maehl24N
Casey Matthews24N
Damion Square24N
Nate Allen 25Y
Roc Carmichael25N
Kurt Coleman 25N
Vinny Curry25N
Clifton Geathers25N
Brandon Graham25N
Curtis Marsh 25N
LeSean McCoy25Y
Cedric Thornton25Y
Patrick Chung26N
Riley Cooper26Y
Alex Henery 26--
DeSean Jackson26Y
Jason Kelce 26Y
Julian Vandervelde26N

(Note: We listed Wolff the starter over Chung, and put Boykin down as a starter because of his value to the secondary.)

— Of this group, 20 can be considered regular contributors (not including special teams). Thirteen are starters.

— The starting defensive line trio of  Cox, Logan and Thornton has an average age of 23 years old.

Michael Vick, Donnie Jones and Jon Dorenbos are the elder statesman on the team at 33 years of age.

— Starting offensive linemen Evan Mathis (32), Todd Herremans (31) and Jason Peters (31) are next in line. Trent Cole is also 31.


Kapadia shows just how special LeSean McCoy has been lately with help from the All-22.

Chip Kelly‘s personality, potential issues in the run game and my day off, all covered in the latest Twitter Mailbag.

Sheil writes that the defense is beginning to form an identity. 

Nick Foles prop bets? Nick Foles prop bets.


Kevin Seifert over at ESPN.com on how critical McCoy has been to Foles’ success:

I don’t want to take anything away from Nick Foles, who is 4-1 as the Eagles’ starter. He has thrown 16 touchdowns without an interception, but it’s important to understand how much he has benefited from LeSean McCoy’s NFL-leading 1,009 rushing yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, nine of Foles’ touchdown passes have come among his 46 play-action attempts, an incredible ratio that doubles what we’ve seen this season from Peyton Manning (eight in 98 attempts), Russell Wilson (eight in 92) and Drew Brees (seven in 92).

Zach Berman writes that Boykin is making the most of his time on the field.

Boykin has played 56 percent of the defensive snaps this season. When playing teams that don’t often field three wide receivers, such as Washington last Sunday, Boykin is often relegated to the sideline. He played just 31 percent of the snaps…

Asked this week what his statistics would be if he played 40 percent more of the snaps, Boykin couldn’t help but laugh. He understands his role but has not been shy about his desire – and ability – to be a full-time cornerback.

“When you’re on the field more, you make more plays, or you should, if you get more opportunities,” Boykin said. “I just want to try to make my plays, because I know my reps.”


We’ll roll out some predictions for the rest of the year.