Wake-Up Call: Eagles 15th In Future Rankings
Much of what we’ve discussed in this space recently has centered on the 2015 Eagles.
But Chip Kelly made a bunch of changes this offseason that will affect the franchise long-term. So how are the Eagles set up beyond the 2015 season?
ESPN Insider put together future power rankings that focus on how organizations are looking for the next three seasons. The rankings were compiled by analyst Louis Riddick, along with writers Mike Sando and John Clayton. They used the following criteria: roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent).
So how did the Birds fare? They came in at No. 15, dropping seven spots from last offseason. Here’s the overview:
The Eagles’ seven-spot drop from one year ago reflected significant drops in rankings for quarterback (12th to 22nd), non-QB roster (fifth to 14th) and front office (10th to 19th). Chip Kelly and the other coaches actually moved ahead three spots to sixth, and there was no change in the rank for drafting. The key question is whether the Eagles were smart in handing over personnel power to Kelly, a change that preceded and possibly enabled the decisions to trade away Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy while Jeremy Maclin left in free agency.
The first note is completely understandable. Last offseason, Nick Foles was coming off a 27/2 performance. This offseason, the Eagles are banking on a question mark in Sam Bradford. Their QB ranking seems about right to me.
The next two notes were more surprising. In terms of the non-QB roster, the Eagles lost LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis. But they gained Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. You could certainly make the argument that they’re in better shape from a non-QB talent standpoint than they were last year. But that’s subjective, and the analysts obviously felt differently.
Looking at the overall roster through a three-year snapshot, the offensive line is a concern, and as mentioned above, QB is a question mark.
If Murray can hold up, they’re in good shape at running back, and the Eagles have young talent at the WR (Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff) and TE (Zach Ertz) spots.
Defensively, the line is young and talented. Age isn’t a huge concern at outside linebacker with Connor Barwin (28) and Brandon Graham (27). And they’re deeper than they’ve been in awhile at inside linebacker. Malcolm Jenkins and Byron Maxwell should be solid for the next three years in the secondary, but there are question marks at the other safety spot and CB2.
The crew obviously believes in Kelly as a coach, ranking him sixth. But the ranking seems to reflect a degree of uncertainty in Kelly as a personnel man.
WHAT YOU MISSED
A disruptive force on the field, dealing with his brother’s death at home. An inside look at Fletcher Cox’s journey.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice tries to sort through the numbers on the Eagles’ defense last year:
Defensively, again according to Football Outsiders, the Eagles allowed 1.85 points per drive, which was 15th in the NFL. They allowed the seventh fewest yards per drive.
If we’re factoring in the hand that Bill Davis was dealt last season as a result of Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense, there’s an argument to be made the Eagles’ defense was actually better than the offense.
Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly has G.J. Kinne making the Eagles as their third quarterback:
Surprised to see Kinne? Don’t be. We know Matt Barkley has no future here and Tim Tebow isn’t a quarterback. Kinne is a more athletic, more versatile version of Tebow. He can play receiver and running back, giving Chip Kelly an X-factor at No. 3 quarterback and someone who can play the mobile QB role on the scout team, which Kinne has done the last two seasons. Sure, the Eagles would be screwed if Bradford and Sanchez got hurt, but they’d also be screwed if Barkley or Tebow were forced to play quarterback.
It’s July 1. We’re getting closer.