For the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office in 2021, Christmas came twice last year. Led by rookie coach Nick Sirianni and a quarterback with four previous starts on his resume, the team was expected to falter. The Eagles finished well above expectations. With a 9-8 record, a playoff appearance, and two additional first-round picks, there’s a reason for optimism.
The Eagles are going into this offseason with a lot of options. They have three first-round picks for the first time in team history. They are projected to have $21 million in cap space according to PFF. Armed with a plethora of draft capital and cap space, the Eagles’ road map to success is the following:
Should The Eagles Trade For A Veteran QB?
In 2017, the Eagles won the Super Bowl with backup quarterback Nick Foles. The success of Foles caused some uncertainty around the quarterback position in Philadelphia. The Eagles decided to commit to Carson Wentz and seemingly put the uncertainty behind them.
In 2020, the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round and more uncertainty arose. Wentz responded to the arrival of Hurts by playing the worst football of his professional career. Wentz’s struggles would lead to a trade to the Indianapolis Colts for a conditional first-round pick.
The Eagles today have Jalen as the projected starter going into 2022. Question marks surrounding his ability as a pure passer are legitimate. Those questions have many believing the team should pursue a proven elite level quarterback this offseason via trade. However, Hurts should remain the starter for the upcoming season.
With Hurts as the lead guy in 2021, the Eagles showed potential. The team galvanized around his strong leadership and unique charisma. His play as a passer does have a long way to go yet he’s shown the willingness to put in the work. The front office should give him one more year to develop and build a strong roster around him. In 2022 the “rent is due!”
Who Should The Eagles Target In Free Agency?
The Eagles need to get better at several positions. The most immediate needs are LB, EDGE, DB, and WR. The team is expected to have a ton of cap space. Adding the right player at the right price in free agency can change an organization. One player they should target is unrestricted free agent WR Mike Williams.
Mike Williams, Wide Receiver
Signing free-agent WR Mike Williams would add the perfect complement to the Eagles’ undersized receiving corps. Williams is the big body deep threat they’ve been missing. At 6’4″ and 218 lbs., he can box out smaller defensive backs and frequently win contested catches. Williams posted 76 receptions for 1146 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2021.
Williams has Eagles ties with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen from their time together in San Diego (Steichen worked as the OC in San Diego in 2020). This should make for a seamless transition. Signing Williams should be a priority.
Who Should The Eagles Target In The Draft?
Howie Roseman pulled off some remarkable trades providing the team with two additional first-round picks in 2022.
The Eagles must capitalize on their three first-round picks. Keeping the picks is the priority. Hitting on all three is the key. Here are three prospects the Eagles should target with the 15th,16th, and 19th picks in the 2022 NFL draft:
Pick #15: Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, Georgia
The Eagles’ history of drafting linebackers in the first round is virtually nonexistent. This is the year they rewrite history. Nakobe Dean is arguably the best linebacker in this draft. He’s an explosive undersized defender that flies all over the field.
In 2021 the 6’0,” 225 lbs. junior led his Georgia Bulldogs with 72 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 interceptions. Drafting Dean would provide the Eagles defense with a much-needed impact player in pass rush and coverage.
Pick #16: Trent McDuffie, Defensive Back, Washington
The Eagles struggled in pass defense in 2021. Aside from Darius Slay and Avante Maddox, they desperately need to upgrade the secondary.
Drafting a player with Trent McDuffie’s upside should be a no-brainer. McDuffie is a do-it-all corner that can cover and tackle in space. His Washington Huskies secondary finished the 2021 season with the fewest passing yards per game allowed (143.3). With his speed and smooth footwork in coverage, the jump to the NFL should be effortless.
Pick #19: Jermaine Johnson, Defensive End, Florida State
With their third pick of the round, the Eagles get back to their roots of building from the trenches. Jermaine Johnson at 6’4” and 255 lbs. is an edge rusher that would fit perfectly with the Eagles’ front seven.
In 2021 Johnson dominated the competition with 70 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. His ability to wreak havoc in both the run and pass games showed up consistently. Johnson is a player the Eagles must prioritize on draft day.