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The Eagles’ Most Exciting Preseason Position Battles 

The Philadelphia Eagles are having a productive offseason so far. Multiple players have been added through free agency and the draft putting the Eagles in a spot to contend this upcoming season.

As the offseason workouts will soon lead into preseason, the position battles are heating up. The Eagles can’t keep everyone, so they will have some difficult decisions to make.

Here are the most exciting position battles for the Eagles this offseason:

Wide Receiver

Just a few years ago, the Eagles’ wide receiver group was inexperienced and unproven. Now the Eagles have one of the best young receiver duos in the league by adding A.J. Brown to pair with the former Heisman winner Devonta Smith. These two guys will lock up the two starting receiver positions, but the Eagles will need depth behind them. 

The slot receiver position could go to Quez Watkins who was drafted by the Eagles in 2020. Watkins had a decent season last year by recording 43 receptions for 647 yards including a 91-yard touchdown against the 49ers.

Free agent pickup Zach Pascal is another name to watch. He played for Nick Sirianni in Indianapolis. Pascal has nearly 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns over his four years in the NFL. He won’t put up huge numbers but is a reliable target that could provide depth. 

The biggest question mark is Jalen Reagor. Reagor through two seasons has not lived up to the high expectations of a first-round pick. He had just 280 receiving yards last season and 396 yards in 2020. Reagor has special teams experience which could give him an edge vs. the Eagles’ other receivers.  

Outside the five most likely receivers to make the team, the Eagles could have someone sneak in for a final roster spot. John Hightower and Greg Ward are returning to the Eagles with NFL experience. Josh Hammond and Deon Cain have played for other NFL teams on various practice squads

Devon Allen is a former Olympian and Oregon football player. Britain Covey is an undersized, but speedy player who was one of college football’s best returners last year for Utah. Keric Wheatfall is an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State. The Eagles will have some choices at wide receiver this year to complement the young duo of Brown and Smith.

Right Guard

The Eagles’ offensive line is mostly set except for at right guard. Jason Kelce at center, Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Landon Dickerson at left guard, and Lane Johnson at right tackle are all returning. The favorite for the right guard position is Isaac Seumalo. Seumalo has been with the Eagles since 2016, but he is inconsistent and has not shown he can stay healthy. He will need to have a solid camp to win the starting job. 

Behind Seumolo, the Eagles have Jack Driscoll and Sua Opeta who both have NFL experience. 2022 draft pick, Cam Jurgens, could also be a name to watch. He was drafted to be the eventual replacement for Jason Kelce, but the Eagles could call on him to start right away at the guard position. The right guard is an important spot among what is one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. 

Strong Safety

The Eagles lost six-year starting strong safety Rodney McLeod to free agency. His replacement will likely be Marcus Epps or K’Von Wallace. Whoever wins the job will be paired with Anthony Harris who is returning as a starter.

Marcus Epps was originally drafted by the Vikings in 2019 before being picked up by the Eagles midway through the 2019 season. Epps appeared in 45 games over the past three seasons including eight starts. He had 62 tackles, five pass breakups, and one interception last season. Overall Epps excelled against the run (87.3 PFF run defense grade) but struggled in pass coverage (117.3 passer rating allowed). 

K’Von Wallace was drafted by the Eagles in 2020. He played in 28 games over a two-year span recording 27 tackles and one forced fumble. Wallace does not have as much experience as Epps, so he will need to have an excellent preseason to be considered for the starting position. Other players on the roster include Jared Mayden with NFL experience and Reed Blankenship who is an undrafted free agent.

Overall, the Eagles’ secondary has improved from last season. Cornerback James Bradberry was added as a free agent and will be paired with 2021 Pro-Bowler Darius Slay. Avonte Maddox will return as the slot corner and will begin the first year of his three-year contract extension he signed this past November. 

Linebacker/Defensive Line

The Eagles made numerous additions across their defensive line and linebacker groups. This had led to speculation that the team could be switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense. It is likely that whichever the Eagles choose, they will probably play both sets. The offseason will give the Eagles a chance to evaluate which of the players will get the starting spots and which set the Eagles will use the most often.

The linebacker group is much improved since last season. T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor are returning as starters. Kyzir White was added as a free agent from the Chargers. White led the Chargers with 144 tackles last season plus had two forced fumbles and two interceptions.

The Eagles added Georgia standout Nakobe Dean in the draft. He was considered first-round talent, but the Eagles got him in the third round. The other addition at linebacker is former Temple star Haason Reddick. He is listed at linebacker but expect to see him on the field in pass-rush situations. The only loss at linebacker was Alex Singleton who signed with the Broncos as a free agent. 

On the defensive line, Philadelphia retained their starters plus added DT Jordan Davis as a first-round pick. Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat are the likely starters at defensive end with Derek Barnett as a rotational player who is returning on a contract extension. Ali Fayad is the only other DE, so he may be battling for a practice quad spot.

If the Eagles go with a 3-4 defense, they will have to decide who starts at nose tackle. Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox are both elite defensive tackles. Both guys are on the last year of their contracts, so expect the Eagles to give first-round pick Jordan Davis a lot of playing time as well. 2021 draft pick, Milton Williams could also get playing time as a rotational player. 

Overall, the Eagles have plenty of quality linebackers and defensive lineman. Whichever group plays better is likely going to be the defensive front that the Eagles use the most. With the aging defensive line, the 3-4 defense makes a lot of sense, but the Eagles defensive line is still among the best in football. 

Which position battle are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments. 

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