I haven’t seen the Eagles offense getting the press that it deserves. In a Madden-esqe world where you can turn off injuries, I don’t think that there is a better offense in the NFL as far as talent. Douggie P and Mike Groh have a warchest of talented players that could haunt the league this season.
Let’s start at wide receiver. The obvious best player in the corps is Alshon Jefferey. After seeing the past two seasons of what he can do with both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles throwing to him, there isn’t much that needs to be said.
After the departure of Torrey Smith at the end of the 2017-18 season and the unfortunate stint with Mike Wallace, the Eagles brought back DeSean Jackson (who should have never left) and a 2020 seventh-round pick for the Eagles sixth-rounder from this past draft. Jackson is easily still one of, if not the, fastest wide receivers in the NFL. Jackson fixes the lack of a deep threat that was the Achilles heel of the passing game last season. Over the past two years, Wentz ranks seventh in deep accuracy at 45 percent according to Pro Football Focus, so Jackson can rest easy knowing that the ball is going to end up in his hands most of the time. The Wentz to Jackson connection is already beginning to take shape, with Wentz throwing a lot of balls to Jackson in OTAs.
Jackson also has a solid backup in 2017 fourth round pick Mack Hollins, who showed off his speed against the Redskins in his rookie year, torching the defense for his first career touchdown. If Hollins can stay healthy, he provides yet another deep threat for this offense.
The acquisition of Jackson also benefits Nelson Agholor. Despite all the talk of him getting traded, it looks like Agholor will be wearing midnight green for at least one more season before he hits free agency. With Jackson coming in, this moves Agholor into his preferred slot position. After starting 86 percent of his snaps in the slot in 2017, he had career highs in almost every statistic category. He finished the campaign with 62 passes for 764 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season, and he caught 15 passes for 167 yards in the playoffs, with nine catches for 87 yards in the Super Bowl.
Hopefully we see that Nelly over this next season, which would create a starting receiver corps akin to FC Barcelona’s famous attacking force of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez.
With the second of their two picks in the second round of the 2019 draft, the Eagles surprised me by selecting Stanford wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside 57th overall. After watching the tape, I’m not at all mad about it. Arcega-Whiteside is 6’ 3”, a solid route runner, and has intangibles that are off the charts. In a few years, he could easily become a much cheaper replacement to Jefferey if the Eagles decide to let him go.
The one two punch at tight end of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert need no introduction. Ertz has become in my opinion the best tight end in a post-Gronk NFL, and Goedert is a great compliment to Ertz who can also develop into an elite pass catching tight end like his partner. The two can create nightmares for defenses who have to cover not only them, but the wide receivers who I’ve mentioned before.
Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas also did a great job improving upon the backfield as well, acquiring Jordan Howard from the Bears for a 2020 conditional sixth round pick. Howard will most likely only be a one year rental, but Howard is a major upgrade over Jay Ajayi, and is a great runner, receiver, and blocker. Under Matt Nagy in Chicago, Howard became a very good pass catching back, yet was underutilized in favor of Tarik Cohen. Howard also excels as a pass blocker, and was rated the best pass blocking back in the league last year by Pro Football Focus. He can do it all.
We’ve already seen what Corey Clement can bring to the table, after a breakout year in 2017 as an UDFA, but the Wisconsin back was banged up all of last year, so it will be great to see him at his best in 2019.
The last piece I want to look at individually is Miles Sanders. The pick everyone saw coming, and boy am I glad we made it. Picking the former Penn State back 53rd overall, the Eagles got yet another versatile runner with low mileage. Like Howard, Sanders lacks home run speed, but he is an intelligent back, who can take over a majority of the snaps if Howard leaves next offseason.
Now, let’s look at the offense as a whole. You have receivers that can run almost every route in the book, guys that can play the “burner” role, and your physical receivers that can go up and get the football. In the backfield, it’s pick your poison against a three headed monster of versatile backs.
One scenario has been dancing in my head where these pieces become particularly tantalizing: the red zone. Last season, the Eagles had 22 passing touchdowns inside the redzone, and 9 rushing. I expect these numbers to soar in this upcoming season with the talent here. Imagine a scenario with Jefferey, Arcega-Whiteside, Ertz, and Goedert in the red zone as your receivers. The Eagles have had Ertz play out wide against a CB before, but not often. Doing this gives the Eagles a chance to put Goedert on the line and have another physical body to throw to.
I want to profile JJAW in this spot, because he is a MAJOR issue for opposition defenses in the red zone. He comes from a family of former basketball players, and was probably the best receiver in this past draft class when it comes to jump balls. Stanford knew this and put him in spots one on one with cornerbacks that he towers over, as he boxed them out and got his hands on the football. Not only do you get these passing threats, but pick your poison of tough running backs that will jam the ball down your throat, but could also be played as receivers.
How do you stop all of those options from scoring? I don’t think there’s a surefire way to stop that corps every time. This is a scary offense, and with Wentz at the helm, teams should be afraid.