2020 Philadelphia Eagles Outlook
The Philadelphia Eagles have three straight postseason appearances under head coach Doug Pederson, which includes a Super Bowl title in 2017. He pushed his career record to 38-26 while picking up four wins in six playoff chances. Over the previous three seasons, Pederson was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. He worked under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid for eight years in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Even with a winning record in 2018 and 2019, Philadelphia struggled to make an impact in points scored (367 – 18th and 385 – 12th) and in yards allowed (14th) in both years. Last year, the Eagles won their final four games to steal the NFC East division title from the Cowboys.
Philly won't have an offensive coordinator in 2020, which leaves the responsibilities divided between three options – Press Taylor (passing game coordinator), Rich Scangarello (senior offensive assistant), and Matt Burke (run game coordinator).
Jim Schwartz will run the defense for the fifth straight season after taking a year off in 2015. Over five seasons as a head coach for the Lions, he went 29-51 with one playoff berth. He has 13 years of experience as a defensive coordinator. Schwartz helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl in 2017.
Last year Philadelphia improved to 10th in yards allowed and 15th in points against (35).
The top two players added via free agency were DL Javon Hargrave and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman. Hargrave will button up the run defense up the middle while improving the pass rush. Robey-Coleman isn't an elite coverage player on the outside, but his game plays well out of the slot.
S Will Parks was a minor addition to the defensive side of the ball.
Philly lost CB Ronald Darby, DT Timmy Jernigan, LB Nigel Bradham, DE Vinny Curry, and LB Kamu Grugier-Hill from their defense.
Darby played well in coverage in 2017 and 2018, but he lost his way last year. Over the previous three seasons, he missed 20 games.
Bradham has been hot and cold in run support over the last five seasons while showing fade in his tackling skills.
The Eagles parted ways with RB Jordan Howard, who landed in Miami. WR Nelson Agholor landed a job in Las Vegas.
Philadelphia didn't re-sign T Jason Peters after a long successful career in all areas.
G Halapoulivaati Vaitai shifted to the Lions, and C Jeremy Zuttah will collect his next payday in New Orleans. Both players received handsome contracts in the offseason.
In a surprise move, Philadelphia selected WR Jalen Reagor 21st overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Even with some questions with his initial quickness and change of direction value coming back to the line of scrimmage, Reagor has the talent to make big plays at the next level. His speed (4.47 forty) is deceiving, and he does play with strength (17 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine).
The Eagles invested in QB Jalen Hurts in the second round. There's a lot to like here while not getting his proper due by scouts. His movements in the pocket as a runner have similarities to Deshaun Watson while also having Daunte Culpepper feel.
Hurts went 38-4 in his college career while playing for two top programs. He plays with a physical style with the ability to drive the ball deep downfield with velocity with a flick of the wrist. His run reads are exceptional at times, especially in the red zone.
His next step in development is a better pocket presence as far as commitment to the pass. Hurts' shortfall in this area is coachable, as well as teaching him to make quick, accurate throws over the short areas of the field.
In the third and fourth rounds, Philly added LB Davlon Taylor and S K'Von Wallace.
Taylor continues to develop his game, built on speed (4.49 forty), strength (21 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine), and athletic ability. He is undersized (6'0" and 228 lbs.) for a linebacker. His lack of experience takes on a looker feel in play development, leading to mistakes in coverage and poor timing on some plays in run support. If he figures out the mental part of the game, Taylor has the tools to be an upside defender.
Wallace needs some work in pass coverage, which is hurt by questionable decision-making and change of direction quickness. He'll attack the line of scrimmage in run support with the talent to get the quarterback when his number is called in a blitz package. His next step is improving his playmaking in coverage.
Philadelphia turned back to the wide receiver position in the fifth and sixth rounds (John Hightower and Quez Watkins).
Hightower brings speed (4.43 forty) to the wide receiver position with some open field ability. His challenge comes versus press coverage while not having the best hands to win in close quarters. His route running is trailing at this point in his career.
Watkins was the second shot at a deep threat for the Eagles. His speed (4.35 forth) grades well, while his short-area quickness won't create an edge when facing tight coverage at the line of scrimmage. Watkins can win his share of 50/50 chances with his best chance of success coming over the long field and on crossing patterns.
The last two additions to the defense were LB Shaun Bradley (6th) and LB Casey Toohill (7th).
Bradley earns his keep by being in the right place at the right time. He plays with awareness and patience, but his strength (14 reps in the bench press) hurts him when meeting big bodies in traffic. Bradley will get tested in pass coverage due to his lack of change of direction explosiveness.
Toohill comes with pass-rushing skills, but his desire to attack leaves him open for mistakes in run support. His game has the most value when attacking the line of scrimmage while having a free run. Toohill needs to add more pass-rushing moves, get stronger, and improve his anchor if he wants to earn more playing time at the next level.
Philly drafted T Prince Tega Wanogho. He is a developmental project, who offers the most upside in pass protection. Wanogho already shows strength in his hands and quickness. His technique needs work, as does his feel for oncoming defenders.
The Eagles jumped to 11th in rushing yards (1,939) with 16 rushing TDs. They averaged 34.3 yards per carry while gaining over 20 yards per rush in seven runs.
Philadelphia scored 27 passing TDs while doing an excellent job minimizing the damage in interceptions (8). They slipped to 16th in passing yards (4,063) while gaining only 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Their offensive line allowed 40 sacks and 102 QB hits.
In his rookie season after getting drafted 22nd overall, Dillard made four starts with three coming at left tackle. He handled himself well in two games with full-time snaps. Overall, Dillard failed to make an impact in any area of the game.
His athletic style is tied to his plus footwork gives him an edge at left tackle. He projects well in pass projection while needing more time to develop all of his skill set in the run game. In 2020, he takes over for Jason Peters, who had a sensational career over 13 seasons.
LG Isaac Seumalo
In his first year with a full season of stats, Seumalo improved to a league-average player in all areas. He still gives up a few sacks with a couple of bad games in pressure to the quarterback. The Eagles drafted him in the third round in 2016.
C Jason Kelce
Kelce remains one of the best players at his position. In 2019, his game did regress in run blocking while allowing the most pressure to the quarterback in his career. Kelce is a former sixth-round draft pick (2011) with seven other strong seasons on his resume.
RG Brandon Brooks
Brooks played exceptionally well over his four seasons with Philadelphia. He minimizes the damage in sacks while ranking highly in each year in the league in pass projection. His run blocking came in at an elite level after showing regression in 2018. Last January, Brooks had surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder.
RT Lane Johnson
In December, Johnson battled a left ankle injury that cost him the final four games, which included the playoffs. When on the field, he dominated as a run blocker while continuing to be an asset in pass protection. Johnson is a former first-round pick (2013).
Offensive Line Outlook
The right side of this line has the most upside in run blocking while having the talent to rank with the best teams in the league in overall strength. There will be a learning curve at left tackle, and most of the downside in the pass rush should come on that side of the line. Overall, this offensive line has a top ten upside if all players stay healthy, and Dillard plays up to his first-round pedigree.
QB Jalen Hurts, PHI - Dynasty Only
Hurts had one of the more interesting quarterback careers in college football. He earned the starting role for Alabama early in 2016, which led to 2,780 passing yards with 23 TDs and nine INTs. His success on the ground (191/954/13) helped the Crimson Tide go 14-1 with a loss to Clemson in the national championship game.
The following season Hurts saw most of the quarterback action during the regular season, but Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench to steal the show in a win over Georgia in the championship game and eventually the starting job in 2018.
Between 2017 and 2018, Hurts passed for 2,846 yards with 25 TDs and three INTs. He also ran for 1,022 yards and ten touchdowns on 190 carries.
After a transfer to Oklahoma, he went 12-2 with his best success throwing the ball (3,851 yards with 32 TDs and eight Ints), leading to a 69.7 percent completion rate. The Sooners worked him hard as well in the run game (233/1298/20).
The Eagles may try to get him involved at other positions in 2020 or even run plays for him at the goal at the quarterback position where his mobility adds value in scoring.
QB Carson Wentz, IND - Quality Backup
Heading into 2019, I thought Wentz had a chance to shine based on his combination of WRs and TEs. By midseason, the luster was gone after passing for only 1,567 yards (224 per game) and eight TDs over a seven-game stretch.
Despite weakness at WR (151/1684/11) due to injuries, Wentz rose from the dead to lead the Eagles to a playoff berth over his final five games (4-1) averaged over 300 yards and two TDs per contest. Wentz passed for over 300 yards in five games and posted three TDs in four starts.
His season ended quickly in the playoffs after suffering a concussion.
Philly has the best combination of TEs in the league, with a developing star at running back. Wentz needs WR Jalen Reagor to hit the ground running to push him toward the top six QBs.
Last year he was the 10th highest scoring QB (20.64) in four-point passing TD leagues. After the first run of the projections, I have Wentz on a path for 4,268 combined yards with 27 TDs and nine Ints.
RB Miles Sanders, PHI - Stud (low risk)
Over the first ten games in a split role with RB Jordan Howard, Sanders gained about 69 yards per game with two TDs and 24 catches.
With Howard out of the picture, he helped the Eagles to a playoff berth with success over his next five contests (588 combined yards with four TDs and 23 catches) on 21.2 touches per game. Sanders played at the highest level in Week 15 (172 combined yards with two TDs and six catches) and Week 16 (156 combined yards with a TD and five catches).
Sanders finished 15th in RB scoring (219.8) in PPR leagues while being on the field for 53 percent of the Eagles' RB plays. At a minimum, Sanders will see a 20 percent growth in touches (229 in 2019) this year.
I have him projected for 1,500 combined yards with 12 TDs and 55 catches on 290 touches, making him a top 10 running back option in 2020.
RB Boston Scott, PHI - Fantasy Handcuff
With Eagles banged up at running back and wide receiver, Scott emerged as a secret weapon over the last quarter of the year. Philly doesn't win the NFC East without his two big games (128 combined yards with one TD and six catches and 138 combined yards with three TDs and four catches) against the Giants.
In his other three contests down the stretch, Scott gained 132 combined yards with 16 catches. A quick undersized player with some heart may slide to RB3 for the Eagles in 2020.
In 2017 at Louisiana Tech, Scott gained 1,228 combined yards with nine TDs and 20 catches.
Fantasy owners seem to be rising him up draft boards as a valuable change-of-pace option.
WR Jalen Reagor, PHI - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
His college career started with 33 catches for 576 yards and eight TDs as a freshman in 2017. The following year he led the team in receiver production (72/1061/9) despite playing with three different lower-tier options at quarterback. Texas Christian struggled to throw the ball in 2019 (53.4 percent completion rate), which led to Reagor turning in a below-par season (43/611/5).
TCU used him on fades at the goal line, but his burst off the line didn't look special in close. He will win his fair share of jump balls in the end zone. Reagor shines the most with the ball in his hands when seeing daylight. His acceleration through the second level of the defense is impressive when given space to make plays. He'll challenge defenses in the deep passing game.
Overall, there is work to do to become a complete wide receiver while having plenty of talent. Some of Reagor's development was restricted by the structure of his team last year.
The Eagles have upside in catches at RB1, TE1, TE2, and Alshon Jeffery will be active when on the field. Reagor is one of the tougher wide receivers to put an evaluation on early in 2020. He'll also start the year behind DeSean Jackson the depth.
I only see 32 catches for 442 yards and four TDs out of the gate while being overvalued by fantasy owners. His projections will rise over the summer if his training camp news remains positive. Reagor is a really popular sleeper but you have to remember how the Eagles use their WRs and it's unlikely DeSean Jackson comes off the field often. So Reagor may need more three-WR sets to stay involved.
WR DeSean Jackson, LAR - Over the Hill (decreased production)
The excitement of Jackson returning to Philly after a five-season vacation lasted a whole 67 plays in 2019. He created a buzz after dominating in Week 1 (8/154/2).
An abdomen injury cost him most of the next 15 games.
Over his last six years, Jackson averaged over 17.5 yards per catch in five different seasons. The Eagles desperately need to improve their deep passing game (only six catches over 40 yards in 2019, and Jackson has two of them).
Flash player who is past his prime. Only a 40 to 50 catch guy going forward while still capable of multiple impact games over a full year of starts.