Hey, everybody, my name’s Jacky and I’ll be the blogger for the Philadelphia Eagles now (on Sports Elite Blog Site, anyway). I’m a diehard Eagles fan and a diehard Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins hater, so if you support one of those teams, I suggest you click away because there’s going to be a lot of roasting.
So with the introduction out of the way, let’s get into the real deal. The NFL season’s coming closer to a start than ever. The Hall of Fame game was yesterday, kicking off the NFL preseason. The Cow-girls won but by 2. Cowboy’s haters keep your heads up. I saw a stat saying that the last 14(?) winners of the HOF game failed to win a single playoff game. Pretty much sums up the Cowboys franchise.
All jokes aside, I’m here to write about the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles finished 7-9 last season, last in the NFC East, mostly due to a poor WR core (which they improved drastically) and poor CBs (new class hasn’t proved a lot but shows promise). Their offensive line was decent but could’ve been great if Lane Johnson hadn’t been suspended for 10 weeks. With good, at best, running backs, this didn’t leave the number 2 pick and rookie QB Carson Wentz many options to score. The Eagles defense was above average. Other than the corners, the defensive players were beasts. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham dominated the defensive line (more improvement to come); Jordan Hicks was pretty much a one man as a LB, but still did amazing; Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod Jr. made up one of the top notch safety tandems in the league.
So because of the 7-9 record, it’s not a mystery why the Eagles made a bunch of gigantic roster moves in the offseason; some good, some bad, and others just plain, what? So in January, right after the season ended (I went to the season closer when they beat the Cowboys to give them their 3rd L) the Eagles signed 15 future/reserve contracts to various free agents. This was all within the first 22 days of January 2017. Also, the Eagles signed wide receivers’ coach Mike Groh. Groh had a long career coaching in college before becoming a wide receivers’ coach for the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams (coaching the likes of Alshon Jeffery (who we’ll get to later) and Kenny Britt).
After that, they released cornerback Leodis McKelvin (who remains a free agent) and defensive end Connor Barwin (who disappointed last season and now plays for the Rams). They then agreed to terms with cornerback/safety Jaylen Watkins and extended a tender with tight end Trey Burton. On March 9, (the day Barwin was released), the Eagles made a bunch of moves. They signed: Torrey Smith, a wide receiver who played for the 49ers and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens; Alshon Jeffery, the star wide receiver of the Chicago Bears; and Chance Warmack, a first round offensive guard from the Tennessee Titans. Linebacker Najee Goode was also resigned to a one-year deal.
In the weeks following, the Eagles signed: Stefen Wisniewski, offensive guard for the Jaguars who had a great rookie season with the Titans; Nick Foles, quarterback who played for the Eagles for 2 years, having a game with a perfect passer’s rating and 7 touchdown (NFL record) before becoming backup QBs for the Rams and the Chiefs; Chris Long, defensive end for the Patriots and previously, the Rams; Patrick Robinson, cornerback for the Colts and before that, the Saints and the Chargers. The Eagles also released backup quarterback Chase Daniels in favor of Nick Foles.
In April the NFL Draft was coming up and to be hosted in the great City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The Eagles had acquired defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, whose two years with the Ravens saw him record 13 sacks and 1 interception, as well as a third round pick (99th overall) in a trade for the Eagles’ third round pick (74th overall). They also signed quarterback Matt McGloin, backup for the Raiders. So with this, the Eagles headed into the NFL Draft with the 14th, 43rd, 99th, 118th, 132nd, 166th, and 214th picks.
With the first round, 14th pick, the Eagles selected a defensive end, Derek Barnett, from the University of Tennessee. He played 3 years in college and had a combined total of 33 sacks (breaking Tennessee’s record of 32 career sacks, formerly held by Reggie White), 1 interception, and 3 forced fumbles. Many people believe him to be one of the best defensive linemen in the draft class, with some experts saying that he is better than the number one overall pick, Myles Garrett.
In the second round, the Eagles chose Sidney Jones IV, a cornerback out of the University of Washington with the 43rd pick. In three years, Jones recorded 145 tackles, 8 interceptions for 147 and 1 TD, 21 passes defended, and 6 forced fumbles. At Pro Day, Jones tore his ACL which caused his draft stock to drop.
In the third round, Philadelphia took Rasul Douglas, a cornerback from West Virginia University. Douglas had transferred from Nassau Community College in New York, where he had played football for two years. In his two years at West Virginia, Douglas recorded 77 tackles, 9 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles.
The Eagles had two picks in the fourth round, which they used to select Mack Hollins (118 overall) and Donnel Pumphrey. Hollins was a wide receiver from the University of North Carolina. He played four years at UNC and had 81 receptions for 667 yards and 20 touchdowns. Pumphrey was a running back for San Diego State. In his four years of college, Pumphrey has had 1059 attempts for 6405 and 62 touchdowns as well as 99 receptions for 1039 yards and 5 touchdowns.
In the fifth round, the Eagles selected Shelton Gibson (166th) and Nathan Gerry (184th/compensatory pick). Gibson, like Rasul Douglas, is also an alumnus of West Virginia University, where he played wide receiver. He played three seasons and ended up with 84 receptions for 1898 yards and 17 touchdowns. Gerry, a linebacker/safety from the University of Nebraska, had 273 tackles and 13 interceptions for 200 yards in his four years of playing.
Finally, the Eagles selected Elijah Qualls in the sixth round. Qualls is a defensive tackle from the University of Washington. In his three years of playing, Qualls has 77 tackles, including 11.5 for loss and 7.5 sacks.
After the draft, the Eagles waived many of its players that were signed to future/reserve contracts. They also claimed linebacker Steven Daniels off waivers. Daniels had been drafted by the Redskins but suffered an injury in training camp, ending his season prematurely. He was waived and claimed by the Eagles. On May 11, the Eagles draftees were all given rookie contracts, other than Derek Barnett. The Eagles also signed the following rookie free agents: RB Corey Clement of Wisconsin; DT Winston Craig of Richmond; QB Jerod Evans of Virginia Tech; CB Randall Goforth of UCLA; punter Cameron Johnston of Ohio State; center Tyler Orlosky of West Virginia; S Tre Sullivan of LSU; DT Charles Walker of Oklahoma; WR Greg Ward of Houston (QB in college); and CB Jomal Wiltz of Iowa State. The next day, undrafted rookie TE Billy Brown of Shepherd was signed by the Eagles. The day after, QB Jerod Evans was waived due to injury and undrafted OT Victor Salako from Oklahoma State was signed.
On May 18, the Eagles made a gigantic move to improved their running back situation. They signed former New England Patriot LeGarette Blount, a two time Super Bowl champion and the 2016 NFL rushing touchdowns leader, with 18 (also the Patriots franchise record).
In June, not a lot of things happened. Linebacker Steven Daniels was waived, while Derek Barnett came to terms with the Eagles and signed a four-year contract. The Eagles also signed defensive tackle Gabe Wright to a one-year contract. Wright had played for the Lion and Browns.
The Eagles also extended star OT Jason Peters’ contract by signing a one-year deal; signed undrafted FA QB Dane Evans from Tulsa to a three-year deal; and waived WR Dorial Green-Beckham (yippee!).
Pre-Training Camp: July-August
With Training Camp approaching, the Eagles made a few last moves on the roster. They signed Canadian rugby sevens player Adam Zaruba as a tight end to a three-year deal and signed a three-year contract with Steven Daniels, whom they claimed off of waivers earlier in the year. Offensive lineman Allen Barbre was traded to the Denver Broncos for a 2019 conditional late round draft pick. They then signed free agent Tay Glover-Wright, a cornerback who lastly played for the Colts.
In August, the Eagles waived CB Randall Goforth and agreed to a contract with Baltimore Ravens’ safety Corey Graham.
That’s all of the moves that the Eagles had made in the offseason. I was pretty satisfied with most of the offseason moves, especially the signing of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith (who fans shouldn’t sleep on), and LeGarette Blount. I’m also happy with the release of Dorial Green-Beckham, because he didn’t really do much other than drop wide open passes (hell, Agholor was better than he was). I’m not that happy with what they did with the cornerback situation. Sure, they drafted a lot of promising young cornerbacks, but they didn’t sign any veterans or established players. I was also pretty surprised that the Eagles drafted Derek Barnett in the first round.
All that being said, the new Eagles roster shows a lot of promise and I can guarantee that they will do amazing this year. The Eagles start their preseason off playing at Green Bay, against the Packers, on Thursday, August 10, at 8:00 pm ET. Don’t forget to catch the show. If you’re not much of a preseason person, then mark your calendars for September 10, when the Eagles kickoff their regular season in DC against the Redskins. Until then, I’m Jacky Chen and thanks for reading.
For a list of all the transactions the Eagles have made in this year’s offseason click here.
Click here for the official website of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Don’t forget to follow them on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.