Philadelphia Eagles are built for now and the future

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Going into the offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles needed upgrades in many areas. But for the first time in a while, it looks like they did it the right way.

At the conclusion of the 2016 season, it was obvious that the Philadelphia Eagles had one piece in place to build around long-term, franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, but outside of Wentz, there were many question marks about the level of talent on this football team.

When Howie Roseman returned to his role as the Vice President of Football Operations at the beginning of 2016, he made it very clear early on that this “rebuilding” of the franchise was to be a long-term plan, and they were not going to try to cover up serious underlying issues with so-called “band-aids” anymore.

After years of mediocrity, the Eagles knew that the time had finally come to start from scratch and rebuild the team from the ground up. Philadelphia started this process by bringing in the two most valuable pieces of any successful team; a head coach and a quarterback.

Just a little less than two years ago, the names Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz held virtually no value in the city of Philadelphia, but at least the team had a plan for how they were going to grow back into a competitor. In this league, it starts at the quarterback position, and that is exactly the hole Roseman chose to fill first.

As Pederson’s coaching tenure kicked off, there were most certainly some areas of strength on the Eagles roster. The offensive line, for one, was still a solid group and their front seven even then had the potential to be one of the leagues best units. But other than that, much of the team was still in flux thanks to the whole Chip Kelly fiasco.

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As stated earlier, Howie made it very clear early on that he did not want to just put “band-aids” on areas of need. There was no need to continue to rotate in a near endless crew of washed up veterans on this roster, especially at the cornerback position. I think we can all finally breathe a collective sigh of relief that the Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher days are firmly behind us.

While Roseman didn’t completely stay away from singing veterans to the 2016 Eagles, he did pursue some young guys to come in and possibly earn long-term jobs. Some of those guys ended up panning out, while others flamed out in remarkable fashion.

Offensively, Dorial Green-Beckham and Bryce Treggs were brought in to possibly give the Eagles some exciting young receivers on the outside, but the exact opposite of what happened and both were to be later released.

Defensively, the only one that really stands out was cornerback Jalen Mills. After dropping to the seventh round of the 2016 NFL draft due to “character concerns”, the former LSU Tiger was thrown into the fire right away and a year and a half into his career has actually shown the ability to hold his in coverage at the game’s highest level.

Leodis McKelvin proved to be another one of those aforementioned band-aids that the Eagles did not want to bring in, and obviously one year later he is no longer around.

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There were some veteran additions that have turned into solid contributors for the Eagles. Look no further than linebacker Nigel Bradham. The former Bill has thrived in his second stint in Jim Schwartz’s defense and is having himself a career year this season.

So it looked the goal of Roseman’s plan turned out to be, build a young promising core and sprinkle in vets where needed.

The 2017 offseason saw the Eagles get rid of and lose some veterans. Connor Barwin and Ryan Mathews were released and Bennie Logan was to walk in free agency. Youngsters like Green-Beckham and Treggs were also sent out of Philadelphia.

As free agency commenced, the Eagles brought in Torrey Smith, and then Alshon Jeffery. Bringing those two in without a doubt was going to improve the offense, but this team still had a lot of question marks and looked far from a complete team.

In late-May when the Eagles signed LeGarrette Blount to a one year deal many began to change their outlooks on the 2017 season. Were the Eagles just bringing in band-aids to fill holes or were they serious about making a push towards contention this season?

As the season started, the Eagles had a very good blend of solid veteran contributors and young impact players, with the aforementioned Jeffery, Smith, and Blount all expected to have large roles on the team’s offense

Add in additions of Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Mack Hollins and the emergence of Nelson Agholor and you can see that whole blend of the young and the veterans mixing nicely.

Now, halfway through the season, we can see that the Eagles were not just filling in holes, but were instead trying to make a push. This time around, they have not filled in the holes with band-aids but instead have brought in talented veterans on short-term, low-risk deals.

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And the best part of this philosophy is that this team is not just built to win this year, they are in prime position to be a threat for many years to come. While this team has guys who are in large roles now like Jeffery, Blount, and Smith; the Eagles are also developing an extremely talented group of players down the depth chart who can eventually step in and become centerpieces themselves for years to come. Guys like Agholor and Hollins for example.

On the defensive side of the ball, the cornerback group is finally being put in a position to thrive in the future. After years of washed up veterans manning the secondary, the Eagles have finally made the decision to go young, and so far, it’s yielded incredible dividends.

Mills, Douglas, Darby and Sidney Jones are all under 25 and loaded with potential. Once considered the weakest position group on the team, this secondary has the potential to be a major strength going forward.

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So now that the Eagles own the best record in the NFL, it looks like Roseman’s plan was a success. The team has acquired an impressive collection young talent in addition to solid veterans, and because of this philosophy change in Philadelphia, the Eagles appear primed to not only be a threat this season but for years to come.