Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles sneaked into the playoffs following four straight wins to close out the season. Unfortunately, Carson Wentz got knocked out in the first quarter of their Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks, which they went on to lose 17-9. Throughout the season, their biggest hole was their receiving corp with the secondary not too far behind. Over the offseason, they did their best to fill those holes by adding pieces like Darius Slay and Jalen Reagor. With the new additions, expectations are very high for them to return to the playoffs and further.
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MVP: Carson Wentz
Wentz will only be able to improve off a 2019 season that saw him throw for over 4,000 yards to a horrible receiving corp. Alshon Jeffery recorded the most receiving yards for the wide receivers with 490. Now with new receivers who can stretch the field, Wentz may even get near 4,500 passing yards or more. Wentz is the team leader and is also able to use his legs to extend plays while he had 243 rushing yards last season.
Offensive Player: Miles Sanders
Sanders had a very solid rookie season last year while he was eighth in the league in all-purpose yards with 1,641 yards. I believe he will continue to break out further this season. While he may not get as many touches with an improved offense, he will do a lot with the touches he does get and the Eagles will lean on their running game plenty. Sanders broke the franchise rookie record of 1,327 yards from scrimmage, breaking the previous record held by DeSean Jackson with 1,008 yards in 2008. He also broke LeSean McCoy‘s rookie rushing record with 818 rushing yards. In the week 15 game against the Washington Redskins, Sanders also produced the team’s first 100-yard rushing performance in over two seasons.
Defensive Player: Derek Barnett
The man who virtually ended Super Bowl LII with a forced fumble on Tom Brady, Barnett has been a consistently dominant force on the Eagles’ defensive line since that rookie year in 2017. He missed the last nine games in 2018 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, but he turned it up a notch last season while playing in 14 games. Barnett picked up 6.5 sacks, 30 combined tackles (25 solo), 10 tackles for loss, and 22 quarterback hits. He will continue to grow into the future captain of the defense and I could see him recording at least 7.5 sacks and have his best season yet in his fourth season.
Offensive Rookie: Jalen Reagor
The first receiver the Eagles picked up this offseason was Reagor with their first-round pick to give Wentz a speedy downfield weapon. He played in 39 games over three years at TCU while compiling 148 catches for 2,248 yards and 22 touchdowns and 324 rush yards with two rushing touchdowns. Reagor used his speed to average 15.2 yards per reception and 9.3 yards per rush. He will be the top downfield target for Wentz this season and should make several downfield catches of 40+ yards to help the Eagles stretch the field. I predict 70 catches for 810 yards and four touchdowns for Reagor this season.
Defensive Rookie: K’Von Wallace
The Eagles picked up Wallace as a steal with the 127th overall pick in the fourth round as they get a versatile defensive option who was a three-year starter at Clemson. Over those three years, he played in 59 games for the Tigers at strong safety, free safety, and some at nickel corner. He has very strong instincts and isn’t afraid to play to contact with great tackling ability. Given the hole Malcolm Jenkins leaves at safety, he will definitely be able to get into the rotation out of the gate behind Jalen Mills and Will Parks who are on one-year deals.
Biggest Surprise: Khalil Tate
Even though the Eagles want to be a “quarterback factory” they signed college quarterback Tate as a receiver after the draft. He has great speed and in a game against Colorado in his sophomore year, he ran for an FBS quarterback record 327 yards and four touchdowns. If he can learn routes and translate the speed to the receiving game, he could be another good target for Wentz downfield. Just like how former quarterback Greg Ward Jr. made an impact last season, I believe Tate can potentially do the same this year and surprise people. Hopefully without several injuries to the other receivers.
Biggest Disappointment: Jalen Mills
The Eagles let Jenkins go and plan to have Mills slide into his spot at safety, but I am not totally sure he will be up for the challenge. I believe he will start out the year as the starter but wind up struggling and fall back to the third safety, while being replaced by Wallace.
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