The Eagles went out and addressed one of their biggest areas of need back on Wednesday, inking former Packers tight end Richard Rodgers to a one year deal to back up Zach Ertz.
This move not only likely closes the window of opportunity for cut fan favorite Brent Celek to return, it also may have narrowed the Eagles’ scope of needs in the NFL draft later this month.
With two quality tight ends now aboard, the team may focus more on its other big areas of need — particularly at offensive line. Which leads us to ask the question, what exactly are the Eagles’ weaknesses (on paper)?
Carson Wentz would have been the NFL’s MVP if he were healthy and Nick Foles, the Eagles’ back up, won the Super Bowl MVP. They combined in the regular season for 3,967 yards and 38 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. Both return next season.
2. Defensive line
Here is a list of the players the Eagles will have rushing the passer from their front four in 2018. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Timmy Jernigan, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. That’s pretty intimidating and opposing offensive lines will get little rest facing a ferocious rotation that could contain nothing but Pro Bowl talent.
3. Offensive line
The Eagles’ offensive line has the chance to be absolutely elite again but it will need to stay healthy. Jason Peters looks destined to return to anchor the unit at age 36, with Pro Bowler Lane Johnson returning at the other tackle. Jason Kelce is still at center with Pro Bowler Brandon Brooks at guard and either Stephen Wisniewski or Issac Seumalo starting at left guard. Adding depth to this unit will be a draft priority.
4. Wide receivers/tight ends
Alshon Jeffery is here for the long haul after signing a monster extension this offseason, as is Zach Ertz. The two should be on fantasy football leaderboards next season. Nelson Agholor takes his spot again at the slot after a breakout year in 2017 that justified his first round status. Newcomers Rodgers (at tight end) and Mike Wallace (at wideout) will add depth and speed. Mack Hollins could be this year’s Agholor, and the team could look to the draft for its fifth wide receiver.
Jordan Hicks will return in the middle, with Nigel Bradham back after signing a big contract extension. They’ll be joined by Mychal Kendricks (unless he’s traded) to round out a very talented trio of staring linebackers. The reason LB is fifth on our list is depth — though nely signed Corey Nelson could help change that.
6. Running backs
Jay Ajayi will have a full season as the Eagles’ featured back flanked by postseason hero Corey Clement. Darren Sproles is also rumored to be interested in returning, giving the Eagles a pretty potent running attack again behind their stout line.
7. Defensive backs
Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are unsung heros on defense and among the best safety tandems in the NFL, returning for their third season together. The cornerbacks are young but filled with potential as Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Daryl Worly (acquired in a trade) and Rasul Douglas will line up in an exciting secondary. The inexperience and lack of depth at safety is the worry here.
8. Special teams
Jake Elliot became a star last season, but Donnie Jones is gone and the Eagles have really no true return stud on the roster.