BEFORE the Draft I said the Eagles would win the NFC East this year. Since I said that, the Redskins added Free Agent CB Josh Norman to help shore up their leaky secondary. We also had the weakest Draft of any team in this division. So you may wonder why I still pick the Eagles to win the East.
I’m not saying the Eagles will win it because I’m an Eagles fan. Last year I initially said that the Redskins would win the East. I did however change my position when Robert Griffin was shutdown in favor of Kirk Cousins. I ended up being wrong, but only due to the legendary awfulness of the division last year.
The reason I’m still saying the Eagles win the division is two-fold.
One, no one really helped themselves that much in this Draft.
- Though the Cowboys got RB Ezekiel Elliott (whom I wanted), last year even with QB problems, RB Darren McFragile posted over 1,000 yards on the ground, so it’s not like Elliott is rescuing the Cowboys and giving them a dynamic they lacked. In truth they didn’t get a lot better.
- The giants grabbed another Buckeye in CB Eli Apple, but the NFL comes with a steep learning curve for CB’s and the supporting veterans in that secondary are shaky themselves. If WR Sterling Shepard can be more than a slot guy, the giants may leapfrog the Redskins this year.
- The ‘skins added a WR to an already deep group and of course there’s also their TE Jordan Reed. But that’s all more dangerous on paper than it will ever be on the field. The fact is, regardless of how great your receivers are, the game is still played with only one ball at a time. (Though I’m sure Bill Belichik is working on that.)
So no one really changed the complexion of their team through the Draft this year. Which brings me to my second point.
The Eagles Defense this year is likely to look like nothing you’ve seen since the early 1990’s. The Secondary won’t be as top-notch, but if Philadelphia’s Front Seven doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, then you don’t know the first god-damned thing about football.
The interior triangle of Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Jordan Hicks is going make running inside extremely difficult. Cox demanding a double-team basically will allow Hicks to run free, read plays and make early stops. That’s a lot of third and longs for a Vinny Curry who shreds one-on-one blocks for breakfast, and who opponents can’t double without taking away a blocker from the Cox double-team. Or opponents could keep a TE in and double both, but that makes it easier for our Secondary to cover fewer receivers.
And when was the last time we had two OLB’s as good as Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham? That would be 1991 through 1993, when we had Seth Joyner and William Thomas. Yes, fellow Eagles fans. That’s where we are again. FINALLY!
Offensively we won’t be great. In fact, I think our Defense and Special Teams winning field position battles will artificially inflate our offensive stats. That having been said, the West Coast Offense is a stable platform to work from. Our Offensive Line is more than good enough to handle the scheme. Our TE’s are made for this system, and I expect WR Jordan Matthews to open some eyes, after years of nearly criminal misuse by the guy that Jeff Lurie shit-canned with a game left on the schedule last year. We still need depth at RB, but that shouldn’t be hard to manufacture.
The bottom line is we were the most dangerous team in the division BEFORE the Draft. With no team really adding much first year firepower this year, the balance of power hasn’t changed. Eagles win at least 9 games this year on our way to claiming the NFC East.