With the NFL preseason less than three weeks away, one of the biggest mysteries in the NFL is who is going to win the NFC East. There is a legitimate case for each of the four teams in the division. The Dallas Cowboys are looking to repeat their success from last season behind star quarterback Dak Prescott. The Washington Redskins continue to build behind young quarterback Kirk Cousins and their strong defense. The New York Giants, filled with star players such as Odell Beckham Jr look to finally win the division. No team has a better chance to win the division then the Philadelphia Eagles.
To begin, the Eagles have a very strong rookie class. In the first-round they took defensive end, Derek Barnett out of Tennessee. Barnett has the chance to add to the Eagles strong offensive line of Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham. In the second-round the Eagles selected Washington cornerback Sidney Jones. Jones was considered one of the bets cornerbacks in the draft until he tore his achilles at his pro day. Jones is estimated to be out for the first half of the season, but should make a big impact when he’s ready. The Eagles then took cornerback Rasul Douglas in the third-round, and wide receiver Mack Hollins in the 4th. All of these rookies have the chance to make a big impact
One thing that the Eagles improved this offseason was their wide receiver group. They added both Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, while drafting Shelton Gibson and Mack Hollins in the draft. They added all this, while also keeping Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews. Although they did recently release Dorial Green-Beckham after he didn’t have a spot with the improved wide receiver group. Not only that, but they also have have young quarterback Carson Wentz distributing.
The Eagles rounded out their strong offseason by signing super bowl champion LeGarrette Blount to a one-year, $2.8-million-dollar deal. They also bring back Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood. They added former San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey in the draft. Pumphrey, who is built like Darren Sproles, has a chance to learn behind one of the best smaller running backs. At tight end, the Eagles have Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. Ertz has been learning behind Celek for a few years, and it finally starting to show his potential. The Eagles should be getting Lane Johnson for the whole season after he missed 10 games last season due to a suspension.
The Eagles defensive line is very strong. They have all-pros Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, as well as Vinny Curry. With the additions of Derek Barnett and Timmy Jernigan, the Eagles will be giving quarterbacks and offensive linemen nightmares about playing the Eagles.
Linebacker is not one of the Eagles strengths. Although they have young star Jordan Hicks, they do not have a good supporting cast. They have Mychal Kendricks who has been on the trade block for two seasons. Then they have Nigel Bradham, who is a good player but has gotten into some legal issues. If everything goes the Eagles way, they have a chance to have a great linebacker corps.
Th Eagles weakest link is their cornerbacks. They drafted Sidney Jones, who should be a star, but he won’t be able to play for most of his rookie season. They kept Jalen Mills who was a nice surprise for a 7th round pick last season and added Patrick Robinson in free agency. Additionally, they drafted former West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas in the 3rd round. The Eagles cornerbacks will be the team’s biggest issue if they want to compete for the division title.
If a team has weak cornerbacks, then they better have good safeties. Good thing for the Eagles, they do. Malcolm Jenkins, who the Eagles recently signed to a five-year, $40-million-dollar extension, has six interceptions returned for touchdowns, which ranks second of all active players. They also added Rodney McLeod last offseason as another addition to their secondary.
The Eagles definitely have the talent to win the division. Now they have to produce in order to succeed, and I think they have a great chance to do so.