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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 14: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with teammate A.J. Brown #11 after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the first quarter in the game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 14, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Just under a week until the Eagles finally take the field in a real game. We have almost made it. Fans have survived the offseason. They survived having to watch the Chiefs get all the deserved love for winning the Super Bowl. Survived the long 7 months from the end of the Super Bowl, to the start of the season. And we survived the dreck that is the NFL Pre-season. Soon, we will finally see this Eagles roster in action. 

But will this roster do as well as they did last year? There has been some trepidation from fans and hosts alike in the last few weeks. Maybe that is just our natural inclination to be worried. Enough has gone wrong in Philly sports, especially the last couple of years, that it is understandable to be slow to be optimistic. And there are some question marks on the team entering this year. How will they replace losing all of their starting Safeties and Linebackers? Can the RB room reproduce what Miles Sanders gave them last year? And does the team suddenly have depth issues on the Offensive Line?

This still is a very good roster though. They bring back most of the same players on offense and have some new exciting faces on defense.  But are they good enough to do what last year’s team did? Or are those concerns people keep bringing up enough to hurt them? Let’s look at each position group, and see how this new Eagles roster stacks up to the one that made the Super Bowl last season. 

  • Quarterback

    Obviously, the most important guy, Jalen Hurts is still here. Will Jalen Hurts be able to replicate what he did last season? To people who did not pay attention last season, he may seem like a candidate for regression. But no one who has been around the organization, and actually covers the team, thinks that will happen. In fact, most of them have said he can reach another level this year. 

    As for backup, they swapped Gardner Minshew for Marcus Mariota, and Ian Book for Tanner McKee. Obviously, McKee is a upgrade over Book, given that he beat Book out in Training Camp. But is Mariota an improvement over Minshew? I know Mariota looked awful in the Pre-Season, but we saw Minshew look awful in real games last year. We have seen Mariota win games in this league, even with the Falcons last year. And I am not any more comfortable with Minshew coming in than I will be in Mariota. 

    Verdict- Draw 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 17: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Cleveland Browns in the first half of the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Browns tied the Eagles 18-18.

    (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Wide Receiver

    AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, and Quez Watkins all return. The biggest difference is swapping in Olamide Zaccheaus for Zach Pascal. Is Zaccheaus some great player who will put the Eagles over the top? Probably not. Can he catch 15 balls and get 150 yards with a single TD? Yes. Zaccheaus is an upgrade as the 4th WR. And Brown and Smith will still be 1000-yard guys. 

    They currently have just 4 guys at WR. But like last year, Britian Covey will probably join the 53-man Roster before the game to return punts and kicks. Also, like last year, he won’t have any impact on the offense.  

    Verdict- Slight Upgrade 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 21: DeVonta Smith #6 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown with teammate A.J. Brown #11 during the first quarter against the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Running Back

    They lost Miles Sanders. Replacing a back with 1.296 yards, plus 11 TDs, will never be easy. To try, the Eagles brought in Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift. Will those two, along with Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott, have as many rushing yards as Miles Sanders? Maybe not. But Swift brings a new dimension to the offense they never got out of Sanders—the ability to contribute in the passing game.

    I could easily see the Eagles having fewer rushing yards this year, but more passing yards, thanks to what Swift brings to the table. Also, how much of Sanders’s success came down to the Eagles having the best run-blocking O-Line in the league?  We saw Gainwell run just as well as Sanders in the playoffs behind this line. Sanders is a good back, but now the Eagles have several good backs. 

    Verdict- Upgrade 

    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - AUGUST 12: Running back D'Andre Swift #0 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 12, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland.

    (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • Tight End

    The Eagles brought back all 3 of their Tight Ends last season. Dallas Goedert is still a borderline top 5 guy. Grant Calcaterra and Jack Stoll are solid as far as backups go. Now they have also added Albert Okwuegbunam. Even if Albert is not fantastic, adding him to the TE room can only make it better when the room is the exact same apart from him. And he has upside as a big guy with great speed. 

    Verdict- Upgrade 

    DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 26:  Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam #85 of the Denver Broncos catches a pass in the second half of a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Empower Field at Mile High on August 26, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.

    (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

  • Offensive Line

    4 of the 5 starters came back, and those are the 4 most important starters. The only difference is Cam Jurgens will swap in for Isaac Seumalo. While there is a lot of potential there with Cam Jurgens, it is hard to say he will be an upgrade given it will be his first experience playing Guard ever.  But otherwise, this is still going to be the best Starting 5 in the NFL. 

    The bigger issue is they lost Andre Dillard. And while on paper he doesn’t seem like a guy they should miss too much, he was the only backup with any experience playing LT in the NFL. Now they are left with some questions about their depth. Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta, and new addition Tyler Steen should cover the depth everywhere else. But if Mailata gets hurt, who fills in for him? Driscoll hasn’t played LT. Opeta only plays inside. And while Steen played LT at Alabama, he fits better at guard in the NFL. Hopefully, Mailata will stay healthy, and it won’t be an issue. But if he does go down, there will be concerns about how they replace him.  

    Verdict- Slight Downgrade

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 12: Lane Johnson #65, Jason Kelce #62, and Landon Dickerson #69 of the Philadelphia Eagles walk off the field after the preseason game against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Jets defeated the Eagles 24-21.

    (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Defensive Tackle

    Replacing Javon Hargrave, and his 11 sacks, will not be easy. Enter Jalen Carter. Can he be one of the rare DTs to get double-digit sacks in his rookie year? As great as he is, it would be unfair to put that on him. But he should still be a very effective player this season. The Eagles also have Jordan Davis, who should be ready to take a big step in week 2. Add in free agent addition Kentavius Street, and rookie Moro Ojomo, and the Eagles still have a very good and very deep DT room. Maybe the best in the league.  

    But despite it being so great, it still might be a downgrade. I am confident Jalen Carter could turn into a better player than Hargrave. Expecting that right away from him would be unfair though. It won’t be an issue because as a group they are still elite. They just might not have a guy with 11 sacks at DT this year. 

    Verdict: Very Slight Downgrade 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 17: Jalen Carter #98 and Nolan Smith #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles look on against the Cleveland Browns during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Browns tied the Eagles 18-18.

    (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Edge Rusher

    Last year the Eagles had 3 Edge Rushers with double-digit sacks. They brought all 3 of them back and added Nolan Smith. Unlike Carter, Smith has no need to replace the production of anyone else for this group to be as good as it was last year. Anything he brings to the table is extra icing on the cake. Derek Barnett also returns. And while no one expects anything from him, he is capable of getting a few sacks, as long as he doesn’t take them off the board with some dumb penalty.  

    Verdict: Upgrade 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 17: Dawand Jones #74 of the Cleveland Browns attempts to block Nolan Smith #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the first half of the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Browns tied the Eagles 18-18.

    (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Linebacker

    The Eagles lost both of their starters at Linebacker. Kyzir White followed Jonathan Gannon out to Arizona, and TJ Edwards went to Chicago. In their place, the Eagles have Nakobe Dean, Zach Cunningham, and Christian Elliss. 

    I have a lot of faith in Dean. But he has also not done it yet in the NFL. It is hard to say he will be as good or better than Edwards. But with that said, I think Cunningham can give you what you got out of White last year. And Elliss is a solid backup. LB is probably a downgrade. But maybe not as much of a disaster as people think. There is some upside there with Dean, and Cunningham has been a solid LB for years in the NFL. And it is not like last year’s defense was reliant on Elite LB play to begin with. 

    Verdict: Slight Downgrade 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 17: Nakobe Dean #17 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts against the Cleveland Browns in the first half of the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Cornerback

    All 3 starters return this year. Slay and Bradberry will still start outside, and Maddox in the slot. So the question comes down to are their backups better than last year. This year Josh Jobe will be the primary backup outside, with Kelee Ringo, Mario Goodrich, and Eli Ricks behind him. Last year Josiah Scott was the primary backup, and he was bad, with Zech McPhearson and Josh Jobe behind him.  

    We do not know who Jobe, Ringo, Goodrich, or Ricks are. But we know that Scott was bad. So while the Eagles could be in trouble if someone gets hurt, there is at least some hope there, whereas if it was still Scott we would know they were in trouble.  

    Verdict- Upgrade 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 29: Darius Slay #2 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts prior to the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field on January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Safety

    Like at Linebacker, the Eagles lost both of their starting Safeties. Also, like Line Backer, the people that are replacing them have an upside, but we have not seen enough of it yet to be fully confident. I like Reed Blankenship and Sydney Brown. That could actually be a great Safety duo. We just have to see it first.  

    CJ Gardner Johnson was tied for the league lead in interceptions last year, despite missing time. I don’t think you get that type of playmaking from the Safety position this year. But can they be as good, or better in coverage? I think so. As dynamic as Gardner-Johnson was, he did get beat a bit in coverage. And Marcus Epps was not someone so special that he couldn’t be replaced.  

    Long term, Blankenship and Brown could be the better Safety Duo. But with them both being so young, and one of them being a UDFA, there could be some growing pains.  

    Verdict- Slight Downgrade 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 17: Sydney Brown #21 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Cleveland Browns during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Browns tied the Eagles 18-18.

    (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Special Teams

    Jake Elliott returns, as does Rick Lovato. The question is who will be their punter. Worst case, it is still Aaryn Siposs. And while that is an awful case given he was one of the worst punters in the league last year, it also means Special Teams can’t be any worse than it was last season. If they add any other Punter, it will instantly be an upgrade. 

    Verdict- Draw 

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - AUGUST 24: Jake Elliott #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after making a field goal during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lincoln Financial Field on August 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Overview

    QB- Draw 

    WR- Slight Upgrade 

    RB- Upgrade 

    TE- Upgrade 

    OL- Slight Downgrade 

    DT- Slight Downgrade 

    EDGE- Upgrade 

    LB- Slight Downgrade 

    CB- Upgrade 

    S- Slight Downgrade 

    ST- Draw 

    This roster is still very good. Great even. The offense should be even better. They bring back all the talent they had last year and add Swift who gives them an RB who can catch passes. OL depth, specifically at LT, has some depth concerns. But they still have the best starting 5 in the NFL, a top m5 QB, a top 5 TE, and a Top 5, maybe even top 2, WR Duo.  

    The defense has some question marks. But those question marks have a high ceiling, we just have not seen them do it yet. Don’t be surprised if there are fewer sacks and a fewer takeaways. It is hard to keep up with the pace they had last season. But they could still be very good. And the Wild Card is Sean Desai and if he can bring more ot the table as the DC than the snake Jonathan Gannon did.  

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