Good morning, Eagles fans! The first full week of the new year is in the books. Although there are plenty of things going on in the world, I hope it was a good one for all of you. The Eagles had a busy week with more work looming. Jim Schwartz officially stepped down Thursday, and the offensive staff will be without at least Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg going into next season.
Now that we’re in the offseason, it’s time to start doing some draft homework.
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Who ya got?
Mock draft season is upon us.
The Eagles’ are fresh off their worst finish in eight years, but there is some good news: Help is on the way. Thanks to their 4-11-1 finish, the team has the sixth pick in April’s NFL draft. Aside from the 2016 draft, when they traded up and selected Carson Wentz second overall, this is the highest the Eagles have drafted since they got Lane Johnson with the fourth pick in 2013.
Here’s an early look at whom the mock drafters project them to take:.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
It’s possible McShay knows something the rest of us don’t, but the Eagles’ devaluing of linebackers is well-documented. Parsons is widely considered one of the most talented players in the draft. He could easily become an immediate three-down linebacker who improves the Eagles defense.
But using such a high pick to fix the position would be quite the about-face. It’d be more possible if the Eagles replace Schwartz with a defensive coordinator who values linebackers more, but the decision to limit the investment in the position is more of an organizational philosophy stemming from general manager Howie Roseman than one solely held by Schwartz.
Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Eagles had one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL for the second consecutive season even though they had a league-high $40 million invested in the position. The team will likely release Alshon Jeffery and might even part ways with DeSean Jackson. This will leave room for at least one more starting receiver, but the front office has invested a lot of draft capital in the position already. Roseman might say “uncle” with drafting receivers high after taking Jalen Reagor in the first round last year and JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the second round the previous year, or the team can keep throwing resources until it gets it right.
Chase opted out of the 2020 season but established himself as a well-rounded, ultra-productive receiver in 2019 and has a good chance of being the first receiver off the board. He might not be the fastest or biggest receiver, but if you look at the catch leaders in the league each year, they’re usually filled with guys who have a combination of route running, hands, and speed like Chase.
Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St.
PFF has been about as low on Jalen Hurts as anyone since the rookie took over for Wentz in the final quarter of the season. Still, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles’ trading one North Dakota State quarterback only to draft another, especially considering Lance and Wentz are apparently close.
If the Eagles were going to go for a hard reset at quarterback, I think it’d be more likely to see them trade up for Justin Fields, who might be QB2 this year behind Trevor Lawrence but would be the first pick in most draft classes.
Joe Marino, The Draft Network: Micah Parsons
No need for commentary here. See above.
What you need to know about the Eagles
Which Eagles should stay for next season? Which should go? Make your picks and see Jeff McLane’s with our interactive graphic here.
Schwartz made his departure from the Eagles coaching staff official Thursday. Les Bowen has more on the defensive coordinator who spent five seasons with the team.
Schwartz isn’t the only coach expected to leave this offseason. As McLane reports, the Eagles aren’t bringing back offensive assistants Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg.
In the aftermath of a pro-Trump mob’s storming the Capitol, Mike Sielski argues that Trump showed his true colors years ago when he rescinded the Eagles’ invitation to the White House after Super Bowl LII.
Mike Holmgren, Doug Pederson’s longtime friend and a former NFL head coach, said he wishes Pederson hadn’t pulled Hurts in the team’s season finale against Washington. Paul Domowitch has the details.
From the mailbag
Will Press Taylor be back? — from BirdsEyeView (@9ramone1) on Twitter
Thanks for the question. I’m not sure even the Eagles know for certain whether Press Taylor will be back as the team’s passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, but I would say there’s a good chance his role will be adjusted at the very least. As my colleague McLane reported on Thursday, Pederson is expected to hire a conventional offensive coordinator this summer after going without one last year. If he does, Taylor’s role will have to change, and he’d have at least a little less responsibility.
If both Wentz and Taylor are back, I could see the coach keeping his title and primarily serving as the leader in the quarterbacks room. I’m not sure how much difference it will make, honestly. I know some fans blame Taylor for the Eagles’ offensive struggles this past season, but it’s important to remember that Pederson calls the plays and constructs the offense first and foremost. Wentz has clearly regressed on Taylor’s watch, so that’s a fair criticism, but it might not change the look of the offense much if he’s not back.