The Eagles haqve had a productive off-season in which they have gone from one of the oldest teams in football to a top 15 youngest. With this decrease in experience comes the need for young players to break out and make an impact. I will be outlining 5 players that have the potential to do this on the Eagles.
The Eagles made the very poor decision to walk away from veteran Left Tackle Jason Peters in this offseason, leaving second year tackle Andre Dillard to take his place. Dillard wasn’t great by any means in 2019. He showed many weaknesses in power and footwork, but the good news is that a lot of these missteps took place on the right side of the offensive line, where he will not be playing this season. Dillard has the talent to become a top tier left tackle in football, and he’s even shown this several times during 2019’s pre-season and at points in the regular season. But the key is that he uses his talents well and breaks out.
In 2019’s offseason, the Eagles decided to sign undrafted free agent linebacker TJ Edwards out of Wisconsin. As a rookie, he accumulated just 23 combined tackles, but he did have a fantastic PFF grade of 86.6. Edwards has always been a solid player since college, but we have to hope he uses his abilities and expanded playing time to become a dominant Off-Ball linebacker for the Eagles, who need quality at that position dearly.
Greg Ward is somebody that I’m not sure will be given the opportunity to break out in 2020, and it’s not because of any faults of his. Ward showed tremendous promise in the latter quarter of 2019 as he emerged as the top threat at receiver for Carson Wentz due to injuries at the position. The problem for Ward is that the players he replaced are now back, as well as additions made to the wide receiver room in the draft. I have no doubt that if Ward was in the late 2019 situation of being the number one receiver, he would break out this year, but sadly for him that won’t be the case. Ward is not even a lock to make the roster, which I believe is disrespectful, but is nonetheless how these things go. If Ward is given snaps, I expect a breakout year exceeding 700 receiving yards.
The 2019 year was a fantastic start for rookie RB Miles Sanders, in which he accumulated over 1300 all purpose yards, 818 of them rushing. Despite sharing carries for a majority of the year, Sanders was able to put up above average stats, impressively doing this as a rookie. I believe that now that the Eagles know what they have in Sanders, an explosive playmaker, they will utilize him such that he can become a top 10 RB in football. I fully expect Sanders to break 1000 rushing yards barring any sort of injury, and perhaps haul in over 600 yards through the air. Sanders is nothing short of dynamic, and if the Eagles know how to use him, he could be the best player on our offense.
Cre’von Leblanc became an instant fan favorite in the playoffs of 2018, when he picked off Drew Brees to start the 2018 divisional round, and before that when he broke up a Mitch Trubisky pass that could have won the Bears the game. Sadly in 2019, Leblanc was hurt for the majority of the year, returning in Week 13. And still, when he was given snaps, he showed up in big ways, with several clutch pass breakups against the Giants and Cowboys leading to a playoff berth. The problem for Cre’von is Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz’s unwillingness to recognize his talent. He will not be given the snaps he has proven he earned. But in the amount he will have, I have no doubt he will show up.