Offseason Power Rankings for Every Player on Philadelphia Eagles Roster
It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that the team will be better than last year's dreadful 4-12 mark, but other than that, anything could happen.
The Eagles could become the talk of the NFL under new head coach Chip Kelly. A division title is certainly within reach in a relatively weak NFC East. Or their new fast-paced offense could fail miserably, leading to a second consecutive last-place finish in the division.
Regardless of what happens, it's bound to be an exciting season for Eagles fans. After all, there's plenty of talent on this team.
The following slides will rank the players on the team from worst to best. Basically, I asked myself which player I would most want on my team based on their expected 2013 production.
Fringe Players: 53-41
53. Jason Phillips, Linebacker: If Phillips makes the final roster, he will provide depth at linebacker and special teams.
52. Nate Menkin, Guard: Menkin is an average backup guard who will struggle to make the final roster behind former first-round pick Danny Watkins and Julian Vandervelde.
51. Emmanuel Acho, Linebacker: Acquired in the trade for running back Dion Lewis, Acho will have training camp and the preseason to show that he deserves a spot on the final roster.
50. Donnie Jones, Punter: Jones brings a decade's worth of experience as a punter, where he's consistently ranked among the best in the game. He should make the team.
49. Felix Jones, Running Back: The former first-round pick by the Cowboys will see if Kelly can revive his career in Philadelphia. His speed could be the key to him earning the third spot at running back.
48. Curtis Marsh, Cornerback: When Marsh was selected in the third round of the 2011 draft, he was described as a project, having only played cornerback for two seasons in college. The time has come for Marsh to show why he was picked in one of the upper rounds.
47. Jordan Poyer, Cornerback: Described by some as the steal of the 2013 draft, Poyer will be given every opportunity to compete for the nickel corner position. He hasn't seen the field yet though.
46. Jon Dorenbos, Long Snapper: Have you ever seen Jon Dorenbos mess up a snap? Me neither.
45. Antonio Dixon, Defensive Tackle: The Eagles brought back Antonio Dixon to help play nose tackle behind veteran Isaac Sopoaga.
44. Dennis Dixon, Quarterback: Dixon's knowledge of Kelly's offense and excellent athletic ability makes him a valuable training camp and preseason quarterback. That's likely where it ends, though.
43. Clay Harbor, Tight End: Harbor will go from the second tight end under Andy Reid to the fourth tight end under Chip Kelly. But Kelly loves tight ends, so it's possible that the fourth-year player still makes the final roster in 2013.
42. Kurt Coleman, Safety: Coleman is awful as a starter, but he has good instincts and football IQ, which would make him an adequate backup.
41. Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver: Cooper is in a battle for the fourth wide receiver spot, but don't be surprised if he is cut in training camp for Arrelious Benn or one of the team's undrafted rookie free agents.
Key Backups: 40-31
40. Earl Wolff, Safety: As a fifth-round pick, Wolff will likely make the 53-man roster, even if it means the Eagles cut Kurt Coleman or Nate Allen, both major disappointments over the past two seasons. Wolff looks to break the trend of disappointing safeties drafted by the Eagles over the past few seasons.
39. Phillip Hunt, Outside Linebacker: Hunt has never had the breakout season that fans have expected, despite his tremendous success in limited action in 2011 and his huge preseason in 2012. Maybe a switch to pass-rushing outside linebacker will help him in 2013.
38. Dennis Kelly, Offensive Tackle: A fifth-round pick in 2012, Kelly was overmatched as a starter at left tackle in 2012 but that's not surprising for a late-round pick. He will continue to make strides as one of the team's backup tackles.
37. Cedric Thornton, Defensive End: Thornton didn't see the field much in 2012, but he actually has a pretty good chance to earn one of the starting spots at defensive end heading into the 2013 season.
36. Damaris Johnson, Wide Receiver: Kelly should be able to do wonders with a player like Damaris Johnson, who has excellent speed and the ability to play both receiver and punt returner.
35. Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver: Tampa Bay wasn't a good fit for Benn, who looks to jumpstart his career in Philadelphia. His height should make him an ideal red-zone player, something the team has really lacked in recent years.
34. Nate Allen, Cornerback: Allen has been overmatched as a starter. But the former second-round pick deserves to be on the 2013 team, even if it's as a backup.
33. Colt Anderson, Safety: Anderson's abilities as a special teamer and surprising success as a safety late in the 2012 season make him a valuable member of the team.
32. Alex Henery, Kicker: Henery is due for a breakout season. The 2011 fourth-round draft pick has good accuracy, but he can be inconsistent and hasn't yet shown the ability to hit clutch kicks.
31. Bennie Logan, Defensive End: A third-round draft pick in 2013, Logan will compete for a starting spot at defensive end. He will automatically be in the defensive line rotation.
Average Players: 30-21
30. Danny Watkins, Guard: I actually think there's a chance that the team's first-round draft pick from 2011 has a chance to salvage his career, although he's facing an uphill battle to earn another starting job. It took Brandon Graham two years to become a star. Maybe the same awaits Danny Watkins. A new head coach, offensive coordinator and position coach can't hurt either.
29. Isaac Sopoaga, Nose Tackle: The only true nose tackle on the roster, Sopoaga brings years of experience playing for the San Francisco 49ers. He suffered through his worst season in 2012, but if he can serve as a one-year stopgap on the defensive line, he will have done his job.
28. Vinny Curry, Defensive End: Last year's second-round draft pick found himself buried on the depth chart for the majority of the season, despite the incredible struggles by the team's defense (and particularly the defensive line). Curry played in just 89 snaps in 2012 but will be given an opportunity to compete for a starting spot in 2013.
27. James Casey, Tight End: Casey is the type of versatile player that Kelly loves. He can line up in the backfield and wide receiver, as well as tight end. He'll likely be the team's third tight end in 2013, but he could still catch 25 to 30 passes.
26. Matt Barkley, Quarterback: Obviously Barkley hasn't played a down yet, but the sky is the limit for the rookie quarterback. Don't be surprised if he gives Michael Vick and Nick Foles a run for their money when it comes to the battle for the starting job.
25. Brandon Boykin, Cornerback: The Eagles' nickel corner in 2012, Boykin displayed lots of potential and tremendous athletic ability, especially in a victory against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. He will likely be the team's third corner again in 2013.
24. Patrick Chung, Safety: A former standout at the University of Oregon, Chung had his fair share of inconsistencies with the New England Patriots. He's a very physical player with a good nose for the ball, but he's had issues staying healthy.
23. Bradley Fletcher, Cornerback: Physical and a solid cover corner, Fletcher found himself as a nickel corner in St. Louis after the emergence of rookie Janoris Jenkins alongside stud free-agent signing Cortland Finnegan. Expect Fletcher to win the starting job in 2013 opposite Cary Williams.
22. Mychal Kendricks, Linebacker: An up-and-down rookie season for Kendricks shouldn't be any cause for concern. Expect him to be a starter in 2013, and don't be surprised if he turns in a breakout season.
21. Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle: The team's first-round draft pick in 2013 hasn't even set foot on the field yet, but he is expected to start immediately at right tackle. Obviously, expectations are high for the athletic former college quarterback. But until he actually plays or learns the offense, he can't be ranked higher than 21.
20. Jason Kelce, Center
Jason Kelce had an up-and-down rookie season, but the signs were there that the sixth-round draft pick would make significant strides during his second year.
That never happened, as Kelce tore his ACL in a victory against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. He missed the remainder of the season, although he will be fully healthy for the 2013 campaign.
Entering his third season, Kelce is expected to be a major force on the offense. He's a solid run-blocker, which should come in extremely handy as the Eagles use a two-back system as the focal point of their offense.
19. Connor Barwin, Outside Linebacker
No one really knows what to expect from Connor Barwin in 2013. It's possible that he's not even a starter, as he, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole will likely compete for the two spots at outside linebacker (although the loser will still see the field a lot).
In 2011, Barwin was one of the better linebackers in the league, collecting 11.5 sacks. But in 2012, Barwin had a major down year, recording just 3.5 sacks.
The drop in Barwin's sacks is almost exactly what happened to Trent Cole, although Barwin should have an easier time rebounding because a) he's only 26 years old and b) has experience playing in a 3-4 defense.
18. Jason Avant, Wide Receiver
Players like Jason Avant aren't important in Chip Kelly's offense, because he favors two-tight end formations more than a slot receiver. That's why I could actually see the 30-year-old as a surprise training camp roster cut.
I hope not, though, because the Eagles will miss Avant's hands if he's not around next season.
In 2012, Avant caught 53 passes. His catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranks as one of the best catches in franchise history.
17. Cary Williams, Cornerback
Cary Williams is one of the more difficult players to grade.
On the positive side, he brings a winning attitude, coming as a starter from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. He's extremely physical, a solid tackler and not afraid to get into altercations with opponents. He's also durable, playing more snaps in 2012 than any player in the entire league (thanks to a lengthy Ravens' postseason run).
On the negative side, he surrendered the fourth-most passing yards in the league while also committing six penalties.
16. Brent Celek, Tight End
Brent Celek is an average starting tight end who is likely going to lose his starting job to a rookie by the end of the 2013 season.
In 2012, Celek caught 57 passes for 684 yards but scored just one touchdown. He also missed a game due to an injury for the first time in his career.
He's an important part of the offense, but he's not good enough that defensive coordinators have to be scared about facing him when they game-plan for the Eagles.
15. Michael Vick, Quarterback
Save the excuses about Michael Vick. He had to play with an offensive line missing three of its five starters, leading to a ridiculous amount of pressures and hurries. He had to deal with poor play-calling from his head coach, as well as a difficult schedule.
I don't care.
The bottom line is that Vick is a shell of the player he was in 2010, when he earned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and led the Eagles to the NFC East division title.
In 2012, Vick threw 10 interceptions and fumbled 11 times in just 10 starts. He failed to show the awareness and recognition in the pocket needed to succeed behind a depleted offensive line, something other quarterbacks do regularly.
Vick has a very good chance to become the team's Week 1 starter, but he's going to be 33 next month and he's clearly in decline. The smart move would be to give the starting job to one of the team's young quarterbacks, either Nick Foles or Matt Barkley.
14. Zach Ertz, Tight End
Even though he is just a rookie, Zach Ertz is clearly the best tight end on the roster. He may not enter the season as the starter, but the Eagles will use enough two-tight end sets that it won't really matter which player is technically the starter.
Ertz compares to Dallas Cowboys' future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, according to CBSSports. He's extremely physical with a tendency to make spectacular catches.
If the Eagles use him effectively, he can be the red-zone target the team has lacked for so many seasons.
13. Nick Foles, Quarterback
He may not earn the starting job, but Nick Foles is the best quarterback the Eagles have on their roster right now.
Last season, Foles started in six games in place of an injured Michael Vick. His numbers weren't anything special, as he posted a passer rating of 79.1 and threw six touchdowns against five interceptions.
But Foles played better than his numbers. He has not yet had the luxury of playing with Jason Peters, Jason Kelce or Todd Herremans. LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek also missed time late in the season, and let's not forget that the entire team was in disarray following the five straight losses before Foles took over at quarterback.
Foles has a new offense to learn for the 2013 season, but he's intelligent and determined enough to do more than his share to win the starting job. If he does, he'll finally get to play with the real starting offense.
12. Kenny Phillips, Safety
Kenny Phillips was a disappointment with the New York Giants, as the former first-round pick just couldn't stay healthy enough to become the dominant safety he was expected to be.
Phillips signed a deal with the Eagles in free agency and, barring injuries, is expected to be one of the team's starting safeties.
He's always been a solid player. His main issue is staying healthy.
If he can play in 16 games in 2013, he'll be the best safety the Eagles have had since Quintin Mikell.
11. Bryce Brown, Running Back
Bryce Brown exploded onto the scene when LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion last season.
In his first two games as the starter, Brown rushed for a ridiculous 347 yards and four touchdowns. For the season, he averaged a stellar 4.9 yards per carry. He awed opposing defenses with a tremendous combination of power and speed.
His main concern is his fumbling, as he coughed up the football four times in just 115 carries.
Then again, he's barely played since high school and fumbling is actually a pretty common issue for young running backs.
Brown will combine with McCoy to give the Eagles one of the most powerful two-headed running backs in the league in 2013. It's pretty easy to get carried away with expectations for Brown, but if he gets enough carries, he could rush for 800 to 900 yards.
10. DeMeco Ryans, Inside Linebacker
DeMeco Ryans isn't quite the same player he was when he was on the Houston Texans, but he's still arguably the most complete linebacker on the Eagles.
He has experience playing in a 3-4 defense from his time in Houston, and he's just 27 years old. He's an above-average player who will provide veteran leadership to a defense that has undergone some major changes in the past year.
9. Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver
Jeremy Maclin has received too much criticism in Philadelphia.
Has he ever lived up to his talent as a first-round pick? No. Is he one of the better No. 2 receivers in the game? Yes.
Over his four seasons, Maclin has averaged 64 catches, 863 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also played in 59 of 64 games, despite a reputation among many fans for being soft.
With Kelly running the offense, Maclin is poised for a breakout season. Then again, we've expected him to have a breakout season in each of the past two years.
8. Todd Herremans, Guard
Todd Herremans has been one of the more consistent players on the team for the past half-decade.
He's displayed the ability to play both tackle and guard. He made the switch to right tackle before the 2011 season, but he'll change back to his natural position of guard in 2013 to make room for first-round draft pick Lane Johnson.
Guard is an easier position to play than tackle and Herremans has more experience at guard (although he played on the left side and not the right), so he should continue to play at a high level, even past the age of 30.
7. Trent Cole, Outside Linebacker
Trent Cole was not nearly as bad as advertised during the 2012 season. He had the worst year of his career, but he's still a very talented defensive end, although he is expected to make the switch to outside linebacker in 2013.
Cole recorded just three sacks in 2012, but he's collected more than 10 in four of the past six seasons. He's been a model of consistency. Hopefully a new defense and some better supporting talent will allow him to return to the dominant player he was just two seasons ago.
6. Fletcher Cox, Defensive End
Last year's first-round draft pick was one of the few bright spots on defense, collecting 32 tackles, 5.5 sacks and four passes defensed while playing in about half the snaps.
Expect even bigger things for Cox in 2013 as the Eagles switch to a variation of the 3-4 defense, which Cox played in college. He will easily be the focal point of the defensive line, but he still has enough talent to produce a Pro Bowl-caliber season.
5. Brandon Graham, Defensive End
In his first two seasons, Brandon Graham did nothing to show that he wasn't going to be a total bust. In his third season, he did everything to show that he's going to be an elite player on the defensive line.
Although he participated in fewer than half the snaps on defense, Graham recorded 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hurries. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, he rated as the second-best player in the entire NFL in terms of production per play. That's incredible.
Graham is expected to compete for a starting job at outside linebacker on the 2013 team. Regardless of whether he is a starter or not (and I think he will be), he should see the field for at least 40 plays per game. Double-digit sacks are easily within his reach.
4. DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver
There's no denying that DeSean Jackson has had slightly disappointing seasons for two straight years now. He's averaged just 830 receiving yards and three touchdowns, a big drop from the stellar production he put up in 2009 and 2010.
The best-case scenario is that Kelly turns Jackson into the Eagles' version of Percy Harvin, meaning Jackson is a force from everywhere on the field and not just on the outside at receiver.
Jackson is still just 26 years old, with three to four prime seasons left at the very minimum. He may struggle to make another Pro Bowl berth, thanks to a very talented group of receivers in the NFC, but at the very least, he should catch 60 balls for 1,000 yards and six scores this season.
3. Evan Mathis, Guard
Evan Mathis might be the most underrated player in the National Football League. He's been an absolute model of consistency over the past two seasons, an amazing feat considering the fact that he was only signed as veteran insurance on the offensive line.
Instead he earned the left guard spot in camp, where he turned in a season that easily could have warranted a Pro Bowl berth.
In 2012, Mathis thrived once again despite the loss of Jason Peters for the season. Mathis rated as the best offensive lineman in the entire league according to Pro Football Focus.
Mathis's specialty is run-blocking, which should come in extremely handy next season with the duo of LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown.
2. LeSean McCoy, Running Back
Even though he had a down year in 2012, rushing for just 840 yards and two touchdowns on 4.2 yards per carry, LeSean McCoy is the best skill-position player on the Eagles.
He proved that in 2011, as he rushed for 1,309 yards and scored a total of 20 touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
McCoy doesn't turn 25 until July, but he's already on track to become one of the top running backs in franchise history.
The sky is the limit for McCoy in 2013 with Kelly as head coach. Expect McCoy to be the more dominant of a very effective two-back running game.
1. Jason Peters, Left Tackle
Jason Peters is the best player on the Philadelphia Eagles. You could make a case for McCoy, but he's not as irreplaceable as the big left tackle.
When Peters tore his Achilles tendon last March, it essentially ended the season for the Eagles. We just didn't know it at the time.
Veteran free agent Demetress Bell failed to even adequately replace Peters, leading to the Eagles thrusting rookie Dennis Kelly into action before he was ready. This in turn affected Michael Vick, who was pressured on a league-high 41.4 percent of his pass attempts.
The absence of Peters killed any chance of the Eagles using the screen game. It's a big reason why McCoy suffered his worst season since he was a rookie.
To put it as simply as possible, Peters' injury hurt the production of each player on the offense in 2012 (with the exception of Evan Mathis).
With Peters returning in 2013 at full health, the Eagles have their most athletic lineman in place to power an offense that could feature either Vick, Nick Foles or Matt Barkley at quarterback.
One thing's for sure, though. The job will be significantly easier for the entire offense with Peters at left tackle.