Philadelphia Eagles: Most Under and Overrated Offseason Additions
While this offseason didn't create the same splash as the last one, the Philadelphia Eagles still signed a lot of free agents. Looking to make his mark on the team, Kelly has brought in a variety of lower-profile signings who could potentially have huge upside.
Many of these players were brought in to be huge difference-makers, such as Kenny Phillips and Connor Barwin. Others were brought in possibly just to add depth and competition. Still, as it was with Steve Smith and Ernie Sims in past seasons, it's inevitable that the Eagles won't get exactly what they were expecting, for better and for worse.
Below are the six most underrated and overrated offseason additions. This list has been limited to just free-agent acquisitions, with a list of drafted players possibly soon to come.
1. Underrated: Bradley Fletcher
Perhaps the most overlooked signing of the offseason, Bradley Fletcher was very effective in St. Louis and was one of the better ranked cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. A piece written by NFC East Lead Writer Brad Gagnon stated that Fletcher allowed only a 55.8 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks in 2012.
Furthermore, Fletcher plays with a great deal of physicality and is overall a solid tackler. If healthy, he can be expected to be a very capable starting corner in 2013.
2. Overrated: Cary Williams
Speaking of cornerbacks, Cary Williams will not be a consistent player in Philadelphia. Williams has excellent ball skills, but he is beaten too consistently, allowing a 98.4 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks last season.
Williams does tackle aggressively, but his strengths will be more along the lines of occasional big plays, rather than consistently shutting down his assignment.
3. Underrated: Kenny Phillips
When healthy, Kenny Phillips is one of the most underrated safeties in the NFL. He plays at a near-Pro Bowl level and has both great ball skills and excellent tackling.
Unfortunately, the biggest question surrounding Phillips will be whether or not he can be at 100 percent. This concern has shown in his contract, which has contained no signing bonus. But if Phillips is healthy, he is the best safety the Eagles have had since Brian Dawkins.
4. Overrated: Patrick Chung
Patrick Chung is a hard hitter, and he is capable of making big plays occasionally. But Chung is a liability in pass coverage. He will likely have to be played closer to the box.
The upside with Chung is that he has versatility, having experience at both free safety and strong safety. That may be the main reason the Eagles brought him aboard, as his coverage skills are definitely lacking.
5. Underrated: James Casey
James Casey is also a highly versatile player. He has the ability to play both fullback and tight end. This versatility will come in handy under a Chip Kelly offense that seems to be stressing having a variety of weapons to create mismatches.
And with Kelly hinting that he could be running three-tight end sets in 2013, Casey could be even more productive next season.
6. Overrated: Connor Barwin
Connor Barwin will most likely be starting at one of the outside linebacker spots next season, but don't expect him to be a star. After posting 11.5 sacks in 2011, Barwin managed just three in 2012.
He will provide excellent veteran leadership but, unfortunately, will not be the Pro Bowl-caliber player he was in 2011. His decline has been drastic, and he will most likely be an average starter with the Eagles.