Predicting Eagles' Starters After 2022 NFL Draft

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2022

Predicting Eagles' Starters After 2022 NFL Draft

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    Philadelphia Eagles WR A.J. Brown
    Philadelphia Eagles WR A.J. BrownIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles had three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft at the end of the season. They ended up using only one but still made a major splash. 

    After dealing one of their first-rounders to the New Orleans Saints in a trade that brought back a 2023 first-round pick among other future selections, general manager Howie Roseman worked the phones again. This time, he brought them a star wide receiver in A.J. Brown. 

    The Philadelphia GM then traded up a few spots to ensure he could land man-mountain Jordan Davis. 

    The Eagles didn't walk away with three first-round prospects, but they did significantly change what their offense and defense will look like.

    Here's an early view of what their lineups could look like. 

Projected Offense

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Starting Lineup: QB Jalen Hurts, RB Miles Sanders, WR A.J. Brown, WR DeVonta Smith, WR Quez Watkins, TE Dallas Goedert, LT Jordan Mailata, LG Landon Dickerson, C Jason Kelce, RG Isaac Seumalo, RT Lane Johnson.


    The Eagles should be hopeful about putting an offense on the field that can compete to win the NFC East. After finding their groove last season as a physical running team over the second half of the season, they have only upgraded personnel at the skill positions. 

    A.J. Brown gives Jalen Hurts a top-tier wide receiver duo along with DeVonta Smith. This should be considered a make-or-break year as the Eagles have two first-round picks in a draft that figures to have a few top quarterback prospects. 

    The team's third receiver will be interesting. Quez Watkins had a strong sophomore campaign, but Zach Pascal is a Nick Sirianni favorite and could eat into his targets. 

    The most intriguing place will be the right guard spot vacated by Brandon Brooks. Isaac Seumalo has played well but has had injuries in each of the last two seasons. Jack Driscoll has experience there but is ideally a tackle, and rookie Cam Jurgens is primarily a center. 

Projected Defense

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    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    Starting Lineup: DE Josh Sweat, DT Fletcher Cox, DT Javon Hargrave, DE Haason Reddick, LB T.J. Edwards, LB Kyzir White, NB Avonte Maddox, CB Darius Slay, CB Zech McPhearson, S Anthony Harris, S Marcus Epps.


    The offense is fairly set, but the defense has a few more spots that project to be unsettled at this point. 

    Up front, it will be intriguing to see who gets the start at the defensive end spots. While Haason Reddick is flexible and can play linebacker, the Eagles were in their nickel package 72 percent of the time, per Sports Info Solutions. That means he's primarily lining up as a defensive end. 

    With Brandon Graham missing all but two games last year, he may not crack the starting lineup, as wrong as that feels. 

    At linebacker, the health of Nakobe Dean adds further intrigue. T.J. Edwards was the only linebacker who played well last season, and they added Kyzir White in free agency after he played well for the Chargers in a starting role. 

    However, Dean was considered by many to be a first-round pick, but injury concerns seem to be a factor in why he dropped to the third. The Georgia product has insisted he's healthy and ready for camp, though. 

Position Battle to Watch: Zech McPhearson vs. Tay Gowan

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    All offseason, CB2 has been a need that has been circled by analysts for the Eagles. Darius Slay was a top corner last season, and Avonte Maddox is strong in the slot. But it felt like the team was going to turn to free agency or the draft to replace Steven Nelson. 

    So far, it hasn't. 

    There are still some option on the free-agent market. Joe Haden and Kevin King still don't have homes. 

    But the fact that the Eagles haven't jumped on any of those options and didn't draft one shows they feel good about at least one of Zech McPhearson or Tay Gowan being able to take the job. 

    McPhearson should be considered the early leader. He played 179 defensive snaps last season and allowed a 52.9 completion percentage on 17 targets. It's a small sample size but a positive one. 

    However, the team acquired Gowan in the Zach Ertz trade last year, and he shouldn't be counted out for the job. At 6'2" 185 pounds, he brings size and length to the table. 

    It's two really unproven guys trying to fill a crucial position on this defense.