2010 NFL Offseason: Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles (Last Year: 11-5) Buy Tickets

2010 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
RB Mike Bell, RB J.J. Arrington, WR Hank Baskett, DE Darryl Tapp, DE Alex Hall, OLB Ernie Sims, FS Marlin Jackson.
Early Draft Picks:
DE Brandon Graham, FS Nate Allen, DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, CB Trevard Lindley, OLB Keenan Clayton, QB Mike Kafka, TE Clay Harbor, DE Ricky Sapp, WR Riley Cooper.
Offseason Losses:
QB Donovan McNabb, RB Brian Westbrook, WR Kevin Curtis, WR Reggie Brown, OT Shawn Andrews, DE Darren Howard, DE Chris Clemons, OLB Chris Gocong, ILB Will Witherspoon, LB Joe Mays, CB Sheldon Brown, S Sean Jones.

2010 Philadelphia Eagles Offense:
It’s hard to believe, but the Donovan McNabb era is over. McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl, but the two knocks on him have been his poor leadership skills and tendency to choke in the clutch. Most Philadelphians grew tired of McNabb, and apparently Andy Reid did too, as he willingly shipped No. 5 off to a divisional rival.

Kevin Kolb has just two starts under his belt, and even though he was highly impressive in one of those two games (24-of-34, 327 yards, 2 TDs against the Chiefs in Week 3), he’s still relatively unknown. However, based on how he’s played thus far and what his strengths are, he’s a better fit for the Eagles offense than McNabb was. Kolb isn’t as physically talented as McNabb and doesn’t possess his deep accuracy, but Kolb makes quick decisions and maintains great intermediate accuracy – two traits that are essential for any West Coast system. McNabb, on the other hand, had woeful intermediate accuracy and took forever to get the ball out of his hand.

Kolb also seems to have a greater command of this team despite his mere two starts. Young players like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin came to Kolb on the sidelines instead of McNabb, and after McNabb left town, Jackson went on to rip his former quarterback. Leadership is paramount in the NFL, and it already appears as though Kolb has mastered something McNabb never could.

The Eagles will be throwing the ball early and often under Reid, so Kolb could easily compile more than 4,000 yards this season. He certainly has the weapons to do so; Jackson and Maclin are a prolific receiving tandem, while Brent Celek is one of the top tight ends in the NFL. Jason Avant is also a very underrated slot receiver.

As with the quarterback position, the Eagles have a new running back. LeSean McCoy rushed for 637 yards on a 4.1 average, and also caught 40 passes for 308 receiving yards as a rookie. With Brian Westbrook gone, the talented and speedy McCoy is a great bet to register 300 touches in 2010.

The one problem with Philadelphia’s scoring attack is the offensive line – which is one of the two major reasons the Cowboys were able to sweep this team in three matchups. The Eagles simply couldn’t keep DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff out of the backfield. Things haven’t changed much up front; left tackle Jason Peters, an overweight lazy sloth, simply has no reason to try hard in the wake of the 6-year, $60 million contract he signed last offseason. Including the loss to Dallas in the playoffs, Peters was guilty of seven sacks and 11 penalties in 2009.

The two other major issues on Philadelphia’s front are at center and right guard. Jamaal Jackson tore his ACL in late December, so he likely won’t be available until the middle of the season. Nick Cole will be asked to play center once again, where he was pretty ineffective in three starts. Right guard, meanwhile, is occupied by Stacy Andrews, who can’t really block anyone.

As for the other two positions, Todd Herremans and Winston Justice are solid at left guard and right tackle, respectively.

2010 Philadelphia Eagles Defense:
The inability to protect Donovan McNabb was one reason why the Cowboys were able to sweep the Eagles. The other was the lack of pressure on Tony Romo. That was something that had to change, which is why Andy Reid obtained about a billion pass-rushers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

When Philadelphia traded up from No. 24 to 13, it was assumed that the team would select Earl Thomas, but the unpredictable Reid chose Brandon Graham instead. Graham’s physical traits (6-1, short arms) are the only reason he wasn’t a top-five pick. Graham was tremendous at getting to the quarterback and shutting down the run at Michigan. He also excelled in the Senior Bowl. His motor never stops, and he figures to be a great complement to Pro Bowl right end Trent Cole, who has 40 sacks since 2006.

With the left end position presumably fixed, defensive tackle is the weakness up front. Brodrick Bunkley is very good against the run, but neither he nor Mike Patterson offers much in the pass-rushing department. Patterson had major consistency issues in 2009.

While defensive tackle still needs to be upgraded, it’s nothing compared to Philadelphia’s back seven. Beginning in the secondary, cornerback is a huge weakness. The Eagles traded away their top corner (Sheldon Brown) to Cleveland, leaving Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs as the starters. Samuel perennially makes the Pro Bowl because of his high interception totals, but he’s easily one of the worst tacklers in the NFL. There’s a reason he’s either nicknamed “The Matador” or “Asuckte” by most Philadelphians. Hobbs, meanwhile, isn’t very good.

Secondary depth is a major issue as well. Joselio Hanson was an abomination last season, which made many wonder why Reid gave him a 5-year, $21 million contract the previous offseason. Hanson returns as the nickel.

Free safety was a major liability in 2009, which is why the Eagles spent the No. 37 overall selection on Nate Allen. Allen projects as a talented, Tanard Jackson-type playmaker. He’ll be next to Quintin Mikell, a second-team All-Pro in 2008 who had to work too hard to clean up the mistakes of Macho Harris and Sean Jones last year.

The linebacking corps was also an area of weakness last season, mainly because stud inside linebacker Stewart Bradley tore his ACL in training camp. Bradley has been practicing in minicamps and is ready to play in 2010.

There will be two new starters next to Bradley: Ernie Sims and Moise Fokou. Sims, stationed on the weak side, was acquired from the Lions for a fifth-round pick. Sims is very talented, but struggled in Detroit the past two years because of a barrage of injuries. If he’s healthy, he’ll be an upgrade over incumbent Akeem Jordan. Fokou, on the other hand, isn’t very good. The Eagles better hope that Jordan, Ricky Sapp or Jamar Chaney can win that job.

2010 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule and Intangibles:
Philadelphia’s special teams were an abomination in 2007. Reid repaired the unit two years ago, which paid dividends. DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps combined for two touchdowns in 2008, while Jackson took two to the house in 2009. The Eagles didn’t surrender a score last year.

David Akers looked like he was on his way out of the league when he had field-goal percentages of 72.7, 78.3 and 75.0 in 2005-2007. However, he remarkably has turned his career around, nailing 33-of-40 field goals in 2008 and 32-of-37 last season.

Punter Sav Rocca was the weak link of Philadelphia’s special teams, maintaining a 42.4 average with 26-of-76 kicks inside the 20.

The Eagles were the only 2009 postseason qualifier to not beat a single playoff team, going a combined 0-5 against the Chargers, Saints and Cowboys (thrice). With non-divisional games against the Packers, Vikings, Colts, Texans and Falcons, that’ll have to change in 2010 if Philadelphia wants to play in January this year.

The Eagles’ schedule as a whole is pretty weird. It seems like all of their tough games are at home and all of their easy contests are on the road. They host the Packers, Falcons, Colts, Texans, Vikings and the three NFC East teams. That’s pretty ridiculous. Then again, they luck out with visiting games at the Lions, Jaguars, 49ers, disoriented Titans and Bears.

2010 Philadelphia Eagles Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2010 Philadelphia Eagles Analysis: Unless Kevin Kolb completely bombs, the Eagles figure to have a very talented offense in 2010. Though this is somewhat of a transitional year for them, they could certainly make the playoffs.

However, they just haven’t done enough to overtake the Cowboys. How are they going to pass protect against DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff? And if Brandon Graham can’t thrive right away – defensive ends usually take a while to adjust to the NFL – getting to Tony Romo will continue to be an issue.

Projection: 9-7 (TBA in NFC East)

2011 NFL Free Agents: Philadelphia Eagles

2010 Fantasy Football Rankings: Philadelphia Eagles

More 2010 NFL Season Previews

2010 NFL Draft Grades:

There are two prominent reasons why the Eagles lost to the Cowboys twice at the end of the year by a collective score of 58-14: They couldn’t protect Donovan McNabb and they couldn’t get to Tony Romo.

That’s why Philadelphia’s first pick made so much sense. While fans were pining for Earl Thomas, the free safety position was not the reason the team was smoked by Dallas in consecutive weeks. Brandon Graham is a terrific player who can both generate consistent pressure on the quarterback and stop the run. And besides, the Eagles addressed the free safety position with their next pick, Nate Allen.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Eagles’ offensive line is still in shambles. They had an opportunity to draft Vladimir Ducasse, a perfect fit for their blocking scheme, at the bottom of Round 2. Instead, they traded with the Cowboys, allowing the Jets to scoop up the massive guard/tackle.

The offensive front isn’t the only issue that hasn’t been fixed. I have no idea what the Eagles are going to do at cornerback. Asante Samuels can’t tackle, and neither Ellis Hobbs nor Joselio Hanson is a worthy starter. Trevard Lindley was torched repeatedly in the Senior Bowl, so I doubt he’s the answer.

Philadelphia made some nice late-round picks. Getting Ricky Sapp in the fifth round was great and I really like Jamar Chaney. But what are the Eagles going to do with all of their defensive ends and tight ends? What about the offensive line and cornerback positions that would help them beat Dallas?

Overall 2010 NFL Draft Grade given on 4/26/10: C+

2010 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

13. Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Brandon Graham is a player. He’s not tall and he has short arms, but he’s a very skilled defensive end. I’ll be shocked if he busts; he’s a feisty, blue-collar player who just produces at a high level. One of the two reasons the Eagles couldn’t beat the Cowboys was because they couldn’t get to Tony Romo. This probably changes that. (Pick Grade: A)

37. Nate Allen, FS, South Florida
Some had Nate Allen as a first-round prospect. This pick makes a ton of sense and fills a huge need at free safety. Great pick. (Pick Grade: A)

86. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE, Washington
Before I give my bad grade: I like Daniel Te’o-Nesheim as a prospect. Having said that, how many defensive ends do you need? Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Darryl Tapp, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Juqua Thomas-Parker, Victor Abiamiri… What are the Eagles going to do at corner? (Pick Grade: D)

105. Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky
The Eagles needed a cornerback, but they’re getting a very slow player in Trevard Lindley. There were better prospects on the board. Lindley was torched often in the Senior Bowl. He’ll face much better receivers in the NFL. (Pick Grade: C)

121. Keenan Clayton, OLB, Oklahoma
Keenan Clayton is a good athlete and fills a need for the Eagles at linebacker. He’s a bit of a reach, but that’s not a huge deal toward the end of Round 4. (Pick Grade: B)

122. Mike Kafka, QB, Northwestern
The Eagles were looking for a mid-round developmental quarterback. Mike Kafka has a decent arm, but he played in a goofy college offense and will need time to transition into a West Coast system. (Pick Grade: C)

125. Clay Harbor, TE, Missouri State
Clay Harbor is a decent prospect, but tight end is not a significant need. How could the Eagles not add an offensive lineman in the first four rounds? Did they not watch what happened in both Cowboys games at the end of the year? (Pick Grade: D)

134. Ricky Sapp, DE, Clemson
If it weren’t for Ricky Sapp’s knee concerns, he would have been a high second-round pick. This is a great value pick. But once again, I don’t know what the Eagles plan on doing with all of these defensive ends. (Pick Grade: B)

159. Riley Cooper, WR, Florida
Riley Cooper has shaky hands and comes out of a goofy offense. However, he’s physically gifted and a solid value in Round 5. (Pick Grade: B)

200. Charles Scott, RB, LSU
Once upon a time, Charles Scott was widely considered to be a second-round prospect. He didn’t have a good senior year and ran a slow 40, so he dropped. He’s a powerful back and should be an effective short-yardage guy for the Eagles. (Pick Grade: B)

220. Jamar Chaney, ILB, Mississippi State
I had Jamar Chaney in the third round of my 2010 NFL Mock Draft. Most sites/services had him as a Round 3-5 guy. The Eagles are getting a steal at pick 220. (Pick Grade: A)

243. Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia
A compact defensive tackle who was projected to be drafted two rounds earlier. Very good value pick. (Pick Grade: A)

244. Kurt Coleman, FS, Ohio State
An underrated safety; lots of sites/services had this guy in the Round 4-5 range. A potential Round 7 gem. (Pick Grade: A)

Season Summary:
You knew things would end poorly when the Eagles lost Stewart Bradley for the year, endured the passing of Jim Johnson, and then signed QB Dog Killer, pissing off thousands of fans in the process. Philadelphia rolled off six consecutive victories after a 5-4 start. However, karma had the last laugh, as the Eagles lost to their arch nemesis in back-to-back weeks to conclude the year. Dallas outscored Philly in those two contests, 58-14.

Offseason Moves:
  • 49ers sign RB Brian Westbrook
  • Broncos acquire LB Joe Mays from Eagles for RB J.J. Arrington and 2012 conditional pick
  • Eagles waive DE/OLB Alex Hall
  • Eagles claim OLB Simoni Lawrence
  • Browns sign TE Alex Smith
  • Eagles waive G Shawn Murphy
  • Eagles re-sign P Sav Rocca
  • Eagles acquire OLB Ernie Sims from Lions for 5th-round pick (to Broncos)
  • Eagles re-sign G Max Jean-Gilles
  • Redskins acquire QB Donovan McNabb from Eagles for 2010 2nd-rounder and a 2011 3rd- or 4th-rounder
  • Browns acquire CB Sheldon Brown, DE/OLB Chris Gocong from Eagles for DE Alex Hall, 2010 4th-, 5th-rounders
  • Eagles re-sign OLB Omar Gaither
  • Eagles re-sign OLB Chris Gocong
  • Eagles re-sign CB Ellis Hobbs
  • Eagles sign RB Mike Bell
  • Eagles re-sign C/G Nick Cole
  • Eagles re-sign ILB Akeem Jordan
  • Eagles cut DE Darren Howard
  • Eagles cut WR Kevin Curtis
  • Eagles cut OT Shawn Andrews
  • Eagles acquire DE Darryl Tapp from Seahawks for DE Chris Clemons and a 2010 4th-round pick
  • Buccaneers sign SS Sean Jones
  • Eagles sign WR Hank Baskett
  • Eagles sign CB/FS Marlin Jackson
  • Titans sign LB Will Witherspoon
  • Buccaneers acquire WR Reggie Brown from Eagles for 2011 6th-rounder
  • Eagles re-sign WR Jason Avant
  • Eagles cut ILB Will Witherspoon
  • Eagles re-sign FB Leonard Weaver
  • Eagles tender C Nick Cole
  • Eagles tender ILB Akeem Jordan
  • Eagles cut RB Brian Westbrook

    Offseason Needs:
    1. Trade Donovan McNabb: Donovan McNabb is a top-12 NFL quarterback, but he has fatal flaws that will likely keep him from ever winning a Super Bowl. He doesn’t lead game-winning fourth-quarter drives; he tends to choke in big games; and he throws his teammates under the bus. The Eagles can still get value for McNabb, but that won’t be the case next spring because he’ll be a free agent. It’s time for McNabb and the Eagles to go their separate ways. Traded McNabb to Redskins

    2. Cornerback: With Sheldon Brown gone, the Eagles will need to draft a corner to start opposite Asante Samuel. Kyle Wilson is the obvious choice at No. 24. Drafted Trevard Lindley

    3. Left Defensive End: Victor Abiamiri is only a marginal player; the Eagles need a dynamic pass-rusher across from Trent Cole. Carlos Dunlap and Everson Griffen will be options at No. 24. Drafted Brandon Graham; traded for Darryl Tapp

    4. Strongside Linebacker: When the Eagles drafted Chris Gocong, I had no idea what they were thinking. Gocong was an obvious 3-4 guy and did not fit into Philly’s 4-3 scheme. Years later, the Eagles still need a strongside linebacker. They should be able to find one in Round 3 of the 2010 NFL Draft. Drafted Keenan Clayton

    5. Free Safety: Next time when you need a free safety, Andy, don’t go out and sign a guy who has only played strong safety before. Better yet, don’t let Brian Dawkins go. There will be plenty of options in Round 2. Drafted Nate Allen; signed Marlin Jackson

    6. Weakside Linebacker: The Eagles cut Will Witherspoon because they didn’t want to pay his $5 million bonus. Now, they need help at weakside linebacker. Traded for Ernie Sims

    7. Left Tackle: Left tackle won’t be addressed this offseason because the Eagles won’t be giving up on Jason “Derrick Coleman” Peters this soon. But saying Peters was manhandled by DeMarcus Ware at the end of the season is an understatement. There’s no denying Peters’ talent, but he’s a lazy, injury-prone sloth who will never reach his potential until he finally “gets it.”

    8. Linebacker Depth: Philadelphia can’t keep using Jeremiah Trotter and expecting to win football games. Drafted Jamar Chaney

    9. Center Depth: Jamaal Jackson tore his ACL in December. Nick Cole, an effective guard, struggled to replace him. The Eagles need a center in case Jackson isn’t ready for the season opener.

    10. Blocking Tight End: Brent Celek is a terrific pass-catching tight end, but he’s a poor blocker. A mid- or late-round pick will have to be used to acquire a blocking tight end.

    11. Running Back Depth: With Brian Westbrook likely done, the Eagles will need to bolster their running back corps. Signed Mike Bell

    12. Punter: Sav Rocca’s punting average of 42.4 was pretty depressing.

    2010 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Mike Bell (RFA), RB, Saints. Age: 27.
      Signed with Eagles (1 year, $1.7 million)

      I’ll never understand why Sean Payton gave Mike Bell carries over Pierre Thomas this season. Bell is a very good backup runner, but isn’t talented enough to be a consistent starter.

    2. Marlin Jackson (RFA), CB/FS, Colts. Age: 27.
      Signed with Eagles (2 years)

      Marlin Jackson missed nine games in 2008 because of a torn right ACL. He missed 12 games this season because of a torn left ACL. Jackson is a talented corner, but he just can’t stay healthy.

    3. Hank Baskett (RFA), WR, Colts. Age: 27. — Signed with Eagles (1 year)

    Philadelphia Eagles Free Agents:

    Salary Cap (As of Feb. 8): No cap.
    1. Leonard Weaver (RFA), FB, Eagles. Age: 27.
      Re-signed with Eagles (3 years, $10-11.5 million)

      What I said last year: “One of the top young fullbacks in the league. The Seahawks need to re-sign him.” Weaver was huge for the Eagles in 2009.

    2. Will Witherspoon, ILB, Eagles. Age: 30.
      Signed with Titans (3 years, $11 million; $5 million guaranteed)

      Will Witherspoon is a very good inside linebacker, but struggled a bit down the stretch when the Eagles moved him to the weak side. Having Witherspoon play the middle and moving Stewart Bradley to the strong side would have made sense for 2010, but Philadelphia simply didn’t want to pay Witherspoon his $5 million bonus.

    3. Jason Avant (RFA), WR, Eagles. Age: 27.
      Re-signed with Eagles (5 years, $18 million; $8 million guaranteed)

      One of the more underrated players in the NFL, Jason Avant caught 40 passes for 579 yards out of the slot.

    4. Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles. Age: 30.
      Signed with 49ers (1 year, $1.25 million)

      Will Brian Westbrook even play again? He’s had too many concussions and other injuries over the years, and he should seriously consider retirement. Even when he was in the lineup last season, Westbrook was not the same player.

    5. Shawn Andrews, OT, Eagles. Age: 27.
      Back problems? Check. Depression? Check. No love for the game of football? Check. Shawn Andrews is a waste of immense talent.

    6. Ellis Hobbs (RFA), CB, Eagles. Age: 27.
      Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $2.8 million)

      A solid nickel and an effective kick-returner, Ellis Hobbs played in only eight games next year because of a neck injury.

    7. Chris Gocong (RFA), OLB, Eagles. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $1.1 million)

      Chris Gocong really struggled in 2009, but I’m listing him as a 2-star free agent because he would be solid as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I still have no idea what the Eagles were thinking when they drafted Gocong into their 4-3.

    8. Darren Howard, DE, Eagles. Age: 33.
      Darren Howard is a pass-rushing specialist only. He had 10 sacks in 2008.

    9. Nick Cole (RFA), C, Eagles. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $1.7 million)
    10. Sean Jones, SS, Eagles. Age: 28. — Signed with Buccaneers
    11. Kevin Curtis, WR, Eagles. Age: 32.
    12. Akeem Jordan (ERFA), ILB, Eagles. Age: 25. — Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $1.6 million)
    13. Sav Rocca (ERFA), P, Eagles. Age: 36. — Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $1.1 million)
    14. Omar Gaither (RFA), OLB, Eagles. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $1.1 million)
    15. Max Jean-Gilles (RFA), G, Eagles. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Eagles (1 year)
    16. Alex Smith, TE, Eagles. Age: 28. — Signed with Browns (1 year)
    17. Jeremiah Trotter, ILB, Eagles. Age: 33.

    2010 NFL Free Agent Rankings

    Divisional Rival History:
    Dallas Cowboys: I guess the days of the Eagles beating the Cowboys 44-6 are long gone, huh? Dallas whipped Philly thrice in 2009.
    New York Giants: The Eagles have taken the past four matchups, including a 23-11 playoff victory in January 2009.
    Washington Redskins: Philadelphia swept the series this year, but the Redskins pulled off the sweep last season.

    Features to be Posted This Offseason:
    1. 2010 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well – Live on Draft Day!)
    2. Detailed season preview
    3. Fantasy football projections
    4. Positional rankings
    5. Daily updates on free-agent signings

    MISSING 2010 NFL Offseason Pages

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 9

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12