1. Jalen Hurts
What do the Eagles have in Jalen Hurts? That is the biggest question surrounding this team as they enter the 2021 season. Numerous players have come out praising the young QB and his leadership, and his work ethic is second to none. The Eagles will give Hurts the chance to prove that he can be their next Franchise Quarterback. Hurts is a very cheap option, and if he is able to perform at a high level, the Eagles rebuild will speed up drastically. The Eagles have two, possibly three, first-round picks next season to add elite young talent to the roster. If the Eagles are able to spend those three picks on non-Quarterbacks, they will be in a very good situation with a young, cheap Quarterback and tons of money to spend.
2. How will the team respond to the new, young coaching staff?
There is no denying how much Head Coach Nick Sirianni loves the game. He is a high energy guy who is trying to bring over a new culture to the Eagles Franchise. Sirianni has been preaching competition, and the fact that he has not named Hurts as the Quarterback officially, shows that nobody is exempt from that.
The Eagles have the youngest roster in the NFC East, so that may help Sirianni build the culture he wants around his football team. It is early, but signs point towards the team buying in. Brandon Graham was quoted earlier this week saying, "It's like a younger version of the Andy Reid era." That is a very good sign early on seeing that both the young players and the vets are buying in to their new Head Coach.
Jalen Hurts mentioned that he has not been coached as a Quarterback other than his time under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. That includes last season under Doug Pederson. The Eagles new staff is very hands on, and new Quarterback coach Brian Johnson is very familiar with the second year QB. Reports have circulated that the new staff is teaching their players "why" each thing they do is important rather than just barking out orders. It will be interesting to see if this will lead to more development from the Eagles young players because in the past, there hasn't been much growth from the youth.
3. What moves will be made?
The Eagles still have some holes to be filled, but will they fill them prior to the season, or will they role into the year with what they have now? The Eagles have been linked to Free Agent Cornerback Steven Nelson, and he could provide much needed help at the position.
Zach Ertz time in Philly is done, and he will not show up to the team facility for any workouts. He wants to be traded or released. The Eagles have been reluctant to trade Ertz because they are not getting what they want in return for the former Pro Bowl Tight End. Maybe the Eagles feel they can convince Ertz to come back and finish out his contract with the Eagles, or maybe they are holding out until somebody finally pays up. The Cardinals have made LB Jordan Hicks available for trade after drafting Zaven Collins in the first-round of the draft. Hicks, the former Eagle, would make a ton of sense in a trade for Ertz. It would be much better to add a player at a position of need rather than a late round pick that teams are willing to pay for Ertz. Some other teams to keep an eye on would be the Colts, Chargers and Jaguars who all could use an upgrade at the position. It is something worth keeping an eye on over the next few months.
The Eagles are currently sitting about $4 million under the cap, and they could likely look to move players to create more space. Derek Barnett being cut or traded would save the Eagles $10 million. With the addition of Ryan Kerrigan, emergence of Josh Sweat, and draft selections of Milton Williams, Tarron Jackson, and Patrick Johnson, the Eagles could look to move on from Barnett.
4. Jalen Reagor's Sophmore Season
There is pressure on Jalen Reagor to prove himself that he was worth the first-round selection a year ago. Reagor dealt with some unfortunate injuries that kept him from ever getting into a rhythm in his rookie season, but a fully healthy Reagor will look to bounce back this year. Reports are circling the Eagles that Reagor will be playing more in the slot this season which could allow him to create a mismatch inside and use his speed to create more separation. This will also allow the Eagles to get him the ball more in the running game, and they will be able to utilize a playmaker in motions which Nick Sirianni loves to do. Reagor seems to have a chip on his shoulder this season with something to prove, and if he can tap into his potential, the Eagles could have a solid 1-2 punch at the WR position with Smith and Reagor.
- Mike Devlin