We wrapped up our previews for all of the AFC teams in the NFL yesterday. Today, we start previewing the NFC East by taking a look at the Philadelphia Eagles. After an ugly ending with Doug Pederson, Nick Sirianni is now the head man in charge for the Eagles.
2020 was not a good season for the Eagles as they stumbled to a lackluster record of 4-11-1. How much can Sirianni improve this team in 2021? This team has some talented players, but it could be a long season for the people in the City of Brotherly Love (nflanalysis.net).
The Carson Wentz era is officially over in Philly. Wentz is now the starting QB of the Indianapolis Colts and second-year man Jalen Hurts will get his shot as the main signal-caller for the Eagles. Hurts had a decent rookie year in 2020 by scoring nine total touchdowns (6 passing, 3 rushing). How will Hurts perform as the starter in 2021?
The Eagles running back position is a bit uncertain. Miles Sanders returns after rushing for 867 yards and six touchdowns last year. He’ll have to fight off former Auburn standout Kerryon Johnson, a free agent signee, for the starting job. Also, expect Kenneth Gainwell, a fifth-round pick out of Memphis, to get plenty of carries on third-down this season. Gainwell is only 5-8 but has thick legs and a ton of speed.
Philly’s wide receiving corps has been a total wreck for several seasons in a row. Sirianni and the front office tried to rectify this problem by drafting Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith in the first round. Diehard Philly fans hope that Smith and Hurts can recreate some of the magic they had while playing at Alabama together. Smith should be one of the most exciting rookies to watch in 2021.
The Eagles’ defense may be the strength of this team in 2021. Philly has some decent pass rushers coming back in defensive ends Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham. Graham had eight sacks in 2020 while Barnett registered 5.5.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is still a one-man wrecking crew and is adept at stopping the run. Cox had 6.5 sacks and 41 tackles last year. Darius Slay returns to lead the Eagles secondary after making 59 tackles and one interception in 2020.
2021 Special Teams
Former University of Houston QB Greg Ward will handle the punt return duties for Philly this season. Ward had 134 punt return yards in 2020. Boston Scott is a solid kick return man as he racked up 590 yards in that role last year.
Jake Elliott will return as the starting kicker for the Eagles in 2021. The former Memphis star made 14 of his 19 field goal attempts last season. Elliott’s longest field goal was 54 yards.
Arryn Siposs will make his NFL debut in 2021 as the Eagles starting punter. Siposs did not play in 2020 but was a star at Auburn in both 2018 and 2019.