What is left to say about the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason? After it was announced that they would not pursue any of their own free agents including including starting LB Stewart Bradley (signed with Arizona Cardinals), SS Quintin Mikell (signed a 4 year, $28 dollar deal with St. Louis), and K David Akers who signed with the San Francisco 49ers, many fans were perplexed as to how they planned on improving their team. All they did was sign perhaps the most impressive free agent class in history. Among their moves:
- Landed the marquee free agent on the market, Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha to a 5-year $60 million deal
- Traded Backup QB Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Pro-Bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick
- Signed Michael Vick to the franchise tag
- Signed former Titans DE Jason Babin to a 5-years $28 million deal
- Locked up former Packer DE/DT Cullen Jenkins to a 5-year $25 million contract
- Inked former Denver Bronco OT Ryan Harris to a 1 year deal
- Signed former Titan QB Vince Young to a 1-year deal to serve as Michael Vick’s backup
- Added depth to the backfield by signing former Dolphin Ronnie Brown to a 1 year deal
- They also added several other players including DTs Anthony Hargrove and Derek Landri, former Bengals OLB Rashad Jeanty, and WR Johnnie Lee Higgins
The Eagles enjoyed similar success in the 2011 NFL Draft as they stockpiled even more talent. They grabbed OG Danny Watkins out of Baylor, who is expected to step in and start from Day 1. In the next two rounds they added defensive depth by staying local and grabbing Temple Safety JaiquawnW Jarrett. With the draft winding down, they selected a few players who may not only make the roster, but make significant impacts on special teams as well as offense or defense. Among those picks are Oregon LB Casey Matthews, Pitt RB Dion Lewis, Ohio State LB Brian Rolle, UCONN LB Greg Lloyd, and USC FB Stanley Havili.
After years of this being Donovan McNabb’s Eagles, the tide has turned, and this team is officially Michael Vicks. While the Eagles traded back up Kevin Kolb in the offseason, he has a more than capable backup in Vince Young. Young is made from the same mold as Vick, with the ability to pass as well as make plays with his feet, so should Vick go down, the offense shouldn’t miss a beat. At running back the Eagles return one of the best young rushers in the league in LeSean McCoy. Equally adept as catching the ball out of the backfield, McCoy ran for over 1,000 yards last season and also led the team in receptions with 78. Expect rookie Dion Lewis to spell him. The wide receivers, provided DeSean Jackson ends his hold out, are perhaps the most dynamic in the league. With Jackson on one side and Maclin on the other, the Eagles possess the speediest WR duo in the league. Throw in Jason Avant and Brent Celek, a Pro Bowl up-and-coming tight end, and its easy to see why the Eagles offense is so dangerous. The offensive line will be anchored by LT Jason Peters, RT Winston Justice, and rookie OG Danny Watkins.
The Eagles’ defensive line is definitely one of their strongest units as is evidenced by the way they harassed quarterbacks last season. Jason Babin, Brandon Graham, and Trent Cole all return at DE to give Philly a destructive and deep rotation that has no dropoff. Newly signed Cullen Jenkins will man one DT spot while Trevor Law looks in line to start opposite of him. Derek Landri will provide depth, as will Mike Patterson provided his injury is nothing serious.
The punting and kicking jobs remain wide open with the release of Sav Rocca, but at the very least, the Eagles will be in good hands with DeSean Jackson returning kicks and punts.
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