“Let’s See If It Works”
Q&A: Offseason Additions Bolster Trenches, But Leave Secondary Bare
Coming off a playoff appearance in 2021, the Philadelphia Eagles have been aggressive this offseason in acquiring talent, spending big money on free agent Haason Reddick and trade acquisition A.J. Brown.
This was followed by a draft that filled needs along the offensive and defensive line, as well as linebacker.
On the latest episode of “Q&A,” Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell returned to give their thoughts on the team’s eventful offseason.
Quintin Mikell: “Not only is he a tremendous player on the field, I think he brings the right mentality that you need to play the receiver position in the city and in today’s game. You got to have that guy that’s physical, that can run, that can run after the catch, that can go up and compete for those 50/50 balls. He’s just that missing ingredient that the receiver corps’ been needing.”
Jason Avant: “The way that [the Eagles] have been playing this game with the heavy run, you need a competent play-action receiver, and because of the limitations of Jalen Hurts at this point in his career, getting a guy that has a history of having the yards after the catch that can make something happen with little is only a plus for the offense.”
Mikell: “I think it was a great signing. With the scheme and all of the different multiple fronts that they run, he has a lot of versatility. I think that can only help this team. I still think that they’re trying to figure out where they are defensively, scheme wise. You talk about a guy, 31 career sacks, 11 forced fumbles, he’s also a tackling machine. I think he’s going to bring the right fire, I think he’s going to bring the athleticism, I think he’s going to bring that mentality of aggressiveness to the defense.”
Avant: “There’s a lot of skepticism in trying to figure out what the Eagles are doing with the 3-4 or 4-3, because you sign Derek Barnett back, you got Brandon Graham coming back, you got Sweaty [Josh Sweat] there, you got Haason. Their defensive line room is pretty crowded. That bolsters this side of the ball. I guess they’re thinking addition to the D-line will make up for subtractions and the lack of secondary. Let’s see if it works.”
Mikell: “Every good move that they made in the front seven, and I think they made some really good moves, the one position that was the biggest need was the secondary. Not only did we not bring in anybody, but we let Rodney McLeod walk. This right here was probably the biggest blunder of the offseason for me. We are definitely going to need to add one, probably two more guys. We need a number two corner, you’re going to need another safety. I was not thrilled with the safety position last year. You do have K’Von Wallace, a young guy coming up, and I do like [Marcus] Epps, but outside of those two, I’m not very enthusiastic about this group.”
Mikell: “At pick 13, you had Kyle Hamilton, you had Jordan Davis. I wasn’t so high on Kyle Hamilton. I know he has a chance to be a phenomenal player, I just don’t know if he’s the right fit for this team and this defense. In my opinion, if you go offensive or defensive line at that pick, you’re going to be alright. I know there’s worry about staying healthy and keeping his weight down, but the guy is huge. He’s phenomenal. He can add so much more versatility to this defensive front. His pass rushing needs to get a little bit better and he can work on that. He brings a lot and a different element to this group.”
Avant: “This pick goes against historic Eagles defensive tackle requirements. We’re never with the humongous defensive tackle. We usually like the guys that are quick off the ball, that shoot gaps, that can get to the passer quickly. It makes you think, ‘Are we switching it up completely?’ And that’s what it makes me think when you grab a guy that can eat up so much space.”
Avant: “Everyone knows that he’s a smart player. This kid has that innate ability to find the ball through trash. It’s a hard thing to do. It reminds me of London Fletcher when it comes to just deciphering through the minutiae in order to get to the ball. The kid has that anticipating and he has the ability to get through traffic. When you look at him on tape, you say this kid runs a 4.4. He goes out and runs a 4.74, but he vertical jumps a 41’. That lets me know that he’s one of those guys has great anticipation and his first couple of steps are explosive you think he runs a 4.4. It’s not always about how far you can run at linebacker, it’s how you can anticipate in your first couple of steps to get to the ball. I think it translates very well.”
Mikell: “I thought this was a phenomenal pick. I can see him shooting gaps, I can see him running around offensive guards and tackles, I can see him blitzing and making plays, I can see him dropping in coverage.”
Avant: “I actually love this pick. It adds more versatility. He played predominantly defensive end at Kansas. He generated havoc getting to the passer, very good rusher. If you ever want an outside linebacker type, he’s that type of player. In the future, he can become a starter if he develops the right way. When he was asked to go into coverage, he did that very well.”
Mikell: “Judging from the picks, this looks like we’re going to a 3-4 front. The Jordan Davis pick solidified it for me. The other moves kind of keep it guessing. The scheme is still going to be multiple; I think it’s going to lean more towards an odd front. My only problem with odd fronts is that a lot of times it puts the secondary in a bind. It tends to end up being a bend don’t break defense.”
Avant: “I think we’re built more for running the football still because of Jalen Hurts’s development. We don’t know where it is. I think that we have to be a run/play action team. We know that Nick Sirianni comes from spreading it out a little bit. I think that’s what he wants to do. Will Jalen Hurts be developed enough to do that?”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com
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