The 2022 Philadelphia Eagles have boasted one of the best offseasons in franchise history.
Whether it was the free agency or draft, Howie Roseman filled out problem areas of the roster with moves that brought excitement to fans and media. He focused on depth, scheme fits, and leadership when making decisions.
Let’s ignore the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles for the moment and acknowledge that not every offseason move works out for a team. The hysteria around the current offseason even has people so nervous, that they’re bringing up 2011.
Today we’ll discuss three players, one likely to meet expectations for the 2022 season, one that could fail to meet expectations, and a surprise everyone seems to have forgotten about.
Boom: AJ Brown
I went with the most obvious choice, but hear me out!
AJ Brown is one of the most promising young wide receivers in the NFL, which is why the Tennessee Titans are still catching flak for trading him. Brown is explosive and makes the most out of his receptions.
- In three seasons he has two seasons over 1,000 yards.
- You could argue he would have 1,000 in 2021 if he didn’t miss three games due to injury.
- He’s averaged over 10 yards per reception.
The Eagles were a middle-of-the-pack team for total first downs in 2021, so Brown’s yards per reception could push them to a top team in that statistic. His 6-foot 225-pound build with amazing footwork makes an excellent complement to DeVonta Smith, opening up the Eagles’ offense.
Sprinkle in a speedster like Quez Watkins, and Brown’s potential in this offense opens up even more. Defenses will not be able to double Brown with either guy lined up with him or they’ll pay for it, as this group can dominate any part of the field. The Eagles now boast one of the best young wide receiver groups in the NFL.
Say hello to more crossing and vertical routes!
It goes deeper than what happens on the field. Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown already have natural chemistry. Jalen Hurts has something to prove and so does AJ Brown, and I believe they’ll shine together. His skills will help Jalen Hurts improve timing on downfield throws.
Between the Titans’ general manager not wanting to pay him and the Tennessee fans still coming for anything he tweets, there’s got to be a chip on Brown’s shoulder. He’ll want to show he deserves his new contract, prove the haters wrong and stick it to his old team. I
believe the only thing that can derail a great season by AJ Brown and this wide receiver group is injuries.
Don’t worry, I knocked on wood as soon as I typed that.
Bust: Hassan Reddick
Please don’t cancel me. I hope I’m eating crow come the 2022 season.
This isn’t a question of talent or scheme fit. Hasaan Reddick can produce high sack numbers as he did in 2021 with CAR and 2020 with ARI, respectively. Another positive is his injury history, as he’s done a great job of staying healthy. Excuse me as I knock on wood one more time.
Unfortunately, high sack numbers are a tall order to expect from Hassaan Reddick in 2022, especially in this defense. With the versatility of the Eagles’ defensive line in Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, and Derek Barnett, it’s simply too much to ask for double-digit sacks.
- The scheme that Jonathan Gannon is presenting implies hints of a heavy rotation where every player gets decent snaps.
- With said rotation in 2021, the Eagles’ highest sack leader was Javon Hargrave with 7.5.
- The Eagles haven’t had a pass rusher with double-digit sacks since 2014 and were near the bottom of the league in sacks in 2021 with 29 total.
I normally hate trends, but there’s a clear pattern happening. The Eagles’ offseason moves at defensive end, defensive tackle, and linebacker will likely raise those low team sack numbers. However, what doesn’t help Reddick is the rotation, snap count, and inconsistency of Gannon’s scheme.
I expect a great performance by the group, but not Reddick individually.
Surprise: Zach Pascal
You forgot about him, didn’t you?
Why is no one paying attention to Zach Pascal? It’s almost like this signing never happened. When his signing was announced, fans and media found it underwhelming. With the AJ Brown signing the move now looks genius by Howie.
Media and fans are criminally underrating Pascal’s experience with Nick Sirianni in Indianapolis. Sirianni praised Pascal’s mentality, leadership, and work ethic.
- He knows his strengths and weaknesses and they have a great relationship.
- In four seasons he has 1,888 yards and 15 touchdowns, making him an amazing 3rd or 4th wide receiver option in an offense.
- In a wide receiver group that already features AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, and Quez Watkins, Pascal becomes an underrated receiving threat by default.
His addition makes this group a nightmare to cover by even the most talented defense. He has experience in the slot and out wide, so expect Sirianni to show different packages.
His 6-foot, 214-pound frame is an excellent asset, and he’s an excellent blocker who can pave the way for his teammates. I expect Jalen Hurts to pass the ball around, and Pascal could easily contribute 600+ yards in this offense.
Don’t sleep on the potential here!
Do you agree or disagree? Who are your boom, bust, and surprise player picks for the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles?