Pro Football Focus has listed every team’s biggest strength and biggest weakness going into training camp, which begins in days.
PFF went chalk with the Eagles’ biggest strength. It chose the offensive line, which is the correct and only thing to say.
Across the front, the Eagles’ starting lineup — Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo (probably) and Lane Johnson — is as good as any in the NFL. If they remain healthy, they should meet the lofty expectations accorded to the NFL’s best unit.
PFF ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE:
- “The Eagles used a massive number of offensive linemen last season. Thanks in part to resting starters at the end of the year, 15 different linemen saw snaps.
- “When healthy, Philadelphia’s offensive line is one of the best in the league, and they have an unusual amount of depth thanks to the experience they have been able to spread around.
- “Former rugby player Jordan Mailata has become one of the game’s best at left tackle after only taking up the game in 2018. Mailata allowed 20 pressures in 14 games last season.
- “Adding A.J. Brown to the offense comes close to turning a weakness into the biggest strength on the team, but it sits just below their offensive line.”
EAGLES’ O-LINE RESERVES ARE SOLID
PFF didn’t talk about the Eagles’ back-ups on the offensive line. I haven’t seen many ratings about a *back-up* position group, but this group could be another strength. These guys have productively started NFL games.
- Andre Dillard, a first-round pick in 2019 who lost the left tackle competition to Mailata, is still believed to have value for the Eagles. He made five starts in 2021 and four starts in 2019. He’s often the topic of trade talks, which tells you something about his perceived value around the league.
- Jack Driscoll had nine starts in 2021 and four starts in 2020. Driscoll is considered a challenger to Seumalo to start at right guard and also played tackle.
- Sua Opeta had made four starts in two years.
- Tackle Le’Raven Clark made 15 starts with Indianapolis in four years and one start with the Eagles last year.
- Then, there’s rookie Cam Jurgens. He is the heir apparent at center to Jason Kelce, and the Eagles are hoping he can be plugged in along the interior line if needed before he takes over Kelce’s position.
No team wants to go an entire season with a back-up — they’re back-ups for a reason — but the Eagles appear to have more than adequate reserves to fill in.
The Eagles’ offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland, is acknowledged as the best in the business. His handiwork shows with this squad.
LINEBACKERS AREN’T NECESSARILY A WEAKNESS
PFF said the Eagles’ linebackers are the team’s biggest weakness. (I might have gone with running backs, but that’s another story.)
Given that the Eagles might have an entirely new lineup of linebackers, maybe the best way to describe them would be uncertain.
In 2021, the linebackers were T.J. Edwards, Alex Singleton, Eric Wilson, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor and Genard Avery.
In 2022, the projected linebackers will be Kyzir White, Haason Reddick, Nakobe Dean, Kyron Johnson, Edwards, Taylor and Bradley. Reddick’s biggest strength might be his play at edge rusher. He had 23.5 sacks the past two seasons.
Potentially, there will be notable improvement from 2021. White and Reddick are established, talented veterans and if Dean can have any kind of a rookie season, the Eagles linebackers could evolve into a playmaking, play-disrupting strength.
PFF ON EAGLES LINEBACKERS
- “On paper, linebacker remains a weak link on this roster, but that could be transformed immediately if rookie Nakobe Dean plays in the NFL the way he did in college. Dean reportedly slipped in the draft due to medical concerns that the Eagles apparently don’t share with the rest of the league.
- “Dean was the best-graded player last season on one of the best defenses in college football history and a true leader on the field. If the Eagles get that player, this unit becomes formidable.”
ABOUT THE REST OF THE NFC EAST
From PFF: The biggest strength is their offensive weapons, including tight end Dalton Schultz, running back Tony Pollard, rookie Jalen Tolbert and CeeDee Lamb. PFF acknowledges “trading away Amari Cooper is a big blow to this group.”
PFF says the Cowboys’ biggest weakness is the interior defensive line. This position was a problem last year, too.
From PFF: Offensive weapons are the biggest strength. Expect the receivers to bounce back from disappointing 2021 seasons, including Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson.
The Giants’ biggest weakness is the secondary, which was further hit by the release of James Bradberry, now an Eagle. PFF says Adoree’ Jackson is “the only proven corner and he has an extensive injury history.”
From PFF: Defensive line is their biggest strength.
“Washington was a top-seven last season in pressure rate and did it with an underwhelming season from [Chase] Young.”
The Commanders have disruptive Jonathan Allen and DaRon Payne along with Young up front.
The Commanders’ biggest weakness is at linebacker.
- “Jamin Davis needs to take a big step forward in his development after struggling as a rookie.”
The Eagles are in a strong position, on paper, going into training camp.
But … on paper. In July. Before training camp.