The unofficial start to the 2022-2023 NFL season has basically begun. This week teams will begin reporting to their home base to show what their offseason talents have progressed into. The Philadelphia Eagles training camp begins on Tuesday, July 26, and with that comes a slew of predictions.
With kickoff just 45 days away, will the Eagles pull off a better season than last?
TEN PREDICTIONS AS THE EAGLES HEAD INTO THE 2022 SEASON
Jalen Hurts’ passing game will improve
Quarterback Jalen Hurts’ passing game was rough last season. He was unable to see down the field, visualize where his targets would be, and often under or over threw the ball. Teammates, such as DeVonta Smith would visibly get upset and if it weren’t for Hurts’ legs, the Eagles may not have won as many games as they did.
This offseason it was reported that Hurts was training in Southern California. Though there were some rumors that he was practicing with Tom Brady, what we do know, is that he worked with a throwing coach.
During the Eagles’ organized team activities in June, it seemed as if Hurts was making progress. Reports have stated that his passes were clean, and though his timing has improved, he continues to have trouble holding the ball for too long. The advantage is that there’s still plenty of time to work that.
The Eagles will sign Hurts to a big-time contract
When (not if) Hurts improves his passing game, he will certainly be a top quarterback contender in the league. With an elite run game, an improvement in his passes would make him a well-rounded leader, and one that the Eagles can count on for seasons to come. His likable among his teammates, he’s confident, and he knows how to hold his own on the field. The quarterback’s current salary is also so low, it has allowed the team to build around him.
All of these instances have created a perfect environment which means the rest is left up to his actual performance. If Hurts proves he belongs in Philadelphia, a contract in the vicinity of $35-40 million would be likely.
A.J. Brown & DeVonta Smith will both receive for 1,000+ yards
Wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are going to be powerhouse options for quarterback Jalen Hurts. Brown started his career with the Tennessee Titans and completed 1,000+ yards in both 2019 and 2020. Last season, he finished with 869 yards in 13 games, and will hopefully have four additional games in 2022 to summit this feat.
Smith has only played for one season, but completed 916 receiving yards, bypassing DeSean Jackson’s rookie record. If fans account for his slow start early in the season, as well as the reckless passes from Hurts, it’s possible he could have already excelled 1,000 yards.
Earlier this offseason, Pro Football Focus named both Brown and Smith among the top receivers for the 2022 season. The QB-WR trio are sure to make an impact.
Philadelphia will be a top-three leading rushing team
If you attended any Eagles’ game early in the 2021 season last year, it’s likely you remember the “Run the ball!” chants that rang through the Linc.
Philadelphia went from a nonexistent rush game, to leading the league in a matter of weeks. With 2,715 total rushing yards, the Eagles finished the 2021 season in first place, averaging 159.7 yards per game.
Entering 2022, the Eagles should keep up their run game. However, they will be looking to enhance Hurts’ passing game as well, so it’s likely fans will see them drop a bit in the rankings. Rather than lead the league, I suspect Philadelphia holds strong within the top-three.
The Eagles’ offensive line will be the best in the league
The Eagles’ offensive line consists of Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seuamlo, and Landon Dickerson. These five starters make up $55.4 million of the Eagles’ $80 million payout — the most expensive offensive line in the league. Over the last five seasons, with the exception of 2020, Philadelphia’s O-line has ranked within the top-five. And, this year, Mike Renner of PFF thinks the Eagles will rank No. 1.
The line has chemistry, experience with one another, and is built like a brick house.
Jalen Reagor will make the 53-man roster
A first-round pick who just hasn’t shown up.
In his past two seasons, Reagor has only completed 62 receptions, 676 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. He’s dropped multiple key passes, and has been more of a liability than anything.
Despite the trade interest and the wildly crowded wide receiver group, it’s hard to believe the Eagles will get rid of him. If Reagor were to be cut now, Philadelphia would incur a $6 million dead cap this season, and a $1.8 million loss in 2023. Given that the front office is trying to build around Hurts, wasting money isn’t the best option. Reagor’s time clock is certainly running out, but he has one last chance to prove himself because he moves on to another team.
Javon Hargrave will finish with double-digit sacks
Last season Javon Hargrave played his best season yet. Starting in all 16 games, he finished with 63 combined tackles, one pass deflection, and one forced fumble. He also had a career-high 7.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits. Hargrave earned his first Super Bowl selection and was named PFF’s fifth-best interior pass rusher.
The defensive tackle will look to improve those stats in 2022.
Derek Barnett will not total more than five penalties
Is the third time a charm? The Eagles signed Barnett in 2017, exercised their fifth-year option on him in 2021, and now signed him to a two-year contract extension.
Last season, Barnett led the Eagles with the most penalties — a total of eight, losing 62 yards.
With a brand new chance to show fans why he was selected in the first-round, I think the defensive end learns from his mistakes. With no more than five penalties, Barnett will add experience to the line, and provide decent quarterback pressure.
Four or more Eagles players will be selected for the Pro Bowl
Last season, the Eagles didn’t have too many Pro Bowl contenders. Jason Kelce and Darius Slay were the only picks representing Philadelphia. Jason Kelce did not play. There were also six alternatives including Javon Hargrave, Jake Elliott, Dallas Goedert, Shaun Bradley, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Sweat.
Since ending their 9-8 season, and advancing to the playoffs, the Eagles have made significant upgrades. In return, this should result in more superior gameplay and player recognition.
The Eagles will win the NFC East
When it comes to the NFC East, sadly, the New York Giants are rarely in the running for the title. Carson Wentz will be leading the Washington Commanders, and though no one can deny his quarterback abilities, the Commanders didn’t do enough in their offseason to secure key players to help him.
The championship typically comes down to the Eagles and the Cowboys, and while Dallas may be favorite to win the NFC East, they will be playing without Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson. Prescott will have to adjust to another passing squad, while Hurts has already gained familiarity with his.
Luckily, the Eagles also have one of the easiest schedules in the league, increasing their win percentage.