The Philadelphia Eagles drafted their quarterback of the future when they took Carson Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft. His rookie season had many great moments but ended in disappointing fashion as the team went 7-9 overall, finished last in the NFC East, and missed out on the playoffs. Wentz outdid many expectations for him despite not being stacked with offensive weapons. However, this isn’t the case in 2017 as the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith during the offseason to bolster their offensive unit.
Offensive coordinator, Frank Reich’s job appears to be slightly easier in 2017 as head coach Doug Pederson enters his second team in charge. The 2017 Eagles depth chart look vastly different from last year’s squad when it comes to the receiver section. Only Jordan Matthews and Paul Turner remain from the team’s top-five wide receivers on the first depth chart of 2016. It’s for good reason though as Philadelphia picked up Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason. They almost signed former Eagle Jeremy Maclin as well but he ended up landing with the Baltimore Ravens.
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One of the glaring issues for the Eagles in 2016 was the lack of experience when it came to the passing game. Wentz was in his first season and there weren’t any season veterans to throw to. That all changes in 2017 as Jeffery and Smith are in town. Smith’s previous stops in San Francisco 49ers and with the Baltimore Ravens show he is a game changer. In Baltimore, he played alongside Joe Flacco as he went from NFL rookie to one of the more dynamic and dangerous NFL quarterbacks currently playing. Not only is Smith dangerous to throw to on the field, but he’s also a good mentor and his experience is key. With a young quarterback in charge, Smith can show Wentz things that may not be seen from Wentz’s perspective.
Philadelphia last year struggled on offense last year, not because of Wentz’s inability and lack of skill. Yet, it was because the receivers on countless occasions dropped well-thrown passes. Those events hurt the team as they drove down the field. The drop ball frequency should go way down in 2017 with Jeffrey and Smith lining up as the top WR on each side of the field. Opposing defenses won’t be able to double team either one as each brings a dangerous set of weapons to the field.
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All in all, Wentz and the Eagles have the offensive weapons they need to succeed when it comes to passing. As a result, the run game should improve as they won’t need to lean on it as much as last year. It will be interesting to see come training camp and preseason games how the offense is clicking especially between Wentz and his newly acquired receivers. On paper, the Eagles look like a playoff bound team. However, that can change ones the games are actually played. Unlike last season, Philadelphia has no real excuse though why they can’t be playing once the playoffs begin in January 2018.