The way in which the Eagles ended their season can only be described as a collapse. Philly was the top team throughout majority of the year. The team started 10-1 and beat multiple contenders in the process including the Bills and the Chiefs. The week after the Bills victory was when things seemed to fall apart.
The Eagles hosted the second place 49ers in their first December game. The game went horribly for Philadelphia as the Niners stifled their rushing game completely, only allowing 46 total yards to all rushers. The defense just could not get a stop against Brock Purdy, who put up 4 scores and had perhaps his best game of the season.
After this defeat, Philly visited their division rival Dallas. This game resulted in a similar way as the defense couldn’t get a stop and the Eagles once again lost by 20 or more points, but this one hurt more. Following this game, Philly lost their next 3 out of 4 games to finish the regular season. The Eagles then finished as the fifth seed in the NFC and limped into the Wild Card where they visited Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers were hungry and they showed it. The Bucs were quickly up 10-0 and Philly’s defense looked like it forgot how to tackle. Tampa did just what they had to do to win this game and that was to take advantage of the banged up Eagle’s defense. Cornerback, James Bradberry struggled the most Monday night, allowing the most yards on the team.
How the Draft and Free Agency Can Help the Eagles Struggles
This season, the Eagles struggles lied specifically on defense. Their offense was still dominant but it was the defense, especially the secondary that would let the offense down. Luckily for Philly, 2024 is a deep defensive back draft.
The highlight of the defensive back class is Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry, though, it is very likely he will be gone in the top 20. That being said, Eagles have the 22nd pick and Iowa’s Cooper DeJean might be the best player for the team’s needs. DeJean excels at zone coverage and would fit nicely in the Eagle’s scheme. He runs a 4.50 40 yard dash and has decent height at 6’1.
Philly tends to run a lot of zone coverage so this corner would thrive for the Eagles if he is available. The Philadelphia could also benefit from picking up a veteran linebacker. Baltimore’s Patrick Queen makes the most sense here as he is above average in both run defense and pass defense. It is possible that the Ravens decide to extend him, but if not, he will fit perfectly in Philly’s zone defense.
How the Eagles Can Get Back To Playing Deep in January
The main thing for the Eagles is retaining as much as their current lineup that they can. They could lose multiple players to retirement including Jason Kelce. The future hall of fame center may be hanging it up after rumors circulated. Defensive linemen, Fletcher Cox is likely the next one to go, especially since Philly used the last two drafts to bolster their defensive line.
The offense will mostly be the same, the one possible exception here is Deandre Swift. The halfback was only on a one year deal, though he is a Philadelphia native, so he might be willing to play on a cheap deal to stay with his hometown team. If he does move on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them add a veteran halfback.
If Philadelphia can retain most of their team, they still should be in good shape going into the 2024 season. In all likelihood, they will be a top team in the NFC East and compete for the division. 2023 didn’t go as planned and the wheels started to fall off but that doesn’t mean that 2024 will go the same way.