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2017 Philadelphia Eagles Predictions

Predictions

Sean Selby recently posted his predictions for the entire NFL, which you can read here, so why not predict what will happen this year to the Philadelphia Eagles?

Most Valuable Player

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz took major strides to improve as a quarterback this offseason. He underwent eye surgery to correct his vision, worked with passing guru Tom House to improve his mechanics, and even invited his fellow receivers to work out with him in North Dakota.

Combine this with his studious nature, and I find it almost impossible to believe Wentz won’t post big numbers.

 

Offensive Player of the Year

Alshon Jeffrey

The Eagles have lacked a true number one receiver since Terrell Owens. While DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin posted quality seasons as Eagles, neither of them quite terrorized defense like T.O. Alshon Jeffrey has similar measurables to the mercurial former Pro Bowler, and if properly utilized, could post similar numbers.

Former Bears and current WR coach Mike Groh helped Jeffrey put up monster numbers while they were together in Chicago. Throw in the fact that Jeffrey is on a one-year, heavily incentivized contract, and I expect some records to be smashed.

Defensive Player of the Year

Jordan Hicks

Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Malcolm Jenkins generate most of the headlines for the Eagles defense, and for good reason. All of them are All-Pro-caliber players. However, the best defensive player from last season was ILB Jordan Hicks.

Hicks is arguable one the game’s best cover linebackers. He intercepted five and defended eleven passes last season. Pro Football Focus has him as the 7th-best Middle Linebacker in the NFL in 2016.

Breakout Player of the Year

Jalen Mills

Last season’s group of cornerbacks struggled mightily, but there was a lone bright spot: 7th round draft choice and former LSU Tiger Jalen Mills. Mills was thrown directly into the fire by Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz and was tested numerous times by offenses, especially when the Eagles faced the Falcons in Week Ten. Mills covered All-World wide receiver Julio Jones and managed to keep him in check.

Did he get beat deep? Yes. Did he struggle at times? You bet. However, Mills shows confidence in himself and a swagger that all elite corners possess. This preseason, he looks much more refined and has another year under his belt.

Player Most Likely to Regress

Jason Peters

Jason Peters has a resume worthy of Canton, but at thirty-five years of age, he’s about to show signs of aging.

This is not an indictment on the 9x Pro Bowler: Father Time catches up to everyone. Peters still played like an elite offensive tackle last season, but with a bad back, he’s due to start slowing down.

Rookie of the Year

Derek Barnett

I prayed that the Eagles would have been able to select the former Tennessee Vol, and they were answered: the Eagles managed to draft him at 14 despite Barnett being graded as a Top 10 pick.

One of the reasons Barnett fell was due to his pedestrian Scouting Combine numbers. However, Barnett showed during OTAs and Training Camp that he can not only play, but contribute during his rookie year. Although he will be involved in a four-man rotation, I expect he will still get plenty of snaps and rack up at least five sacks.

Comeback Player of the Year

Mychal Kendricks

Three months ago, most fans would have expected Mychal Kendricks to have been traded or release come Week One. Fast forward to today, and those same people are likely excited to watch him play.

The reason is that Kendricks had a dynamite preseason. He forced turnovers, sacked the passer, and looked explosive. Granted, there have been preseason standouts who fizzled when the regular season came around, but Kendricks is playing with purpose and motivation. That should translate on the field.

Assistant Coach of the Year

Mike Groh

The Eagles have been horrid at wide receiver for several years, and a part of that has to do with the coaching. Bob Bickell, who coached under Chip Kelly, put more emphasis on blocking rather than catching. That led to the Eagles leading the NFL in drops in 2015. The following year, his successor, Greg Lewis, looked completely overmatched as the Eagles were second in the NFL in drops.

This offseason, Howie Roseman hired former Chicago Bear and Los Angeles Ram coach Mike Groh. Groh helped three different receivers top 1,000 yards (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Kenny Britt) since becoming an NFL Wide Receiver’s coach in 2013.  I expect the Eagles receiving core to take a major step forward this season.

Final Record

10-6 

The Eagles are a flawed football team, but their arrow is definitely pointing up. They boast an impressive roster with a lot of young, talented players with Pro Bowl potential. I strongly feel this is a Wild Card team and a playoff victory is possible.

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