Ranking Howie Roseman’s top 10 Eagles offseason moves

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Ranking Roseman’s top 10 offseason moves originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It’s been quite an offseason for the Eagles. They said good-bye to Rodney McLeod, Steve Nelson, Alex Singleton, Genard Avery, Nate Herbig, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Brooks and Hassan Ridgeway, who started a combined 60 games last year.

That was a clear acknowledgement that even though they reached the playoffs in 2021, the Eagles understood a lot of work still had to be done.

They had to get better at linebacker. They had to get better at wide receiver. They had to get better rushing the passer. They had to get better in the secondary.

They haven’t addressed everything – it’s hard to do that – but as we sit here in mid-May, with the start of the 2022 season now a few days closer than the end of the 2021 season, this appears to be a much-improved football team, and we thought it would be fun to rank Howie Roseman’s 10-best offseason moves.

1. Trading for A.J. Brown, April 28: I was torn between the Brown and Haason Reddick moves for the top spot. They were both positions the Eagles absolutely had to upgrade, and they added top talent at both spots. But the need was even more desperate at wide receiver, and the Eagles got a Pro Bowler who’s only 24, they have him under contract through 2026, and he instantly turns this into a very good receiving corps with Brown and DeVonta Smith at WR1A and WR1B, Quez Watkins at WR3 and Zach Pascal at WR4. The Eagles have brought in a bunch of former Pro Bowl WRs over the years but always long after their prime (Golden Tate, Mike Wallace, Miles Austin, Steve Smith). Brown is the real deal.

2. Signing Haason Reddick, March 16: Another signing the Eagles pretty much had to make after recording a pathetic 29 sacks last year. Reddick has the 5th-most sacks in the NFL over the last two seasons (23 ½), and the Eagles haven’t had an outside rusher with double-digit sacks since Connor Barwin in 2014. The secondary wasn’t very good last year, but with a better pass rush the defensive backs will at least have a fighting chance this year, and Reddick along with Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham and, who knows, maybe even Derrick Barnett - along with whatever they get from their inside rushers and linebackers – should be an improvement.

3. Drafting Nakobe Dean, April 29: As Dave Zangaro wrote, the Eagles still haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round, but they finally drafted a 1st-round linebacker. The Eagles snagged Dean in the third round, somehow getting a 1st-round caliber player with the 83rd pick when questions about his health and probably his size (6-0, 225) caused him to plummet through the first few rounds. But Dean is an elite playmaker at a position where the Eagles haven’t had one in years. He might have been a risk in the first round but in the third round he’s a steal.

4. Signing Kyzir White, March 26: A really underrated move. It’s only a one-year deal so his future remains up in the air beyond this season, but White is a versatile Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker who the Eagles were only able to sign when he surprisingly was unable to land a long-term deal in free agency. White, who spent his first four seasons with the Chargers, is a sound run-stuffer who has the athleticism to cover and run sideline-to-sideline. It’s rare for the Eagles to acquire one big-time linebacker in an offseason and this year they got themselves three.

5. Drafting Jordan Davis, April 28: This one is a little risky since at No. 13 overall you want a defensive tackle who is more than just a run stuffer and can get some quarterback pressure as well as just clogging space in the middle. And Davis didn’t do that at Georgia. But he really wasn’t asked to, either, and the Eagles believe Davis can be a multi-dimensional player once he gets into NFL shape and really learns the pro game. Until then, at worst, he’ll be an elite run defender while rotating with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams.

6. Drafting Cam Jurgens, April 29: Rare that you draft a player you hope won’t play as a rookie, but that’s the case with Jurgens, Jason Kelce’s heir apparent at center. Most likely is that the 35-year-old Kelce plays one more season while Jurgens learns from one of the best to ever play the game and by opening day 2023 he’s ready to take over. If Kelce decides to continue another year? Then the pick doesn’t look so great but you still have a Hall of Fame center on the field and another year for Jurgens to study him. With 25-year-old Jordan Mailata, 23-year-old Landon Dickerson, 22-year-old Jurgens and 25-year-old Jack Driscoll the Eagles believe they have the nucleus of the next generation of great offensive lines.

7. Signing Zach Pascal, March 21: Not an elite player, but Pascal gives the offense a legit No. 4 after they didn’t even have a legit No. 3 last year. Pascal averaged 41 catches for 540 yards and 4 ½ TDs the last three years with the Colts. He’s a versatile veteran, a hell of a blocker and a great locker room guy, and if he’s your fourth option after Brown, Smith and Watkins he’s going to get some pretty good matchups when they go four wides. The Brown and Pascal additions pretty much guarantee that if everyone stays healthy, Jalen Reagor – coming off a historically bad season – won’t see the field on offense much if at all in 2022 even if he’s still on the roster for cap purposes.

8. Signing Boston Scott, March 19: A move that flew under the radar, but the Eagles let Scott explore free agency to avoid guaranteeing him a $2.43 million salary, then re-signed him at $1.75 million plus incentives. Scott is a truly under-rated weapon who has 1,574 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns over the last three years on only 301 touches. That’s terrific production, and Scott might never be a full-time starting running back, but he's a valuable and versatile rotation guy, and bringing him back to this running back room was huge.

9. Drafting Grant Calcaterra, April 30: The Eagles had only drafted two tight ends in the last decade – Zach Ertz in 2013 and Dallas Goedert in 2018 – and with Ertz now in Arizona and no clear No. 2 tight end, Calcaterra made sense with the 198th overall pick. The Eagles have a remarkable record drafting tight ends. Only one of the last 11 they drafted going back to the mid-1990s didn’t have a decent NFL career (that was Cornelius Ingram, who had career-ending knee problems). You can never depend on a 6th-round pick to contribute as a rookie (or ever), but Calcaterra had decent production in college – 64 catches, 861 yards, 10 TDs in the two full seasons he played – and has good size at 6-4, 240 pounds. He’s got a real chance to develop into a rotational receiving tight end behind Goedert and alongside blocking specialist Jack Stoll.

10. Signing Devon Allen, April 8: Yeah, he’s a longshot, but signing the Olympic hurdler is one of those out-of-leftfield Howie Roseman moves that has no downside (like drafting Mailata, signing Houston QB Greg Ward as a receiver, signing Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson as a tight end, etc.). Allen hasn’t played college football since 2016, but he once had 684 yards, a 16.7 average and seven touchdowns in a season playing for Oregon. You know he’s fast and in shape – he’s currently the No. 2-ranked hurdler in the world (1-100th of a second behind No. 1). Maybe he can help out. Probably not but maybe. And if he can’t, it hasn’t cost you a thing.

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