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The Eagles have talent at several key positions, but the overall depletion of playmakers and difference makers is evident by the positional rankings for all 32 teams.
29. Philadelphia Eagles
Biggest strength: Over the past three seasons, Philadelphia’s defense trails only the Steelers in team pressure rate (39.5%) despite ranking just 29th in blitz rate (20.2%). Their defensive line is fully capable of generating pressure on its own, and that shouldn’t change this season. Javon Hargrave’s addition gave the Eagles another legitimate pass-rushing threat next to Fletcher Cox. Hargrave ranks in the 95th percentile of qualifying interior defenders in pass rush win rate since 2019.
Biggest weakness: The Eagles ranked third in pressure rate as a defense in 2020 but just 21st in average yards allowed per pass play. As you can probably guess, that’s because they fielded one of the NFL’s worst secondaries. Things aren’t looking much better in that regard for 2021, either. Avonte Maddox, fresh off a 37.1 coverage grade in 2020, is still the team’s No.2 cornerback behind Darius Slay. Philadelphia will also be relying on starter contributions from either fourth-round rookie Zech McPhearson or an unproven player such as Craig James or Michael Jacquet.
X factor for 2021: Size be damned. DeVonta Smith couldn’t be covered in the SEC or on the game’s biggest stage last season at Alabama. He went from averaging an already impressive 3.5 yards per route run in 2019 alongside three other first-round talents to averaging an otherworldly 4.4 yards per route run in 2020. Smith now has the opportunity to elevate the league’s lowest-graded wide receiver unit since 2018 as a member of the Eagles. PFF projects Philadelphia’s first-round pick for 60 receptions this season.
Only the Jets, Lions, and Texans have worse rosters according to the rankings, while all three of their NFC East counterparts landed in the top-20.