Eagles mailbag: Looking at WR depth chart for 2021

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Thanks as always for all your questions. If I didn’t get to yours this time, I apologize.

Here are the first two installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

And here’s Part 3:

It’s really tough to answer that question because we still have free agency and the draft and I think there’s a very real chance the Eagles draft a receiver. And even though they don’t have much money, I think it’s also possible they could pick one up in free agency.

Based on the roster right now, I’ll guess that Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor and Greg Ward Jr. are the starters. But if the Eagles draft a receiver at No. 6, I think that player would be asked to start from Day 1. In a perfect world, the Week 1 starters would be Ja’Marr Chase, Reagor and Ward. Then you’d have Fulgham, Quez Watkins and possibly John Hightower coming off the bench. That’s not bad. And that would give the Eagles some legit weapons to grow with.

If we’re talking about big names, I feel pretty confident about these guys: Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Malik Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Jason Peters, DeSean Jackson.

If we’re looking a little deeper, I think there’s a chance Jason Kelce retires. And there’s really no one on this roster who is untouchable when it comes to trades. So if someone calls and blows Howie Roseman away with an offer for a player like Fletcher Cox, he’d have to listen.

https://twitter.com/ShmulevichDovid/status/1360319256135671820

Look at you, sneaking three questions into this. I’ll allow it.

1. Yes.

2. I like DeVonta Smith but I like Ja’Marr Chase more. If a scenario unfolds where both are on the board, I’d go with Chase. We’ve all seen what Smith has been able to do at Alabama but there are some smart football people concerned about his size. I’m not overly worried but that’s a bigger question mark than Chase has.

3. I don’t think there’s a ton of value there. That’s not to say that I think Ertz is done, but he showed a decline in 2020, his base salary is over $8 million in 2021 and the NFL knows the Eagles are ready to move on from him. So I can’t see another team offering up a ton of compensation for Ertz if they know there’s a possibility the Eagles may end up releasing him anyway. In fact, I wonder if Ertz wouldn’t just ask for his release so he can pick his next destination.

I guess if I were playing the odds, I’d say Shane Steichen. Just because the Eagles have a chance to have a decent offense in 2021 if that line stays healthy and offensive coaches are still in higher demand than defensive coaches. But let me give you a different name: Brian Johnson.

I know Johnson is just 33 but he has a really solid history of working with quarterbacks and if he ends up making Jalen Hurts into a really good player, the league will take notice.

You’re right about how the NFL works. The idea of long-term rebuilds is a thing of the past. Now, it’s all about retooling instead of rebuilding. And the Eagles don’t play in a particularly good division, so that gives them a real chance to bounce back soon. And then if they’re able to stay healthy … you can convince yourself the Eagles will have a big bounce-back year.

I’m not quite there, though. I think there are some significant holes on this roster and legitimate questions about what this team will look like in Week 1. I think they have a chance to be competitive in the next few years but I don’t think they’re ready to really compete this year.

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