Coming out of the 2019 season, if you were to rank the Eagles' positions of need, it would be really difficult at the top.
There's 1 and 1a - in either order.
The Eagles were already looking at massive overhauls in their secondary and at the wide receiver position this offseason. And now they'll need to find coaches to lead two position groups that have been as injury-plagued as they have been disappointing over the last two seasons.
These are going to be very important hires for the organization.
This is a fresh start and an opportunity to hire coaches who can help transform two areas of the team that desperately need it.
Or this could make it even harder.
Last week, we found out that the Eagles fired receivers coach Carson Walch along with offensive coordinator Mike Groh. And on Monday, the Detroit Lions hired defensive backs coach Cory Undlin to be their defensive coordinator. So one guy got fired, one got promoted, but both are gone. And now the Eagles need to replace them.
Whomever the Eagles hire for these positions will likely have a very different cast of players than the ones Undlin and Walch had in 2019. Think about all the uncertainty at receiver and in the secondary and how much these positions need to improve.
• Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Rodney McLeod are all set to be free agents. Malcolm Jenkins wants a new contract. Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas couldn't get on the field in the playoff game.
• Thanks to injuries, the Eagles used 21 different defensive backs in the last two seasons, including Josh Hawkins, Dexter McDougle and Tre Sullivan.
• In 2019, the Eagles had the NFL's 19th-best pass defense. Since 2015, when Undlin took over as DBs coach, the Eagles have the 27th-ranked pass defense in NFL.
• In that same timespan, the Eagles have given up 53 pass plays of 40+ yards. Just five teams have given up more.
• And the Eagles haven't drafted a Pro Bowl defensive back since 2003, according to Reuben Frank. That's the longest drought in the NFL.
• Just take a look at their last decade drafting defensive backs:
2018: Avonte Maddox (4th)
2017: Sidney Jones (2nd)
2017: Rasul Douglas (3rd)
2016: Blake Countess (6th)
2016: Jalen Mills (7th)
2014: Eric Rowe (2nd)
2015: JaCorey Shepherd (6th)
2015: Randall Evans (6th)
2014: Jaylen Watkins (4th)
2014: Ed Reynolds (5th)
2013: Earl Wolff (5th)
2013: Jordan Poyer (7th)
2012: Brandon Boykin (4th)
2011: Jaiquawn Jarrett (2nd)
2011: Cutis Marsh (2nd)
2010: Nate Allen (2nd)
2010: Trevard Lindley (4th)
2010: Kurt Coleman (7th)
• The Eagles' next receivers coach will be their sixth in six seasons.
• Alshon Jeffery has a significant injury and significant guaranteed salary. DeSean Jackson is 33 and coming off a season that also ended with an IR trip. And Nelson Agholor is heading toward free agency and everyone pretty much knows he's gone.
• Thanks to more injuries, the Eagles used 15 receivers in the last two years, including Markus Wheaton, Kamar Aiken, Deontay Burnett and Rob Davis.
• This season, Carson Wentz became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards without a receiver going over 500 yards receiving.
• And the Eagles haven't drafted a Pro Bowl receiver since DeSean back in 2008.
• Here's their decade of misery trying to find receivers in the draft:
2019: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (2nd)
2017: Mack Hollins (4th)
2017: Shelton Gibson (4th)
2015: Nelson Agholor (1st)
2014: Jordan Matthews (2nd)
2014: Josh Huff (3rd)
2012: Marvin McNutt (6th)
2010: Riley Cooper (5th)
Based on the history of the Eagles' inability to find cornerbacks and receivers, maybe there shouldn't be much hope that the front office is going to go out and find talented players at those two positions. But they're going to try.
From there, it'll be up to these new, important hires - whoever they are - to develop talent at two positions that desperately need it.
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