Eagles Mailbag: Running Backs, Defense, Chase Daniel, Rookies

The Eagles are well into their OTAs, which kicked off last Tuesday. There are three rounds of OTAs, followed by a mandatory minicamp, before a long layoff leading up to training camp. 

So there's plenty to talk about. 

Let's hop into your questions: 

Philadelphia Eagles

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Eagles' Reagor Non-TD Microcosm of Loss, Young Career

Our Week 2 Eagles Grades by Position After Loss to 49ers in Home Opener

Yeah, I liked Dixon too. The 5-foot-10 running back from Louisiana Tech really impressed me at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He's obviously a little small, but is a great runner and a huge threat in the passing game. 

But the Eagles used their third-round pick on an offensive lineman in Isaac Seumalo, and it was wise to shore up the offensive line early. 

After trading up to the No. 2 pick, the Eagles didn't have a fourth-rounder, and Dixon went to the Ravens — who always do a great job drafting — in the fourth round. 

Had Dixon been there in the fifth when the Eagles were on the clock, he would have likely been the pick. Just before the Eagles took Wendell Smallwood in the fifth, there was a mini run on backs, when the Giants took Paul Perkins and the Bears took Jordan Howard. 

Ultimately, the Eagles ended up with Smallwood, who can catch out of the backfield too. The one thing Smallwood really needs to improve is his pass protection. 

It's a possibility, but I don't. 

While I agree the Eagles don't have a great running back room with Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Smallwood, Kenjon Barner and Byron Marshall, I think there's probably enough depth there.

And if the Eagles were to bring in a veteran running back, it would just take away from Smallwood's carries, which would be counter-productive in the long-term. 

Besides, there aren't very many great options out there anyway. Arian Foster, Fred Jackson, Reggie Bush. Big names, but not sure how much any of them has left in the tank. 

Maybe the Eagles should bring back free agents Chris Polk and Bryce Brown and party like it's 2012. 

Outside of the division, the Eagles face the Browns, Bears, Steelers, Lions, Vikings, Falcons, Seahawks, Packers, Bengals and Ravens. 

Of those teams, the Steelers, Seahawks, Packers, Bengals and Ravens are the scariest. 

I'm honestly not sure if the Eagles will be able to match up against them, but I think they'll have a much better shot under Jim Schwartz than they would have under Bill Davis. I think this 4-3 defense will be able to get after the quarterback and will be the strength of the team. 

What should scare Eagles fans is the cornerback position. While there is some depth there — a lot of young guys — their starters are questionable. It's looking like Eric Rowe and Nolan Carroll, with Leodis McKelvin mixed in. 

Forget the opponents outside the division and look at the NFC East: Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Josh Doctson, Sterling Shepard. That's a big challenge. 

If Chase Daniel enters the season as the backup quarterback, history tells us he will start a game at some point in the 2016 season. 

Since entering the league in 2010, Sam Bradford has played just two 16-game seasons. There's a good shot he won't play all 16 in 2015, which means Daniel would be up, despite the likely clamoring for Carson Wentz from fans. 

Now, if Bradford is out for more than a game, I think it will be harder to start Daniel over Wentz and, really, it would make more sense to get the rookie into some action, especially if the Eagles aren't very good. 

Interesting question. I'll say Seumalo. While it'll be tough for him to beat out Allen Barbre at the left guard spot before the season because Seumalo is going to miss all of OTAs because of the Oregon State school schedule, he'll have a chance to overtake Barbre during the season. 

Barbre wasn't the weakest link on the offensive line last year, but he wasn't good either. And the Eagles drafted Seumalo in the third round to start. 

Another one to keep an eye on is Smallwood. At the very least, the team will make sure he gets limited carries in 2015. 

And if you're looking for a dark horse, we'll go with Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Jason Peters isn't getting any younger and if he's out of a game, Lane Johnson shifts to left tackle. For now, that means Dennis Kelly is coming in. But how much better can Kelly be than Big V?

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us