It’s that time of year again, a period for firing up scorching hot takes and completely unfounded predictions. Let’s have some fun!
The Philadelphia Eagles will take to the practice field today at 12 noon for the first day of training camp. The entire team reported to camp on time, including Malcolm Jenkins as he continues his fight for a new contract. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he doesn’t expect a restructured deal to get done between the Eagles and star safety until after the season. Schefter told 97.5 The Fanatic that “it ain’t going to be an issue.”
There are also conflicting reports on the status of the starting cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Darby will start camp on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, but he’ll be ready for Week 1. Then, Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski reported Mills will also begin camp on the PUP, but Kempski added that his source believes Darby will practice this week. Strange times in South Philadelphia. Anyway, here are 5 Bold Eagles Predictions from Heavy.com on what to expect at camp and beyond.
1. Carson Wentz Will Win NFL MVP
The 26-year-old is finally healthy, despite a one-liner from Sal Paolantonio saying the Eagles will manage his workload “a little bit.” All teams do that with their starting quarterbacks in camp and throughout the regular season. It’s a smart business move. On the field, Wentz has already developed an MVP connection with speedster DeSean Jackson, mix that dynamic with his Batman & Robin routine with Zach Ertz, and he may have 25 touchdowns before the bye in Week 10. Wentz chucked 23 touchdowns before the bye in 2017 when he was on pace for MVP. Wentz is motivated, healthy and in the best shape of his life. If he doesn’t throw 40 touchdowns with these weapons, then maybe the nay-sayers were right.
2. Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills Will Start Week 1
This one isn’t the hottest take out there, but it deserves a mention in light of two conflicting reports on their health status. Darby posted a fun Instagram story Wednesday and looked fine, even captioned it with “arrival fit” and Mills recently posted a training montage where he looked to be in phenomenal shape. Darby and Mills are gamers and they’ll be ready for Week 1. The problem with both these guys is their injuries could be lingering and recent history suggests not to rely on them. Bet they missed significant time down the stretch.
3. Avonte Maddox Steals a Starting Corner Spot
Re-read what we just said about Darby and Mills. This should open up an opportunity for one of the younger guys to step up and into a bigger role, perhaps a starting role. The Eagles are deeper than a Chicago pizza in the secondary, with Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Cre’Von LeBlanc and a much stronger version of Jeremiah McKinnon. Make no mistake, Maddox is the X-Factor. The Eagles seem intent on letting him handle the nickel cornerback slot and rightfully so as he owned it last year. Still, he’s too good not to see more snaps. Maddox will start on the outside before the season ends. Whether it’s by stealing a spot from a starter or due to injury remains to be seen.
4. Miles Sanders Will Rush for 1,000 Yards
What? Isn’t he stuck in a backfield-by-committee situation with veteran Jordan Howard? Yes, but stay with us for a minute. Sanders was as shifty as LeSean McCoy and as powerful as Cadillac Williams in his only season as the starter at Penn State. He amassed 1,413 total yards (1,274 rushing) and nine touchdowns. More impressively, he won the praise of the man he sat behind in college for so long. Saquon Barley recently predicted Sanders would win Rookie of the Year in a post on the rookie’s Instagram. The committee with Howard will be truly productive early, but look for Sanders to bust out later in the year and show everyone why he had first-round talent. Prediction: 1,057 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
5. Dallas Goedert Will Haul in 10 Touchdowns
Goedert was a late bloomer in 2018 and still managed to haul in four touchdowns on limited touches: 33 receptions for 334 yards. Remember, Doug Pederson hasn’t been shy about spreading the wealth in his pass-happy attack, especially in the red zone. According to Pro Football Focus, Goedert ranked in the top 10 in yards after the catch per reception (5.4) and missed tackles forced per reception (0.12) in his rookie year. He was also in the top 15 in yards per target (7.77) and passer rating when targeted (110.0). Plus, Wentz seemed to have amazing chemistry with Goedert in spring practices.
6. Mitchell & Ness Will Unveil the Doug Pederson Throwback
The Philly-based vintage sporting goods store had everyone talking Thursday when they teased a new Eagles jersey that resembled the 1999 jersey worn by Doug Pederson. Fans have been clamoring for it since May when Mitchell & Ness posted a photo of the former quarterback on Twitter. Pederson served as the bridge to Donovan McNabb in 1999 after the Eagles brought him over from Cleveland. He went a disappointing 2-7 as the quarterback in Philly, but it’s what happened during his time patrolling the sideline that cemented Pederson as a legend. This jersey will hit the shelves and sell out fast.
7. Connor Barwin Will Make a Cameo at Camp
Barwin has been unapologetic in his pleas to return to the Eagles. At some point, the organization has to see it as something worth exploring, kind of like summer cliff jumping at Devil’s Pool in the woods of Valley Green. Maybe not a great idea, but could turn out being a great idea. Barwin was beloved during his short tenure in Eagles green, racking up 31.5 sacks in only four years. Wow, here’s that stat again: 31.5 sacks in four years.
8. Meek Mill Shouts Out Shareef Miller on a Track
Meek Mill has been in the news a ton, especially after announcing the start of his own record label “Dream Chasers” in collaboration with Jay-Z. Eagles rookie Shareef Miller took to Twitter to request new music from Meek Mill and the Philly-born rapper answered and told him it’s coming. We know he just put out a track with Lil’ Durk called “Bougie” but there has to be a new Eagles anthem coming. Or is it a Patriots anthem? Either way, the rapper gives Miller a direct shout out. Bank on it.
9. Mack Hollins Finishes with 500 Yards
This is the prediction we are the least confident about. The third-year receiver has shown little to warrant this kind of excitement after dealing with one mysterious injury after another. However, let’s pull the trigger on Hollins finishing with 500 yards this year. Why? Well, sometimes the best expectations are no expectations. Besides, he worked out with Carson Wentz in the offseason and seemed to be trolling everyone when he posted a hipster-looking version of himself riding a bike.
10. TJ Edwards Makes the Final 53-Man Roster
Edwards has been called the steal of the undrafted free agent class and Bleacher Report praised the 6-foot-1, 242-pounder for his “high motor” and “surprising ball skills.” He’ll have to beat out at least one veteran linebacker — guys like L.J. Fort, Paul Worrilow, Nathan Gerry — to make the Eagles’ final 53-man roster, but he can do it. No, he will do it. Look at his highlight reel for crying out loud.
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