The 2019 season had as many ups and downs as a rollercoaster at Universal Studios. Here is a position by position breakdown of how the Philadelphia Eagles performed in 2019. Click here to check out our Party on Broad podcast on season grades for the Philadelphia Eagles!
Other than Doug Pederson, no one dealt with more adversity than Carson Wentz. Carson finished with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He had two 4th quarter comebacks, 4 game winning drives, and a phenomenal last month of the season. I don’t blame Carson Wentz one bit for the concussion vs. Seattle. No, he’s not injury prone.
However, Wentz was 2nd in the NFL in fumbles with 17 and that needs to be noted. What more can be said about Josh McCown? He was 18/24 for 174 yards in the air and 23 yards on the ground. All of that also came with a torn hamstring.
Some major question marks are coming at this position…
Who is the #2 QB on the roster next year? We have to give major credit to Josh McCown, but similar to many other positions on the team, the Eagles should look to get younger at quarterback. The Eagles spent significant time developing Nate Sudfeld, but he’s not the answer. I expect the Eagles to take a quarterback with one of their three 4th round picks this offseason.
My Grade: B+
Let’s get the negatives out of the way. Miles Sanders had two fumbles vs. the Detroit Lions on September 22nd. That’s about it. Miles Sanders finished with 1327 total yards of offense this season, 6 total touchdowns, 50 receptions, and had the 8th most all-purpose yards in the NFL. Even crazier, he was 22nd in the NFL in rush attempts and played only 52.6% of the snaps.
I can’t wait to see Carson Wentz and Miles Sanders work together this offseason. We’ve only seen Sanders scratch the surface of his potential in 2019. Not enough positives can be said, and there are some truly great things ahead for Miles Sanders.
The Rise of Boston Scott…
Boston Scott scratched out 245 yards on the ground with 5 touchdowns and 204 more yards in the air. He had the 6th most all-purpose yards from scrimmage on the team, which is crazy considering how little he played. Similar to Greg Ward’s performance, Boston Scott’s play in 2019 makes him a lock for a roster spot in 2020. No doubt about it.
Jordan Howard didn’t play after the Bears game with a shoulder injury after showing some promise of being an effective back for the Birds. When Howard was playing and had more than 10 carries, he had at least one touchdown in 5/7 games.
Lastly, not enough praise can be given to Duce Staley this season. Should Eagles fans be concerned about Duce Staley leaving the Eagles if he doesn’t get a promotion this year? There is some buzz about Duce Staley becoming the Eagles offensive coordinator to replace Mike Groh. I would be 100% fine with that move.
My Grade: A
The offensive line finished the season 19th best in rushing yards per attempt, 10th best in in fewest penalties per game, and 12th best in QB sacked percentage at 6.4%. Of all the injuries that took place, the biggest one had to be Brandon Brooks, whose season ended after a shoulder injury required surgery. Brooks’ play this year literally had him at the top of the NFL. Pro Football Focus gave him the highest grade for an offensive lineman this season, and he was voted to his 3rd straight Pro Bowl. Luckily, Brooks is signed through 2024.
Jason Kelce was named First Team All-Pro in 2019. He was the only Philadelphia Eagle to play every down on offense. He’s now started 89 straight regular season games, which is longest among active centers. For a team marred by injuries these past several seasons, this proves that Jason Kelce is the true anchor and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles.
When Lane Johnson was on the field, Carson Wentz was at his best. Lane played 12 games this year and unfortunately missed both games vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Lane continued to show he is among the league’s best. Similar to Brandon Brooks, the Eagles extended Lane Johnson to a 4-year deal that has him in midnight green through 2025.
It’s time to move on from Jason Peters…
Now let’s talk about Jason Peters. The good? Jason Peters played and started 13 games this year and played 75% of the snaps in 2019. The bad? Jason Peters also led the Eagles with 9 penalties. He had way too many false starts, but Jason Peters was yet again very solid. Andre Dillard started 4 games for the Eagles this year and didn’t miss a single game. Personally, Dillard is one of the most important players on the roster this offseason. Fingers crossed, Dillard will likely be starting at left tackle in 2020.
With Lane Johnson missing the playoff game vs. Seattle, Matt Pryor stepped up admirably. We didn’t hear his name much vs. the Seahawks, which is about as big of a complement as you can give to an offensive lineman. I have to give major props to Jeff Stoutland for developing this guy and getting him ready for such a huge game. Isaac Seumalo played 1,181 of 1,183 snaps this season. He’s not great, but he’s been very solid and showed some real flashes in the screen game this year.
My Grade: B
Zach Ertz led the Eagles in receiving with 916 yards and 6 touchdowns. While Ertz saw his production drop a bit in 2019, he continued to lead the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. Despite all the major injuries to this team, watching Ertz emotionally broken down in the locker room discussing Carson Wentz’s concussion vs. Seattle was easily the most heartbreaking moment of 2019.
Dallas Goedert finished 2nd on the team with 607 yards and 5 touchdowns. Goedert continued to show development, playing 15 games and pretty much increasing his overall numbers across the board. His 58 receptions and 87 targets was only beaten by Zach Ertz. When you look at the numbers from Ertz and Goedert, it is no surprise considering how much 12 personnel the Eagles team runs. Great season by Goedert and still one of the biggest upcoming stars in the NFL.
My Grade: A-
An absolute train wreck. Alshon Jeffery played 10 games this year and finished with 490 yards and 4 touchdowns until a Lisfranc injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. On the field, he was very steady and had some stellar moments, including 9 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown during an embarrassing loss vs. Miami. Off the field, reports are indicating he’s a cancer and a snitch. What will 2020 bring to Alshon and the Eagles? I expect Howie to do everything he can to get him off the roster, but that’s going to be extremely difficult with Alshon’s horrendous contract.
Desean Jackson essentially played only one game for the Eagles this season and looked dynamic. He had 8 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns vs. Washington during the season opener. Jackson’s battle with his rib injury ended up being a total mess. Can you count on Desean Jackson in 2020? He’s a major question mark. Nelson Agholor simply quit on the team. He had drops at the worst time imaginable during crucial situations. Nelson Agholor took 5 steps back in 2019 and was a head case all season long. Agholor will be looking for a new team in 2020. Period.
The Younger Guys
JJ Arcega-Whiteside played all 16 games this year and sort of came along as the season progressed. He looked like a deer in headlights during the early parts of the season but seemed to have renewed energy during the Eagles’ push towards the playoffs with some big catches. The highlight of 2019 for me personally was Greg Ward. I loved what I saw from him as he stepped up beautifully during the Eagles’ playoff push. His play in 2019 better make him a lock to make the team in 2020.
My Grade: F
While being semi-invisible during the first part of the season, Fletcher Cox dominated during that last month and during the playoff game vs. the Seahawks. Fletcher Cox played 16 games, had 3.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and was 3rd on the team with 10 QB hits.
Malik Jackson’s injury at the start of the season was a massive hit for Jim Schwartz’s defense. Tim Jernigan played very well when he returned vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Jernigan played 10 games and finished with 2 sacks and 3 QB hits. Overall, the Eagles’ run defense continued to be a strength of the team.
My Grade: B
Another strong season by Brandon Graham, who played 16 games, had 8.5 sacks, was 1st on the team with 15 tackles for loss, and was 2nd on the team in QB hits with 17. Graham also led all defensive linemen with 50 tackles on the season.
Similarly, another inconsistent season from Derek Barnett. While he did play 14 games, Barnett finished with 2 forced fumbles and 2nd on the team with 10 tackles for loss. As expected, Barnett led the team with 22 QB hits but only finished with 6.5 sacks. Josh Sweat showed some flashes while playing 16 games with 4 sacks and 10 QB hits. Vinny Curry had a strong last stretch with 5 sacks and a very solid performance during the Eagles’ playoff push.
My Grade: C
Linebacker continues to be a neglected position on the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a primary position that needs to be addressed in the draft and offseason. The Eagles simply need to get younger and faster at this position. Nigel Bradham was as inconsistent as ever, and the Eagles will save 9 million dollars if he’s cut. Kamu Grugier-Hill is a solid special teamer, but the Eagles should certainly look to make some major upgrades here.
My Grade: D
An absolute train wreck that began before the season started. When they actually were on the field, we were more likely to see the backs of Ronald Darby’s and Jalen Mills’ jerseys on game day. They simply got burnt on a routine basis. Sidney Jones had a very forgettable season and never took the step forward we expected him too. Avonte Maddox was expected to be a leader of the secondary and finished with 0 interceptions.
Cre’Von LeBlanc looked excellent when on the field, and Rasul Douglas had more negative than positive plays this season. The Eagles should look at this position heavily in the draft and have some major decisions to make in free agency. Darby and Mills will both be free agents this offseason.
My Grade: F
Malcolm Jenkins played 16 games, forced 4 fumbles, had 2.5 sacks, 80 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 9 QB hits. He also played 100% of the snaps and was the outright leader of the defense. Jenkins wants a new contract and deserves to get paid. With the Eagles’ cap issues in the near future, some very difficult business decisions are on the horizon for the Philadelphia Eagles. I hope the Eagles extend Jenkins, but I certainly also understand the hesitation. I’m just glad I’m not the one making those decisions.
Rodney McLeod finished the season playing 16 games with 2 interceptions, 74 tackles, and 1 QB hit. McLeod was a steady leader for the defense this season and will be a free agent this offseason. If the money is right, I’d love to see Rodney McLeod return to the team. However, I’m willing to guess that another team will offer a contract that is more than Howie is prepared to spend. Safety is a position I’d love to see the Eagles look at with one of their two 3rd round picks.
My Grade: B+
An average to above average season for the Eagles’ special teams. Jake Elliott played 16 games and hit 22 of his 26 field goals this season. Elliott missed only two extra points, while all 4 field goal misses were 40 yards and beyond. Cam Johnston finished 11th in the NFL at 46.4 yards per punt and 12th in the NFL in Net Average at 42.3. Johnston was 15th in the NFL in punt percentage inside the 20 yard line. The Eagles didn’t return a single punt or kickoff return for a touchdown but did show some flashes with blocked kicks.