The Philadelphia Eagles open training camp on July 28 at the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field. Here's a closer look at a few storylines:
There have been 34 quarterbacks selected first or second overall in the common draft era (since 1967), per Elias Sports Bureau, and on only three occasions has a team used a first- or second-round pick on a QB within five years of that selection: in 2001, when the Chargers drafted Drew Brees after Ryan Leaf proved not to be the answer; in 1986, when the Colts took Jack Trudeau after drafting and promptly trading John Elway; and in April, when the Eagles selected Hurts 53rd overall. The difference between the most recent example and the others is that Wentz, 27, is entrenched as the starter, making this an unprecedented situation that will be fascinating to watch.
The Eagles believe strongly in overinvesting in the quarterback position -- a philosophy that helped them secure a Lombardi trophy in 2017 -- and are faced with the reality that each of Wentz's past three seasons were cut short because of injury. In Hurts, they have a dynamic playmaker who is expected to be sprinkled into the offense in the short term and provide value as an insurance policy/potential trade asset over the longer term. The logic is understandable, but by bucking convention, the Eagles have increased the odds of a quarterback controversy. Will Hurts' presence throw the delicate locker room balance off, or will it push Wentz to greater heights?
For all the attention paid to the position this offseason, there are still more questions than answers: When will Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) be available, and can he still play at a high level? Can DeSean Jackson stay healthy? How about Goodwin? How much production will the Eagles get out of Reagor?
The lack of on-field training this offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic will likely limit their three draft picks (Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins) in 2020, at least early. The decision not to pursue a receiver in free agency might come back to bite them. But the Eagles added one thing they lacked desperately last season -- speed -- and placed enough bets at the position to feel confident they will have a better, more explosive group this time around.
After an offseason of big changes, is the defense better or worse off?
Cornerback was the biggest issue last season along with wide receiver. The Eagles are much better off there now with the acquisitions of Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman. The shift in resource allocation, however, meant saying goodbye to team leader and do-it-all defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, who played 100% of the defensive snaps in five of his six seasons with the Eagles. Jalen Mills will be asked to make the transition from corner to safety with little on-field training and step into Jenkins' post opposite Rodney McLeod. That's a tall order.
The Eagles have a three-headed monster at defensive tackle with Javon Hargrave joining Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson on the inside, but have left themselves quite thin at linebacker and didn't make any substantial efforts to bolster defensive end depth.
The key to the whole equation is Slay. If he can reach his shutdown-corner ceiling, it will have a load-lightening effect across the board, and allow defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz some playcalling freedom that he hasn't experienced since coming to Philadelphia in 2016.