The Philadelphia Eagles are heading into a new era of football this season after making some major offseason changes. Among those changes was the decision to trade longtime starting quarterback Carson Wentz and moving on from head coach Doug Pederson. Jalen Hurts will be the franchise quarterback and Nick Sirianni was hired away from his position as offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts to be the Eagles’ new head coach.
While there are a lot of things changing in the “City of Brotherly Love,” the changes have also brought a ton of excitement.
Over the past couple of years, the Eagles have fallen out of contention in the NFC. They are no longer a feared franchise in the conference, but that could change with a couple of years of good management and coaching. In fact, some in Philadelphia believe that they will be able to get back into the playoffs this season with the new-look team.
Along with Wentz and Pederson leaving town, the Eagles also moved on from wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. To replace them, the Eagles are hoping for a lot of development from Jalen Reagor and that the selection of Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith will help as well.
All of that being said, let’s dive in and take a look at three potential breakout candidates for the Eagles this coming season.
3. Avonte Maddox, Cornerback
One of the main needs that the Eagles failed to address much this offseason was at cornerback. Darius Slay is a legitimate No. 1 corner and is a bonafide star, but they need a good option across the field from him. Avonte Maddox is currently penciled in as the second cornerback on the depth chart and is a projected starter.
Maddox was only able to play in 10 games for the Eagles last season and didn’t make a huge impact. He ended the season with 40 total tackles to go along with three defended passes. Obviously, those numbers were not great and there are real questions about whether or not he will hold up as a starter.
While there are a lot of questions, Maddox will rise to the occasion. Philadelphia will give him a chance and they will not regret it. He has the potential for a major breakout season and could solidify himself as a starting cornerback in the NFL.
2. Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver
Next up, the Eagles are banking on a big-time second season from wide receiver Jalen Reagor. He was drafted with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and his rookie season did not show the potential that the Eagles saw in him. Add in the fact that Justin Jefferson was selected with the next pick and this selection looks even worse.
Reagor caught just 31 passes for 396 yards and a touchdown in 2020. Those numbers were a massive disappointment. Heading into his second year, the Eagles need much more production from their young wideout.
There is no question about Reagor having the talent or not having the talent. He has a ton of potential and he has been working hard this offseason to improve his game. The Eagles are definitely hoping to see Reagor put together a breakout season and he will have a much bigger role to work with to make that happen.
1. Jalen Hurts, Quarterback
Finally, there is no doubt about who would and should be at the top of this list. That would be second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. After taking over the starting job from Wentz, Hurts is primed to enter his first full season as the starter and many are expecting big things from him.
We are also expecting a big season from the former Oklahoma superstar. It would be reasonable to expect Hurts to throw for around 3,500-4,000 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 or fewer interceptions. His ability to make plays with his legs will be on full display as well.
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) December 27, 2020
Making the change from Wentz to Hurts takes a lot of guts, but the Eagles went all-in with the decision. They will not regret it, as Hurts will make their faith in him pay off immediately.