The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East division title this past season, but there was nothing pretty about it. They won just nine games and really only won the division crown because of the Dallas Cowboys’ ineptitude.
As a result, there are a lot of question marks surrounding the Eagles heading into 2020. Are they legitimate contenders? Or do they just need to hope for the Cowboys to stumble again?
Breakout years from certain players would certainly help Philadelphia move close to its goal.
Here are three names to keep an eye on:
3. Boston Scott, Running Back
This could definitely change if the Eagles end up adding a veteran running back, which they have been in the market for. But let’s assume for a second that Philly goes into 2020 with its current backfield.
If that occurs, Boston Scott is going to have a major role.
He was basically the club’s No. 3 halfback behind Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard for most of this past season, only really getting an opportunity when Howard got hurt.
Now, Howard is gone, meaning that Scott is second on the depth chart by default.
The 25-year-old carried the ball 61 times for 245 yards and five touchdowns while catching 24 passes for 204 yards during the 2019 campaign, numbers that will likely increase with more reps.
2. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver
I was hesitant to include J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on this list given how much of a disappointment he was during his rookie year, but perhaps he can make a jump in 2020.
Yes, I understand the Eagles have had some difficulty developing wide receivers in recent years, but all of the tools are there for Arcega-Whiteside to make an impact.
With injury-prone veterans Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson topping the depth chart, you have to assume that at some point, Arcega-Whiteside will be relied upon.
At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and with solid speed, Arcega-Whiteside possesses some really nice versatility and absolutely has the talent to have a better year than just the 10 grabs for 169 yards and a touchdown he tallied in his debut season.
Arcega-Whiteside will probably be behind Jeffery, Jackson and Jalen Reagor to start the year, but he should have chances. Especially if Jeffery and Jackson struggle with injuries yet again (and let’s face it: it’s probably a given that at least one of those two vets will miss some time).
1. Miles Sanders, Running Back
With Howard gone, Sanders now takes over as the clear-cut featured back, and the Eagles don’t seem to mind that. Nor should they.
The 23-year-old rattled off 818 yards and three touchdowns as a rusher during his rookie campaign while also hauling in 50 receptions for 509 yards and three scores.
Sanders kind of reminds me of a young Brian Westbrook: a guy who can hurt defenses in every facet thanks to his athleticism and versatility. Heck, throw LeSean McCoy in there, too.
Will Sanders become as good as those guys? Who knows. Those are certainly lofty expectations. But one thing we do know is that he fills a similar role.
Look for Sanders to get even more touches and flourish in 2020.