Philadelphia Eagles
The return of Sidney Jones is one of the more fascinating storylines for the Philadelphia Eagles when they open up training camp in 2018 (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s time to talk about the world champs. The Philadelphia Eagles shocked the world when they beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Philadelphia’s roster is loaded, their gm knows what they’re doing, and above all else…Carson Wentz is back. Philadelphia is so good that they won a Super Bowl with their back up quarterback. That’s something that’s almost impossible to do and hasn’t been done since the Patriots with Tom Brady. Philly returns with virtually the same roster they did last year and returns as the favorites to repeat. Will anything be different heading into this season when the Philadelphia Eagles open up camp?

3 Position Battles To Watch:

1. Slot Receiver: Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Greg Ward, Markus Wheaton, Bryce Treggs

The Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are back which is good news for the Eagles. The slot receiver is different though with Torrey Smith out of the building. Mike Wallace comes in as the veteran replacement but there are two young guys nipping at his heels. Hollins proved valuable on special teams and Gibson isn’t really a polished route runner. All Philly needs one of these guys to do is go deep. Greg Ward is an interesting project too as a former quarterback at the University of Houston.

2. Tight End: Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers

Another set of weapons have been turned over here. Zach Ertz is back but the Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers will have to replace Brent Celek and Trey Burton. Ertz really took the leap in 2017 but now Philly will look to really own the middle of the field after taking Goedert in the 2nd round. I would expect him to be the favorite behind Ertz but if he can’t get the job done, Rodgers is suited for the role. Rodgers was really a good pickup by Howie Roseman who can win in the red zone and really block in the run game.

Cornerback: Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox

The Eagles didn’t have a first round pick this year but at the same time, they sort of did. Sidney Jones comes back this year after tearing his Achilles in the pre-draft process a year ago. Philly drafted him in the 2nd round knowing they would redshirt him for this very moment. Ronald Darby was solid in his first year with the team and Jones figures to give the Eagle two bookend corners. Jones was my number one rated corner coming out of the draft last year. Let’s just hope he comes back to the elite corner prospect he once was. Mills and Douglas return from a year ago who both played well in spirts. Those two combined for 5 picks a year ago. Plus, I love the draft selection of Avonte Maddox. He’s the perfect nickel corner with really quick feet.

Ready To Breakout: Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett clinched the Super Bowl for the Eagles to cap off the 2017 season and will look to build off of that momentum in 2018. Barnett had a solid rookie season notching 5 sacks as a situational pass rusher. Let’s be honest, the Eagles defensive pass rush runs about 800 deep with non-stop bodies flying at the quarterback. Barnett, the former first-round pick from Tennessee, will probably get an increase snap count in year two. Even if Barnett turns out to be an average pass rusher, they still basically stole him for a worthless Sam Bradford. My bet is that Barnett turns into a double-digit sack guy for multiple years.

Rookie To Watch: Josh Sweat

The rich just get richer. Josh Sweat is a first round talent that fell into the laps of the Eagles in the middle rounds. His 10 yard split coming off the edge is similar to some cornerbacks. Sweat’s athletic traits are through the roof and was a five star recruit for a reason. We didn’t always see that at Florida State but the program was sort of a mess this year going through the Jimbo Fisher fiasco. I would expect Sweat to take Barnett’s role from a year ago. Go hunt the quarterback on third downs. The talent is off the charts and this could be the steal of the draft.

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Fantasy Sleeper: Corey Clement

It’s not often that you can get solid production from undrafted players but Clement proved to be quite the gem. Clement scored 6 touchdowns as a rookie (4 rushing – 2 receiving) on limited playing time. Now Darren Sproles comes back but I’m not sure he can be counted on for more than a special teams role. If Clement can become more of a factor in the passing game with Jay Ajayi carrying the rock, Clement turns into a big-time sleeper. LeGarrette Blount is also gone so maybe even more touchdowns are available this season.