Sometimes an organization can't get out of its own way. The Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, and, now, the Philadelphia Eagles.
It seems that since the Eagles decided to part ways with Andy Reid, they have done nothing but shoot themselves in the foot. They hired Chip Kelly, who then banished all the star players on the team. They fired Kelly and hired Doug Pederson, Andy Reid's right-hand man. This should mean good things are to come for the Eagles.
Last season, two of my man crushes were Ryan Mathews and Sam Bradford. That didn't exactly work out so well. I do like Mathews again this season, not so much Bradford. It's hard to project the offense since there is a completely new offensive system and potentially a rookie quarterback. In KC, where Pederson was the offensive coordinator, they funneled the offense through the running back. That's good and bad news for Mathews. He should get plenty of touches...until he gets hurt. Expect a much more efficient and conventional offense this season in Philly.
Sam Bradford (QB) - 3500 yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs.
Bradford already complained about the Eagles taking a QB with the second overall pick - Carson Wentz. Bradford should get the nod to begin the season, and the Eagles hope he's able to stick it out all season. That would give Wentz a year to get NFL ready. Bradford should be more efficient than last season, but he won't be Alex Smith. Bradford is injury prone and has Chase Daniel and a rookie breathing down his neck. Bradford is only a streaming option. I wouldn't draft Bradford this season.
Ryan Mathews (RB) - 900 yards, 8 TDs, 25 catches, 180 yards, 1 TD.
Ryan Mathews is a huge talent. The biggest issue with Mathews: injuries. If Mathews stays healthy, he's a steal in all leagues. He was a backup last year in Philly and still rushed for 539 with 6 TDs. He also had 20 catches with Sproles and Murray getting the passing-downs work. I can see Mathews getting near his 2013 numbers (1255 yards), if he can play at least 14 games. The projections account for his injury history. Draft him as an RB3 and you could win your league. Draft him as an RB2 and you could lose your league. Mathews is very risk/reward, but if he's still there in the 5th, draft him.
Jordan Matthews (WR) - 85 catches, 1000 yards, 6 TDs.
Jordan Matthews could have been on the all disappointment team last season if not for a few Packers, like Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy. Though disappointing, Matthews caught 85 for 997 and 8. Pederson tried him on the outside during mini-camp, but reports have come out that he didn't do well. He'll be back in the slot when the season starts. That leaves me with some doubt that he'll have the same production he had in Kelly's offense. I'm assuming he will be used the way Jeremy Maclin was used in KC. Maclin's numbers were very comparable to Matthews' in 2015. Matthews is going to make a good WR3 option with upside (assuming he's learned you're actually supposed to catch the ball).
Zach Ertz (TE) - 75 catches, 875 yards, 5 TDs.
I'm drinking a little of the Ertz Kool-Aid. Ertz averaged over 100 yards receiving the last four games of the 2015 season. That's not exactly what we expected out of the fourth-year tight end, but it does show what kind of upside he has. Pederson had Travis Kelce last season, and Ertz should be a similar weapon with similar numbers. Ertz isn't in the top couple of tiers of tight ends, but he is someone I wouldn't mind having as my every-week starter. Unfortunately for Ertz, his status will be affected by the QB situation. If you draft Ertz, you'll need to be hoping that Bradford gets the starting nod.
Wendell Smallwood (RB).
Yes, another RB in the sleeper column. Smallwood, out of WVU, is a clone of Charcandrick West, both in body type and skill set. At 5'11", 201 lbs., he's not the biggest guy in the world, but we've seen a Pederson-led offense use small backs to perfection. Ryan Mathews is not a picture of health, which often means his backup gets significant playing time. I can see Smallwood having value as the season goes along, as well. Smallwood shouldn't be drafted at the top of the handcuff tier, but, if you have Mathews, and you subscribe to the handcuff theory, he's a must own.
Sam Bradford (QB)
Sammy is the first player I've written about as both a core and a bust player. The starting QB job is Bradford's to lose, but he is doing his best to do just that. He held out to start OTAs, which wouldn't be a problem if the Eagles didn't have a completely new offense. The HC/OC said the rookie QB, Wentz, has a better grasp on the playbook than Bradford. Bradford doesn't just have to worry about Wentz, he also has to worry about Chase Daniel, who was with Pederson in KC. Bradford will be drafted in 2QB leagues and even then it's a very risky proposition.
If I was the shot caller in Philly, Bradford would be looking for another job, Daniel would start the season, and Wentz would follow shortly thereafter. I like their 1-2 punch in the backfield and they have a good wide receiving core with Matthews, Rueben Randle, and maybe Nelson Agholor. The NFC East is up for grabs, and no one is out of the hunt, not even the Philadelphia Eagles.