2014 49ers' Opponents Review and Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We review and preview the Philadelphia Eagles in anticipation of next season.

The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the more unique teams last season: Chip Kelly brought a "revolutionary" offense to the NFL that turned out to be very good, but not revolutionary; Michael Vick, the presumed best QB on the team, ceded to Nick Foles, who in turn put up gaudy numbers; and, a team that occasionally seemed unbeatable finished the season with a respectable 10-6 record and a one-and-done playoff showing.

I expect the Eagles will be better next year. While I wouldn't be surprised to see Foles take a step back here and there (free agency might strip him of a couple of weapons - more on that below), I still think he has room to grow and improve as a QB. Similarly, now that Kelly has had a chance to experiment with his offense in the NFL for a year, he can take this offseason to adjust and recalibrate how he wants to attack opposing defenses. I think this offense will continue to impress.

Last year, however, saw a rough defensive year for the Eagles. Football Outsiders ranked the Philadelphia defense as 23rd in the league, with a 5.0% DVOA (you can see this all in a chart here - and, remember, for defensive DVOA lower and negative percentages are better). Many of the needs the Eagles will have to address this offseason will be on the defensive side of the ball. Shootouts are always exciting, but they can be an unsustainable way to win.

Free Agents:

Michael Vick, QB; Riley Cooper, WR; Jeremy Maclin, WR; Clifton Geathers, DT; Nate Allen, S; Colt Anderson, S; Kurt Coleman, S; Donnie Jones, P; Arrelious Benn, WR.

The two big names on this list are Cooper and Maclin. Maclin, being injured for the season, never got to participate in the Kelly offense. In his place, Cooper stepped up big time. Foles seemed to develop comfort with Cooper, but that may not be enough. NFL sources have indicated the Eagles have prioritized Maclin over Cooper, but now PFT is reporting the exact opposite. The Eagles have approximately $23,700,737 in cap space, so they might be willing to spend money on both WRs.

Another position of need is safety. The secondary in general, actually, needs to be addressed. The choice for safety will be between signing Allen and Colemen, should the Eagles decide to keep one safety around. While Allen wasn't the greatest player at first, his most recent season was decent. Pro Football Focus graded his pass coverage with a 0.2 grade on the season. The Eagles would like to upgrade over that, I'm sure, but they will probably need to bring back one safety from free agency and address the other position in the draft.

With Vick a free agent, the Eagles have an interesting choice to make regarding Foles' back up. While I am sure they would like to have Vick back, he will likely want to start elsewhere. The question then becomes if the Eagles will spend money on a free agent or draft a developmental QB.

Draft Picks:

First round: own - No. 22
Second round: own - No. 22 (54th overall)
Third round: own - No. 22 (86th overall)
Fourth round: own - No. 22 (118th overall)
Fifth round: own - No. 22 (150th overall)
Fifth round: Patriots (Isaac Sopoaga trade) - No. 29 (157th overall)
Seventh round: own - No. 22 (214th overall)

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