Eagles’ troubles start at the top with personnel decisions

NFL

PHILADELPHIA (AP)Three years after winning a Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles are spiraling.

There are questions about coach Doug Pederson’s job security and Carson Wentz’s future as quarterback. But the responsibility for the team’s collapse begins at the top.

The Eagles (3-7-1) have missed terribly in the draft since Howie Roseman regained control of personnel decisions following Chip Kelly’s firing in December 2015.

Every team passed on wide receiver DK Metcalf, who was chosen by the Seahawks with the last pick of the second round of the 2019 draft. But the Eagles skipped him three times and took wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with their second pick of the second round. Arcega-Whiteside has 12 career catches and was a healthy inactive before landing on the COVID-19/reserve list.

Metcalf had 10 catches for 177 yards in Seattle’s 23-17 win over the Eagles on Monday night. He already has 1,039 yards receiving this season and nine touchdowns, one more than all of Philadelphia’s wide receivers have combined.

The Eagles took wide receiver Jalen Reagor at No. 21 in this year’s draft. Reagor has 19 catches for 222 yards and one TD in six games, missing five because of injuries. Justin Jefferson went to Minnesota with the next pick. He has 52 receptions for 918 yards and six TDs.

Philadelphia then took quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round, even though Wentz’s $128 million, four-year contract extension kicks in next year. Running backs J.K. Dobbins and Antonio Gibson were on the board and could’ve contributed immediately to a stale offense.

The draft failures go back further.

Wentz is the only player selected by Philadelphia since 2014 to make a Pro Bowl. No one has been an All-Pro.

The organization’s success rate on top picks has been abysmal since right tackle Lane Johnson and tight end Zach Ertz were the first two selections in 2013.

Pederson has accepted blame for the offense’s dismal performance. Wentz and other players have done the same.

Has the front office communicated to the coach its role in the team’s struggles?

”Those conversations are private,” Pederson said Monday. ”I’m not going to get into that. This is not the time or the place to really get into those types of conversations.”

WHAT’S WORKING

Wentz has been most effective throwing to tight ends and especially on designed rollouts, though those plays haven’t been called much. Dallas Goedert had seven catches for 75 yards and one TD against Seattle, but also turned the wrong way on a fourth-down pass that resulted in an interception in the end zone. Richard Rodgers caught three passes for 53 yards and one TD.

NEEDS HELP

The offensive line allowed Seattle to get six sacks and numerous hits. The unit is missing Johnson, Andre Dillard and three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks. Only two original starters are playing. The team has used 12 different linemen, including 10 different line combinations. Four linemen made their first career starts this season. Left tackle Jordan Mailata, a former rugby star, is learning football on the job.

STOCK UP

Defensive end Derek Barnett had two stops on fourth-and-2 in the first quarter. He tackled David Moore for a 5-yard loss from the Eagles 2 and sacked Russell Wilson from the Philadelphia 37 on Seattle’s second drive.

STOCK DOWN

Wide receiver Travis Fulgham has four catches on 14 targets in the past three games after an excellent stretch of five games. He had 28 catches for 427 yards and four TDs after debuting with the Eagles on Oct. 4.

INJURED

Ertz (ankle) could return to action this week.

KEY NUMBER

3 – The Eagles only have three interceptions this season, none from their cornerbacks.

NEXT STEPS

The Eagles visit the Green Bay Packers (8-3) on Sunday. Despite a dismal record, Philly is only a half-game behind the Giants (4-7) and Washington (4-7) in the woeful NFC East.

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