No. 3: When will the young defensive pieces develop?
Finally, to the defensive part of the article.
In efforts to navigate the salary cap and an understandable bias towards draft picks, the Eagles defense has some very young talents on it. What this means is that the upside is there, but we will all witness the growing pains. Subsequently, Philadelphia has seen its fair share of raw, undisciplined football thus far this season.
That should continue, hopefully at a decreasing rate. Through the first two games, big plays have come off of young players’ mistakes, leaving many concerned.
In the front seven, the two young guns with significant playing time are Derek Barnett and Kamu Grugier-Hill. So far, tremendous potentials have flashed, but consistency is nowhere to be found. The time is now for these guys to produce, especially Barnett, a heavily criticized first-round NFL Draft selection. Their efforts in both the pass rush and run defense will be appreciated mightily if their expectations were met.
However, this has yet to be the case. Here, there is some cause for concern, but I would bank on upside winning out.
Possibly the most important young talent that needs to develop is cornerback Jalen Mills. Due to his playstyle, he is often left in the dust, somewhat surprising for someone with his speed. His aggressive nature leads to uber-impressive turnovers, but costly mistakes that burn the defense and leave everyone scratching their head.
If Mills can develop into an adequate starting cornerback, alongside Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones IV, the Eagles secondary could propel into near-elite territory.
Nobody wants to face this dangerous Eagles team, but Mills can take them to the next level.