There's a handful of topics to talk about now that the Eagles are well underway with their Organized Team Activity sessions, but in an attempt to sway from typical conversation, I decided to take a gaze toward the future--both the short- and long-term. Ever wonder how the next-generation Philadelphia Eagles will look? You can get a pretty clear picture just by scanning the club's current roster, and that's essentially what this article explains as we take a look at the offense's journey into the coming years...
NOW: Michael Vick, 31 years old
NEXT: Mike Kafka, 24; or Nick Foles, 23
The QB position, though fairly well stocked at this point, is somewhat of a question mark moving forward. Vick could still have another three to five years of top-tier football left in the tank, but with his injury history, there's no guarantee with anything. Kafka is still unproven as a backup, but has flashed intangibles that the coaching staff loves. Foles is a work in progress and may or may not be quality material, but seems like the most likely to take over for Vick in the future. This next-gen position outlook is unclear, but has potential.
NOW: LeSean McCoy, 23
NEXT: LeSean McCoy, 23
No questions about it. McCoy, after three impressive seasons in the league, is still the same age as, say, Nick Foles. Therefore, he very clearly is the Eagles' current and future option at running back. If he's anywhere near as productive as he was in 2011 over the course of the next few seasons, "Shady" will undoubtedly play through the five-year extension he inked this offseason. If McCoy somehow deteriorates quickly, the upside at RB is high with Dion Lewis and Bryce Brown among reserves. This next-gen position outlook is promising, with little flaws.
NOW: DeSean Jackson, 25; Jeremy Maclin, 24; Jason Avant, 29; Riley Cooper, 24; Chad Hall, 26
NEXT: DeSean Jackson, 25; Jeremy Maclin, 24; Marvin McNutt, 22; Riley Cooper, 24; or Damaris Johnson, 22 or Mardy Gilyard, 25
Just like the RB spot, the Eagles' receiving corps is basically set for the future as it stands. Jackson and Maclin are bound to remain in the lineup for years to come, perhaps long after a QB change is made via Vick's eventual departure. McNutt is no sure thing as a replacement for Avant, but he and Cooper have more than enough time to develop into reserve roles. Ditto for backup possibilities like Hall, Gilyard, and Johnson; who has drawn heavy praise at OTAs this year. This next-gen position outlook is deep and promising.
NOW: Brent Celek, 27
NEXT: Clay Harbor, 24; or Brett Brackett, 24
Celek might be in the NFL playing at a high level for another five to six years, but he could be in for a reduced role down the road, especially due to injuries and the emergence of multiple-TE sets. When the time comes, Harbor would ideally use his versatility to step in and produce as a receiver and in an H-back role, although he is hardly guaranteed to make the team this year. Brackett has potential, but is merely a camp body until he proves his worth. This next-gen position outlook is questionable, but has potential.
NOW: [Jason Peters, 30]; Evan Mathis, 30; Jason Kelce, 24; Danny Watkins, 27; Todd Herremans, 29
NEXT: King Dunlap, 26; Julian Vandervelde, 24; Jason Kelce, 24; Brandon Washington, 23; Dennis Kelly, 22
Ideally, Peters and the rest of the current crew will last at least another half-decade and keep Vick and Co. out of harm's way. With injuries and such, it's not safe to assume guys like Evan Mathis will still be around a few years down the road, especially since three of the five current starters are either 30 or will soon turn 30. Dunlap has been up and down, whereas Vandervelde and the two rookies are high-potential question marks. This next-gen position outlook is unclear, but has potential.
Cody Benjamin is the editor of the 2012 Bleeds-Green Philadelphia Eagles Preview