Big changes are in store for the Eagles heading into 2013. New coaching staff. New scheme. New attitude. After going 4-12 in 2012, most will welcome change with open arms. An ugly reality of regime changes in the NFL, though, is that some good players invariably get lost in the shuffle and end up out of work.
One such player could be Vinny Curry, who was a second round pick just last year. He’s a player the front office and the coaches raved about, but some consider him to be strictly a 4-3 defensive end. With the Eagles moving to a 3-4, Curry has been asked to add weight and stay at defensive end. 3-4 ends are much bigger and stronger than 4-3 ends, and asking Curry to play a new position will almost certainly hinder his development. In fact, Curry has work to do before even assuring himself a roster spot. Curry simply does not have the bulk or power to flourish in a 3-4 end (5-technique) role, and the Eagles may move on from him as early as this year. They should be able to net a mid-to-late round draft pick for him in a trade, but it sounds like they want to hang on to him and give him a shot at end.
The second Eagle with a murky future in Philadelphia is running back Dion Lewis, who was buried on the depth chart behind LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown in 2012. Chip Kelly usually leans on a stable of running backs instead of a single workhorse, but Lewis is only the third string man at best. Chris Polk will be after his job, too, and may even have an advantage. While I think Lewis’ shiftiness and quick cuts make him a better option in Chip Kelly’s offense, Kelly has expressed a deep admiration for Polk, whom he coached against in the Pac-12. I would also expect the Eagles to draft a running back on the third day of the draft so Kelly can have a hand-picked player in the backfield. Some names to keep an eye out for are Utah State’s Kerwynn Williams and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner.