Philadelphia Eagles fans know what 2022 is all about. Can Jalen Hurts prove himself to be the quarterback of the foreseeable future?
The answer will tell Eagles leadership what they have to do with the two first-round picks they have in the QB-rich 2023 draft.
However, before the real games starting, fans will have to squint hard and read tea leaves if they think they will learn anything concrete about Hurts’ prospects to be the QB-of-the-future because his 2022 training camp is going to be a hothouse exercise, and that includes the preseason games.
Naturally, there isn’t going to be any competition for the starting quarterback job, so there won’t be any training camp drama or intrigue at Pennsylvania sportsbooks in that regard.
So, where are Eagles fans to turn in terms of hot training camp competitions? Turns out, fans are keenly interested in the safety position where the Eagles — with veteran Rodney McLeod signing in Indianapolis (where he’s already on a PUP list) — are going with a group that lacks star power.
Safety in Numbers
A team that once boasted the likes of guided missiles like Randy Logan, Wes Hopkins, Andre Waters, Brian Dawkins and Malcolm Jenkins now features a depth chart with Jaquiski Tartt (who put in seven workman-like seasons in San Francisco), Anthony Harris (a 30-year-old journeyman who started 14 games for the Birds in 2021 after a tour-of-duty in Minnesota) and Marcus Epps (in his third year as a part-timer in Philly).
As lukewarm as that pool of deep secondary talent may appear to be, PennStakes.com used Google Trends to find the top-three most searched position groups over the past 30 days heading into training camp and safety was the choice. Positions with obvious starters were eliminated.
Eagles Most Searched Position Battles:
- Wide Receivers
Here’s a further breakdown of the safety battle and where the Eagles stand with Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
Interest of Each Player in Pennsylvania
A Closer Look at the Safeties
Gauging interest in each prominent safety by measuring searches, Anthony Harris and Jaquiski Tartt topped the search list followed by Marcus Epps.
So, just who are these guys?
Eagles’ fans got a good look at Harris last season. He had one interception, three passes defensed and a total of 72 combined tackles, including two for loss. Harris had a bounce-back season in 2021 after a poor 2020 but the Eagles were only excited enough to sign him to a one-year contract in the recent offseason. A starting job is his to lose.
Like Harris, Tartt has some miles on him. He’s 30 years old with seven years in the league. He was a sturdy performer in San Francisco but his swan song there was bittersweet. He dropped a key interception in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game.
As a new roster addition in Philly and a likely starter, Eagles fans will have some above-average interest in Tartt through the summer.
Epps is the development/potential guy. In 2.5 seasons with the Eagles, he has eight starts and three interceptions. It stands to reason that if the Eagles had been especially high on Epps, they wouldn’t have brought in Tartt as a veteran insurance policy. Epps can play both support and coverage so, in this lineup, he has a chance to step up and prove himself.
More Help in Secondary
Actually, the Eagles secondary needs to get premium play out of free agent signee James Bradberry, a Pro Bowl corner who had been with the NFC East rival New York Giants (and Carolina before that).
If Bradberry, along with veteran corners Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, can be counted on to reasonably lock down opposing receiving threats, that should take the pressure off a relatively mediocre safety group from having to do too much.
Peering into the wagering future on Pennsylvania sports betting apps, Eagles’ fans are looking at +2500 odds for the Birds win the Super Bowl (and +1200 to win the NFC) at BetMGM Sportsbook Pennsylvania, but they’re just +190 to win the NFC East. Dallas is the favorite at +120 to win the division but to the delight of Eagles’ fans, the Cowboys have specialized in underperforming of late.
Super Bowl Odds
Odds provided by BetMGM Sportsbook Pennsylvania.