Philadelphia Eagles News

New players, new roles, new numbers: A look at how these Eagles fit in 2020

There are some new pieces added to the roster and there are some pieces re-signed with roles that very well could change in the 2020 Eagles season. An always-fluid situation, the roster is a changing document that is altered, in one way or another, almost every day for the remainder of the year.

With that in mind, it's time to get caught up on names, jersey numbers, and roles for the players added and re-signed since the pre-free agency period began. The Eagles certainly have been busy …

Darius Slay, CB, No. 24

Acquired in a trade with Detroit, Darius Slay brings his "big play" mentality and on-field swagger to a defense in need of exactly that. He's wearing jersey No. 24, he said, in honor of former Lower Merion High School (suburban Philadelphia) and Los Angeles Lakers all-timer Kobe Bryant, a huge Eagles fan who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in late January. Slay has been selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls, he's still only 29, and he upgrades the talent level and performance level of a cornerback group that last season gave up too many big plays in the passing game. He's an immediate starter and Slay becomes the focal point of a revamped secondary.

Javon Hargrave, DT, No. 93

The Eagles made Javon Hargrave the focal point of an early push in free agency as he brings a perfect skill set to a defensive tackle group that is deep and talented. Whether Hargrave starts or not, he's going to play a lot next to Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson. The Eagles think that in this scheme, which asks defensive linemen to get up the field, Hargrave will thrive after playing in Pittsburgh's 3-4 front as a nose tackle for four seasons. Hargrave adds versatility, power, and production up front.

Will Parks, S, No. 28

A Philadelphia native, Will Parks returns to play with the Eagles as a hybrid safety. So, what does that mean, exactly? It means the Eagles plan on seeing how the fast and aggressive Parks fits in as a deep safety and then how he works out in some of the subpackages within the defense. The Eagles think that Parks is going to allow the secondary to win with a variety of personnel on the field – Kansas City's defense won the Super Bowl using four cornerbacks on the field at one time, with Tyrann Mathieu serving in that hybrid role, so Parks has a chance to win some playing time in what should be a highly competitive secondary.

Jatavis Brown, LB, No. 53

With his speed and coverage ability, Jatavis Brown adds to the mix in a linebacker room that includes Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, and Alex Singleton. The Eagles think that Brown will fit in with his speed and versatility on the weak side, but he will get a look across the board. Brown had a strong first three seasons with the Chargers before his playing time tailed off in 2019. He has a fresh start with the Eagles and an open competition will take place for playing time in the summer.

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB, 31

A high-level performer the last few seasons with the Rams, Nickell Robey-Coleman gives the Eagles another option in the nickel cornerback role. He's not a big guy at 5-8, 180 pounds, but Robey-Coleman is tenacious, he's fast, and he's a versatile athlete. The Eagles will see how it plays out at the nickel spot as they have Robey-Coleman, Cre'Von LeBlanc, and Avonte Maddox, who could end up on the outside, capable of playing very well in the role. The Eagles can give receivers and tight ends a lot of different looks with the versatility they're creating in the secondary.

Jalen Mills, DB, No. 21

Listed now as a defensive back after playing cornerback for four seasons, Jalen Mills says he's ready for any kind of role the Eagles have in mind for him. Most people are now calling him a safety, but that may not be technically true, as Mills could have a variety of roles within the secondary. For now, the "defensive back" label is more accurate. He's got a new jersey number and a new, expanded role that will ask him to move inside and support the run and also line up in pass coverage over tight ends and slot receivers.

Rodney McLeod, S, No. 23

Not a whole lot is going to change for Rodney McLeod other than he's going to be asked to be a more vocal leader with Malcolm Jenkins gone. McLeod is the senior executive of the defensive backfield now. He's a full season removed from the knee injury that ended his 2018 campaign and McLeod is going to be in charge of lining up a lot of moving parts. But for the most part, it's the same role for McLeod, although you may see him in more interviews through the course of the season. He will be a go-to player for the media.

Hassan Ridgeway, DT, No. 98

Hassan Ridgeway is going to have to earn his playing time in a very talented group at defensive tackle, but he projects as a fourth player in the rotation and an excellent fit at that. The Eagles acquired Ridgeway last spring, sending a seventh-round draft pick to the Colts. He's got some explosiveness and power and the Eagles feel like he was coming on in 2019 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in October. Ridgeway has another chance to gain time this year in the rotation.

Nate Sudfeld, QB, No. 7

Saying he has "unfinished business" in Philadelphia, Nate Sudfeld signed a one-year deal to return to the Eagles and remain in the quarterback room with Carson Wentz and Kyle Lauletta. Sudfeld will compete for the No. 2 job behind Wentz when the team gets back on the field. The Eagles will have room to add a veteran quarterback to the mix, or draft a developmental player in April. The key for Sudfeld is to stay healthy and let it rip when the players are on the field in the summer. He knows the system, he's abundantly confident in his ability, and Sudfeld will get his reps in the preseason.

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