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Spadaro: 4 Eagles storylines to follow at the NFL Scouting Combine

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

This is all about maximizing opportunities, and the Eagles have plenty of them as the 2023 NFL offseason arrives. The rush, excitement, domination, and, finally, Super Bowl appearance of 2022 is in the rear-view mirror to be appreciated and remembered and learned from, but it's move-on time now.

And the Eagles are moving on.

They're heading to Indianapolis, the site once again of the NFL Scouting Combine, a week-long scene – workouts and drills are scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, but team personnel are there for the majority of a full week – of extreme importance for 32 NFL teams and 300 or so prospective league hopefuls. The on-field workouts will gain the most attention for what players do – or, in the case of those waiting for their college's Pro Day, don't do – but for teams, the Combine is so much more than 40-yard dash times and bench press numbers.

"Everything that goes on at the Combine – the interviews, the physicals, the on-field workouts – that's part of a collection of information that we gather on players and you take all of that into consideration," Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman said of the Scouting Combine in the past. "This is about being as thorough as possible and then going through all of that information for each player."

There is, of course, much more happening with the Philadelphia Eagles than just the Scouting Combine. Let's get you caught up ...

1. The Coaching Staff

Philadelphia reportedly conducted a series of interviews in the last week with candidates for the defensive coordinator position with Jonathan Gannon now the head coach in Arizona both with internal candidates for the job and with external candidates. No announcement has been made, but former Chicago Defensive Coordinator and current Seattle Associate Head Coach/Defensive Assistant Sean Desai was reportedly in Philadelphia for a second interview with the team.

The rumblings on replacing Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen, now the Colts' head coach, have been more muted, with Quarterbacks Coach Brian Johnson reportedly a leading candidate.

There are other fills to be made within the coaching staff. Linebackers coach Nick Rallis moved to Arizona to become Gannon's defensive coordinator. Defensive Quality Control Coach Joe Kasper is now Miami's safeties coach, per Kasper's Twitter feed and multiple reports.

It is a fluid situation and the Eagles have prepared for this for quite a long time, anticipating that both Gannon and Steichen would be strong head-coaching candidates once the 2022 season ended.

2. Free Agency

It begins in two weeks. There isn't much time remaining before teams can conduct legal negotiations with the agents of prospective free agents, so the rumor mill should start churning when the entire league gathers in Indianapolis.

The Eagles have some hard decisions to make with their long list of possible free agents. Again, this is something the team anticipated.

"I think we have obviously a large number of free agents that we knew going in. I think when we looked at this team – and we always look at this team over not just this year but over a period of time – we knew we needed to get additional picks. That's one of the reasons that we made the trade last year was to make sure we have picks going forward," Roseman said.

"And even though maybe we don't have the amount of picks this year, we have a bunch of high picks. And then next year, we're going to have a tremendous amount of picks. We already have two additional picks from two trades that we made. And just by the sheer number of the free agents, we're going to have comp picks next year. Even if we signed a bunch of guys, we are going to have comp picks next year.

"So, I think we go into it with that understanding that it's going to be impossible to keep every single person on this team. But we're here to compete."

3. Jalen Hurts and his contract situation

Quarterback Jalen Hurts is eligible to sign a new contract this offseason and Roseman has said that the team would like to keep him "long term." This is a story to watch not only in Philadelphia with Hurts, but also in Cincinnati with Joe Burrow and in Los Angeles with Justin Herbert. The Eagles want to keep Hurts and they love him and value him tremendously, so this is a very positive development. Hurts became an MVP-level quarterback in his third season and the future is bright. The expectation is that he will be an Eagle for a very long time.

4. The NFL Draft

Philadelphia has six total selections, including Nos. 10 and 30 in Round 1. So, we're circling back to the Scouting Combine and why the week ahead – and the weeks after when teams schedule their Top 30 player visits – is so vitally important.

The questions on what the Eagles will do in the Draft are just beginning and they're not going to end because we all know that Roseman is capable of doing just about anything with that kind of valuable draft capital.

Roseman said it a few days after the loss to Kansas City in the Super Bowl: "We're here to compete."

It has already started, and it will intensify in the weeks ahead. The 2023 season is on, and we're all looking ahead with great anticipation and excitement at the possibilities.

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