The 2021 Eagles exceeded most expectations as their late-season hot streak catapulted them to the playoffs. And although they were handily beaten in the first round, the Eagles are set up to take another step in the 2022 season. But to do that, they’ll need a handful of guys on the roster to improve.

Let’s look at five Eagles that must take a step forward in the 2022 season:

 

Marcus Epps

Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer

Unless Howie Roseman finds a starter via trade over the summer, it’s going to be the duo of Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace that will be stepping in at the second safety spot next to Anthony Harris.

Epps, the slightly more experienced of the two, has played his fair share over the past 2 seasons and looks like the front-runner for the job. Usually playing as a third safety, the 26-year-old safety has appeared in 30 games and started in 8 since 2020. In those 30 games, he’s registered three interceptions, nine passes defended, and 109 combined tackles. While many fans are questioning if Epps is ready to take the next step and become a starter, Howie Roseman has expressed confidence in the former sixth-round pick from Wyoming.

“We have a lot of confidence in Marcus,” Roseman said in a post-draft press conference. “Marcus played really good football for us last year… We’re excited about him.”

 

K’Von Wallace

Kate Frese/Philly Voice

Along with Epps, K’Von Wallace is also likely to get an increase in playing time as the third safety in Jonathan Gannon’s defense that rolled through three safeties a lot last season.

As a safety coming out of Clemson, many fans couldn’t help but compare Wallace to Brian Dawkins. An unfair comparison to say the least, but Wallace hasn’t lived up to it yet. In fact, he hasn’t played much on defense just yet and has mostly been a special teams contributor. He’ll need to step up along with Marcus Epps if the Eagles are going to make their thin secondary work in 2022.

 

Jalen Reagor

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It’s another make-or-break season for Jalen Reagor. But this time, he’ll be fighting just to make the 53-man roster. With trade rumors involving Reagor surfacing, he is rightfully on the hot seat. It’s likely that he will still make the roster, but with the acquisition of A.J. Brown and Zach Pascal, the wide receiver room is going to crowded and competitive. The 2020 first-round pick isn’t going to be handed playing time any longer.

Reagor has to put his struggles from the past two seasons behind him if he wants to stay in Philadelphia next year.

 

Haason Reddick

Jacob Kupferman/AP Photo

The Eagles ranked 31st in sacks last year with just 29 sacks in 2021. The crown jewel of Howie Roseman’s plan to improve the pass rush is 27-year-old Haason Reddick. Now with the sixth-highest cap hit on the team, Reddick will be relied on to put up numbers on the pass rush, especially with the Eagles’ secondary being as questionable as it is.

Reddick will also be relied on to be a jack-of-all-trades in Gannon’s defense, so he will have to prove his worth in 2022.

 

Jalen Hurts

Steven M. Falk/Philadelphia Inquirer

The key to any potential success for the Eagles in 2022 will be their third-year quarterback. With Jalen Hurts steady improvement through the 2021 season, the Eagles defied expectations, winning nine games and making the playoffs. But if they are going to make any noise in the playoffs, it will be on Hurts’ shoulders that they will live and die.

Going into his second season as a starter, Hurts will have the best surrounding offense of his career. He has a top-three offensive line, an elite go-to wideout in A.J. Brown, and a good surrounding cast of receivers, Dallas Goedert, and Miles Sanders. The pieces are there for Hurts.

He’ll need to improve on his decision-making, especially in finding receivers downfield and when to scramble and tighten up his throwing mechanics, if the Eagles are going to turn their offense from an elite running team to a great all-around offense in 2022.

 

 

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