The Puzzle Pieces to the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles’s Incredible Start

Calvin Lymper '25, Staff Writer

On April 28th, 2022, the NFL Draft was in action in Las Vegas, NV. The Philadelphia Eagles, coming off of a 9-8 season which led to a playoff loss against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, held the 15th and 18th picks in the first round of the draft. The Eagles sent the 15th pick to the Houston Texans in a trade for the 13th pick. With this pick, they chose the 2022 college national champion, Georgia Bulldogs’ very own defensive powerhouse, Jordan Davis. Minutes after this selection, as the rest of the league continued their draft picks, the Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman hatched a new plan. Roseman traded the team’s  18th pick to the Tennessee Titans, who, in return, gave them Pro Bowl receiver AJ Brown. Brown had been unhappy with the Titans organization leading up to this moment, and was looking to begin a new chapter in Philadelphia under the leadership of quarterback Jalen Hurts. This trade shocked the league, giving the Eagles more offensive firepower for Hurts, who was coming off his first season as a starter, a season that gave many Eagles fans mixed reactions.


Pictured above: Quarterback Jalen Hurts (left) and AJ Brown (right) at Eagles training camp (photo from Philadelphia Inquirer)

Fast forward, months later, to September 11th, 2022. The Eagles traveled to Detroit to face the Lions for their season opener, and the excitement built more and more. With new faces on the offense and defense, the Eagles looked to begin a huge underdog campaign. In an extremely close matchup, the Eagles came away barely with a win 38-35. The clear standout player for the Eagles was AJ Brown, the former Titan, making his Philadelphia debut. Brown left the Lions’ stadium smiling, riding on 10 receptions and 155 receiving yards. It was clear to most fans in The City of Brotherly Love that Jalen Hurts had found his new favorite toy to play with, his new weapon: AJ Brown. Brown became the new fan favorite in Philly that night, with only one game under his belt.

During the second quarter of the September 11th game, Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw an interception down 14-7. This pass was intercepted by another new face in Philly, Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, a former New York Giant. After catching the interception, Bradberry ran the ball 27 yards to the end zone for a “pick 6”, which is when an interception is taken in for a touchdown. The 28-year-old signed to the Eagles on May 18, 2022 on a one-year contract. 

Bradberry quickly became another new fan favorite within Philadelphia, one of many new faces on the defensive side. Howie Roseman decided to pull strings behind the scenes of the NFL, and began building the Eagles’ defensive dynasty. On April 29, 2022, in the third round of the NFL Draft, another Georgia powerhouse defensive player, Nakobe Dean, was drafted by the Eagles. Dean was predicted as a late first round player, and his draft stock unexplainably dropped, leading to the Eagles taking him in the third round, which many NFL fans regarded as a “steal” of a pick. A steal is generally a term given to very talented players chosen past the first round of the draft. 


Pictured above: James Bradberry surrounded by defensive teammates after his interception versus the Lions (photo from Philadelphia Eagles website)

Kyzir White, a former Chargers linebacker, and Haason Reddick, a former Panthers linebacker, were signed to the Eagles in March 2022. Reddick is a Philadelphia native and had attended  Temple University, so already he was well-liked by many Philadelphians. 

Reddick made his first huge mark in Philadelphia on a rainy day versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 2nd, where he  sacked, or tackled the quarterback, Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence two times. Reddick also forced 2 fumbles. Kyzir White had his first major performance for the Eagles on September 25, with an incredible 8-tackle performance against the Washington Commanders.

A significant question going into the season was whether or not the Eagles would trade for help on the defensive secondary, which is the defensive core of the cornerbacks and safeties, who guard the receivers. Besides Pro Bowler Darius Slay, the Eagles secondary core was the most lackluster part of the team last year. Slay was the reason for a huge Eagles 24-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on September 19th, racking up 2 interceptions, and 5 knocked-down passes. To help Slay, young New Orleans Saints cornerback CJ Gardner-Johnson was acquired by Howie Roseman in exchange for late-round picks in 2023 and 2024. So far in the 2022 season, Gardner-Johnson has played 4 games and has made a good addition to the Eagles’ defense.


Pictured above: Jalen Hurts after throwing a touchdown pass versus the Vikings (picture from PhillyVoice)


The Eagles began the season 4-0 through an October 2nd game against the Jaguars. Jalen Hurts has been considered in MVP talks, as CBS Sports journalist Jeff Kerr states, “Hurts is certainly in consideration for the best start by a quarterback in Eagles history, due to his ability to pass and run the football through three games.” Roseman has given Hurts every opportunity to improve his passing, which was a major complaint from Eagles fans last year, between the 2021 draft pick of receiver Devonta Smith and the trade for AJ Brown, as well as tight end Dallas Goedert and one of the best offensive lines in the league.  As the Eagles shifted to a run-first offense last year, Hurts continues to use his legs and run the ball himself, a factor that helped contribute to a historic 2019 season by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Eagles running back room also runs deep, with 10 of 15 touchdowns through four games being a result of rushing attempts. A position’s “room” is a term describing the depth of that certain position. Miles Sanders, Eagles runningback, especially looks to make the 2022 season an allstar year, showing his potential with a 2 touchdown, 134 rushing yards game against the Jaguars. 


Pictured above: Jalen Hurts (left) and Eagles manager Howie Roseman (right) (photo from CBS Sports)

The Eagles are already off to an incredible start, being the only undefeated NFL team through 6 weeks. Thanks to the efforts of Jalen Hurts, his receivers, and the new look defense, the Eagles seriously look like they could make a deep playoff run this season. Howie Roseman remains the mastermind behind it all, pulling the strings behind all the Eagles’ transactions. A lot of the Eagles’ success should be attributed to him.