When rookie head coach Doug Pederson gathers his Philadelphia Eagles for their first full training camp July 27, there will be 16 returning starters from the team that finished 7-9 and second in the NFC East last year under Chip Kelly.
Only seven of those starters are on defense, but that may be the good news after a display of stupendous generosity last season. To tighten up things, Pederson brought in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, recently of the Detroit Lions (head coach 2009-2013), Buffalo Bills (defensive coordinator, 2014) and last year declined a request to replace Miami's embattled coordinator Kevin Coyle.
With Kelly now tending to his own quarterback controversy as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Pederson helped foment his own in Philadelphia when the Eagles traded up to select North Dakota State's Carson Wentz with the second pick in the draft.
Still, quarterback Sam Bradford counts as one of those returning starters, although he made it clear he was less than thrilled about the team's move to get Wentz, a strong-armed, 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect who many argued should have been drafted No. 1 overall instead of Cal quarterback Jared Goff, now destined to be the face of the Rams in Los Angeles.
But Pederson and Bradford had a meeting of the minds and the coach said the incumbent would be the starter "as long as he is healthy," which would be the first time in three years with the Eagles.
Also, the Eagles avoided Bradford becoming an unrestricted free agent by signing him to a two-year deal worth up to $35 million, with $26 million guaranteed. And in the for-what-it's-worth department, the Eagles also acquired free-agent quarterback Chase Daniel (Kansas City Chiefs) on a three-year deal worth as much as $21 million with $12 million guaranteed.
After taking Wentz, the Eagles used their next three draft picks to give help to whomever is quarterback -- Oregon State center/guard Isaac Seumalo (Round 3, No. 79), West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood (Round 5, No. 153) and Texas Christian tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Round 5, 164).
In free agency, they signed guard Brandon Brooks (Houston) to a five-year deal that could be worth $40 million, including $11 million as a signing bonus and $21 million guaranteed.
But perhaps the Eagles' most important offseason addition was Schwartz as the defensive coordinator. Last year, the Eagles gave up 27 or more points in eight of their last 10 games and finished 28th in points allowed, 30th in total defense, 32nd against the run and yielded a franchise-record 36 touchdown passes.
Here is a closer look at the newcomers and key players and how they should factor into the Eagles' 2016 team:
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
SITE, LOCATION, ROOKIES, VETERANS
NovaCare Complex, Philadelphia, PA, 7/24, 7/27TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
2015 RECORD: 7-9
DIVISIONAL RECORD: 3-3
COACH: Doug Pederson
1st season as Eagles/NFL head coach
16; 9 offense, 7 defense, kicker, punter
OFFSEASON STANDOUT: Cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
--McKelvin's familiarity with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's system was a big plus for him this spring. The free-agent signee had the best season of his career in 2014 under Schwartz in Buffalo. He took more first-team reps than any other cornerback this spring and made the most of them. He'll head into training camp as a favorite to win one of the two starting corner jobs.
The draft -- A closer look at the Eagles' picks (8):
--Round 1/2 - Carson Wentz, QB, 6-5, 235, North Dakota State
The Eagles traded away the guts of two drafts to move up from No. 8 to No. 2 to take Wentz. They expect him to be their starting quarterback at some point, but probably not this season.
--Round 3/79 - Isaac Seumalo, G/C, 6-4, 303, Oregon State
The Eagles like Seumalo's versatility. He can play all five line positions. He started 37 games for the Beavers, including 23 at center. He'll compete for the starting left-guard job this summer.
Round 5/153 - Wendell Smallwood, RB, 5-10, 208, West Virginia
Smallwood will compete for the No. 3 running-back job behind Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. He led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,519 yards and led the nation in runs of 10 or more yards.
Round 5/164 - Halapoulivaati Vaitai, T, 6-6, 320, Texas Christian
Vaitai is a road grader who started 30 games for the Horned Frogs, 18 at right tackle and 12 at left tackle. He will learn behind starters Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, and possibly compete for the starting right-tackle job whenever Peters retires and Johnson moves over to the left side.
--Round 6/196 - Blake Countess, CB/S, 5-9, 184, Auburn
Countess wasn't a Combine invitee, but the Eagles like his corner-safety versatility as well as his potential as a core special-teamer.
Round 7/233 - Jalen Mills, S, 6-0, 191, Louisiana State
Probably should have been a third- or fourth-rounder based on ability, but character issues and a 2015 leg injury caused him to slide. Played both corner and safety at LSU.
Round 7/240 - Alex McCalister, DE, 6-6, 239, Florida
Another red-flag player, he was dismissed from the team last season just before their bowl game. Has terrific size and athleticism and is a quick-twitch player that the Eagles think could flourish in coordinator Jim Schwartz's wide-9 defense.
Round 7/251 - Joe Walker, ILB, 6-2, 236, Oregon
Walker is the only linebacker the Eagles drafted. They don't have a lot of depth in the middle behind starter Jordan Hicks. So Walker will have a chance to make the team. He led the Ducks in
--LB Nigel Bradham: Started at SAM for Jim Schwartz when he was Buffalo's defensive coordinator in 2014.
--G Brandon Brooks: A 350-pound road-grader who is expected to be the team's starting right guard.
--CB Ron Brooks: Was outstanding special-teams player for Bills.
--QB Chase Daniel: Has thrown just 77 regular-season passes in six seasons.
--WR Chris Givens: Deep threat with a 16.6 yards-per-catch career average.
--DT Mike Martin: Hard-to-budge run-stuffer who will provide depth to front four.
--CB Leodis McKelvin: The former Bill will compete for one of the starting cornerback jobs.
--S Rodney McLeod: A free-agent addition who looks like a good fit for Schwartz's defense.
--WR Rueben Randle: The 6-4 free-agent signee gives the Eagles another big target to throw to.
--G/C Stefen Wisniewski: At best, he wins starting left-guard job. At worst he provides interior depth.
KEY LOSS: RB DeMarco Murray (15/8)*
--Murray was a disappointment last season after signing a big free-agent contract with the Eagles. His departure leaves Ryan Mathews as the Eagles' only real workhorse back. Darren Sproles is 33 years old.
--WR Seyi Ajirotutu (13/0), LB Kiko Alonso (11/1), CB E.J. Biggers (16/3), WR Riley Cooper (16/13), S Jerome Couplin (8/0), QB Thad Lewis (0/0), CB Byron Maxwell (14/14), C David Molk (1/0), LB DeMeco Ryans (14/13), QB Mark Sanchez (4/2), DT Cedric Thornton (13/13), CB Walter Thurmond III (16/16)*
Total games played/started lost: 141/83
*Number in parentheses is games played/games started in 2015
-- Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and 26th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX's network of NFL insiders provided information for this report.