The Philadelphia Eagles entered last season with a lot of uncertainty at many positions. They didn’t know who was going to start at center and guard, all three linebacker positions were still up for grabs, both safety positions were also unstable and they had a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo.
A year later, they have a stable offensive line, a proven middle linebacker and have added new defensive backs coach Todd Bowles to aid Castillo with his defensive schemes.
Although the Eagles have already attended to some of their roster and coaching needs, the Eagles still have many voids that they need to focus on getting filled going into the NFL Draft on Thursday.
There has been much speculation that the Eagles may pursue a defensive lineman, whether tackle or end, for its first pick in the NFL draft. A pick for either position would be fitting because the team could always use depth behind their starting defensive lineman.
However, going for a defensive tackle would be more advantageous since the Eagles have lost Trevor Laws to the St. Louis Rams, their interior linemen were torched by the run last year and Mike Patterson’s production has come to a screeching halt the past two seasons.
The Eagles are said to be interested in Mississippi State’s defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, but many draft experts do not predict that he’ll fall to them.
The next best defensive lineman is Dontari Poe from Memphis, who opened up many scouts’ eyes at the combine. Even with his 346-pound frame, he ran an impressive 40-yard dash time and displayed his strength at the combine as well.
His downfall is that he’s had character issues in the past and the Eagles usually bypass any players that possess any ounce of character dilemmas.
LSU’s Michael Brockers would be the next best route to take if the Eagles want a lineman. Brockers brings strength, girth and the ability to stuff the run—all of the attributes that the Eagles are seeking in an interior lineman.
Continuing with the defensive scheme, the Eagles’ linebackers and secondary could use some depth and fine tuning as well.
With Asante Samuel heading down south to the Atlanta Falcons, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be your starting cornerbacks this season, leaving the nickel-back position left for Joselio Hanson to lose.
After those three guys, there isn’t much depth at the position. Curtis Marsh has not proven that he’s worthy of maintaining his roster spot, so anticipate the Eagles to take a cornerback very early in the draft.
The cornerbacks put on a lackluster performance last year, but, ironically, another defensive group demonstrated a far worse performance last season—the linebackers.
Their linebacker corps’ inexperience was exposed last year in the wide-nine scheme. They acquired Demeco Ryans from the Houston Texans, so middle linebacker is no longer a need.
But the other two positions are still questionable. The Birds should seek another linebacker in the second or third round.
Behind the linebackers, Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen were the safety nets at safety. Coleman showed signs of a potential all-pro strong safety. Nate Allen has been plagued with injuries since he entered the league.
Jaiquawn Jarrett was drafted last year, but hasn’t seen the field much. A safety with good intangibles would be beneficial to get in the draft.
Now that the Birds have their offensive line pieced together, they will now be concentrating on depth on the offensive line. Andy Reid loves offensive lineman, so the Eagles will take at least two in the latter portion of the draft.
Other positions that the Eagles will want to concentrate on are wide receiver or tight end, quarterback and running back.
The Eagles struggled tremendously in the red zone last season. Even with 6'3" Riley Cooper, he hasn’t been the answer that the Eagles were hoping for inside the 20. A big target for Michael Vick to throw to is needed.
It is cemented in stone that Vick is the starting quarterback, but who is going to be Vick’s backup is another question.
Mike Kafka would be the sensible second-string quarterback because he knows the system, but Trent Edwards will battle for the spot as well. If Brandon Weeden is available, he would be a good fit for the Birds.
If the Eagles want to be a bigger threat on offense, they will ensure that they get another running back to spell Lesean McCoy.
McCoy was a workhorse last year for the Eagles.To keep him healthy and energized, the Eagles need to draft a running back to complement him.
Note-- The Eagles have drafted defensive tackles Corey Simon, Broderick Bunkley, Mike Patterson and Trevor Laws. None of these tackles have had successful careers so far. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles will be able to shake the curse this season.