5 Biggest Draft Needs for the Philadelphia Eagles

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIIJanuary 1, 2013

5 Biggest Draft Needs for the Philadelphia Eagles

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    Heading into the 2013 offseason, the new head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles will have some major decisions regarding the draft. After all, the Eagles will be selecting fourth, their highest since Andy Reid picked Donovan McNabb with the second overall pick in the 1999 draft.

    For the Eagles, who finished 4-12 this season, including losses in 11 of their last 12 games, the team has a lot of holes. Virtually every single starter on the offense suffered injuries this season, while the defense is soft and overrated. 

    The following slides will highlight the biggest needs on the Eagles heading into April's draft. 

5. Wide Receiver

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    A year or two ago, wide receiver was regarded as arguably the strongest position on the Philadelphia Eagles. My, have the times changed. 

    DeSean Jackson missed the final five games of the season with broken ribs. Jeremy Maclin was injured and inconsistent. Those are the top two wide receivers and neither have shown that they can consistently contribute in the same game. 

    In the draft, the Eagles should look to a big, physical receiver who can contribute in the red zone, which has been a major area of weakness in recent years. Riley Cooper just doesn't make as many plays to fulfill the role, Jackson is invisible, Maclin has been solid but inconsistent and Avant isn't a touchdown scorer. 

4. Defensive End

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    Before the season, I raved about the Eagles' defensive line, to the point where I said it rated among the most dominant position groups in the league. Talk about a miscalculation. 

    The Eagles went a full month without a sack early this season. Veteran defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin were ineffective, the latter being released late in the season. Brandon Graham emerged as a playmaker, but Darryl Tapp and Philip Hunt disappointed and Vinny Curry barely played. 

    The Eagles will likely start Cole and Graham in 2013, but an emerging rookie could fulfill the third spot. 

3. Guard

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    The Eagles franchise was really set back by the failure of 2011 first-round draft pick Danny Watkins to develop into a solid starter. Veteran Jake Scott was signed off the street to start the final half of the season and it's unclear whether Watkins will be a starter heading into 2013.

    Trading their fourth overall pick for two lower first-round picks would be an ideal solution for the Eagles, especially if they drafted Alabama guard Chance Warmack, who has been described as the best offensive guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. 

    Warmack could start in 2013 at right guard, meaning the Eagles would use an offensive line of Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Warmack and Todd Herremans. 

2. Safety

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    Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman opened the 2012 season as the starting safeties for the Eagles. Neither deserves to be on the team in 2013.

    Both were benched at least once in 2012, with Colt Anderson ending the season as the replacement for Allen. The Eagles should strongly consider using one of their top picks on a safety, and look to sign another one through free agency. 

    Anderson played well in limited action, but he's not good enough to start for a full season. His success comes on special teams. 

1. Cornerback

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    There is no bigger need for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles than cornerback.

    In 2012, veterans Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, both former Pro Bowlers, played poorly and inconsistently. The Eagles allowed a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes and intercepted just four passes in the final 15 games. 

    The team ideally needs both starting positions replaced after this season. That may not happen though, because the Eagles also need to fix the safety positions. It's pretty difficult to replace an entire secondary in one offseason. 

    Philadelphia should look to draft DeMarcus Milliner with the fourth overall pick. They should also consider using a third or even a second-round pick to get another rookie corner to start next season.