With a week of the 2013 NFL free agency now in the books, the Philadelphia Eagles can begin to turn their attention to the draft. While the Eagles made many critical moves, possibly having already replaced their entire secondary with free agents, it is ultimately the draft that is the most important component to the team's long-term success.
New head coach Chip Kelly will certainly be looking to bring in new, young players whom he can build his team around and fit into his new schemes. And as the Eagles are in a unique position this season, possessing high picks (the fourth and 35th overall selections), Kelly will have a wide variety of talent to pick from.
Unless the Eagles make any more significant moves before the draft, Philly's 2013 draft may look very much like this.
The Eagles are in desperate need of help at O-line and it must be addressed this offseason. Andy Reid will almost certainly select Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick due to his love of linemen, so the Eagles are unlikely to land him.
But Eric Fisher can be obtained and is the next best player at the position. Fisher is an elite pass-protector. He has a tremendous amount of athleticism and moves quickly with his feet. He has an uncanny ability to mirror defenders, and he uses his hands well to fend off pass-rushers.
Fisher does come with his weaknesses. He sometimes makes mental mistakes when run-blocking. He also needs to improve his upper-body strength, as bull-rushes are able to drive him backwards from time to time. But Fisher is such a good pass-protector that it more than makes up for his weaknesses.
Cary Williams will do much to improve the Eagles' cornerback play in 2013, but they still need to find a playmaker to play opposite of him. Bradley Fletcher could be that player, but he is a bit of a toss-up. And at 28 years old, Williams is also not young. The Eagles would need a long-term solution at the position.
If Johnathan Banks is still on the board, however, the Eagles could feel pretty good about how they spent their 35th overall pick. Banks is a player with a tremendous amount of talent and is a ball hawk, recording a school-record 16 career interceptions.
But Banks' skills are not just limited to his catching ability. He is also a tough and physical player and does not shy away from big hits. He is also a hard worker and a vocal leader on the field.
The Eagles prefer larger corners and this was evident by their free-agent signings, as both Fletcher and Williams are 6'0" or taller. By signing Banks, the Eagles would be getting another player with ideal size for their scheme.
Although the Eagles signed nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga from the 49ers, Sopoaga is a player who is a bit past his prime, having played in only 31 percent of snaps in 2012. The Eagles are likely looking to use him as a rotational player and not as someone who can play all four downs.
Therefore, if the Eagles can get their hands on John Jenkins, expect them to reel him in with their 67th overall pick.
Jenkins is a player who can make an immediate impact in the NFL. He possesses a rare combination of both size and athleticism and he can plug up running lanes very effectively. He has a tremendous bull-rush and can drive O-Linemen backwards with his incredible strength.
Due to his size, Jenkins will not be much of a factor as a pass-rusher as his speed is limited. His motor is also questionable and he will have to be rotated in and out to keep him fresh. But if he splits time with Sopoaga at NT, the Eagles could have an excellent interior D-line presence.
If Kenny Philips can stay healthy, he will most likely be the starter in 2013. But Philips has an injury-prone history and he is also only signed to a one-year contract. It is possible the Eagles are bringing him in primarily to provide short-term production until his replacement comes of age.
In either case, the play of the secondary in 2012 was so atrocious that depth must continuously be added this offseason. Bacarri Rambo would be an excellent addition to any secondary.
Rambo compares to 49ers safety Dashon Goldson. Like Goldson, he has a knack for the football and is capable of snatching it out of the air. He also makes hard hits and can be a highlight reel to watch on his best days.
However, also like Goldson, Rambo can be exploited at times for big plays. He sometimes takes too many chances or is too aggressive. He needs to hit less and wrap up more in some situations.
Overall, Rambo has a great deal of upside and the right coaching staff may be able to get a great deal of production out of him.
The Eagles should always be looking to add depth to their O-line, especially as it is unclear how effective Jason Peters will be when he returns from his Achilles tendon injury.
With Hugh Thornton, the Eagles will have a good player who has experience at both guard and at tackle.
Thornton's biggest draw is the amount of upper body strength he displays. He is capable of shoving defenders aside and is an excellent run-blocker.
He certainly will require more development, as he shows poor footwork when required to hold position. There are also some concerns about his size if he is asked to play tackle, so he will most likely have to be used as a guard in the NFL.
If the Eagles are going to move to the 3-4 defense, they are going to need more depth at outside linebacker. Mychal Kendricks was a promising rookie in 2012, but he may be too small to play OLB.
The signing of Connor Barwin locks up one of the OLB spots. But the other spot remains a question mark. The Eagles will likely look into drafting an OLB to compete for the job.
Ty Powell is a player who has flown under the radar due to the college he attended, Harding University. But he is looking to make history as the first player drafted out of Harding in 30 years. He showed impressive numbers in the vertical jump and three-cone drill and is worth a second look in training camp.
Although the Eagles added Arrelious Benn, Benn is not exactly expected to be a huge difference-maker and could potentially even be cut in training camp. The Eagles need to add more competition in the form of tall receivers who can be effective in the red zone.
If Marquess Wilson is utilized properly, he could be the big-bodied receiver the Eagles have been looking for. Wilson is 6'3" and has excellent body control and hands, as well as impressive speed. He is at his best when he is thrown to on long passes and in jump-ball scenarios, where he uses his flexibility and athleticism to snatch the ball away from defenders.
Wilson needs to add some more bulk, as he weighs only about 180 pounds. If he can gain some weight, however, he has all the tools to succeed as an NFL receiver.
With their last draft pick, the Eagles should take a chance on a player with a very high ceiling. Raymond Graham was once a highly regarded running back, but an ACL tear in 2011 has hurt his draft stock.
If Graham can continue to bounce back going forward, however, he could be one of the biggest steals in the draft. Graham is very similar to LeSean McCoy, possessing a devastating jump cut that leaves defenders at his mercy. But unlike McCoy, Graham is willing and able to lower his pads and power through defenders to muscle his way for that extra yard or two.
The Eagles' first and second string running backs look set, with McCoy and Bryce Brown leading the way. But Graham could be an excellent pick to compete for the third-string spot and a situational role on the team.