Through three rounds of the NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles have added an offensive tackle, a playmaking tight end and powerful nose tackle. All three have the potential to start from week one on Chip Kelly's new roster.
With six picks on day three, including four in the final seven rounds, the Eagles can afford to take some chances. For example, last year the team grabbed running back Bryce Brown in the seventh round, a player who barely played throughout his college career. Brown has since proven to be one of the more talented backup running backs in the National Football League.
The focus tomorrow should just be on grabbing the best players available. The Eagles were 4-12 in 2012 and they have numerous holes in their roster, despite an impressive free agency period and three solid picks in the draft.
The following slides will predict the team's six picks on Saturday.
With the additions of free agents Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips, the Eagles don't need to be in the market for a starting safety. They just need more depth in their roster.
Shawn Williams provides just that as he has excellent tackling abilities and solid ball-hawking skills. He would likely be an upgrade over Kurt Coleman, who would become expendable.
The safety position featured Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman as its starters in 2012. That was a total disaster, as the Eagles endured a brutal eight-game stretch without an interception—the second-longest streak by a team in the history of the National Football League. So yeah, improvement is needed.
In 2013, Allen would be delegated to a backup role, and Coleman would be off the team.
With veteran Jason Peters scheduled to return in 2013 from his torn Achilles, and Lane Johnson just added in the first round of the draft, the Eagles don't need a replacement at left or right tackle for a few more years.
They do need more depth though. The backups in 2012 failed to get the job done when thrust into a starting role.
Rookie Dennis Kelly will be a year older and more experienced, and free-agent bust Demetress Bell was cut immediately following the season. Veteran King Dunlap signed with the San Diego Chargers, leaving the Eagles with a hole at tackle.
Rick Wagner, who stands 6'8" and can play left or right tackle, would be an ideal candidate for the fourth tackle spot behind Peters, Lane Johnson and Kelly in the 2013 season. If one of the starters suffered an injury, he could compete for playing time depending on how well he grasped Kelly's new offense.
With four draft selections this seventh round, the Eagles can afford to take a gamble or two. Here's one in former Chip Kelly standout.
Former Oregon Ducks safety John Boyett has suffered tears to both patellar tendons throughout his college career. His inability to stay healthy will obviously impact his draft status, but while healthy, he was one of the better safeties in his class.
He will have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot or at least earn a chance on the practice squad. If he can stay healthy, he can prove his potential. Consider this the definition of a low-risk, high-reward draft pick.
Brandon Sharpe can play either defensive end or linebacker, making him a good fit in the team's new defensive scheme.
He collected 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks as a senior at Syracuse. He would likely compete for a roster spot against current backups like Casey Matthews and Jamar Chaney, but I would be surprised if either of those two managed to beat him out on the 53-man roster.
After all, Matthews and Chaney have both been disappointments over the past couple of seasons, and Sharpe hasn't had a chance to prove himself on the NFL field yet.
Michael Williams stands 6'6" and weighs 269 pounds, a significant increase in size over any of the current tight ends on the Eagles roster.
At Alabama, he proved his worth as a solid pass-receiver and an excellent blocker, something new head coach Chip Kelly really looks for in his offensive players.
As a seventh-round pick, Williams would likely spend his first season on the practice squad. But I honestly wouldn't be totally stunned to see Kelly cut a veteran player like Brent Celek, which would give Williams a decent chance at earning the No. 3 tight end spot.
Braden Hansen played guard and a little bit of center in college, which would come in handy if the Eagles don't bring back Dallas Reynolds for the 2013 season (and I hope that's the case).
Offensive line depth is extremely important, and the Eagles have had their fair share of injuries over the past few seasons. Centers Jason Kelce (in 2012) and Jamaal Jackson (in 2010) have basically missed the entire season, while Jason Peters and Todd Herremans (both in 2012) have missed significant time with injuries.
Hansen earned FBS All-Independent honorable mention as a senior in 2012, where he closed out his college career by making all 52 starts in four seasons.