Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles' Offseason Need: Part Two

Dan KaneCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2008

While the Eagles have some offensive needs that I have already written about, their real area of need is on the defense. The front seven had trouble getting to the quarterback last year, and the secondary was killed by big receivers like Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens.

 

Defensive End

Trent Cole really had a breakout season last year, recording 12.5 sacks and earning his first Pro Bowl invite. The other side of the line wasn't so fortunate. Jevon Kearse and Darren Howard both proved to be big-time free agent busts, and neither is likely to come back next year.

Juqua Thomas showed flashes of brilliance, but was inconsistent and is no more than a situational player. Andy Reid likes to draft lineman, so Calais Campbell of Miami or Vernon Gholston of Ohio State could be options.

The team is unlikely to go after a free agent at the position due to the failures of Howard and Kearse, but Antwan Odom and Jared Allen could be there, which might entice the Eagles to go after one of them. The Birds might also go after Justin Smith of the Bengals if they don't want to spend big money.

 

Safety

Sean Considine was having another disappointing season, and then got injured. Quentin Mikel and JR Reed filled in nicely, but one must wonder if they are bona fide NFL starters.

Also, Brian Dawkins is one of the greatest Eagles ever, but took a huge step back last year and probably has only another year or two left in the tank. The team could look at Kenny Phillips, the safety from Miami to use their first rounder on, or look for a guy like Craig Steltz later on in the draft.

Free agent possibilities include Mike Doss, who has played well with the Vikings and Colts, the Saints' Jay Bellamy and the Giants' Gibril Wilson. Another option would be moving Sheldon Brown to play this talent-depleted position.

 

Cornerback

The Eagles have two true gamer corners in Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, but Sheppard was injured for much of last season and Brown may move to safety, so the team may be shopping for a cornerback this offseason.

Sheppard and Brown are both undersized, and the Eagles' one big corner, William James, can't play. Seeing this, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Birds' secondary is killed by big receivers.

Drafting Aqib Talib, the big speedy corner from Kansas could put an end to that, but he'd help little next season. The team probably won't spend big on the position this year, so you might as well count out Asante Samuel. Signing someone like Marcus Trufant or Randall Gay wouldn't be impossible though.

 

Return Specialist

The bottom line is, the Eagles return game sucked. Reno Mahe is a total joke at punt returner, and Brian Westbrook is too important to the offense to risk injury at punt return.

The free agent class is traditionally weak at the position so the Eagles should look at someone like DeSean Jackson. Jackson would not only do wonders for the special teams unit, he'd also help out at receiver. If they want to wait until later in the draft to address the need for a return specialist, perhaps Michigan State's Devin Thomas could be the choice.

 

After looking through this and my previous article, one might believe that the Eagles have their work cut out for them this offseason. This is probably true; if the team wants to be competitive, the must spend money and use their draft picks wisely.

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