Admittedly, I've kind of resisted writing this post. When you finally turn your attention to the draft/free agency... the offseason has truly begun.
Whether we like it or not, it's here. The first logical post of the offseason is to figure out what our holes are and what needs to be fixed. Here's my list, in order...
Offensive tackle - Both Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan are free agents, meaning we have no OTs under contract. Even if one or both were to comeback, they're both in their 30s... so clock is seriously ticking anyway. It's possible that Shawn Andrews or Todd Herremans could slide out to tackle and be a long term solution, since they've both played it, but the time really has a come to add at least one young tackle to take over. It really is too bad Winston Justice has been such a disappointment so far. As a 2nd round pick he should be ready make that starting job his own by now...
I put OT at the top of the list because if the QB isn't protected and the RB doesn't have holes the offense won't work. No matter how many high price skill guys we bring in. Plus, we probably need two OTs...
Free agent possibilities - Jordan Gross, Mark Tauscher, Marvel Smith
Tight End - First, LJ Smith is as good as gone. That leaves Celek and Schoebel are the only two TEs we have under contract. We will have a new TE on this team next year, the question is whether he's a backup or a starter. Brent Celek's nice game last weekend notwithstanding, I see TE as the same need it's been for a few years now. Is Celek a solid guy to have around? Sure. Is he likely to continue to improve? Yeah. However, it's very unlikely that he's ever going to be a real top notch pass catching threat. He really doesn't have the speed to stretch the defense, his hands have always been suspect, and he hasn't been a great blocker. In other words, he's limited. We need another playmaker on offense and in my opinion the biggest upgrade to be made is at TE.
I don't see Celek as a starter, but if the Eagles do then they need to bring in a blocking TE. Too many times this year we saw short yardage run plays thwarted because of a poor block by Celek or Smith. There's no doubt that the run game needs to be fixed and a big, solid blocker at TE would really help.
Free agent possibilities - Owen Daniels, Bo Scaife, Jim Kleinsasser
Running Back - Need #3 and #4 are more or less a dead heat for me. The fact that Correll Buckhalter is not under contract is what nudged RB up the list. We know Brian Westbrook is capable of great things. We know that he's the most dangerous weapon this team has. We also know that he is simply not going to play 16 games and stay healthy. Plus, Westbrook will turn 30 this year. Buckhalter would be a more than capable fill in if he is brought back, but he's also turning 30 and we know his injury history. We could use some youth at the RB position, plus this is also an area where we could add that offensive playmaker.
If we did add a young back, would Reid actually use him?
Free agent possibilities - Darren Sproles, Derrick Ward, Brandon Jacobs
Safety - Brian Dawkins is a free agent, but it's likely he'll be back for at least another year. Still, he is in his mid 30s and his replacement needs to be here now. Quintin Demps will be headed into his second year and should continue to improve, but should we rely on him to be our only post Dawkins option? He looks like he'll could be pretty good in coverage, but will never be the kind of hard hitting in the box safety that Dawkins could be. Could we look at add that type of player?
Because Dawkins should be back and since Demps is here this is probably a position worth filling the draft.
Free agent possibilities - Oshiomogho Atogwe, Mike Brown, Dawan Landry
Fullback - Dan Klecko did a servicable job in his second stint as a FB this year, but it's time to add a pro at that spot. Surely we can find a guy out there that can open holes and catch a pass from time to time? Much like blocking TE, a good FB could only help our ailing running game. There's no need for the revolving door we saw at FB this year, just go get a guy that's proven and give him the job.
Plus, adding a FB would allow Klecko to move back to DT where he did a nice job as a situational pass rusher early in the year.
Free agent possiblities - Leonard Weaver, Heath Evans, Tony Richardson
Those are my top 5, what are yours?