Rotoworld's Evan Silva recently released a list of team needs and (loose) roster rankings for all 32 NFL teams. He ranked the Eagles 18th overall and as the 8th best NFC team. Here's how the other NFC East teams stacked up: Dallas Cowboys 10th, Washington Redskins 19th, New York Giants 21st. These are the four positions Silva highlights as Philadelphia's biggest needs.
Eagles QBs have combined to rank 23rd and 22nd in passer rating the past two seasons, while release candidate Mark Sanchez ($4.5 million) is the team's only quarterback under contract for 2016. Andy Reid disciple Doug Pederson is bringing a West Coast offense back to Philadelphia. Free agent Sam Bradford may end up a failed one-year rental.
There's been a ton of debate about whether the Eagles should bring back Sam Bradford or not. Philadelphia has the option to place the franchise tag on Bradford but it's been reported that they won't do that. If the Eagles don't franchise Bradford, they'll have until Mar. 9 to work out a long-term deal. It's hard to see him coming back if he hits the open market.
If Bradford isn't back, which is very possible, the Eagles will need to add a veteran through free agency and/or trade. It's been reported the Eagles will look into bringing Nick Foles back. It's also been reported Doug Pederson is a fan of impending Chiefs free agent quarterback Chase Daniel to some extent. Pederson has publicly expressed interest in acquiring a young quarterback through the 2016 NFL Draft.
None of the Eagles' options at quarterback this offseason are particularly inspiring or great. It's a good thing this isn't the most important position in all of sports.
$63 million investment LCB Byron Maxwell flopped as a No. 1 corner. RCB Nolan Carroll's contract is up after he fractured his ankle on Thanksgiving. Rookie Eric Rowe looked overmatched as a fill-in starter down the stretch. SS Walter Thurmond is a free agent, and he may look to cash in at the high end of a weak safety market. At the moment, FS/slot CB Malcolm Jenkins is the only Eagles defensive back who can be considered a quality starter.
Maxwell and Jenkins are the only two secondary players locked into starting jobs. Rowe could be poised to be the team's other starting cornerback opposite of Maxwell. I highly disagree with Silva's assessment that Rowe look overmatched down the stretch. I thought he played relatively well. Quarterbacks had a 80.3 rating when targeting Rowe. That figure ranked 26th best out of 118 cornerbacks. Silva also failed to mention JaCorey Shepherd, who showed some promise during the 2015 offseason.
It seems like Thurmond, who is a natural cornerback, might not be the safety the Eagles want on the back end. Carroll also might be headed out the door if he's not going to have an opportunity to start in Philly. The Eagles are potentially going to need a new starting safety and some defensive back depth.
(BGN Position Review: Tackle | Guard | Center)
The Eagles are set at tackle and center, but LG Allen Barbre and RG Matt Tobin are coming off ugly years. Tobin especially needs to be replaced. An in-house competitor will be Andrew Gardner, who opened 2015 starting at right guard but suffered a year-ending foot injury three games in. The Eagles also need to think about tackles for the future. When RT Lane Johnson eventually replaces 34-year-old LT Jason Peters, a hole will form on the right side.
Eagles fans voted offensive line as Philadelphia's biggest need in the 2016 offseason, with quarterback slightly training behind. It's only been pointed out a billion times that the Eagles haven't drafted an offensive lineman since Lane Johnson in 2013. The Eagles need two need starting guards and some more depth in general. The good news is the Eagles have plenty of options in free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft.
I think it'd be ideal for the Eagles to add at least one starting guard through free agency while drafting a guard who can play right tackle in the future. That way the Eagles could replace Johnson when he eventually moves over to left tackle to replace Jason Peters.
(BGN Position Review: Defensive end | Nose tackle | Outside linebacker)
Moving to a 4-3 under Jim Schwartz, the Eagles' defensive personnel looks surprisingly ready for the switch with Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham on the ends, Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan at tackle, and some combination of Jordan Hicks, Connor Barwin, Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, and DeMeco Ryans at linebacker. The Eagles still need depth on the line, however, with a shortage of outside edge rushers and run pluggers in the middle.
The Eagles definitely need some depth on the defensive line. Players like Taylor Hart and Brandon Bair were acquired to play in Chip Kelly's two-gap 3-4 defense. Cedric Thornton could potentially leave in unrestricted free agency. The Eagles could look to add a veteran or two in free agency.
I'd argue there are bigger needs than defensive line, though. Wide receiver comes to mind. Jordan Matthews is really the only wide receiver the Eagles can count on. Philadelphia is hoping 2015 first round pick Nelson Agholor can contribute moving forward. Josh Huff might have potential but isn't guaranteed anything. Outside of those three, the Eagles don't have much at that position.