This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.
The moment of truth is upon us. The Eagles have done all of their preparation and are using this week to work the phones (which are very busy setting up every possible scenario) and do their final details on the draft board that is now in place, behind cover, at the NovaCare Complex. So what are they going to do this weekend?
“Ideally you want to let the draft come to you and that’s what we intend to do,” said Joe Douglas, the team’s vice president of player personnel. “I feel really good about the work we’ve put into this. We are very prepared.”
And so we are here as months of speculation end and some answers are provided. I don’t have a name for you for the 14th overall pick. I don’t think Howie Roseman or Douglas do, either. I think they have a list of about five players – and it’s fair to say that the likes of Christian McCaffery, two or three of the cornerbacks that everyone loves, Mike Williams and Derek Barnett – who the Eagles like and who they think might still be on the board at 14.
But it’s all a guess. Only a few people know, and I’m not one of them. So I won’t provide more useless speculation here. Instead, here is a list of Eagles’ needs from this perspective that hopefully draft weekend – eight picks in all – can address …
Yes, the Eagles are high on Jalen Mills and his next-step ability for Year 2, and they do think that Ron Brooks can come back from a season-ending quad injury, but let’s truly understand this group and the need it has for a major infusion of talent. It’s too bad that Washington’s Sidney Jones suffered an Achilles tendon injury or he would be a great candidate at 14. Jones is likely to be taken in the second round of the draft, if that early, and the Eagles have to find themselves a couple, at least, corners to add to this defense. First round? Sure, that’s very possible? First and second rounds? Maybe. The Eagles aren’t smoke screening anyone here. They need to get better at the cornerback spots in the draft.
Ryan Mathews is so talented and fits into this offense fine, but he’s still coming back from his back injury. The Eagles expect him to be healthy in the summer. That’s good news. But that isn’t a guarantee of anything. The Eagles have moved Byron Marshall to receiver and he hopes to make it as a “move” player. Wendell Smallwood is back for his second season and he will help. Darren Sproles is an all-time great player, but he’s not getting 10 carries a game this season.
Can Vinny Curry bounce back from last season’s dud and become an impact player? Can Chris Long play 35 percent of the snaps effectively in a rotation? Is Alex McCalister a factor at all?
Too many questions. The Eagles need some more punch here, whether from within or in the draft. There are several tiers of defensive ends in the draft and if someone like Derek Barnett is still on the board at 14, the Eagles will have to think long and hard about taking the Tennessee sackmaster.
I could see a wide receiver at 14, especially if either or both of Mike Williams and Corey Davis are still available. That’s a real possibility as the Eagles stay patient and don’t get the itch to move up and get an earlier draft pick. At some point, yeah, the wide receiver position needs to be addressed. I happen to like the lineup of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and a comebacking Nelson Agholor (yes, I read the comments and know the skepticism from my piece last week about Agholor), but if the Eagles are really, really serious about bringing more weapons on board for quarterback Carson Wentz, they will add more talent to the wide receiver room.
The Eagles need some clarity here. What is the plan for Mychal Kendricks? Is he here this season? If so, the Eagles are looking for competition for the WILL position. If not, then the Eagles have a hole to fill. In every scenario, the linebackers need depth. Would the Eagles take a linebacker high? Sure, if they felt he could come right in and start. Linebacker is definitely an area to improve for this defense.
Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are a good tandem, despite some ups and downs last year. Behind those two, though, who do the Eagles really have? Jaylen Watkins made good strides last season. Terrance Brooks has a chance. Chris Maragos is an all-time great on special teams. But this is a draft said to be loaded with safeties, so if the Eagles are really following their intention of taking “the best player on our board,” then safety has to be a consideration on Day 3.
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