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.
Some things to think about as the NFL draft arrives and the Eagles go on the clock at, oh, about 11:30 p.m. if things go according to plan …
- It’s all a guessing game picking at No. 32 overall, but of the three options for the Eagles – moving up, staying at 32 and picking or moving out of round one and acquiring more draft picks – I’m saying the most likely scenario is that the Eagles will have chances to trade out and move into the second round. A trade up would take a remarkable effort since the Eagles just don’t have a lot of draft capital with which to work. Staying at 32 is fine, but the Eagles have only six draft picks and would love to grab some more. That last pick in Round 1 has value. I’m leaning toward that direction late on Thursday night …
- There is no glaring need on this roster, but there are some needs. So here is my list: Linebacker, tight end, running back, offensive lineman, safety, wide receiver. How about cornerback, you say? I get it, the Eagles have to find an answer to replace Patrick Robinson. They’ve got some options on the current roster – does Jalen Mills fit the bill? – and they’ll keep their eyes open in the draft. I just think that with Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas and some prospects you don’t know much about (De’Vante Busby, D.J. Killings), the Eagles are in extremely promising shape at cornerback. Would I be shocked if the Eagles drafted one early? No, because you can’t have enough cornerbacks on a roster and if there is one the Eagles really, really like on the board, they have to make that move. But I think they’re in good shape already.
- To me, one of the key questions of this draft is this: How much do the Eagles trust that middle linebacker Jordan Hicks will come back healthy and stay healthy for 2018? Hicks is in the final year of his contract as well, so the Eagles need to decide on a long-term commitment for a player who, when healthy, is a great fit in the defense. Everybody loves Hicks. He’s a playmaker. But he’s also been injured in two of his three seasons here after an injury-plagued career at the University of Texas. The defense also has Joe Walker and Paul Worrilow on the roster and capable of stepping in for Hicks, but neither has been as productive as Hicks in the NFL.
- At some point the Eagles are going to address the punter/holder position, as Cameron Johnston is the lone punter on the roster. He was a stud at Ohio State and he punted well last summer in the preseason, so maybe Johnston should be considered a strong front runner for the job. He will have to demonstrate that he can hold for field goals, which is every bit as important as the punting part of the job. As good as Donnie Jones was as a punter, he was probably better as a holder. Think about it. The Eagles have had the likes of Koy Detmer, Sav Rocca and Jones holding through the years. They were all great. It’s a position to take seriously.
- I don’t know what it’s going to mean when the players get on the field and in pads, but second-year running back Donnel Pumphrey has certainly put in the work in the weight room in the offseason. He knows he needed weight and as much bulk as possible to make it, so we’ll see what he looks like on the field. My theory on Pumphrey is this: He had a bit of “dead legs” after carrying the football more than 1,000 times in his career at San Diego State. The offense could use a “move” weapon, a player who moves around the formation who defenses have to account for, and maybe Pumphrey will make a push for that job.
- Drafting an offensive linemen? Well, maybe. But the Eagles have to like what they’ve got now behind the projected starters with Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Chance Warmack and Isaac Seumalo as the primary reserves. I think Seumalo will get a long look at center, which means that in a pinch he could play all five of the positions. Warmack is strictly a guard and Vaitai is, at this point, a tackle. After those three, there really isn’t any experience among Taylor Hart (tackle), Darrell Greene (guard) and Jon Toth (guard). So yeah, at some point during and after the draft the Eagles will address the offensive line. But at the top? Let’s see who is on the board when the Eagles go on the clock at 32.
- Finally, I say that somehow the Eagles – operating in a new, shiny draft room at the NovaCare Complex with all the latest and greatest technology – will emerge this weekend with a total of eight draft picks. That means Howie Roseman has some wheeling and dealing to do to add two more picks. Eight just feels right.