Ranking the Eagles’ positions of need ahead of tonight’s NFL Draft
Draft Day is here at last.
All the scouting, speculation and mock drafts culminate tonight as the NFL introduces the next class of promising rookies.
Although the Eagles signed a few key players in free agency — and struck out on others — they still have many positional needs on the roster. Despite those holes, Howie Roseman made it clear that he won’t force picks this year:
“You can’t really predict what other teams are going to do and you can’t be in a situation where you have to do something. Certainly, when you look at some of the mistakes that I’ve made personally, it’s because you try to force something. So, you can only do what the board allows you to do.”
The Eagles currently hold ten picks in this year’s draft and reportedly have been making calls to trade up. Here is how I would rank their team needs heading into tonight’s draft.
Other than Darius Slay, there isn’t a lot of proven cornerback talent on the Eagles’ roster.
Last year’s CB2, Steven Nelson, recently signed a two-year deal with the Texans — leaving Zech McPhearson and Tay Gowan as the next men up if the season started today.
Ahmad Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. will be the most sought-after corners in the draft. Depending on how aggressive the Eagles are in trading up, perhaps one could be had. If they stay put, however, Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. and Florida’s Kaiir Elam would both be tremendous understudies for Slay, who turned 31 in January.
The Eagles haven’t taken a cornerback in the first round since 2002 when they drafted Lito Sheppard 26th overall. Too damn long.
Unless free-agent Tyrann Mathieu is still in the cards, the Eagles need to address safety sooner than later in this draft.
They brought back Anthony Harris on a cheap one-year deal. Veteran Rodney McLeod signed with the Colts, leaving Marcus Epps as the other starting safety.
Despite Philadephia’s refusal to draft safeties in the first round, Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton is a realistic trade-up candidate. Should Hamilton get scooped up early, the safety class is relatively deep this year. Georgia’s Lewis Cine and Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker are names to watch.
3. Wide Receiver
For the third consecutive year, wide receiver remains a priority for Philly. The Eagles’ had the 25th ranked passing attack last season, and while some of that falls on Jalen Hurts, they need another dynamic pass-catcher alongside DeVonta Smith.
There were attempts to bolster the position this offseason — they were reportedly close to trading for Calvin Ridley before he got suspended and were outbid for WRs Christian Kirk and Allen Robinson. It’s clear that they want more weapons on offense.
The Eagles should have several chances throughout the draft to add receiver talent. From Alabama’s Jameson Williams to NDSU’s Christian Watson, this class has no shortage of explosiveness.
Jameson Williams can do it all. pic.twitter.com/1Z0pIf4jBQ— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) April 25, 2022
4. Edge Rusher
Philadelphia signed Haason Reddick in free agency and inked Josh Sweat to an extension last season, but the depth chart gets slim after that. Barnett is likely relegated to a rotational role and who knows what Brandon Graham, 34, will look like after rupturing his Achilles.
The defensive line has always been a priority in Philly; I can’t imagine the Eagles getting through the first three rounds without finding a pass rusher. Not to mention the defense was third to last in sacks last season. If Kayvon Thibodeaux falls, Roseman should be sprinting to the podium.
During Howie Roseman’s pre-draft press conference, he stated that this is a “good linebacker class.” Knowing Roseman, that means he’ll look for value at the position on Day 2 or 3 rather than take one in the first round.
The Eagles signed a legit three-down LB in Kyzir White this offseason and have been high on TJ Edwards. They haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1979 (Marcus Smith doesn’t count) — I doubt that streak ends this year. There are some intriguing mid-round prospects, however.
Holy hell Georgia LB Channing Tindall makes up ground QUICK. That kinda closing speed is worth a look on Day 2. pic.twitter.com/uT5VSaraXY— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) April 21, 2022
Honorable Mentions: Interior OL, Backup TE, Power RB
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