March 17, 2017
Back in January, we ranked the Philadelphia Eagles' biggest offseason needs. With extremely limited financial resources, the Eagles are unlikely to add any more significant players to their roster until the draft, so now is a good time to re-order their biggest team needs.
1) Cornerback: Duh. The Eagles cut Leodis McKelvin and correctly allowed Nolan Carroll to walk in free agency. The Eagles could still look to add a bargain bin corner late in free agency, but they are likely to draft multiple corners in a loaded draft class.
2) Defensive end: In my view, defensive end is right there with cornerback, in terms of positional need. The Eagles have a pair of very good defensive linemen in Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, but they need more in a defensive scheme that heavily relies on the front four getting to the quarterback without the help of blitzers.
3) Running back: The Eagles are going to cut Ryan Mathews whenever he can pass a physical, and the 2017 season may very well be Darren Sproles' last in the NFL.
4) Defensive tackle: Bennie Logan is now with the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving a void at the defensive tackle spot next to Fletcher Cox. The Eagles could logically look to add a penetrating defensive tackle to split time with the run-stuffing Beau Allen.
5) Outside linebacker: Mychal Kendricks has likely played his last game in an Eagles uniform, and Nigel Bradham could eventually be facing discipline from the league for his two offenses last year. The Eagles would be wise to prepare for the worst.
6) Middle linebacker: This depends on the recovery of Joe Walker, who the team liked during training camp and the preseason before he tore his ACL. Otherwise, they only need depth here, as Jordan Hicks is a bona fide stud defender in the middle of the defense.
7) Wide receiver: Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith give the Eagles a pair of receivers on the outside who will be big upgrades over Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham. They should also help open up the short-to-intermediate parts of the field for Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Still, Jeffery and Matthews are heading into contract years, and Smith still has to prove that he can be closer to the player that he was in Baltimore than the one he was in San Francisco. This is absolutely still a position the Eagles could add to in the draft.
8) Offensive tackle: Jason Peters will be back in 2017, enabling the Eagles to put off adding offensive tackle help in what is a barren position in the draft this year. Still, whenever Peters decides to retire, the Birds are going to have to find an extra starter at tackle, that is unless Halapoulivaati Vaitai continues to develop and shows more upside than he has.
9) Tight end: Brent Celek isn't the receiver (or blocker for that matter) that he once was, and is a likely cap casualty next year. Ertz and Trey Burton are more of receiving specialists than they are blockers, so the Eagles could look to add a tight end to groom with blocking skills who can also be a respectable receiver, like Celek.
10) Safety: The back end isn't thought of as a need because the Eagles have two high-quality starters in Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. However, with as many snaps as Jaylen Watkins had to play last season, maybe it should be. If the Eagles can find a coverage-oriented safety who can also play slot corner, that would sure up two needs.
11) Quarterback: It's not a terrible idea to draft a quarterback every year (or close to it) even if you have a franchise quarterback in place. However, with the Eagles having wasted a lot of money on Chase Daniel and handing out a sizable contract to Nick Foles, I'm not sure that they should add any more resources to this position this year, especially in a shallow quarterback draft class.
12) Fullback: They (might?) want one, and they don't have one.
13) Guard: The Eagles are extremely deep at both guard and center, as we noted earlier this week.
14) Center: The Jason Kelce trade watch continues.
15) Kicker/Punter/Long snapper: The Eagles have absolutely no need whatsoever for any of the three.
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