This NFL off-season has been entertaining to say the least. Philadelphia has made quite a splash so far with bringing some talent in and also shipping some notable players out the door. With these moves, priorities and needs in the Draft have shifted a bit.. There’s a clear need for a few positions as the Eagles prepare for the 2019 season and beyond. Some of these needs could be addressed through Free Agent signings and/or trades while others could be dealt with through the Draft.
Below I rank the Draft needs by position for the Eagles after the first wave of Free Agent signings and off-season trades.
The Free Agent market for linebackers proved to be a bit too expensive for the Eagles liking. Guys like C.J. Mosley, Kwon Alexander and Anthony Barr all got market shifting deals. And with Jordan Hicks heading to Arizona now, Philadelphia’s need at the position is quite evident.
Michigan LB Devin Bush Jr. can get on the horse, shouldn't be surprised by his testing at all – pic.twitter.com/qUj6OO23Co
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) March 11, 2019
Devin Bush Jr. is a speedy LB out of Michigan that would look nice playing alongside of Nigel Bradham. This wouldn’t be the first Michigan LB the Eagles have selected in the NFL Draft as they took Brandon Graham with the 13th pick back in 2010.
Other noteworthy prospects include Alabama’s Mack Wilson, T.J. Edwards and Vosean Joseph. For the most part the position isn’t very deep this year so if the Eagles want one of these guys it’d have to be within their first 3 selections.
2. Offensive Line
The Eagles inked Jason Peters to yet another year but it’s no secret that the 37yr old struggles to stay healthy. With Brandon Brooks expected to be out a majority of the 2019 season and Stefen Wisniewski departing via Free Agency, Philadelphia’s depth on the offensive front looks thin.
Whether the Eagles decide to add an interior offensive lineman or a tackle, they’ll have plenty of options. The team has been most notably linked to Alabama State’s OT Tytus Howard. He flew in for a pre-draft visit just a week ago and Philadelphia’s OL coach Jeff Stoutland is said to be enamored by him.
— Pete Francis (@Pete_Francis) January 23, 2019
Other OL prospects that should be in Philadelphia’s striking range include Kansas State’s Dalton Risner, Greg Little out of Ole Miss and West Virginia’s Yodny Cajuste.
3. Wide Receiver
DeSean Jackson is indeed back, but the Eagles shouldn’t settle with their current WR room. Alshon Jeffery is creeping into his thirties which could spell bad news for a guy who has struggled to stay healthy and although he has shown no signs of slowing down, DeSean will turn 33yrs old next winter.
Nelson Agholor, who is up for a big payday next season, is the only productive WR on the roster who has youth on his side. You could take a gamble on guys like Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson but that’s risky business.
HAKEEM BUTLER SAYS NO 🖐
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 15, 2018
This Draft consists of some pretty talented prospects at the WR position. Guys like D.K. Metcalf, N’Keal Harry, Kelvin Harmon and Hakeem Butler all give you incredible size on the outside. Then you have more slot/speed oriented players by the likes of Marquise Brown, Deebo Samuel, Parris Campbell and Andy Isabella.
There truly is a ton of talented WR prospects in this Draft class. It’d be a bit shocking if Philadelphia didn’t pick up at least one in the early rounds.
4. Running Back
Le’Veon Bell signed his $14mil/yr deal with New York last night, so the dream of him being in midnight green is all but over. There’s still plenty of options out there for Philadelphia on the Free Agent Market and trade block but the Eagles may be smart to save their money and take one of the top backs in this class.
The Eagles struggles on the ground last season were quite evident. They ranked among the worst in the league in all rushing categories. Josh Jacobs seems to be the consensus #1 back in this class and rightfully so. The Alabama product is a do it all kind of RB. Adding him to Philadelphia’s backfield would surely change the script from a season ago.
Pretty sure Josh Jacobs just killed a man pic.twitter.com/3XzNLs4he9
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) December 30, 2018
Other notable prospects include David Montgomery out of Iowa State, Penn State’s Miles Sanders, Darrell Henderson and many more.
5. Defensive Line
The Eagles were able to retain Brandon Graham and also added Malik Jackson but they lost two big time players in Michael Bennett and Timmy Jernigan. With depth along the defensive line being such a vital point for this Eagles defense, adding some more talent to the mix is essential.
This Draft class is loaded with talent on the defensive line. Clemson’s Christian Wilkins seems to be the fan favorite for the pick at #25 thus far in the Pre-Draft process. He was a standout player on an elite Clemson defensive line that should have three 1st round picks come April.
Miss St. EDGE Montez Sweat: 4.42 (!!!!)
At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds 👀
That’s stupid fast. pic.twitter.com/FXaeppSpgl
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 3, 2019
If Wilkins doesn’t make it to pick #25 the Eagles should have a plethora of other options. Prospects like Montez Sweat, Jachai Polite, Jeffery Simmons, and Clelin Ferrell are all incredible talents.
Featured Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a graduate of Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.