The Eagles’s regular season is now basically over which means it is time to look at the playoffs and the NFL Draft. The Eagles don’t have the luxury of salary cap next year, but that isn’t a major issue. The Eagles already have a 20 of the 22 starters of the team signed long-term. The two “starters” that are not locked up for the 2018 season are Nigel Bradham and Patrick Robinson. I think it is still possible the Eagles resign at least one of the free agents to be. With the Eagles using a second round draft pick on Sidney Jones last year I doubt Patrick Robinson returning with the expected pay-day coming up. After watching the Eagles play through the year the biggest needs of the team are offensive tackle, linebacker, and safety.
Here are my three prospects to watch today;
Justin Reid – Stanford Safety, plays TCU on ESPN @ 9:00 P.M.
Stanford safety Justin Reid has four interceptions through five games in the 2017 season, which is tied for third in the nation. (John Todd / IsiPhotos.com)
Justin Reid is one of the best defensive backs in the country. He has a great football family with his brother being the starting hybrid safety for the San Francisco 49ers. Justin had a career-high five interceptions for the Cardinals this year. The Eagles could use an intelligent football player like Reid in the defensive backfield. Reid is a perfect fit for Schwartz’s defense with his aggressiveness and ways of making plays all around the field. I expect Reid to go somewhere in the late second round. If the Eagles decided to trade out of the first round, which I think might happen, that makes Reid a realistic chance at becoming an Eagle.
Micah Kiser – Virginia Inside Linebacker, Play Navy on ESPN @ 1:30 P.M.
Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images
After watching the Eagles throughout the year one position that I think really has to be addressed is middle linebacker. The Eagles have one of the best middle linebackers in the league with Jordan Hicks, but the fact that he can’t stay on the field makes him a concern moving forward. The Eagles should draft a guy that can replace Hicks and give the defense someone in the middle that wasn’t a reliability. With Hicks out the Eagles have had to rely on Joe Walker and he has been a major disappointment. Walker’s struggles haven’t been noted that much, but he has made me believe that it is important for the Eagles to get a good backup on the roster. Kiser is a tackling machine and is athletic enough to contribute on special teams. Kiser is expected to go in the late fifth round and that should fit perfectly with the Eagles.
Marcell Ateman – Oklahoma State Wide Receiver, Plays Virginia Tech on ESPN @ 5:15 P.M.
Senior Marcell Ateman celebrates his first catch since 2015 after missing the 2016 season. (August 31, 2017/Boone Pickens Stadium) Devin Lawrence Wilber/O’Colly
The Eagles have an important decision to make this offseason with Torrey Smith. The Eagles could save $5 million in cap space by simply releasing Smith who is having a down year once again. The Eagles drafted two guys last year in the mid rounds that are currently on the active roster (Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson). The Eagles really seem to like Hollins and I could see the Eagles simply cutting Smith and starting Mack in place of him. I don’t think that will necessary happen though. The Eagles will likely draft another receiver this year and Ateman is a good prospect to target in the sixth or even seventh round. When I see Ateman, I see Josh Gordon in a way. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I love Josh Gordon so me saying this is a big compliment. Ateman is a raw talent receiver that needs some coaching, but is a nicely sized prospect standing at 6’4″. Ateman thrives at being physical with the defenders and he doesn’t like to go down without a fight. Ateman could be a guy Carson Wentz throws the back-shoulder fad anytime in the red-zone.