The Eagles have some big needs as the NFL draft approaches at the end of April. But they can’t address everything.
They have eight picks in the college entry draft, taking place April 27-29 in Fairmount Park in Philly. They also have limited salary cap space — and are technically over the limit.
Here’s a quick status report on the Eagles positiongroups, and a ranking of the team’s most pressing needs:
Jalen Mills and C.J. Smith would start at corner with Ron Brooks at nickel if the season began today. It’s a good thing it doesn’t. The Eagles surely will pick from one of the deepest cornerback-filled drafts in recent memory, possibly more than once.
2. Running back
The depth chart isn’t technically weak at running back, with Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood each returning in 2017, but there doesn’t seem to be a no-brainer, long-term solution. If the team picks based on best available and not on need, Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey could wind up in Philly.
3. Wide receiver
Philly inked two really high-ceiling band aids with (essentially) inkingone year deals earlier this month with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. With Jordan Matthews slotting into the third spot, the wideout group is strong, but like running back there is little clarity long term. If Philly has a chance to take Mike Williams or John Ross, they might just have to.
4. Defensive line
Another really strong position group with little depth, the defensive line lost Bennis Logan and Connor Barwin this past month and will rely on Beau Allen up the middle. A young player with high-upside would be a nice get in a middle round to help shore up the D-line.
Mychal Kendricks remains with the Eagles despite trade rumors and a lack of fit in the team’s scheme. They are strong at linebacker, led by third year returnee Jordan Hicks. Nigel Bradham and Najee Goode are also solid but they need more depth.
6. Offensive line
After signing Chance Warmack, a possible starting guard, Philly looks to have a solid front five with Lane Johnson and Jason Peters returning healthy and Jason Kelce at Center. But this group is aging and a youth injection would be smart.
And not, in no real particular order, we reach the Eagles three biggest strengths. The tandem of Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod is among the best in the NFL.
Carson Wentz is the Eagles’ franchise centerpiece, and back up Nick Foles has shown he can play in Philly.
9. Tight ends
Philly is ectatic to field three productive tight ends who can catch passes and block potently in Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton.
10. Special teams
With Donnie Jones punting, Jon Dorenbos snapping and Caleb Sturgis kicking, Philly is pleased with their special teams-specialists.