More Needs on Offense for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Without any Day 2 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft it's almost a universal consensus that the Eagles will trade down from No. 32 overall.
The thought process behind that is pretty simple in that most personnel people around the NFL have first-round grades on anywhere from 20 to 23 players, that according to three different league scouts that have discussed the upcoming draft with 973espn.com.
"They don't have a two or a three [second- or third-round pick]," NFL Network draft analyst and former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah explained on a conference call Wednesday. "It might make sense for them to get out of the first round, trade back a little bit, see if they can't get some extra picks to look at those needs."
According to Jeremiah most of the Eagles obvious needs are on the offensive side of the football even if they aren't immediate ones.
"Look, I think they put themselves in pretty good shape," he said. "I mean, they don't have a situation where they are in dire need at one position or the other. They have some age, and some contracts, I think that definitely factors in."
Jeremiah noted the Eagles' lack of depth at tight end after Zach Ertz, as well as long-term concerns at running back stemming from the chornic knee issues with Jay Ajayi and age at left tackle with Jason Peters.
"I would expect the focus to be early on on the offensive side of the ball," Jeremiah surmised. "You can look at -- I know the signing of Richard Rodgers is a nice move there to kind of be able to complement to Ertz. You're hoping he goes back to the form he showed a couple of years ago. I still think tight end is a legitimate option there. Running back, having another running back, you don't know Jay Ajayi, in terms of long term, what you have there. And they showed last year having a bunch of
guys you could roll through there was valuable."
As for as who might be available at No. 32, Jeremiah offered up a few options at both RB and TE, although he believes the OTs worthy of being first-day picks will be out of the Eagles' reach.
"A Sony Michel, a Derrius Guice or somebody like that [at running back]. You look at [tight ends] Dallas Goedert, Hayden Hurst, those make sense at those two positions," Jeremiah said. "And the challenge is, look, I think you would love to get a tackle, have another tackle, even though [Halapoulivaati] Vaiti played great last year with Peters out. With Peters' age, I think you'd like to add another backup swing tackle with some upside there. I just don't think there's going to be one with any value where they're picking."
Jeremiah's collegue, former NFL defensive back Bucky Brooks, is looking at how Philadelphia built its Super Bowl roster, namely by building up front on both sides of the football.
"When you're defending Super Bowl champion and you have a roster like the Eagles have, you can sit and really just take the luxury pick of the best player available at that time," Brooks explained. "But if you look at their history, they like to get big players -- offensive, defensive linemen, guys that can really solidify the foundation of that house."
The Eagles have already further bolstered the defensive line with veterans Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata so Brooks is focused on offensive tackle for the Birds.
"I believe that there's an offensive tackle that unexpectedly falls to them at the bottom of the first round, I think they would jump on that," he said. "I think being able to have some forethought when it comes to what do you do with Jason Peters as he gets older, do you have a replacement in the hopper, someone you can develop develop without the pressure putting him on the field. That's the best way for teams to stay at the top level. I would expect the Philadelphia Eagles, if it works, find an offensive lineman that helps them."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen