Quiet in Free Agency, Eagles Need to Hit on Draft Day
Free agency is normally a busy time of year for Howie Roseman and Eagles fans. Every year, the Eagles seem to be attached to every available big name free agent, and bring in a few to help the roster.
However this year, the Eagles have been pretty quiet on the free agent scene. With little money to spend on free agents, don't expect a major splash. What you can expect is more 'prove it' deals, like the deal they signed with a one-year, $5 million dollar contract.
It’s certainly not exciting, but winning in free agency isn't typically a recipe for winning on the field - but if the Eagles can win in the draft, they should be able to compete as soon as 2021.
If you make the right decisions on draft prospects, you don't need to add big money free agents.
It's an area the Eagles have not had a ton of success in recent drafts.
The Eagles must continue to find good value in the draft as it appeared they did with seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata, who looks like the favorite to start at left tackle. Third-rounder Isaac Seumalo is the incumbent at left guard, and a pair of 2019 fourth round picks, Josh Sweat and Avonte Maddox are both predicted to play major snaps in 2021.
There still have a ton of holes to fill and need to focus on landing a wide receiver, offensive line depth, plus linebacker and secondary additions in 2021.
Its the early rounds of the draft where the Eagles need to do better - a lot better.
Of the players that were drafted since 2016 — only Seumalo, defensive end Derek Barnett, tight end Dallas Goederrt and running back Miles Sanders have made an impact and still remain on the roster of the 36 players selected.
Carson Wentz was just traded and Jalen Mills, a seventh-round pick, just signed with the Patriots in free agency. Both were selected in the 2016 draft.
Its not a secret the Eagles need to do better in the draft.
The team missed on 2017 and 2019 second-round picks, Sidney Jones and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. While the jury is still out on 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor, he didn't have the kind of rookie season that other rookie receivers had last season. 2020 third-round pick Davion Taylor seems to be a project, 2017 thrid-rounder Rasul Douglas is no longer with the team.
One thing that can help fix this, is the play of 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts. If Hurts turns out to be what the Eagles hoped Wentz would be, that would be a big step in the right direction.
Landing a player with the No. 6 pick in imperative for this franchise to take a big step forward. In 2013 the Eagles landed right tackle Lane Johnson, who became a stabilizing force opposite Jason Peters for the past seven seasons.
This time around the Eagles need to land Hurts, or whomever plays quarterback in 2021, a true offensive weapon. Florida weapon Kyle Pitts, LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and Alabama wide outs Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are also options with that pick.
If the Eagles do want to look at the defensive side of the ball, they can look at Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, or Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II or Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley.
I would avoid taking Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, while he is a tremendous prospect, the Eagles have too many holes to fill and have enough in-house options at tackle. I would rather one of the players listed above and let Mailata battle it out with 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard for the left tackle position.
The key to competing in 2021 is the health of the offensive line, and the play of Hurts. Having a healthy line consisting of Mailata or Dillard with Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Johnson, gives the Eagles one of the top line groups in football,
Giving Hurts another weapon to pair with Sanders, Goedert and Reagor, coupled with a healthy offensive line would really help the offense.
On defense, with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Darius Slay, Rodney McLeod and the addition of safety Anthony Harris, the team still needs to find more help at linebacker, corner and across the defensive line.
While a 4-11-1 season has everyone thinking about a long rebuild, that simply doesn't exist in the NFL, but hitting on this draft class can expedite a successful season. With 11 games against non-playoff teams in 2021, the window is open to have a quick turnaround.
It all starts at the draft.
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