Heading into the off season, the Eagles had tons of holes up and down the roster, and it seemed inevitably that the Eagles would need to use the draft to feel many of these holes, especially on defense. That all changed after the Eagles acquired ten players during free agency and did a great job off filling most off their holes with mid-tier players, on short, team friendly contracts. By doing so, the Eagles have freed up what they can do in the draft this year, especially in the early rounds. With that being said, the Eagles can still upgrade their team at certain positions and give themselves great depth heading into a long, grueling season. Here are 3 positions the Eagles should look to improve through the draft.
1. Safety: Last season, the Eagles had one of the worst secondaries in the league and the Eagles safeties were a huge part of the problem. Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen were at the top of the list in missed tackles and they were prone to giving up the big play. This off season the Eagles brought in two new safeties, Kenny Phillips and Pat Chung, who, only a few years ago, were one of the top safeties in the league. But heading into this season, both Phillips and Chung have questions regarding health and the ability to return to their Pro Bowl level. The Eagles need to take the next step in upgrading at the safety position by adding another one through the draft. This year’s draft has one of the best safety class in a while and it is a prime opportunity for the Eagles to continue to upgrade this position. I currently have the Eagles selecting UGA’s safety Shawn Williams in the third round. Another reason the Eagles may what to draft a safety is because, even if Kenny Phillips returns to his Pro Bowl form, Phillips is on a one year deal an could walk at the end of the season and would re-open a huge hole in the Eagles secondary.
2. Nose Tackle: The Eagles are transforming their defense from a small 4-3 to a large, physical 3-4 and need some more plug-and-play players on their defensive line. The Eagles signed NT Isaac Sopoaga this off season to be their starting NT for 2013, but the Eagles need to add a big, young NT who can develop under Sopoaga and eventually take over in a year or two. Right now the Eagles backup NT is Antonio Dixon and, to be honest, Dixon isn’t that great. At the moment I have the Eagles taking Johnathan Hankins, out of Ohio St., in the 2nd round, but i can also see the Eagles taking someone like Star Lotulelei in the first round because Lotulelei can play NT but also can play defensive end in a 3-4 front and Coach Chip Kelly likes to have versatile players.
3. Cornerback Heading into the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 seasons, the Eagles cornerbacks were supposed to be one of the best in the league. Either they really under performed or they’re just not the same corners they once were, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha both stunk last year and, to make a long story short, they will not be returning to the Eagles this season. This off season the Eagles added Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, two corners the Eagles hope can be impact starters next season. I have no doubt Cary Williams can be a solid starter, but Bradley Fletcher is a question mark because of his injury history and his lack of starting experience. The Eagles can get rid of that question mark by selecting a player like Dee Milliner in the first round, the player I currently have the Eagles selecting with the first pick. The Eagles cornerbacks were terrible last year and the Eagles management has done a good job thus far of trying to fix it, but the Eagles shouldn’t stop yet and they should look to add someone like Milliner to put the finishing touches on replenishing the cornerback position.