The Philadelphia Eagles are building a franchise. From the wreckage of the 2012 season, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly steadied the ship and surprisingly sailed to an NFC East Division Championship. Many people credit this, at least in part, to two successful drafts in 2012 and 2013. The Eagles need to continue this trend in order to build a solid franchise that can stand the test of time.
Over the last two drafts, the Eagles have changed tack. The idea of selecting the best player available seems to be order of the day, rather than reaching for need. This is key, allowing the Eagles to develop a solid squad with depth and quality throughout the roster that can compete with the likes of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
Given this, the Eagles must look to address the holes on the defensive side of the ball first rather than overstretching for a wide receiver, following the release of former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Tempting as it may be to find a way to draft a top wide receiver, such as Texas A & M wide receivers Mike Evans or Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, the Eagles must stick to the plan. With Eagles wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, alongside Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and “weapon” Darren Sproles, the Eagles have proven firepower on offense. They are also very likely to have an opportunity to draft Oregon Ducks running back De’Anthony Thomas who is likely to be available between rounds 3-5. There’s plenty of opportunity to add talent on the offensive side of the ball throughout the draft.
Adding a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball may prove harder. The Eagles should look to add a top defensive player with their first round pick. In my opinion, if they have an opportunity to draft Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, they must take it. He is a stand-out player who has the ability to step in and start straight away. Alongside new free agent signing Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Pryor could develop into a top quality starting safety in this league. Whilst many mock drafts have the Eagles going between picks 16-21, there is the opportunity that he could be sitting there when the Eagles pick at 22.
If not, then the Eagles should take a long, hard look at Auburn defensive end Dee Ford. The Eagles need to enhance their pass rush capabilities and Ford has the ability to add and new dimension to the Eagles defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles shook the foundations of this franchise by releasing DeSean Jackson. They need to ensure that they continue to build the basis for a solid future by sticking to their long term plan and taking the best player available.