The Philadelphia Eagles were set. They had an unbelievable offense and solid special teams ready for the 2014 NFL season. It appeared that the only thing they needed to work on was their defense, and the draft was going to be the outlet for fixing the defense. Then once everything seemed to be settling down…..BOOM…..ex-Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson becomes available, and soon after that he joins the division rival Washington Redskins. Now a team that seemed to finally have everything figured out on the offensive side of the ball is left asking many questions. All the while with a mediocre defense that needs attention. What do the Philadelphia Eagles still need to do before the NFL Draft to be prepared.
#1 Sign a Linebacker or Defensive End
The Eagles 3-4 defense that began under Chip Kelly started as a success. With linebackers such as Trent Cole, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Conner Barwin, I am pretty confident. The issues lie with defensive ends like Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Brandan Graham. All of these defensive ends and linebackers have been relatively productive, but we have trouble getting pressure on the quarterback, and we also have trouble covering tight ends down the middle of the field. It is these problems that are responsible for the Eagles giving up first downs on third and long situations throughout the year. What I would love to see is for the Eagles to sign another linebacker that can drop into coverage, so that Trent Cole can become a defensive end once again, and can help get more pressure on the quarterback. The crop of available talent is becoming slim, which is why it may make sense to wait for the draft. I would have like to see the Eagles sign Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Arthur Moats, but obviously he is now in Pennsylvania for a different organization. As of right now, the guy that I would love to see the Eagles sign, is ex-Dallas Cowboy Anthony Spencer. Spencer is probably the most elite defensive free agent still available. He is an ideal 3-4 linebacker but can also play as a defensive end. He has a knack for putting pressure on the quarterback, and if the Eagles signed him they could move Trent Cole back to defensive end. That would be insane, Cole and Spencer both rushing the quarterback would be a major improvement. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly would be in love with Spencer’s versatility and his ability to get pressure on the opposing quarterback. Another added bonus is he is coming from the division rival Dallas Cowboys. Another option would be ex-Atlanta Falcon linebacker Stephen Nicholas. A veteran talent in the NFL, Nicholas isn’t coming off his best statistical season, but still managed 35 total tackles last year. A very hard hitting tackler and a great presence in the locker room, I believe that head coach Chip Kelly who strives to find leadership in his players would love to have a guy like Nicholas on the team.