The Philadelphia Eagles have added depth to their team this off season with acquisitions in free agency and trading for running back Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints. But with holes still to fill and youth needed across the board to fit Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s schemes, the upcoming draft will be vital in the team repeating as NFC East champions. Many analysts believe this incoming class is one of the deepest of the past decade. The Eagles may be best suited trading down in the first round to obtain extra picks in the middle rounds.
Though they will have options that will certainly improve the roster with the 22nd overall pick, there may be better value later on. Looking at positions of need such as wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebackers and defensive backs, there are several players that would normally find themselves supplanted among the top 32 picks. But with all the depth at those positions, Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman could find them littered throughout the the second and third rounds.
Prospects such as Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu or Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward could still be on the board five, ten or even fifteen picks after the team’s initial selection. Attaochu is arguably the third best 3-4 edge rusher in the draft, behind Buffalo’s Khalil Mack and UCLA’s Anthony Barr. He would naturally fit into Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ defensive system, which desperately needs help attacking the quarterback. While Ward could be the complete back end defender that the team has sorely missed (and failed to replace on several occasions) since retired safety Brian Dawkins’ departure to the Denver Broncos. Both could be obtainable if the brain trust of Roseman and Kelly work the draft, finding themselves two picks between picks 28 through 40.
While highly talented wide receivers and offensive lineman, who could immediately play a significant role for any team, can be found after day one of the draft. Wide receivers like Clemson’s Martavis Bryant, Oregon’s Josh Huff and Mississippi’s Donte Moncrief will likely be available with the Eagles fourth or fifth selection. All of which have the size and speed combination the team has announced they are looking for in pass catchers. Offensive lineman like North Dakota State’s Billy Turner and North Carolina’s James Hurst have the athletic ability to play in Kelly’s uptempo offense.
By adding extra picks when trading down, the Eagles could certainly add most of these players to fill out their roster. The middle rounds of the draft could provide several starters, as soon as the 2014 season. In such a deep class, do not be surprised if the team wants to bring in as much talent as possible, to usher in this next era of Philadelphia football.