2014 NFL Draft Mistakes the Eagles Must Avoid
We all know how important good drafting is to the success of a team. One bad draft can kill a team for years and derail any sort of game plan the team had in place. Any mistake made on the three draft days can be detrimental to a team’s current and future success. Since Howie Roseman became the Eagles’ general manager in 2010, the success of the drafts has been split with two bad and two good drafts. Roseman is not wholly to blame for that, as former Eagles head coach Andy Reid was determined to have final say on draft picks. While the first two drafts of the Roseman era look to be busts in retrospect, the 2012 and 2013 drafts have the look of very successful drafts, though the jury is still out.
Lets take a look at some draft mistakes that the Eagles must avoid to remain on track for success in the future.
While this may be nothing more than stating the obvious, the Eagles cannot reach for players. Drafting based on need is what led to the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Danny Watkins debacle of 2011. I don’t think that this is likely to be an issue, as the Eagles’ front office has done a good job of filling needs in free agency so that they are no longer “needs.” While more talent at some positions may be desired, the Eagles have done a good job of signing players with experience to serve as, if nothing more, stopgaps for the coming season. Roseman has also stated outright that the days of reaching for players based on need are past the Eagles…let’s hope that remains true this year.
The Eagles need to stick to their game plan of drafting the best players available come draft day. Even if that means drafting at positions that are considered strengths on the current roster. On draft day, positions shouldn’t matter. While you could argue that the Eagles shouldn’t draft a running back due to All-Pro running back LeSean Mccoy being on the roster and running backs Darren Sproles, Bryce Brown, and Chris Polk appearing as a solid group of backups, that should not matter. Injuries to top players can derail an entire season, so having quality backups is extremely important. Just look at the Seattle Seahawks last year. After losing cornerback Brandon Browner for the year, they had cornereback Byron Maxwell fill in and play great football on the road to the Super Bowl. Had Maxwell not provided quality depth, it’s likely that a quarterback as great as Peyton Manning would have picked on him all game, which could have resulted in a very different ending to that game. If, say Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde were to fall to the Eagles’ pick in round 3 (not likely, just an example), the Eagles should absolutely take him. That at least provides the Eagles with the choice to trade Bryce Brown or Chris Polk for some day 3 picks.
The last mistake the Eagles need to avoid is trading up in the draft. There is absolutely no reason to do so, as 2014 yields what might be the deepest draft, in terms of talent, ever. The top-end talent is likely to be gone in the first 10 picks, and trading up to the top 10 would require more than the Eagles should be willing to offer. With only 6 picks in this year’s draft, the goal should be hanging on to their current picks and trying to acquire some more. Because of the depth of the draft, it looks like the pool of undrafted free agents (UDFAs) will likely be much more talented than in the past, so let’s hope the Eagles can do some damage in signing quality talent via the draft and UDFAs as well.