Philadelphia Eagles Draft Possibilities

2 of 3

Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA;

Lane Johnson

(Oklahoma) is introduced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as the number four overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Draft Recap

The past two years have been hugely challenging.   2013 was a rebuild of nearly the entire roster – whether merely the role of the player or in new faces- and ended up focusing on the offensive side of the ball.   2014 was projected to focus on the defense, but an off-season loss of wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the wide receiver depth in the 2014 NFL draft pulled the Philadelphia Eagles back to the offensive side of the ball.

In 2013, the Philadelphia Eagles selected offensive tackle Lane Johnson, tight end Zach Ertz, and nose tackle Bennie Logan in the first two days of the NFL draft.  In 2014, the Phildelphia Eagles selected linebacker Marcus Smith II, wide receiver Jordan Matthew and wide receiver Josh Huff.  In two years, the Eagles have been two to one in offense to defense.  The Eagles perspective judge the draft with total players selected, and Chip Kelly highlighted that fact in his discussion of the 2014 NFL draft.

"“In our minds, I think there were more defensive players in it than offensive players. That’s just how we saw it here in Philly. I don’t know how anybody else saw it, but that’s how we saw it. I think we’ve got a pretty good clean process in terms of how it works. I think it’s well thought out. It’s very structured in terms of when we have to have X done, when we have to have Y done, how we continue to move in the right direction, and then so that when you get to the draft itself, and for some reason because they moved it, it seemed like the draft was forever just in terms of getting ready for it, but when it comes, then it’s really a pretty orderly fashion.” – Chip Kelly"

In the past two drafts, it has been the offense which has been the focus in the first three rounds.  But when the team took the field in each of the past two seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles defense was simply outclassed by other team’s passing offense.  And in spite of whatever signings occur in free agency, championship teams are built from within, through the draft, by players who come up through the ranks and eventually earn their starting role.  Free Agency fills roster holes.  NFL Drafts build championships.

Looking at the current team roster, the team is solid in terms of core players.   There is a healthy mix of youth and veterans on the team – with two exceptions:   defensive backs and offensive line.   In defensive backs, the team simply does not have enough depth to give full competition for the starting role.   In the offensive line, the team has amassed a bevy of “good enough” talent to patch the numerous holes in the offensive line, but there is no true “heir apparent” for the mix of Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, Johnson.  While center Kelce and tackle Johnson are young, the remainder have crossed the 30 year old barrier – which means the team must consider the risk of a deterioration of their talents in 2015 and beyond.

But place the offensive line needs to the back burner for now.   Depth and youth are better addressed at a later article.  For now, the team has to come to grips with their defensive shortcomings, and take a practical approach to shoring up those shortcomings.  But how?