Philadelphia may have earned the NFC East title last season, but the 9-7 campaign was nothing short of lackluster, with a number of major issues on both sides of the ball that need to be rectified before the kick off of 2020. T
But this is why it is critical to note that, before Eagles fans get too excited, the Bird’s slight edge over the Cowboys in the NFC East as it stands is heavily dependent on the outcome of this week’s draft.
Howie Roseman answered the prayers of Eagles fans the world over in free agency with a trade bringing former Detroit Lions standout cornerback Darius Slay to Philadelphia.
Considering the loss of defensive and overall team leader Malcolm Jenkins, Slay is a game-changing addition to aid the secondary woes of last season and is an excellent fit for the Eagles zone-heavy defensive scheme.
Of course, the trade came with a price of the Eagles giving up picks in the third and fifth round, leaving Philadelphia with just two picks in the top 100 to address other positions.
The second-round pick, though more flexible in terms of exact position selection, needs to address other defensive gaps such as linebacker, but all of that relies on Philadelphia’s decisions on Thursday in the first round.
It is generally expected that the Eagles will use their first-round selection to draft a desperately-needed reliable receiver to connect with Carson Wentz.
This group of receivers from this year’s class is nothing short of impressive, and adding a top, young talent in the first round is critical for Philadelphia.
In fact, it could make-or-break the upcoming season for the Eagles, with the current core led by an injury-prone DeSean Jackson.
However, there is mixed speculation that Philadelphia could trade away their second-round pick to move up a few places in the first round, and that could be a huge, unnecessary mistake.
Even though this could seem attractive, eliminating the chance to select another player before hitting triple digits on the draft board could hugely affect the prospects available for a defensive addition.
The Eagles need to hang on to their pick at No. 21, and take the best-fit receiver available at the time while trying to add another big addition at No. 53.
Philadelphia has made headway in addressing issues that have plagued the team for years and will benefit from the consistency of being the only NFC East team without a new head coach and having a number of returning team leaders.
Ultimately, though, it will come down to the decisions made in the first two rounds to decide whether the Eagles remain the top threat in the division or slide behind rival Cowboys by this time next week.