The 2023 NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, and everybody is waiting to see what the decision is. Will the Philadelphia Eagles upgrade their defense or add another offensive star to an already potent unit? They wouldn’t actually take a running back, would they? If they do, Bijan Robinson would be one heck of a prospect to bank on.
The mock drafts that we have seen are all over the place. Some suggest Philly’s best bet is to bank on former Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness. Others have suggested that offensive tackle Peter Skoronski would be a wise choice. Others still believe Nolan Smith should be the selection.
As important as it is to nail the pair of picks the Eagles have in Round 1. Making the most of Philadelphia’s other four picks is also important. Vice president/general manager Howie Roseman has often struck gold in later rounds after the first night. If he uses the ‘take the best player available approach’, Philly would still walk out of the selection meeting with some of their needs unsatisfied. Then again, that would be the case if they drafted for team needs.
The hour approaches, and no one knows how the NFL Draft will unfold. Still, each time we look at the roster, we arrive at the same theory. There’s still some work that can be done.
Here are five positions where the Eagles can still make upgrades to the roster.
As is the case with almost every other NFL squad, the Eagles are trying to balance three theories: Finding players that can make an immediate impact, adding depth at areas where there are question marks, and finding young stars that can eventually take over for veterans.
Whether they do so during the NFL Draft or post-draft by way of adding some rookie free agents, there are five positions where we’d love to see some upgrades.
The Eagles seriously need to give some consideration to moving on from Arryn Siposs. He’s wildly inconsistent. He has put Philly’s defense in some bad spots.
Siposs seems to be at his worst when his best efforts are needed. There was that shank job during the Wild Card Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to conclude the 2021-2022 season. His first punt of the game traveled 29 yards and set the Bucs up at their own 43-yard line.
As bad as that was, things have managed to deteriorate further. Who can forget the blocked punt in Philly’s own end zone versus the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium this past season? That one ended with his attempt to scoop the ball and run for a first down.
He was injured on the play and missed the remainder of Week 14’s game and then, after being placed on injured reserve, missed every game between Week 15 and Super Bowl LVII. On the game’s biggest stage, he shanked a punt in the fourth quarter that was returned 65 yards by Kansas City Chiefs specialist Kadarius Toney. We all know what transpired after that.
Yeah… Philly needs a punter, like now.
4. Running Back
The Eagles’ current depth chart consists of Rashaad Penny, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, and Trey Sermon at the running back position. Penny would probably start if the season began today, but he has an extensive injury history. The Birds may want to look for a back who can share the workload with him.
Unless Philly plans to start giving Gainwell more opportunities and an expanded role, it would make sense to use a draft choice to upgrade the unit. If that isn’t an option, someone could be added post-draft, but it’s safe to say it feels like this unit is missing something.
Philadelphia needs to replace the productivity of T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White. Together, the duo led the team in tackles last season with a combined 269 total stops.
Nicholas Morrow was added this offseason. He collected 116 tackles last year with the Chicago Bears. There is also hope that Nakobe Dean will have a breakout season in year two.
The Eagles also have Haason Reddick, who we are sure will put fear into opposing offenses next year, but there are question marks with the rest of the roster.
Christian Elliss has some potential. So does Shaun Bradley, but Davion Taylor, Patrick Johnson, and Kyron Johnson make one feel as though there are a lot of bodies in the corps but no real answers.
Add Dean’s numbers to those of the latter five guys mentioned, and all six combine for 159 total tackles.
Bradley and Elliss seem to be solid special teams players. The jury is out on the other four. Nakobe Dean made the tackle on that Super Bowl shank job by Siposs.
If the season started today, Terrell Edmunds and Reed Blankenship would be two starting safeties for the Eagles. That isn’t terrible news. Blankenship’s play last season earned him the opportunity to compete for a starting role, but is it safe to bank on him as a full-time starter?
The other questions about the safety unit revolve around depth. Philly added Justin Evans and Marquise Blair. K’Von Wallace is also still in the fold, but he was leapfrogged last year by Reed. No one is bubbling with excitement over this unit as a whole.
1. Defensive Tackle
The Eagles are always interested in bolstering the defensive line, and they seem to be sniffing around the 2022 draft class for defensive tackle talent. What they have on the roster currently doesn’t guarantee they won’t make another addition
Let’s be real, Fletcher Cox is on the back end of his career and needs some firepower next to him to make this unit scary. Jordan Davis figures to be the other starting defensive tackle, but injuries hampered him some last season. Thankfully, the team didn’t need him to play a huge role with so many veterans on the roster.
In terms of depth, Milton Williams has shown promise when given an opportunity. Marlon Tuipulotu endured injuries as well. Don’t be shocked, following Javon Hargrave’s departure, if this team spends its pick on another interior defensive lineman. The Jalen Carter rumors are growing louder by the day.