Eagles roster: Ranking top positional needs ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
You’ve been listening to the debates for weeks now. Should the Philadelphia Eagles select Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson or Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter? We’re assuming both are available when Philly is on the clock with the tenth-overall selection of course.
We have also gone back and forth about how plan B should look. Is there any value in taking Peter Skoronski or Lukas Van Ness at ten? Sure, both guys are good, but are they worthy of a top-ten selection?
We’ve spent so much time agonizing over the Eagles’ first choice in Round 1 that we sometimes ignore the fact that Philly also owns the 30th overall selection. What direction should they take there? Thank goodness we don’t have to make these picks, huh?
Here’s the reality, and this is true in every selection meeting. Each of the Eagles’ six draft choices represents an equal chance for success and failure, but we trust Howie Roseman and his team’s judgment.
Let’s be honest. Regardless of where Philly focuses their attention, they’re certain to address one of the team’s pressing needs.
Let’s rank the Eagles’ top needs ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Eagles’ offseason began with the release of Brett Toth (they eventually re-signed him). The free agency losses of everyone from T.J. Edwards, Javon Hargrave, and Miles Sanders to C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Kyzir White, and Isaac Seumalo followed. Philly also parted ways with Marcus Epps, Andre Dillard, Gardner Minshew, and Zach Pascal.
They re-signed James Bradberry, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, and Boston Scott. They also reworked Darius Slay’s deal.
To fill some obvious holes, they added Rashaad Penny, Greedy Williams, Marcus Mariota, Justin Evans, Nicholas Morrow, Terrell Edmunds, and Kentavius Street. There’s still some work to be done though. Here are their top needs as another draft nears.
1. Defensive tackle
With Javon Hargrave gone, Fletcher Cox sits alone atop the Eagles’ depth chart at the defensive tackle position. He’s a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, but he’s also on the downside of what has been a fantastic career.
Jordan Davis will be asked to take on an expanded role in 2023. There are questions about whether or not he’s ready. Milton Williams has shown promise whenever he has been given the opportunity to play, but Philly was forced to kick the tires on Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph a season ago. Marvin Wilson and Marlon Tuipulotu are also in the fold, but it may be time for some upgrades.
Philly’s starting duo at safety is gone. Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson took their respective talents to Las Vegas and Detroit. Justin Evans and Terrell Edmunds were added, but despite Reed Blankenship, K’Von Wallace, and Andre Chachere all being on the roster, it still feels as though something is missing. We can’t quite place our fingers on what that is, but let’s be honest, you feel it too, right?
Here’s the wild card. This is a weak draft class for the position.
Darius Slay and James Bradberry are the starting outside corners for the second straight season. Avonte Maddox will again start in the slot. That’s a nice trio. Most already know what the concerns are.
Avonte can’t stay healthy. Following a hot start last season, Slay cooled as the campaign wore on. He’s also 32 years old. Bradberry turns 30 in August.
Past those three are the unproven Mario Goodrich, Josh Jobe, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott, Greedy Williams, and Tristin McCollum. There are a ton of bodies but no real answers.
Philly’s top two tacklers from last season, T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White, are both gone. Nicholas Morrow, their newest addition at linebacker, started all 17 games for the Chicago Bears last season. How did they handle him during the offseason? They released him in favor of T.J. Edwards.
Let that sink in for a second.
Philly doesn’t value the position much. We have long known that, but allowing a homegrown former undrafted free agent to walk, one that worked out well, really drives the point home… again.
The corps is manned by a bunch of unproven guys now (with the exception of Haason Reddick). Morrow, Nakobe Dean, Christian Elliss, Kyron Johnson, Patrick Johnson, Davion Taylor, and Shaun Bradley are the guys now. Raise your hand if you feel like the Eagles need another guy here!
Isaac Seumalo is gone. Josh Sills is listed on the roster as having an exemption. Jason Kelce’s successor, Cam Jurgens, figures to start at right guard in 2023. Landon Dickerson will again take up residency on the left side.
That leaves Sua Opeta and Tyrese Robinson as the reserves. We can cross our fingers and hope no one gets hurt, or we can see about adding another interior defensive lineman at some point during the selection meeting. We vote for the latter option.
Haason Reddick proved to be worth every penny that the Eagles paid him last offseason. Josh Sweat is growing into a star. Brandon Graham had a career year in a limited role, but B.G. isn’t going to play forever. We also have yet to see Derek Barnett demonstrate that he’s worthy of the first-round selection the Birds spent on him in 2017’s NFL Draft.
Tarron Jackson and Matt Leo are unproven. Janarius Robinson, like Barnett, is coming off of an injury. If the Birds select a youngster to give the veterans some help, no one should complain.
Bonus: Running back
Rashaad Penny was added in March, and despite his obvious talent, it’s hard to get past a thought that everyone has had. He just can’t stay healthy, and he plays the game’s most punishing position.
Many of us have believed in Kenneth Gainwell for a while. During the most recent playoff run, he began to display much of what we have been expecting from him. We believe, with more opportunities, he’ll continue to progress.
Truthfully, we don’t understand why the Eagles seem to have this dismissive attitude toward Boston Scott. He’s durable. He runs hard. The offense is given another dynamic when he’s on the field. If Philly attempted to feature in some of their games where someone other than the New York Giants are the opponent, we believe they will like what they see.
We’re also fans of Trey Sermon. Heaven knows we are, but if he couldn’t make things work in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, one where just about any tailback works, how much longer are we to ignore the fact that the Eagles kept deactivating him on gameday?
We aren’t huge fans of taking Bijan Robinson at ten, but we won’t complain if he’s the guy Philly takes. If he isn’t, we’d like to see the Birds take a tailback at some point. We’re relatively happy with what the Eagles have here, but another reliable and young option would be a bonus. There will be viable options on Day 2 and Day 3.