DeSean Jackson, 142 catches for 2,702 yards with 14 touchdowns. Jeremy Maclin, 131 catches for 1,624 yards with 10 touchdowns. And last but not least, LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles all-time franchise leading rusher, 437 carries for 2,162 yards and 16 touchdowns. All shipped out of town by Chip Kelly’s regime. The Eagles presumably found their franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz, but he can’t put points on the scoreboard by himself, despite his numerous attempts.
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly wrote that the Eagles are the oldest team in the National Football League (NFL) going into next season. With essential veteran contributors such as Jason Peters, Connor Barwin and Darren Sproles on the verge of either retirement or being released, management will look towards the draft for young players to fill these holes. Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman, among others, simply have to figure out the draft.
This is no easy task for any front office, but this three-day event is what separates the great organizations from ones that haven’t won a playoff game in eight years, such as the Philadelphia Eagles.
There are some in the Philadelphia area that feel that trading back a few slots from their current draft position at 14 or 15 could be the right move. This is a horrible idea, one that doesn’t take much to debunk. Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and Wentz are three of the best or most valuable players on the roster, all drafted within the top 15 of the first round, while Danny Watkins, Marcus Smith and Nelson Agholor were all drafted in the latter half of the first round.
Simply put, earlier draft picks really are worth that much more. With the Eagles needing many positions to be filled, Roseman goes into what the front office is thinking this year.
“By trading back and getting extra picks, but not having somebody who can affect the game… we need to make sure that we come out of [the draft] with that,” said Roseman.
The Eagles are looking to move up like recent years instead of moving back. No NFL team moves up in the first round, giving up a bulk of assets to do so, without being sure they’re getting a play-making star. There’s also no way to be completely sure. So, who are the big names getting paired up with the Philadelphia Eagles in national mock drafts?
First, the Philadelphia Eagles need a wide receiver and cornerback, but also want a playmaker on both sides of the ball.
Mike Williams, wide receiver from Clemson, is being regarded as the top wideout in this year’s draft class.
Daniel Jeremiah from NFL.com wrote, “Williams would instantly become [the Eagles’] top weapon and give Carson Wentz some needed help. He could go much higher than 15, but if he’s there, expect the Eagles to run the card up to the table.”
Dieter Kurtenbach from FOX Sports noted, “The wide receiver class isn’t as deep as the cornerback class—OK, it’s not even close—so the Eagles can wait on helping out the secondary.”
Corey Davis, a wide receiver out of Western Michigan, is creating quite the buzz after his spectacular showing in this year’s senior bowl. Davis is the NCAA’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
Brent Sobleski from Bleacher Report wrote, “Davis is explosive at the top of his routes, runs away from defenders after the catch and creates with the ball in his hands. The 6’3”, 213-pound target is everything the Eagles need to upgrade their skill positions.”
Dalvin Cook, a running back out of Florida State, is one of the most explosive offensive playmakers in this year’s draft class. For a team that hasn’t had an answer at running back since McCoy’s departure, they’re in need of a playmaker at that position.
Chris Burke from Sports Illustrated gave insight into why Cook could make sense for the Eagles.
“The Eagles’ offense was better in 2016 when Darren Sproles was RB1 ahead of Ryan Mathews, in part because of how dangerous Sproles is as a big-play threat,” said Burke.“The problem: Sproles isn’t built to handle a 20-plus carry workload. Cook is, and he’s just as capable of taking one the distance.”
Although experts believe this is one of the deepest draft classes for defensive back help, there are still a few names that will be chosen in the top half of the first round. The Eagles can’t afford to miss these players if they’re available.
Marshon Lattimore, a cornerback from Ohio State, led his team in pass deflections, pass breakups and was second on the team in interceptions. His pass coverage is the best in the country, but there are question marks surrounding hamstring injuries in the past.
Marlon Humphrey, a cornerback out of Alabama, was one of the most exciting defensive players to watch during this year’s college football season. It won’t take you very long watching his tape to realize that this guy hits like a linebacker.
Lance Zierlein, from NFL. com, explained, “Everyone in Philadelphia knows the Eagles have to find a cornerback who can match up with the talented targets in the NFC East. Humphrey has some deep-ball coverage issues, but he’s big, fast and physical.”
It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles have not been a successful organization over the last decade, especially since the departure of Andy Reid. Frank gives knowledgeable insight into just how important it is for a team to draft well.
“How did the Eagles have the best record in the NFC and the third-best record in the NFL from 2000 through 2009 at 103-56-1?” Frank wrote. “Because from 1996 through 2002, a span of seven years, they drafted Brian Dawkins, Duce Staley, Jeremiah Trotter, Tra Thomas, Ike Reese, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Michael Lewis, Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard.”
On April 27 to 29 along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Eagles will have a chance to rekindle the success the city felt in the early 2000s as the city hosts the 82nd annual NFL draft. With the NFC East looking about as good as I can ever remember it looking, the Eagles must put themselves in a better position.
Dakota Schlater is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at DS805452@wcupa.edu.