With the Superbowl abruptly ending the NFL season, football fans, like myself, have been left starving for some NFL action. It is a plague that haunts us every year, having to deal with life after football. One drink that has been useful in quenching our thirst is both the buildup to and the night of the NFL Draft. Eagles fans have a bit more of a franchise-altering stake in this year’s draft than they have in recent years (arguably since 2016’s second overall pick, which netted Carson Wentz). Last season, Roseman was on his A-game in the first round, drafting Devonta Smith by jumping the receiver-needy Giants in a trade with the Cowboys after he had traded with the Dolphins to acquire their 2022 first round pick. Whew! When the dust settled, the Eagles virtually traded Jaylen Waddle for Devonta Smith and the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft. It was masterful maneuvering by the oft-criticized GM of the birds. Now, his criticism is, without a doubt, warranted given his majority of draft picks being a shaky bunch. Heck, even his prized franchise quarterback is now in Indianapolis after falling off a cliff in 2020. Speaking of Wentz, the birds acquired that 16th overall pick by trading him to the Colts, who now (get this) want to get rid of him after only one year! If this ends up being the case, then Roseman can put another team under the “fleeced” belt. Armed with these two acquired picks, along with their own 19th selection, the Eagles should consider these players in the first round to address the needs of the roster both now and in the future.
Ok, hear me out. Yes, this one is not a likely option given that he has been heralded as the top prospect in a deep pass rushing draft class, but let me have my fun. If the Eagles really like what they see in the Oregon alum, they certainly have the ammo to trade up without even giving up another first-round pick. Don’t forget, the Eagles have an odd advantage of two starting caliber left tackles, which just so happens to be a hot commodity in the league. Andre Dillard could be just the trade bait needed to pair with a third-round pick or less to move up in the draft and take the powerful edge rusher. Thibodeaux is a monster who would instantly pair up famously with Graham and Josh Sweat. He is one of two on this list that I would classify as a lock for being a franchise cornerstone type of player. The second is…
Derek Stingley Jr.
Again, this is an option that will very likely be a top 10 draft pick, but if the Eagles can get him, they could be getting the best cornerback we have seen in the draft in years. Stingley has incredible ball skills and looks more like a receiver when he goes out wide to cover. His height and weight are both ideal for the position and he is a strong tackler. He would instantly take away a number one receiver and could very well be a shutdown cornerback the likes of which this city has never seen donning midnight green. It would likely take a trade to get him, but again, if possible, make it happen Howie.
Lloyd is a more attainable option for the Eagles to target with one of them as a strong linebacker who has a knack for turnovers as well. The Utah alum would instantly upgrade a shaky unit that is arguably the weakest part of the Eagles’ defense. If Lloyd is able to be drafted (and the above two aren’t there) he would be the dream fit to give this defense a strong identity.
The one of only two offensive players I’m putting on this list (a testament as to how badly the Eagles need to overhaul their defensive side of the ball), Linderbaum is a powerful and athletic option to fill the massive shoes left behind when Jason Kelce inevitably retires. Now, we’d love to have Kelce forever, but it’s either this or next year that number 62 will finally hang the cleats, and we need to be ready to have an heir to the throne. Whether or not he sits behind Kelce for a year, Linderbaum will fit very nicely into an up-and-coming young core of offensive linemen on the Eagles which will likely see at least four to six years of Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson and Lane Johnson. Fit Linderbaum in to fill Kelce’s place and the “changing of the guard” will be a smooth transition.
Andrew Booth Jr.
Another strong option at cornerback for the Eagles, Booth would be more of a Cornerback 2 for the birds whereas Stingley would be the eventual heir to Darius Slay’s top roster spot. Booth is a physical player who hits hard and plays zone (which happens to be DC Gannon’s favorite scheme) very well. If Steven Nelson is not returning and the birds can’t get Stingley, Booth is a very intriguing option.
The other offensive option I was referring to of course goes to wide receiver because this team just can never quite be done upgrading the position (probably because they can almost never get it right). Burks is an above-the-rim type player who would compliment Devonta Smith magnificently and likely draw attention away from the second-year rising star. A receiving corps of Smith Burks and Quez Watkins would be lethal. Throw in Dallas Goedert, and all of the sudden Jalen Hurts is the signal caller for a very dynamic offense.
A lot of these options hinge on what the Eagles do in the free agency market and trade block where they have many options available. For example, we wouldn’t need Devin Lloyd if we sign Hasaan Reddick, or what if Howie is somehow able to pry DK Metcalf away from the Seahawks?! No Burks needed here! What if Roseman throws all the picks away for Rusell Wilson? He better not! But you never know, and that is the biggest advantage Roseman brings to this team; the unpredictability. Every other team has no idea what the madman in Philly will do, what rabbit he will pull from his hat come April. He’s got all the leverage he needs. All we bleeding green fans can do is watch and hope he doesn’t try to outsmart himself.
Joseph Gill is a third-year English major with a minor in Journalism. JG923276@wcupa.edu