Eagles set to enter the Draft with the same needs for third consecutive season

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It’s been a tumultuous few seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles. A roster purge, a complete Coaching staff renovation and the return of Howie Roseman. But through all of the drama, one thing has strangely stayed the same..the teams’ needs going into the Draft.

In 2014, the Eagles’ biggest needs looked something like this:

Cornerback:
With Williams, Fletcher and Boykin all still on the team, the Eagles needed to add some reinforcements. Regardless of their ability, Williams was set to turn 30 and moving Boykin over from the slot would only create more problems. The Secondary’s 2013 season was nowhere near as bad as 2014 would be, but the warning signs were still present.

Wide Receiver:
With DeSean Jackson gone, the Eagles were set to place all of their chips on the recovering Jeremy Maclin had they not drafted Jordan Matthews. Depth once again was the biggest issue, Brad Smith lining up as the team’s third receiver simply didn’t sound like an appealing option. In Chip’s up-tempo Offense..they needed some speed and efficiency to help take the load off of Maclin’s shoulders.

Offensive Line:
With the starters not getting any younger, Mathis being placed on the trade block and the Eagles and the only real long term starter being Lane Johnson, the Line could have used some depth. How urgent was the need? After a huge rushing season it was easy to overlook to say the least..but again, the warning signs were present.

Pass rush:
In 2013, the Eagles recorded just 37 sacks, ranking them 20th in the NFL. If it wasn’t for a sudden hot streak by Trent Cole, that number would have been even less impressive. The pass-rush simply struggled to make an impact and with the Secondary already on the edge of a knife, adding some explosiveness to the outside seemed like a no brainer.

 

12 months and a roster purge later, Chip Kelly still found himself treading familiar waters:

Cornerback:
Other than Byron Maxwell, the Eagles cornerbacks still looked to be less than stellar. It was an improvement on paper and it was good to finally see some depth at the position, but if Maxwell was to underperform (which he did) it would leave the Eagles once again scrambling for depth.

Wide Receiver:
The addition of Jordan Matthews was an invaluable one, but with Maclin gone and Miles Austin flying the “veteran flag” on the team..it was clear the Eagles still needed some explosiveness on the outside. Perhaps it wasn’t their greatest need, but in a team where Offense is everything..it couldn’t be overlooked.

Offensive Line:
Mathis was on the trade block, Herremans had signed with the Colts and the team’s rushing efficiency dropped off slightly in the season prior. If the birds were going to be charging through the trenches with the new “three headed monster” they needed linemen capable of tearing the holes open.

Pass rush:
The addition of Kiko Alonso carried plenty of promise but also a lot of reason for concern. However much of that was downplayed after huge seasons from Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. First round pick Marcus Smith barely made it onto the field and depth below the starters was again slightly worrying.

 

And now onto the present day. We sit just days away from the NFL Draft and the Eagles biggest needs? You guessed it…

Cornerback:
The Eagles did their best to patch the hole in Free Agency with the addition of Leodis McKelvin and Rob Brooks. Partner that with the resigning of Nolan Carroll and you have a unit that has experience in a 4-3 under Schwartz and has enough young potential in Eric Rowe to look promising. However with JaCorey Shepherd still yet to take to the field and Undrafted rookies such as Denzel Rice making up the depth spots, some more help wouldn’t hurt.

Wide Receiver:
Last season was a troubled one for the receiving corps. They finally got things together in the closing games but with Cooper now out of the picture and some more experienced Free Agents added to the roster, competition is set to be vicious at Training Camp..but there’s only one established starter in Jordan Matthews. Reuben Randle will most likely earn a starting role but whoever earns the remaining spots is anyones guess..a deep threat with plenty of potential would certainly make the decision easier.

Offensive Line:
This was always going to be a need but with the projected drafting of Carson Wentz, the Eagles really need to begin fortifying the fortress for a Quarterback who played behind an incredibly dominant line at NDSU. It’s unclear how much Peters has left in the tank and with depth being a serious concern considering how many of the backups are in their final contracted year, the Eagles need for Tackles is a pressing one.

Pass rush:
Jordan Hicks exploded onto the scene in his rookie season but with the switch to a 4-3 meaning that some of the Eagles most intimidating Linebackers will be moving to the outside, depth at the position is lower than it has been in each of the last three seasons. After giving up the most rushing yards of any team last year, the Eagles have to add some depth both on the line and some explosiveness behind it.

 

It’s strange to think that after so many changes in the last few years in both players and personnel, the team’s needs still remain the same. Hopefully that trend will come to an end in a few days time.

 

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