With just under a week to go before the 2019 NFL Draft commences, the Howie Roseman-lead front office brass continues to work tirelessly as they prepare for the franchise-altering event. Constantly scouting, analyzing, and rearranging their big board over the last few months, the Eagles’ brain trust is now mere days away from seeing their hard work pay off. Possessors of three picks in the first two rounds of the draft, the Eagles are understandably excited about their prospects of adding a Pro Bowler or two to their already loaded roster.
Before we begin to fantasize about the potential influx of talent, however, I’d like to highlight a pair of draft pitfalls the Birds must steer clear of in the upcoming draft. Not to insinuate that Howie Roseman and Co. haven’t done an outstanding job over the last few years. Frankly, I’ve been increasingly impressed with their draft performances as the front office continues to grow together, but there are a couple of bad habits I think should be reformed this year.
Stop Ignoring the Running Back Position on Day 2
Since 2010, the Eagles have not drafted a single running back in the first three rounds of the draft. The second-round selection of perennial Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy in 2009 is a large reason for the team’s
willingness to pass on halfbacks early in the draft, of course, as the Birds simply didn’t need to invest that type of draft capital with Shady in tow. The continued omission of early-round running backs following his departure in 2015 is a bit harder to understand, though. While I’m a firm believer in never-ever-ever drafting a running back in the first round of the draft, a Day 2 pick wouldn’t hurt and could even result in the team landing a first-round talent without exhausting the corresponding draft capital.
While the Eagles aren’t exactly hurting at the position heading into this season with Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood under contract, the long-term outlook is grim to say the least- as none of the aforementioned halfbacks are signed beyond this season. Spending one of their two second-round selections on a running back may not be the desired course of action for the front office, but would be a worthwhile investment as it would land Carson Wentz a productive, longtime fixture in the backfield. I
Stop being conservative when it comes to wide receivers in the first two rounds
Similarly to the running back position, the Eagles haven’t shown much interest in wide receivers in the early rounds over the last decade. Omitting WR Nelson Agholor, whose selection was widely-considered a reach in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Birds have not selected a receiver in the opening round since Jeremy Maclin in 2009. Again, depth definitely played a hand in the decision-making, as the team rostered DeSean Jackson and/or Maclin for the majority of the last decade.
Still, just two combined receivers drafted in the first or second round since 2009 seems a bit extreme and is a trend that simply can’t continue if the Birds intend on competing in the now pass-happy league.
Additionally, the Eagles don’t have a ton of depth behind their impressive starting trio of Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor. Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson have yet to prove they’re more than mere special teamers to this point in their respective careers and I don’t expect recently-signed Charles Johnson to do much damage as he makes his return from the AAF.
With Nelson Agholor set to be an unrestricted free agent following this season and DeSean Jackson already on the wrong side of 30, it would behoove the Eagles to target a receiver early in the draft. Not only would it give Carson Wentz another deadly weapon to add to his arsenal, but should Agholor move on to greener pastures or D-Jax suddenly decline, the Eagles would already have a dynamic successor rostered.
Are there any other trends the Eagles should discontinue in the upcoming draft? Let me know in the comments below!
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