The Eagles need to go all-in on the defense during the 2022 NFL Draft

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 27: Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) celebrates a sack during the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 27, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

If you’ve watched games 1-7, you probably came away thinking “yeah, the defense needs work but is Jalen Hurts really the guy?”

But now with Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni seemingly finding their roots (haha, get it? flowers? did you miss my articles?) together, it’s time to put aside the notion that a QB in the draft is needed to take over the reigns or trading from that first round capital is the answer.

It’s abundantly clear, despite the efforts against Teddy Two Gloves, that this defense needs a major overhaul. They are allowing 25.3 completions per game, 27th in the league, and 26.3 over the last three, tied for worst in the league. That average came down due to facing Teddy Bridgewater. Opposing QBs are averaging 73.8% on their throws, worst in the league, with 73.15% in the least three. The pass rush has been almost non-existent this season, averaging 1.8 sacks per game – 27th in the league.

With the next slate of QBs not being world beaters (Trevor Siemian, Daniel Jones, whoever the Jets bring out), the defense has a decent chance at turning things around, not to mention Jonathan Gannon showing he knows how to adjust to his players. However with the early season damage done by the elite-to-semi elite QBs and the offense showing true competency, it’s crucial the draft focus is on defense with a sprinkling of depth at other areas.

Draft targets

The Eagles currently have the 5th, 10th, and 15th picks in the draft. I think it’s safe to say the Colts pick will convert. Unless the current top four teams (Lions, Texans, Jets, and Jags) go on some crazy win streak out of no where, the Dolphins pick will settle between 5-10. This means the Kayvon, Stingley, and maybe Hamilton dreams will be dead. For me, an ideal first three picks would be:

I’m not so sure Linderbaum makes it to the mid-first round range due to him being one of the best center prospects in recent years, but with Kelce on his way out, a replacement of Linderbaum’s ability is needed. An offensive line of Mailata, Dickerson, Linderbaum, Driscoll/Herbig, Johnson would be a very good line. There’s always the possiblity that the Eagles completely blow up the “oldies” and move on from Lane Johnson, but I think we have at least one more year of his services.

Second round needs to be linebacker. Nakobe Dean is playing his way into the first round, maybe Christian Harris too, but landing a player like Brandon Smith, Henry To’o To’o, or Devin Lloyd would be a giant step forward in fixing the defense.

Third through seventh doesn’t necessarily have to be all defense, but I encourage it. I hate using this team as an example, but look at what the Cowboys did in the 2021 draft. All but three of their 11 picks were on the defensive side of the ball. Now, a year after allowing over 380 yards per game, they improved by over 30 yards. Their defense still stinks, but it’s improved. You can even look at their 2020 class as their dedication to improving their weaknesses, as Trevon Diggs is what we all thought Jalen Mills could be: a corner who finger wagged his way back to the line of scrimmage after watching an overthrown deep ball but still capitalizes on QB’s mistakes every now and then.

I’d like to see a combination of another EDGE, LB, safety, running back (I don’t think Sanders is back), IDL (I think Cox is traded), WR maybe (Reagor gone?), and OL who can play multiple positions.

My mock:

5 – Aiden Hutchinson – EDGE

10 – Sauce Gardner – CB

15 – Tyler Linderbaum – C

38 – Brandon Smith – LB

74 – Kenneth Walker II – RB

108 – Merlin Robertson – LB

146- Justyn Ross – WR

152 – Xavier Thomas  – EDGE

172 – Bubba Bolden – S

198 – D’Jordan Strong – CB

202 – Cordell Volson – OT

When looking at free agency and the ~$46 million the Eagles will have after this year’s roll over, you can’t help but be excited about the prospect of adding at least two impact players. Some of the big names will be franchised, but I’m most intrigued by:

  • Allen Robinson
  • Chris Godwin (probably franchised)
  • Davante Adams (probably franchised)
  • Mike Williams (Maybe franchised? His knee may scare Chargers off)
  • Tyrann Mathieu (probably franchised)
  • Marcus Williams
  • Marcus Maye (injured, may come cheap)
  • Haason Reddick
  • Ahkello Witherspoon
  • J.C. Jackson

Final thoughts:

I’m angry at Jonathan Gannon. Very angry at him. But, as fans we must remember how bad Todd Bowles and Sean McDermott were. Is this the case now? Does Gannon actually run a decent scheme but doesn’t have the players to execute? Or is he a bone headed dunce? It’s looking like the latter right now, but if Howie (plz no) and Jeffery insist on Gannon getting another year, they need to help the guy out.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire