HomeFeaturesEagles draft needs quickly coming into focus

Eagles draft needs quickly coming into focus

The never-ending National Football League season is barreling toward another milestone. The annual NFL Draft is just weeks away, beginning on April 25.

The initial free agency period has passed with the Eagles making more than their share of interesting moves. Most recently, the team brought back Avonte Maddox after allowing him to explore free agency. The team also extended the contracts of safety Reed Blankenship and left tackle Jordan Mailata.

To a great degree, the 2024 roster is set except for its draft class of eight picks.

By design, the final makeup of the team is far from set. The draft is just the next aspect of team building that the Eagles will go through.

Free agency addressed the offensive side of the ball primarily, especially with the flashy signing of former Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Here are the biggest needs the Eagles have yet to answer.

Offensively, the signing of lineman Matt Hennessey is insurance for the plan of inserting Cam Jurgens in at the center spot that opened up with the retirement of Jason Kelce. The rest of the line, Lane Johnson, Mailata and Landon Dickerson, have all been locked down for at least the next three years.

Barkley answers nearly every question in the backfield, as long as he remains healthy. Former Steelers starter Kenny Pickett was brought in as a short-term answer should Jalen Hurts miss time due to injury.

AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith give the Eagles one of the best pass-catching duos in the league. Add in Dallas Goedert and it is hard to find a much better trio. DeVante Parker and Parris Campbell will compete to become a much-needed fourth option in the offense.

Defensively, the Eagles in essence swapped Haason Reddick for Bryce Huff as pass rushers. The other most-notable addition is the return of C.J. Gardner-Johnson after a one-year stint in Detroit. CJGJ should bring back some much-needed swagger to the defense.  

Elsewhere, they brought in an assortment of just-OK players at linebacker and defensive back that could see some time in a pinch. Basically, the Eagles are crossing their fingers in the hopes that somehow a good player will emerge from that bunch to help the defense.

Anyone who watched the Eagles in December and January knows that plan doesn’t always cash in.

The Eagles have eight picks in the upcoming draft, with the first three coming in the first 53 picks. That fact means the Eagles should be able to bolster their roster and address some of the concerns that remain on the roster.

The Eagles’ first pick at No. 22 would be a perfect place to reach out for a top-notch college corner or safety who can play alongside Darius Slay, Maddox and Blankenship.

The next two picks, Nos. 50 and 53, will definitely feature at least one offensive lineman. That’s just the way the Eagles do things. The other pick would be best used on a wide receiver or elite tight end. The lack of a fourth option last year really limited the offense in a lot of ways, especially late in the year when things became overly predictable.

It’s always tricky to guess where the Eagles will go on the second and third day of the draft because it’s rare that executive vice president Howie Roseman isn’t keen on staying put on draft weekend. The Eagles have a fourth-round pick, three fifth-rounders and a sixth-round pick.

Regardless, whichever picks they keep or which ones they acquire, finding a good young linebacker would be a perfect way to use that asset. Beyond that, they can easily revert to taking as many linemen on either side of the ball.

The draft is almost here, which is great. Even better, that means the season will be here before we know it.

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