With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching we take a look at the positions and the players that might fit in with what the Eagles needs for the current and future roster.

1. Linebackers

Potential Targets: Drew Sanders, Jack Campell, Trenton Simpson

There hasn’t been much talk on the Eagles lack of linebacker depth this offseason. And this is most likely due to there not being a high end linebacker talent in this draft class. But if you take a look at the Eagles linebacker depth chart, it is quite bare.

This team in one offseason away from one of its best linebacker cores in recent memory, but most of those players went elsewhere. The lone significant linebacker that remains on the roster is Nakobe Dean, a second-year player with high upside but had limited snaps in his rookie year. Dean flashed greatly in his spot snaps but really never got a chance to establish himself last season.

The team did address the position in free agency by signing Nicholas Morrow. Morrow was an under rated signing and was a great addition to the teams defense. But other than Morrow nobody was added.

The current backups are Christian Elliss, Shaun Bradley and Davion Taylor. Two of those players have been very disappointing draft picks that were deemed projects and haven’t been trusted to play on a regular basis. If one of the starters were to exit a game with an injury the Eagles defense would have a major hole for opposing teams to attack.

Some prospects that I would like the Eagles to possibly select are listed above. Sanders is the clear No.1 linebacker in this draft class he is a prospect that when he puts on some weight will be able to do it all. The earliest the Eagles could take him would with the 30th pick which might still be high in this class. Other players I would love to see the Eagles take with a second day pick is Campell and Simpson. Campell has a massive frame for a linebacker at 6’5 250 lbs. He would be a great run stopping player to team up with Jordan Davis. He lacks pass coverage skills but would be a reliable tackler and run-stopper. Simpson is similar to Sanders based off of his versatility but he has the higher blitzing upside.

2. Safety

Potential Targets: Brian Branch

This might be a hot take, but I think the Eagles will trade down a couple of spots from No.10 to take Brian Branch. The team lost a key piece of last years defense in C.J. Gardner-Johnson. This will be a bigger blow than some people are expecting. Yes, Reed Blankenship had a good rookie season while filling in but do I think he will play at an elite level? No. I think Blankenship will most likely be best in a backup role like we have seen this season.

With Darius Slay and James Bradberry returning to the team this offseason the secondary is mostly in good hands. But we have to realize that they are starting to end up on the older side and the Eagles will need to replace them sooner than later. This is why I think we need to take a defensive back early in this draft.

The Eagles have not been known to draft defensive backs early at all in the past decade. The last one I recall the Eagles drafting somewhat early was K’von Wallace in round 4. It’s time that Howie Roseman invest one of his high end picks on a high end player like Branch.

Branch might be one of the most pro-ready players in this draft class. In his time at Alabama he played all over the field and was the teams Swiss army knife. One fault that could be pointed out with his game is his somewhat spotty man-coverage but he makes up for it with his play elsewhere.

 

3. EDGE

Potential Targets: Nolan Smith, BJ Ojulari, 

With Derrick Barnett’s injury prone history and Brandon Grahams soon to be retirement the team needs to keep pressuring the quarterback for years to come. Most mock drafts have the Eagles selecting an edge threat at No.10. Many teams as good as Philadelphia with multiple picks like to use the take the best player available approach. And with this quarterback/edge lob sided draft class it wouldn’t be a bad choice.

One player that is linked to the Eagles at No.10 constantly is Nolan Smith. Smith makes up for his smaller frame with immense power and athletic ability. He also happens to be familiar with Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean as they were teammates at Georgia. Taking defensive players from Georgia and Alabama have been a successful trend for the Eagles, and adding one more would be a home run of a selection.

Ojulari is a player I could see the Eagles taking at No.30 or into the second round. It’s tough to say how all of these edge players will fall in this years draft so it could be either or. Ojulari would be a pick that was strictly based off of his pro-ready pass rush that he could bring to the defense. His skills would match up well with a Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat.

Go Birds!

 

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