By: Thomas Brown
The 2020 NFL Draft features the future’s brightest stars as they await their names to be called. These rookies have the ability to impact teams around the league that need them the most. Believe it or not, one of those teams is none other than the Philadelphia Eagles. In this article, I’ll highlight their top 5 position needs for the upcoming draft from least to very important.
5. FB Or Another RB
One of the brightest spots from the 2019 campaign would be one Eagles RB Miles Sanders. His elusiveness and speed bolstered the Eagles’ offense especially through the final stretch of the season and hopefully, his play will continue heading into next season. Sanders led the team in rushing with 818 yards on 179 carries along with 509 yards receiving on 50 receptions on the year. However, this backfield is in need of a sense of balance in its rushing attack. A sense of power. Joshua Kelley, the RB out of UCLA would be someone to keep an eye on. During the combine, he had 23 bench press reps along with a 4.49 40-yard dash time. This dynamic would shave off a little bit of workload from Sanders but would benefit the offense situationally.
4. ALL PHASES OF THE SECONDARY (Mainly CB)
This past season, the Eagles passing defense ranked 19th in the NFL. They allowed opposing offenses to average 241.6 yards per game. To add more salt to the wound, they were tied for 2nd in allowing 40+ yard gains with 15. Since defensive coordinators aren’t eligible to get picked in the draft, we’ll stick with the players needed. The guy that I would look out for is Javaris Davis, the CB from Auburn. Despite his height that may play a factor in Schwartz’s system, his combine results are something to consider. He had a vertical jump of 35.5 inches. He also had a 40-yard dash time of 4.39. Granted, he won’t be the bandage that heals all the wounds in the Eagles’ secondary but Davis definitely doesn’t hurt.
3. Overall Youth On The Entire O-Line
With the departure of future Hall-of-Famer, Jason Peters, as the free agency period looms, the time to invest in building a wall for Carson Wentz couldn’t have come at a better time. Especially, for the present and distant future. The Eagles need to begin using the blueprint that their division rival Dallas Cowboys has created for their benefit. Austin Jackson from USC might be a long shot as far as the Eagles picks are concerned but if he’s available, go get him. He did 27 bench press reps at the Combine. His 3-Cone drill time was also a 7.95.
2. Young LB Core
The Eagles’ linebacking core this past season was suspect at best. You know it’s bad when Nathan Gerry has to start at linebacker. The second level of the Eagles defense NEEDS help immediately. This stacked draft class could answer the call. Schwartz’s system relies on the blitz and less on sideline-to-sideline coverage. Logan Wilson, LB out of Wyoming, could start right away and help buffer the waning linebacking core. At the combine, Wilson earned a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.27 seconds. His 3-Cone drill time was also 7.07 seconds, which is nothing to ignore as well.
1. SPEED AT WR
Here’s a trivia question. Who led the Eagles this past season in receiving yards and receptions? If your answer was Zach Ertz, you are absolutely correct. I’ll even take this stat a step further, the first three positions that lead this category is a TE, another TE, and a RB. Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders were those 3 players. The Eagles’ offense relied heavily on the health of an aging speed WR in DeSean Jackson who by the way, is at the age of 33. Take into consideration that Alshon Jeffery is on the outs as well and Philadelphia, we have a problem on our hands. Luckily, the Eagles have a ton of options to choose from in this upcoming draft. Look no further than Alabama’s star wideout, Henry Ruggs III. At the combine, he ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.27 seconds. To also showcase his jumping ability, he managed to get a vertical jump height of 42 inches. He has the potential to become one of Carson Wentz’s favorite targets and can create space for other receivers to excel as well.