2013 NFL Draft: Offensive Needs
The 2013 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and it is time to discuss post-free agency pre-draft team needs on offense. The team is pretty well set at the skill positions for the time being with Pro Bowl talent at both the running back and wide receiver positions. The Tight End position could use an elite level talent and the offensive line needs to be re-stocked with younger players who could potentially step in and play right away if need be. The looming question, without a real long term solution at QB in the fold, is there a QB in this draft that Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur are enamored with enough to spend the 4th overall pick on him.
First up is quarterback. The Eagles were pretty active when it came to trolling the market for quarterbacks. Dennis Dixon and G. J. Kinne were both added to a roster that already features Michael Vick, Nick Foles, and Trent Edwards. The presence of five QBs on the roster as we head into the draft seems to indicate that neither Chip Kelly or Howie Roseman are that enamored with what this year’s draft class has to offer. It is not oustide the realm of possibility that the team takes a quarterback, but it seems unlikely at this stage.
NOTE: The team recently released Trent Edwards.
This very well may be the most talented position on the roster. LeSean McCoy is arguably one of the best two or three all-around backs in the game. When healthy McCoy can be counted on for 1,600 yards of offense and 15 to 20 touchdowns. Backup Bryce Brown showed flashes of brilliance last season and the only thing holding him back is a propensifty to put the ball on the ground from time-to-time. The team just dealt Dion Lewis to Cleveland for linebacker Emmanuel Acho leaving Chris Polk as the likely #3 back. The team could grab another back in the draft, but it seems unlikely they will grab one prior to Saturday. One guy to keep an eye on here is Kenjon Barner who played for Kelly at Oregon, catches the ball well out of the backfield and potentially gives them someone who can return kicks and punts.
This position will be an interesting one to watch this offseason. The team has added six free agent receivers since the end of the season. Despite this one should expect a ton of turnover at the position. Jeremy Maclin enters the last year of his contract and is arguably the best all-around receiver on the team. DeSean Jackson is the team’s best play-maker at the position and Jason Avant is a solid #3 and he has a very affordable contract. The team has already released Ron Johnson who spent last season on IR. Most of the turnover is expected to be in the 4 through six spots which featured the likes of Damaris Johnson and Riley Cooper. Arrellious Benn, acquired via trade is almost assured a spot on the roster unless he flames out during training camp. It is hard to imagine the Eagles taking a WR before Saturday.
The team currently has four players who can play the position in Brent Celek, Clay Harbor, Evan Moore, and James Casey. Celek has been good at times but struggles with bad drops and injuries. The consensus on Harbor is that he probably will not be on the roster when the kicks off. Moore is more of a blocker than a pass catcher. Kelly always seemed to favor athletic TEs who can get down the field. It would not be surprising to see them go after Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert if one of them were to slip to the top of the second round.
Assuming everyone comes back healthy and ready to go by the start of the season, in theory, the offensive line will be solid. The issue here is Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, and Todd Herremans are all on the wrong side of 30 with Peters and Herremans both coming off of significant injuries. In addition to this former first round pick Danny Watkins has yet to nail down the starting job at right guard. There has been much talk of the Eagles interest in Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, the top two tackle prospects in the draft. I like the idea of grabbing one of these two guys as it helps protect against Peters not coming back at full speed right away and it also affords the team the opportunity to move Herremans back inside where is more suited to play. The Eagles could also look to move down so they can pick up some more picks and grab Johnathan Cooper or Chance Warmack to fill the RG spot. At any rate don’t be surprised if the Eagles add at least one offensive lineman by the time Saturday rolls around. Regardless of the plan on offense this team desperately needs to add young offensive lineman who can step in and play right away should one of the starters go down. Not having any kind of depth along the line is what really hamstrung the offense last season.