By Dave Spadaro
Howie Roseman and the Eagles are “open for business,” Roseman said a week before the NFL Draft, so you can expect during this three-day event that Roseman will have plenty of opportunities to move up, down and all around.
That’s the way he works.
One of the NFL’s most aggressive personnel decision makers is in his element with the draft upon us. As the Eagles have been so proactive in the months following their first Super Bowl victory, they don’t have all the weapons they usually have at their disposal this weekend. With only six draft picks, the Eagles may be in the unfamiliar territory of letting the draft come to them. It will be tough to move up, because the Eagles can ill afford to give up draft picks in trades. There aren’t veterans on the roster who appear to have great value in trades for more draft currency.
So if the Eagles are going to move, particularly early on, it’s likely to be in reverse to accumulate more picks.
In any event, the team has needs to address in the roster.
Let’s see what positions they could target in the seven-round extravaganza set in Dallas, starting Thursday night.
• Tight end. With Trey Burton off to Chicago in free agency and Brent Celek released, the Eagles signed former Packer Richard Rodgers to go along with Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz. That isn’t enough. Do the Eagles think that Billy Brown, Joshua Perkins or Adam Zaruba can be that coveted third tight end? All three have ability, but in a tight end-strong draft, the Eagles could very well dip into the talent pool, even early.
• Linebacker. Just how much do the Eagles trust middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, who has been injured in two of his three NFL seasons (torn pectoral muscle in 2015, torn Achilles tendon 2017)? They signed veteran Paul Worrilow and still have Joe Walker, but if the Eagles have a chance to get a standout prospect for the middle of the defense, it will be hard to pass up.
• Running back. Jay Ajayi is in the final year of his contract and has a knee with a bone-on-bone condition, so how long can he last playing at a high level? Corey Clement is a young and rising back, but he may be best suited to share the responsibilities in the backfield. In a running back-rich draft, the Eagles are going to be tempted to add to the stable in the backfield.
• Offensive tackle. Yeah, Jason Peters is back and Halapoulivaati Vaitai was a starting left tackle for a Super Bowl team. Lane Johnson is a star. The Eagles are in better shape here than 95 percent of teams in the NFL. But looking into the future … offensive linemen will be added. The Eagles are always into developing them for three or four years down the line.
• Wide receiver. Mike Wallace was a nice pickup in free agency, but if the Eagles can get some speed and versatility here, it’s worth a look. Mo’ weapons, mo’ weapons, mo’ weapons.
• Safety. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are a terrific twosome, but the Eagles could use a waiting-in-the-wings kind of safety and he could be coming in the draft. Nobody would be surprised if the team adds a safety among its six (for now) draft picks. ••