PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Things appear to be serene and settled with the Eagles right now with the NFL draft next Thursday from Nashville, Tennessee. But the Eagles also appear thin at linebacker, cornerback and running back.
Of the three areas, cornerback seems to have some stability, with hopefully the healthier Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby both returning and definitely added depth in Cre’von LeBlanc, Sidney Jones and the possibility of rising impact player Avonte Maddox playing some corner.
Linebacker is an absolute mess.
The only linebacker of any substance is Nigel Bradham, but after that, it gets thin fast with the Eagles depending on Kamu Grugier-Hill, Paul Worrilow, Nathan Gerry and free agent signee L.J. Fort won’t solve the issue.
With the 25th overall pick, it’s easy to see the Eagles going linebacker, but their drafting philosophy and overall scheme doesn’t put much stock into the position.
The Eagles also don’t believe very strongly in taking a running back high, though under Andy Reid they drafted LeSean McCoy in the second round and all he did was establish new franchise rushing records.
What the Eagles may likely do is lean on building depth on the offensive (a must) and defensive lines (not as great a need).
Don’t be surprised if the Eagles choose Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who underwent major surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee in February and won’t be ready to play this season. Simmons is highly thought of on many draft boards, according to multiple reports, and may drop as low as 25.
The choices here are two. First: Alabama’s Josh Jacobs. The Eagles bolstered the backfield in the Jordan Howard trade, but he has only one year left on his deal. Howard will take pressure off of Carson Wentz, but Wentz also needs someone he can grow with and rely on in the backfield. Jacobs is the kind of impact back who can be that.
The only other choice, if still available, is 6-foot-3, 308-pound Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom. The Eagles have a serious need at left guard. Lindstrom is someone that can step right in and would be a marked improvement over Isaac Seumalo — and again, Wentz will need as much protection as he can get.
This is now Wentz’s team and anything and anyone that can make life easier for him this coming season should be a huge priority this draft.
The Eagles are a team that’s getting old. They have one of the oldest offensive lines in the NFL, skewed greatly by Jason Peters’ 16 years of experience and the fact that he’s 37 years old.
The window for the Eagles’ success is closing fast around one of the oldest core groups in the NFL. The Eagles and their rabid fan base may not want to accept it — but it’s happening.