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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: NFC East

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: April 18, 2020, 2:28 pm ET

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian HartitzNick MensioJohn Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Philadelphia Eagles

Notable Offseason Additions: DT Javon Hargrave, CB Darius Slay, S Will Parks, LB Jatavis Brown, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

Starting Offense

QB: Carson Wentz

RB: Miles Sanders

WR1: Alshon Jeffery

WR2: DeSean Jackson

WR3: Greg Ward

TE: Zach Ertz

LT: Andre Dillard

LG: Isaac Seumalo

C: Jason Kelce

RG: Brandon Brooks

RT: Lane Johnson

Starting Defense

DE: Brandon Graham

DE: Derek Barnett

DT: Fletcher Cox

DT Javon Hargrave

WLB: Duke Riley

MLB: T.J. Edwards

SLB: Nate Gerry

CB: Darius Slay

CB: Avonte Maddox

SCB: Nickell Robey-Coleman

S: Rodney McLeod

S: Jalen Mills


Team Needs

Hartitz’s Analysis

Wide receiver: Philly was exposed at the end of last season without the likes of DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor on the field. Last year’s second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside finished the season with just 10 receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown despite playing all 16 games. The Eagles were the league's fifth-worst offense in yards after the catch per reception. As good as Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are, another legit WR would do wonders for this offense.

Linebacker: The Eagles didn't quite manage to replace LB Jordan Hicks, leading to only Nigel Bradham (No. 35) ranking among PFF's top-50 LBs in 2019. Bradham remains a free agent. The Eagles boasted the league's third-best defense in adjusted line yards allowed per rush ... but ranked 23rd in open field yards allowed per carry. They currently have the second-fewest 2020 dollars devoted to the LB position.

Safety: Long-time stud Malcolm Jenkins has re-joined the Saints, meaning converted-CB Jalen Mills is now expected to slot in next to Rodney McLeod. Perhaps the position change will spark better performance from Mills, but it would still be surprising to see Philly refrain from adding somebody else to compete for the spot. They've seemingly fixed their CB problem; now isn't the time to create a new problem in the middle of the defense. The Eagles were a top-10 defense in yards allowed per game to TEs in each of the past five seasons.


Eagles' 2020 Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

1 (21). WR Justin Jefferson, LSU - It was shocking to see the Eagles bypass wide receiver during free agency, but there is no better year to double down on the position. Jefferson is ready-made for the NFL. He contributed 109 receptions out of the slot last year, leading the country, but his contributions to an offense exceed that area of the field. Jefferson possesses outstanding body control and strong hands to haul in contested catches at a high rate and forced 25 missed tackles last season. He makes plays. That’s the definition of creating yards others simply cannot.

WATCH NOW: See who our experts believe the Eagles will select at No. 21 in our First Round Mock Draft Show! 

2 (53). S/LB Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois - Malcolm Jenkins’ role and production might be difficult to replace. The veteran is obviously comfortable in coverage and consistently made plays when moving toward the line of scrimmage. This draft class houses an unusual number of prospects who did the same at the college level - the only question is if they will do the same in the NFL. Chinn is an insane athlete (99th percentile) with linebacker size, so if safety doesn’t work, perhaps he’ll make the shift inside, similar to Thomas Davis.

3 (103). EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama - Lewis got in a trip to the Eagles just before prospect visits were halted. The Eagles certainly have a lot of young edge rushing depth on rookie contracts, but none have taken that next step. Lewis presents “freak” moments of appearing to be on another tier above collegiate tackles, and he can close in a flash when looping inside or on effort sacks.

4 (127). WR John Hightower, Boise State - Again, it is surprising the Eagles did not prioritize another vertical playmaker after seeking out DeSean Jackson before the 2019 season. Hightower is not Jackson, few are, but he could fill the role after averaging 16 and 18 yards per catch over the last two seasons.

4 (145). LB Markus Bailey, Purdue - Bailey might be this year’s Jordan Hicks - a linebacker coming off an injured season who displays playmaking skills against the run and in coverage.

4 (146). OL Danny Pinter, Ball State - Pinter has plenty of experience at right tackle, but some teams could project him inside. The Eagles always boast great offensive line depth, and Pinter might be an ideal utility blocker.

5 (168). QB Anthony Gordon, Washington State - There’s just one year left on Nate Sudfeld’s contract. Perhaps they will choose to extend him, or the team may look to a backup on a rookie contract.

6 (190). RB James Robinson, Illinois State - Miles Sanders should dominate backfield touches for the Eagles, and Boston Scott certainly had his moments. Robinson presents a different skill set at 219 pounds with balance to break tackles.

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