MID-SEASON LOOK: EAGLES DRAFT NEEDS

QB Nick Foles is coming off two huge performances, but can he sustain those numbers and the the Eagles' long-term answer at QB?

QB Nick Foles is coming off two huge performances, but can he sustain those numbers and the the Eagles’ long-term answer at QB?

BY RYAN MILLER
@ThinkingNFL

The Philadelphia Eagles have had a roller-coaster season this far, and somehow find themselves tied for first the NFC East and in the playoff hunt. Over the past two games, the Eagles have played pretty darn good football. However, both of those games came against the Oakland Raiders and the reeling Green Bay Packers. Looking over the sample size of the season thus far, it is clear that there are still questions that need to be answered and some clear needs to fill.

Wide Receiver
The Eagles lost a big-time player in Jeremy Maclin to a season-ending injury in training camp.  Maclin, a former first-round pick, is an extremely talented receiver who would have flourished in Chip Kelly’s new offense with his speed, route-running and after-the-catch ability.  He was arguably the best receiver on the team in terms of all-around ability,  even ahead of DeSean Jackson. However, this was Maclin’s contract year, and he’ll likely walk after the year is done and hit free agency as the Eagles already have a lot of money invested Jackson and LeSean McCoy.  Riley Cooper has caught 5 touchdowns in his last 2 games, but he’s turned in some very poor games earlier in the year, as well.  Depending on how Cooper performs the rest of the year, it would not surprise me if the Eagles targeted a WR somewhere in the 3rd round.

Safety
Earl Wolff
has been decent for a 6th round rookie, but I’m not sure if he can be a viable starting safety for the years to come. Nate Allen, Patrick Chung and company aren’t the answer, either.  While I don’t love this class in terms of the top-rated safeties, look for the Eagles to target a Safety as high as the 2nd round.

If the Eagles decide to go corner in the first round of the draft, Jason Verrett of TCU would make plenty of sense.

If the Eagles decide to go corner in the first round of the draft, Jason Verrett of TCU would make plenty of sense.

Cornerback
While some question the Eagles’ defensive scheme, the bottom line is that corners need to be able to cover no matter the scheme. This class is deep, as my 2nd-rated corner, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, isn’t expected to go until the 3rd round. My highest-rated corner is Jason Verrett from TCU, but he’s likely to go in the first. If the Eagles could get a guy like Fuller on Day 2, they should be satisfied.

Nose Tackle
An integral part of a 3-4 defense is the nose tackle.  Bennie Logan has been thrust into the starting spot, and while I have seen some good stuff from him, I’m not sure if he can get the job done for the long term.  I also have seen some solid stuff from Cedrick Thornton.  I’ll be interested to see how they feel about Logan come draft time, as the book is still out on him.

Quarterback
Yes, here it is: the Eagles need at the quarterback position.  Nick Foles is coming off two big games statistically, including an NFL-record-tying performance with seven touchdown passes.  But again, those 2 games were played against the Raiders and Packers, two teams with questionable secondaries.  Fans also must forget his game against the Dallas Cowboys, which was horrendous to say the least.  He also wasn’t good enough to beat out Michael Vick for the starting Job in late August.  All things considered, we need to see a larger sample size from Foles to really get an idea where the Eagles should be looking at to nab a QB in this year’s draft.  In my opinion, I don’t think they will be drafting Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel like many mocks have.

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