2011 NFL Draft | Philadelphia Eagles Team Needs
The end of the Donovan McNabb Era was supposed to translate into a rebuilding mode with quarterback Kevin Kolb. However, things went differently than planned, Michael Vick took the league by storm (again), and the Eagles won their division with an 11-5 record.
The Eagles are sitting pretty with Vick (as long as they hold onto him), as their offense is set to be amongst the league’s best for years to come. Its their defense that let them down at times in 2010, although with some filled holes, Philadelphia should have no trouble contending for a Super Bowl for the next few years.
Biggest Needs: OL, QB, TE
With the mobile Vick slated to hang around in Philly, you’d think offensive line is the least of the teams’ concerns. However, Vick took a beating at times, and with his durability being a concern going forward, the Eagles need to make sure they do their best to protect him. Winston Justice is a talented tackle, but he’s been atrocious in spots, including in the playoffs the past two seasons. An upgrade with Nate Solder or Derek Sherrod with the 23rd pick would help Vick sleep easy at night. The rest of the offensive line is solid, although depth picks at guard would do the Eagles some good in the mid-to-later rounds.
Vick is over 30 and has never been the poster boy for durability, so with Kevin Kolb undoubtedly gone via trade after Vick resigns, the Eagles will need to spend a mid-round pick on a back-up plan. Some people seem to think they already have that in Mike Kafka, but he’s not close to what they’ll need if Vick goes down. Getting a competent back-up in the fourth round like Christian Ponder would be a good, safe move.
Philly has a great, young tight end in Brent Celek, but his play dropped considerably in 2010. If the Eagles think that has anything to do with his ability, they may start thinking about adding some depth to the position. There are plenty of solid tight end prospects, so the Eagles should grab one in the fourth or fifth round to give themselves some insurance, as well as a competent body to use in two-tight end sets.
Biggest Needs: SS, LB, CB
The Eagles need a new Brian Dawkins. Quintin Mikell is a very solid strong safety, but he’s 30 and will be a free agent. The list time the Eagles had a 30+ year old safety (Dawkins), they let him go. They like Mikell, but there’s some talent in this draft, which will allow them to get younger and more talented at the position. Look for them to let Mikell go and target Ahmad Black in the second round, with DeAndre McDaniel as another strong candidate.
The Eagles also need to get better in their line-backing corps. Stewart Bradley can still be the future in the middle, but he’s a free agent. Since he’s coming off injury, however, it looks like the Eagles will retain their defensive leader, and possibly on the cheap. If they don’t, they could hunt down Casey Matthews in the middle rounds, while they’re much more likely to grab an outside linebacker to help upgrade over either Ernie Sims or Moise Fokou. Both of those linebackers are solid, but Philly can use the depth and competition on defense.
Philadelphia is looking good at corner with Asante Samuel and Dimitri Patterson, but there’s still questions about Patterson, and depth overall in the secondary is a concern. The Eagles could get a lot stronger in their pass defense by adding Curtis Brown or Davon House in the third round.
Overall, Philly is in a really good spot on offense, and still has a pretty solid defense that could easily become elite with a few moves in the draft and free agency. They need to just keep filling the obvious holes and adding depth, and they’ll be right in the thick of things for the next few years.