2020 NFL Draft: Ranking the Eagles’ needs with 2 weeks to go
The Eagles head into the 2020 NFL Draft with plenty of holes left to fill and they’ll have eight picks to do it. The Eagles initially had 10 picks but traded their own third- and fifth-rounders to the Lions for Darius Slay.
So here are the rankings, in reverse order, of all the Eagles’ needs heading into the draft.
I have also given a few options at each position for the Eagles in the upcoming draft:
(All photos: USA Today Images)
11. Tight end
The Eagles are pretty set with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert but still need a third tight end unless they’re just going to ride with one of the young guys they already have on the roster.
This is a particularly uninspiring tight end class, though.
Mid-round option: Colby Parkinson, Stanford
Mid-round option: Mitchell Wilcox, South Florida
Late-round option: Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
10. Defensive tackle
Javon Hargrave was the Eagles’ big free agent acquisition and they still have Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway under contract. So it’s very unlikely the Eagles will use a top pick on a defensive tackle but with their history of drafting defensive linemen, I guess you can’t completely rule it out.
First-round option: Ross Blacklock, TCU
Mid-round option: Rashard Lawrence, LSU
Late-round option: Robert Windsor, Penn State
9. Backup QB
Nate Sudfeld is back but maybe the Eagles will still use one of their eight draft picks on a quarterback to develop instead of Kyle Lauletta, who is already on the team.
They tried to draft a quarterback last year in the fifth round but ended up with Clayton Thorson, who didn’t even make the roster and ended up on the Cowboys’ practice squad.
Mid-round option: Anthony Gordon, Washington State
Late-round option: Cole McDonald, Hawaii
Late-round option: James Morgan, FIU
8. Running back
Miles Sanders had a great rookie season, setting the Eagles’ single season rookie record in yards from scrimmage. And Boston Scott looks like he has what it takes to be at least a piece of the puzzle. But the only other running back under contract is unproven Elijah Holyfield.
There’s no way the Eagles are picking a running back in the first round but middle rounds or late rounds might work.
Mid-round option: Antonio Gibson, Memphis
Mid-round option: AJ Dillon, Boston College
Late-round option: Michael Warren II, Cincinnati
7. Offensive tackle
The Eagles seem like they’re finally ready to proceed with Andre Dillard at left tackle after letting Jason Peters hit free agency. And they still have Lane Johnson at right tackle. But their top swing tackle right now is Jordan Mailata, who has never played in a football game that matters. That’s a little concerning.
It’s unlikely the Eagles take an offensive tackle in the first round for the second straight season but they could look to add some later in the draft.
First-round option: Josh Jones, Houston
Mid-round option: Ben Bartch, Saint John’s
Late-round option: Charlie Heck, North Carolina
6. Interior OL
In 2020, the Eagles are expected to have their starting interior line back with Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks. But Kelce has been contemplating retirement after each season, Brooks is over 30 and Seumalo isn’t a star. And after those guys, the Eagles’ top interior backups are former sixth-rounder Matt Pryor and undrafted Nate Herbig.
I really don’t expect the Eagles to use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman this year, but a mid-round pick on an interior lineman would make plenty of sense. The Eagles always prioritize building through their lines.
First-round option: Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Mid-round option: Nick Harris, Washington
Late-round option: Jon Runyan, Michigan
While the Eagles did let Malcolm Jenkins leave, they brought back Rodney McLeod, are moving Jalen Mills to safety and signed Will Parks as a free agent. But none of those moves solidify the position in the long-term. Even McLeod’s deal is just two years. So the Eagles still have a pretty big need at the position.
This is where we point out that the Eagles have never drafted a safety in the first round, but they have drafted plenty in the second. Maybe this is the year they’ll change that if they can find a truly versatile and dynamic safety in the first.
First-round option: Xavier McKinney, Alabama
Mid-round option: K’Von Wallace, Clemson
Late-round option: Daniel Thomas, Auburn
4. Defensive end
Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, both starters from 2019, will return in 2020. But it’s possible neither are long-term solutions. Graham is over 30 and Barnett is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract. And after those two, the Eagles are left with Josh Sweat, Genard Avery, Shareef Miller and Joe Ostman. At the very least, they need more depth.
As a reminder, the Eagles have made eight first-round picks with Howie Roseman as GM and three of them have been edge rushers: Brandon Graham (2010), Marcus Smith (2014) and Derek Barnett (2017).
First-round option: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
Mid-round option: Bradlee Anae, Utah
Late-round option: Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
The Birds got Darius Slay in a trade but the 29-year-old corner might not be a long-term solution. And who’s starting on the other side? Is it 5-foot-9 Avonte Maddox? Where do Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas fit into the mix? There are a ton of questions yet to be answered.
The Eagles haven’t drafted a corner in the first round since 2002, when they took Lito Sheppard out of Florida. Maybe they go back to that well this year if one of the top guys is somehow still available.
First-round option: C.J. Henderson, Florida
Mid-round option: Bryce Hall, Virginia
Late-round option: Harrison Hand, Temple
The Eagles signed Jatavis Brown but he’s far from a sure thing. And he’s joining a linebacker group that includes Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley and Alex Singleton. Brown will have a chance to earn a starting spot simply because there’s not much else there.
In the last few years, the Eagles have gone for bargain bin options when it comes to linebacker. Heck, they haven’t drafted an inside linebacker in the first since Jerry Robinson in 1979. I don’t expect them to suddenly fork over a first-round pick for a linebacker, but if they do, there are a couple viable options.
First-round option: Patrick Queen, LSU
Mid-round option: Logan Wilson, Wyoming
Late-round option: Shaun Bradley, Temple
1. Wide receiver
It’s no secret that the Eagles neglected the receiver position throughout free agency and have a pretty desperate need right now. Without adding someone, their top receivers are Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. Not a lot to count on there.
If the Eagles don’t use their No. 21 pick on a receiver, you can bet they’ll use one on a receiver shortly after. In the Eagles’ eyes, the cupboard might not be as bare as we think it is, but they need to upgrade. There are several names who might make some sense at 21 and beyond.
First-round option: Justin Jefferson, LSU
Mid-round option: Gabriel Davis, UCF
Late-round option: Quartney Davis, Texas A&M