Re-ranking Eagles’ top needs after 2019 NFL draft

Re-ranking Eagles’ top needs after 2019 NFL draft

Just after the 2019 NFL draft wrapped up on Saturday, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said, “Talent-acquisition season has not ended.” 

Meaning: There are still over four months until the start of the 2019 season and still a couple of months from the start of training camp. In recent years, the Eagles have added LaRoy Reynolds, LeGarrette Blount, Ronald Darby, Corey Graham and others after the draft but before the season opener. It’s important to note that after May 7, players signed don’t count toward the compensatory pick formula. 

“We're not going on vacation now,” Roseman said. “We're going to continue to try to do whatever we can to support Coach [Doug Pederson] and his staff, and we take that part of it seriously.”

After the initial wave of free agency (before the moves to bring in Jordan Howard, Vinny Curry and Andrew Sendejo) here’s how I ranked the Eagles’ needs: 1. Running back, 2. Defensive end, 3. Offensive guard, 4. Linebacker, 5. Offensive tackle, 6. Defensive tackle, 7. Safety. 

From that list, I have taken running back, offensive tackle and defensive tackle off the board; I think they’re now good at all those positions. 

Here’s my newest ranking of their needs:

1. Offensive guard 

The Eagles reportedly added a trio of undrafted guards — Ryan Bates, Nate Herbig and Sua Opeta — after the draft wrapped up, so maybe that will be enough. I think Bates has the best chance to make the roster. At the very least, those guys will have a real opportunity. But I thought the Eagles were in play to add an interior lineman in one of the early rounds and instead they took the top tackle off the board. Long-term, I think that’s a fine move, but it doesn’t help their interior offensive line depth right now. 

Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks are the starters, but Brooks is coming off an Achilles injury and their top backup inside is Matt Pryor, a sixth-round pick last year. Seumalo is the backup center, so Pryor would be next in at guard if any of the three go down. The Eagles let Stefen Wisniewski walk this offseason, which left them light in terms of interior OL depth. 

I’ve seen some suggest that Andre Dillard needs to get on the field this season, so the Eagles should simply move Jason Peters inside and let Dillard play left tackle. I understand this idea, but I’m not so sure Peters would be willing. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one to tell the Hall of Fame tackle he’s now playing left guard. I’ve also seen some suggest Jordan Mailata could play guard. That seems like a lot to ask a guy who is still just a year into learning his first football position. 

Free agents still available: Wisniewski, Andy Levitre, Brandon Fusco, Chance Warmack, Jeff Allen, Mike Remmers

Wiz is still out there. Maybe if he can’t find a starting gig, he’d be willing to come back. Otherwise, Jeff Allen might make the most sense of that group. I included Warmack because Jeff Stoutland still thinks highly of him, but I know that wouldn’t be a popular pick. 

2. Linebacker

Aside from running back, there’s not a position fans worry about more than linebacker and I get it. The Eagles lost Jordan Hicks and now have Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Paul Worrilow, L.J. Fort and B.J. Bello. They also added Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards after the draft. The only reason I have LB below OG is because of the importance of the position, but there’s an argument to be made that no need is greater than linebacker. 

If things stay the way they are, I’d assume Bradham and Grugier-Hill will be the starters and then the rest of the guys fight for the third job and backup roles. Not ideal, but the Eagles haven’t put a huge emphasis on the position in recent years and they use two linebackers the majority of the time. 

Free agents still available: Jamie Collins, Zach Brown, Gerald Hodges, Manti Te’o

Collins or Brown could step in and immediately be starters. Both are 29, so they should have something left. 

3. Safety 

The Eagles didn’t draft a safety, but they did reportedly add Temple’s Delvon Randall after the draft. He might have an outside chance to make the team. 

Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod (coming off a torn ACL) are the starters. That much we know. But after that, there’s a clear depth problem with Corey Graham gone. Andrew Sendejo and Tre Sullivan are the top backups. Sendejo is a 31-year-old veteran coming off an injury and Sullivan is a former undrafted player from Shepherd University. With how much the Eagles use three safeties when Jenkins moves into the box, this is an important position. And when you look at linebacker and safety together, there’s definitely a weakness in the middle of the Eagles’ defense. 

Free agents still available: Eric Berry, Glover Quin, Jahleel Addae

Berry is clearly the highest-profile player on this list, but he might be a little too pricey as a third safety. If he comes to Philly, he’d need to be a starter. I think Quin is an interesting name. He’s 33 now but is a versatile defensive back who could have a chance at a championship as a role player. Quin would also be a great locker room fit. 

4. Defensive end 

The Eagles added Shareef Miller with the last pick in the fourth round, but I still don’t think their defensive end group is as good as it was in 2018. The loss of Michael Bennett is a big one and bringing back Vinny Curry and adding Miller doesn’t make up for it. The Eagles did keep Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett might take a jump, but it also seems like Chris Long is leaning toward walking away. So a rotation that brought Bennett and Long off the bench early in 2018, will now have Curry and either Josh Sweat or Miller as the top backups this year. 

The Eagles seem set at DT, but DE is still a concern. The Eagles passed on defense in the first two rounds and had to settle with taking a Day 3 edge-rusher who might have a hard time getting on the field. 

Free agents still available: Ezekiel Ansah, Derrick Morgan, Nick Perry, Andre Branch

Ansah is the top name on this list and it’s not close. Many of the top edge rushers still available are better suited for a 3-4 defense. The Eagles have a type because they need their ends to rush the passer and stuff the run. Those guys are harder to find. 

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Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael: 'I didn't know if I was good enough'

Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael: 'I didn't know if I was good enough'

Harold Carmichael learned back on Monday that he had finally made it into the Hall of Fame, but for logistical reasons he wasn’t allowed to tell anybody until after the official announcement on Wednesday.
As it happened, on Tuesday night, Harold found himself sitting next to his close friend and long-time coach Dick Vermeil at a dinner at NaBrasa Brazlian Steakhouse in Horsham.
For three hours.

Vermeil had just learned he didn't make it into the Hall of Fame. Carmichael had just learned he had.

And he couldn't say a word.
“It was killing me,” Carmichael said. “We talked about being disappointed that he didn’t get in, but I couldn’t say anything to him. He was promoting Dick Vermeil wines and we had about 160 people and they were asking me if I’d heard anything yet and I would just get off the subject. I really didn’t want to lie to anybody. I just couldn’t say anything about it. It was very, very tough for me. It’s still tough for me right now because I’m still trying to answer a lot of the texts. Got over 400 just in the past 24 hours and phone messages. My mailbox is full. They just gotta have patience. Like I did for 36 years.”
Carmichael’s wait is over.
This fall, he’ll be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside more than 300 other all-time greats.
Carmichael retired after the 1984 season, so he’s been eligible since 1989. Despite ranking 5th in NFL history in receptions when he retired, he was never even a finalist until this year.
“I didn’t know if I deserved to be in there,” Carmichael said Thursday. “I’ve been hearing I should be in there for the past 30-some years. It was not a lock for me. I didn’t know if I was good enough. I tried to do my best, but it was not for me to say I should be in the Hall of Fame. It was for me to try to put the numbers up and try to be the type of person they would want to represent the Hall of Fame.”
From 1973 through 1983, Carmichael led the NFL in yards (8,414), touchdowns (77) and catches (549). 
When he retired after playing two games with the Cowboys in 1984, Carmichael ranked 5th in NFL history in catches, 7th in yards and 7th in TD catches.
Today, 36 years after his last touchdown, Carmichael still ranks 24th in NFL history in TD catches.
This is all from a kid who didn’t get recruited to play major-college football, was a walk-on at Southern University in Baton Rouge and was drafted in the 7th round.
“When I got here, Harold Jackson and Ben Hawkins were the starting receivers,” Carmichael said. “They were veterans and I was trying to learn how to be a football player and questioning whether I could play in the National Football League.”
Now, nearly half a century later, Carmichael has been recognized as one of the greatest of all time. 
He’s only the 8th receiver drafted in the 7th round or later to make it into the Hall of Fame and the first whose career began in the 1970s or later.
Carmichael, 70, said the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind as congratulations have come in from 50 years worth of friends, teammates, coaches and associates.
“My son said to my wife, ‘Mom, I didn’t know so many people loved dad like this,’” Carmichael said.

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Eagle Eye podcast: What’s taking so long, Doug?

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Eagle Eye podcast: What’s taking so long, Doug?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro try to figure out what’s taking Doug Pederson so long to hire an offensive coordinator. 

Some top names have already found jobs. The guys update the remaining vacancies and speculate about the Eagles’ plan and toss out one new theory. 

They also look back at the biggest lessons from the 2019 season. 

• Coaches are getting hired all over the NFL 
• Updating offensive coordinator opening
• What are the Eagles’ waiting for? 
• Lessons from the 2019 season 
• Will Jordan Howard be back in 2020? 
• Figuring out which DEs are on the bubble 
• Our championship weekend predictions 
• Harold Carmichael is finally Hall-bound
• Which Eagles player is next? 

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More on the Eagles