Eagles' 5 Most-pressing Needs After Free-agency Flurry

While free agency is still ongoing, the major flurry of the first few days is long gone. 

The Eagles addressed one of their biggest needs by signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. It could be argued that receiver is still a need because of the length of these contracts and that's not a wild thought. It wouldn't be surprising if the Eagles still prioritize getting a wideout in the draft.

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But after free agency, receiver is no longer the biggest need for the Eagles. In fact, it doesn't even crack the top five anymore. 

Let's take a look at the top five and how they can address them: 

1. Cornerback
This is No. 1, then there are about 1,000 miles until No. 2. The Eagles are in desperate need of cornerbacks. And even if they're able to sign a lower-level free agent that's still left on the market, they'll need to leave the draft with a couple corners. The good news for the Eagles is that if there was ever a good year to be extremely weak at corner heading into the draft, this is it. This class is extremely deep. 

Until the draft, here's a list of the corners on the Eagles' roster: Jalen Mills, Ron Brooks, C.J. Smith, Aaron Grymes, Dwayne Gratz, Mitchell White. 

Yeah, not great.

So the Eagles are definitely going to go into the draft on a mission to bring in some corners. There are going to be plenty of options in the first few rounds. It seems likely Marshon Lattimore will be gone when the Eagles are on the clock at 14, but they might have their pick of guys like Tre'Davious White, Marlon Humphrey and Gareon Conley, among others. And even if the Eagles don't grab a corner in the first round, they'll have opportunities to snag a playmaker in the first three rounds or so. At this point, it would almost be shocking if they didn't leave the draft with a couple. 

2. Defensive end
Jim Schwartz's entire defense is predicated on getting pass rush without blitzing. That's hard to do with edge rushers who aren't getting to the quarterback. It was already a problem last season, and now the Eagles have cut Connor Barwin and will have to start Vinny Curry. Maybe this will be the push Curry needs, but he didn't do anything to instill confidence last year after signing a $46 million megadeal. 

Right now, Marcus Smith is the third defensive end off the bench in the rotation, so the Eagles need plenty of help at this spot. 

If the Eagles want to use their 14th pick on a defensive end, there aren't a ton of options. Tennessee's Derek Barnett might make the most sense if he's still available. If not him, then maybe Missouri's Charles Harris or Michigan's Taco Charlton, although most mocks have them going a little later. 

Even if they don't grab one in the first round, there will be options later. Maybe a local product in Tanoh Kpassagnon will be an option in the second or third rounds. Or maybe Kansas State's Jordan Willis will be a fit.

3. Running back
Ryan Mathews is still on the roster, but it seems very likely he'll be cut once he heals from his neck injury. That could take a while. Once he's gone, the Eagles will be down to Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Byron Marshall and Terrell Watson. 

Running back is the last piece needed to really complete the offense. 

That's why many fans have been clamoring for Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey (is he like LeSean McCoy?) in the first round. And maybe the Eagles decide to just take a shot and give Carson Wentz another weapon/security blanket. But the franchise hasn't taken a running back in the first round since 1986. Since then, the Eagles have found success taking running backs later in the draft. And just last year, while with the Bears, Joe Douglas snagged Jordan Howard in the fifth, just a few spots before Smallwood. 

So if the Eagles think there's more value in taking a different position in the first round, there are plenty of options later. Guys like D'Onta Foreman, Marlon Mack and Kareem Hunt will be available in the next few rounds. Keep an eye on BYU's Jamaal Williams. He might not be ultra-explosive, but he has a three-down skill set and could be a steal a little later. 

4. Linebacker 
Because the Eagles have Jordan Hicks in the middle, the need at linebacker has been largely overlooked, and that's somewhat understandable. While the Eagles are hoping for big things in the future from Hicks, the rest of the position is in question. Nigel Bradham played really well in 2016, but he has one year left on his deal and isn't yet over his legal troubles. And while Mychal Kendricks is still on the team, it's pretty clear the Eagles are trying to trade him. 

After the three starters, the Eagles are left with Joe Walker, who is recovering from an ACL tear, special teamer Kamu Grugier-Hill, Najee Goode and Don Cherry. Not a lot of depth there. 

Would the Eagles think about using their first-rounder on a linebacker? What if Reuben Foster is there? Or what if they want to keep Temple's Haason Reddick in Philly? Would it really be that crazy? 

If they don't go for one early, look for the Eagles to gain a depth piece in a mid-to-late round. 

5. Defensive tackle 
Bennie Logan is gone and Beau Allen -- for now -- will be his replacement. While Allen was OK in 2016, he's just simply not as good as Logan. That's a problem. 

After Allen? Well, there's not much depth. The top backup is now Destiny Vaeao and then another undrafted player from last year, Aziz Shittu. While both Vaeao and Shittu might grow into decent NFL players, can the Eagles count on them this year? And while Taylor Hart couldn't find the field in 2016, he has now switched to offensive tackle and leaves the bench another spot short at defensive tackle. 

The talk all last offseason was about how the 2016 draft class was extremely deep at interior defensive tackle, but the Eagles didn't get one. Howie Roseman talked earlier this offseason about how there was a run on D-tackles last year, and they all went off the board quickly. Looking back, maybe the Eagles made a mistake by not grabbing one early. 

There might not be a guy at 14 who makes sense, but the Eagles should be looking in the other rounds for a possible future starter or at least another depth piece. 

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