Wake-Up Call: How Eagles’ Moves Affect Draft Plans

NCAA Football: Tennessee Tech at Oregon

Most draft questions that Howie Roseman fields in the offseason elicit a similar sounding response.

The phrases “best available player” and “stick to our board” are uttered over and over and over again.




Yet every time the team makes moves - re-signing its own players, adding free agents, making trades - questions arise about how draft plans will be impacted. So today, let's take a look at the moves individually and predict what they might mean come May.

The Riley Cooper/Jeremy Maclin re-signings - I don't think these moves affect the Eagles' draft plans one bit. The draft is loaded at wide receiver, and it's likely that the Eagles end up selecting a pass-catcher at some point. Maclin is on a one-year deal, while Cooper essentially signed a two-year $9 million contract. Wide receiver is not an immediate need, but if the Eagles see one they like, they will pull the trigger. If that means taking one in the first or second round, they can let guys compete for playing time in 2014 and give themselves flexibility beyond that.

The Jason Peters/Jason Kelce extensions - I actually think the Peters extension will influence the draft. Initially, spending an early pick on a versatile offensive lineman who could play guard and eventually move to right tackle when Lane Johnson replaced Peters made sense. And maybe to a degree it still does if the team feels it needs to upgrade from Todd Herremans. But the extension given to Peters suggests they believe he has at least two to three good years left as the starting left tackle. With Johnson on the right side, selecting a tackle early would be pointless. Depth and versatility in the middle and later rounds is more of a possibility.

The Darren Sproles acquisition - I've received a lot of questions asking whether this trade reduces the possibility of the Eagles drafting De'Anthony Thomas. Last year, the Eagles signed James Casey in free agency, but saw value with Zach Ertz in the second round and took him. This could be a somewhat similar situation. Sproles turns 31 in June. The Eagles still think he has some good years left, but if Thomas is next on their board in the middle rounds, expect the Birds to pull the trigger.

The Malcolm Jenkins signing - This one doesn't affect the Eagles' draft plans at all. Jenkins is a starting-caliber safety, but there's certainly room to upgrade. Earl Wolff showed flashes last season, but still made his share of mistakes. If there's a safety available in the early rounds who the Eagles like, they'll absolutely take him. Kelly preaches competition, and given Jenkins' versatility, installing three-safety packages is not out of the question.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Have the Eagles made winning or losing moves this offseason? Here's what they're saying.

Who are some players still available for the Eagles?

Kelly discusses free agency, DeSean Jackson and more.

"It could get real crazy," said Sproles, when asked about the Eagles' offensive prospects.

The Eagles signed Sproles to a two-year extension.

An All-22 look at how Sproles fits.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans tells NFL.com he'll have an official visit with the Eagles:

Projected by all of NFL Media analysts' mock drafts to be the second wide receiver drafted in May after Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Evans helped to strengthen his draft value last month at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.53 40-yard dash clocking at 6-5, 231 pounds. He has visited previously with the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots, both clubs that would almost certainly be required to trade up in the first round for a chance to add Evans.

Asked Tuesday where he was hearing he'd be drafted, Evans said, "I've been told no lower than 15."

Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting has the Eagles taking Louisville safety Calvin Pryor:

Even after adding Malcolm Jenkins in free agency, don’t overlook the Eagles looking to add another top safety onto the roster. Chip Kelly already toyed with three-safety looks last year and Pryor can provide help at both free and strong safety in this Eagles defense.

COMING UP

Perhaps some more free agent dominoes will fall.

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  • Dominik

    @ Tim and Sheil

    It would be great if you could write an article about the Free Agency of our divisional rivals. Not today or tomorrow, but in a week or so, when the dust in Free Agency really settles down. Of course I read about the most important moves they made, but a quick overview with a take from you two would really be appreciated.

    • GEAGLE

      Cowgirls are bringing in henrey Melton(top DT coming off bad injury), and they have a visit scheduled for Jared Allen..

      • Dominik

        Thanks, I read about that. Jimmy K wrote a FA roundup about the Giants: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/red_zone/NFC-East-free-agency-roundup-Giants-edition.html

        Don’t really know what the Skins are doing, besides signing Hatcher. How is it possible that Snyder has cap room and isn’t overpaying players like crazy? :)

        Here’s an overview of their signings, no one is really popping my eyes:

        http://es.redskins.com/topic/373956-2014-fa-op-updated-rogers-not-los-hatcher-geathers-sharpton-porter-hayward-lauvao-roberts/

        • GEAGLE

          Actually…Profootballtalk yesterday did an entire overview of all the NFC East moves. Who each team signed, who each team lost, who each team traded for…if it’s still not on the PFT front page, it will be the next page back on the archives…
          ..
          Lol giants bringing in Mario manningham for a visit! as if he didn’t already play for them and actually needs to visit

          Rex Ryan desperately wants DRC, things he is perfect for his scheme…good luck with that rexy

          • Richard Colton

            that’s a great idea – bring in Nate Allen for a visit and show him the weight room.

      • cliff henny

        there goes JJ’s cap. delusional Cowboys’ fans think these guys are signing for vet min-1m/per. middle of the road DL vet’s are getting 6-7m this yr. for now, ’15s cap is destroyed, but eagles would probably rush for 500 against that band of journeymen and backups. Dallas has space to sign a solid vet guy, anything over that, starts sucking space out of ’15. what they need to do is eat this year, but Romo is on the clock, not sure that’s an option.

  • UKEagle99

    You know when you’ve been spending too much time reading this blog when you fire up your browser in the morning and think the Google doodle says “Geagle”

  • Will

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all…

  • Eneagled

    Given all we’ve heard about batting averages and taking the best player available in the draft, I think its more or less guaranteed that we will be signing another safety in FA. We only have 4 safeties on the roster, and only 2 of them really project as starters. With Wolff, even that’s not for sure. If Chip and Howie really want to go into the draft and stick to their guns about taking the best player off their board, then they’ll have to fix the lack of depth at safety first.

    • GEAGLE

      I don’t think there is a safety out there for us to sign that means we no longer have to draft one,,must upgrade the talent level at that position, and you ain’t finding that type of talent in the free agent scrap pile

      • eneagled

        I agree that we’ll still have to draft one, but at this point I think the pressure would be so high that they would find it difficult not to draft one in the 1st or 2nd round and probably still need another one late in the draft. I think that kind of pressure would put them at odds with their philosophy.

        • GEAGLE

          I think we need to sign another veteran and draft one in the first 4 rounds

          • anon

            Think Allen could be back for peanuts

          • GEAGLE

            Nope…backups have to be top ST players…if Nate is not to prissy to play ST, he certainly won’t be great at it….dude ain’t wired to play ST

          • cliff henny

            rather have the peanuts

        • Maggie

          Agree on pressure. but, there are so many teams needing safeties this year, that I suspect any decent draftee out there will be snapped up almost immediately. Been saying this for the last 2 months, just fans need to look at the whole league before assuming anything.

    • Will

      The crop of Safeties in this years draft is not all that talented. I would not be surprised to see the Eagles draft one beyond the 3rd round. Not sure how they address lack of depth at the Safety spot with FA filled with leftovers. The Eagles might feel good about the 4 on the current roster and roll with it. The Safety spot is not a position the Eagles put much value on. So do not get your hopes up for one early in the draft…

      • eneagled

        We had more safeties on our roster last year when they signed Chung and Phillips. I know its not a high priority, but I can’t believe they’ll give it less attention this year than last, when they are starting with even fewer safeties on the roster this time. and yes, I think that Magaros and Jenkins counts as less attention than Chung and Phillips.

  • GEAGLE

    This team is not going to ignore offense in the draft. Hopefully we can get a DL,LB and DB in the draft. Need ATleast one young talent added in all 3 phases of the defense….Chip needs more WR speed to help stretch the field and spread defenses thin…surprised we haven’t added an OL in FA considering how well we have been doing plucking OL gems

    • Richard Colton

      agree. except it’s “gem” not “gems.” Mathis was it. Barbre doesn’t get diamond in the rough free agent status until he does it in a game. He looked impressive in pre-season, but couldn’t unseat Herremans at any point.

      • Weapon Y

        Played very good against Packers. Dominated Clay Matthews (albeit an injured Clay Matthews but impressive nonetheless.)

  • oreofestar

    There will without a doubt be a wr drafted I have a feeling Maclin and Jackson will not be together past this season, I hope Jackson is here long term he is our best wr and needs to be kept lets not pretend Desean is TO his personality fitting with the locker room is not nearly as serious as TO, I would love Evans in the first but that will not happen, Now I would love Robinson or Adams in the second though or a trade back where we pick up Benjamin, ODB, or Cooks and then pick up Smith or KVN and bringing in Ward with a Jones pickup in the 3rd

    • cliff henny

      stealing my posts!

    • TripSquadMonopoly

      Does anyone truly believe that DJax and Mac are even in the same category?? Its not even close who the best receiver on this team is and who can consistently create separation. Took some real strides this season in his blocking as well.

      • oreofestar

        DJAX is way better then Maclin and I never said otherwise

  • oreofestar

    People are talking about what our division rivals did in FA and I do not think any of them improved enough to compete with us,

    Giants lost Ncks and say what you want about him and how bad he is he was still there 2nd best offensive weapon, they cut some o lineman and brought in Scwartz who is average really, Jennings is an average rb at best too. They brought it Demps and Thurmond so solid pickups there but they lost Tuck and Joseph 2 of their best defensive players

    Cowboys lost Hatcher, Austin and Ware and Spencer is next, they only got worse

    Redskin brought in Porter who is really a poor man’s Boykin at best, Hatcher was a good pickup but he will not be half as good as last year in a 3-4, the brought in Andre Roberts too who is an improvement at number 2 wr for them but nothing really toworry about

    • cliff henny

      for me, a lot of this has to do with jumping off point of conversation. for past 10 days it’s been defense defense defense, which is fine, it needs improvement. but the unit that’s steering ship is offense. let’s have a comparison chat coming off of the Sproles signing article, pretty sure us fans confidence level will jump 10 fold. and here’s the real kicker that’s rarely talked about, Foles is getting Kelly’s undivided 8 month attention. poke holes in Foles all you want, are some flaws to his game, but i cant wait to see what he looks like come pre-season.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I think building up the defense in FA makes sense. The offense is so well off that adding at this point is merely a luxury (or cherry on top), or an addition with an eye towards the future. The defense had obvious holes & still has one that needs filling. I’m all for adding to an already potent offense, so long as we don’t ignore the holes on defense.

        I view the Sproles addition as an added tool. We’ve got a perfectly good miter saw that cuts well but doesn’t have all the bells & whistles. But we were able to pick up a used miter saw, that has a laser guide, larger blade, longer fence with clamp, cuts at compound angles & has a sliding rail for larger cuts. The one we had worked well and was relatively new. The fancy one may have more wear and tear and may not last as long, but allows us a greater range of things we can do with it.

        • Maggie

          Love the comparison. Would love a good miter saw too!

  • Uncle Wonder

    Nate Allen back in the fold…does that affect the draft?

    • Joe Thomas

      Nope, just one year. Still grab a safety if they like one.

  • ochospantalones

    I think this is probably Herremans’ last year as an average or better starter, so they should still take a serious look at replacements at guard. It doesn’t necessarily need to be one of our top two picks, but I would like to see them take someone they believe they can develop as a starter at that position in the middle rounds.

  • BleedGreenJames

    I don’t really see why people dismiss the notion that we will still try and draft De’Anthony Thomas just because we grabbed Sproles. Chip isn’t going to pass on dynamic talents that he is also familiar with. Who better for DAT to learn from than Sproles when he is his likely NFL comparison.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Let’s talk about the non-moves made in FA (albeit not by fault of their own) to add a pass rushing OLB. That to me is the elephant in the room at this point.

    Yes, the addition of Jenkins helps give the pass rush some more opportunity, but there is still a glaring hole that’ll just keep getting bigger and bigger over on that right side, as we get closer to the draft & the season drawing nearer.

  • Kev_H

    And of course they’ll be focused on a QB who can play in Kelly’s system.

  • Sum

    I love what the Eagles have done this offseason, mainly because it has given them the ability to have a great deal of latitude when it comes to the draft.

    They added depth at DB, so we don’t necessarily have to take one in the first two rounds. They added several special teams guys who also provide depth so we don’t have to fill out special teams in rounds 4-7 (Something teams always try to do)

    I can see them trading DeSean for draft picks if the opportunity presents itself.

    I can see them trading up to 15-20, or shooting up into the top 10, or standing pat and taking the best player available. They don’t have a ton of needs to address at this point so they’ve allowed themselves to get their guy if they find that they covet someone.

  • DoctorRick

    I’m liking the Pryor talk more and more. If we can get him at 22 then still room later for WRs. Oh, and Please, Santa, may I have a kicker that still works by Christmas?