Weekend Reading: Draft Options, Offseason Review

Plus, has the Eagles' secondary improved?

mcleod flies

Rodney McLeod (USA Today Sports)

It’s that time of year. Free agency is over, the draft is looming, and here is a collection of links that relate to both pursuits in order to keep you thinking about the Eagles over the weekend.

Tony Pauline reports that the Eagles have indeed spoken with the Titans about the number one pick, along with a division rival.

The Cowboys are one of four teams that have inquired on moving up to the top spot of the draft. The other three teams are the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets, who are the dark horse.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com believes the Titans won’t trade the top pick.

Earlier this week, TheMMQB’s Peter King reported that a swap for the No. 1 pick is a legitimate possibility, writing that “the Titans have received significant interest,” before adding: “I believe it is now 50-50 whether Tennessee will trade it or keep it.”

No matter how much genuine interest teams are showing, Robinson is wise to drop plenty of breadcrumbs along the way. Naturally, the goal is to paint the image of multiple front offices swarming the Titans with mind-blowing offers.

Any team with true interest is likely chasing one of the top two quarterbacks — Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz — before the Browns take the clock at No. 2. The 49ers (No. 7 pick), Eagles (No. 8) and Rams (No. 15) all make sense, but we still expect Tennessee to stay home and grab the player of their choice.

Daniel Jeremiah thinks the Eagles would take Wentz if they moved up.

Pro Football Focus’s John Breitenbach sees the Eagles’ secondary as improved after the offseason moves.

Each of the Eagles’ additions in the secondary have experience in the scheme they plan to run next season. [RodneyMcLeod played under Fisher, while [LeodisMcKelvin and Ron Brooks played in Buffalo under [JimSchwartz. The new defensive coordinator can facilitate a full competition between his former players and the Eagles’ incumbent personnel. The lack of certainty in the secondary, however, also reflects a lack of talent somewhat. One of their options might experience a breakout season, but it’s unlikely the Eagles’ corners will be much more than average in 2016. They are, though, unlikely to be worse for the loss of [ByronMaxwell. The outlook at safety is much more assuring, with McLeod and [MalcolmJenkins likely to form one of the better duos in the league.

Tommy Lawlor examines the possibility of the Eagles taking Paxton Lynch at No. 8.

I had no problem with the Eagles taking Lynch at pick 13.

The Eagles now have pick no. 8. That changes things a bit, but Lynch is a QB and that also has to be taken into account. I definitely prefer Jared Goff, but Lynch has the potential to be an outstanding starter in the NFL. He would need time to develop. Sam Bradford will be starting and Chase Daniel will be the backup. Lynch could sit and learn.

We know the Eagles are checking Lynch out carefully, but we don’t know what they think of him. It is possible they don’t like him as a Top 10 pick. We might just find out in a few weeks.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan is keeping a draft diary for CBS Sports, and he recently documented his sit down with the Eagles when they traveled out to the Bay Area to visit with him last week.

The next day, the Philadelphia Eagles came to town. The schedule entailed meeting with the coaches for two hours, followed by a workout on the field. Of those that chose to come out were owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman, head coach Doug Pederson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich, and quarterbacks coach John Defilippo.

In the meeting room, we watched my tape from the Oregon and Arizona games, discussing my decision-making process on certain plays. Coach DeFilippo then installed a few of the Eagles plays on the white board, taught them to me, erased them and had me go up and teach them to the coaches in the room. I felt I performed very well in the meeting room and in showing what kind of student of the game I am.

Afterward, we went out to the practice field for a workout. I was fortunate to have the same receivers that I’d had at my pro day: Rollins StallworthDevon Cajuste, and Kodi Whitfield. I was put through a 50-plus throwing script, executing many of the throws they have in their offense. I was pleased with my performance and felt that the Eagles were as well.

Kevin Weidl of ESPN.com compiled a list of three targets for each NFL team in the upcoming draft. Here are the three players he sees as a good fit for the Eagles.

Day 1: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
The Eagles traded DeMarco Murray to Tennessee, so they need to find a young RB. Ryan Mathews will be 29 years old in October. Elliott brings an excellent combination of power, speed and versatility in the passing game. He has a chance to develop into a foundation back. Elliott’s rare competitive edge would fit well in Philadelphia, which is looking to get more physical in the run game.

Day 2*: Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State
Philadelphia signed Nigel Bradham in free agency to try to fill the void left by Kiko Alonso, who was recently traded to the Dolphins. But Bradham doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer, and Perry would be a quality fit next to Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks at the Sam LB position. Perry shows some tightness in space, but he has outstanding size and natural instincts and is a physical run defender. The Eagles could use one of those after ranking dead last in run defense last season (134.6 ypg).
* Eagles don’t currently have Round 2 pick
Day 3: Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
Left tackle Jason Peters is entering his 13th season and getting close to the end of his career. The likely plan is to move Lane Johnson from his right tackle position to replace Peters, so looking for a developmental right tackle makes sense. Shell, the son of former Raiders head coach Art Shell, doesn’t have ideal athleticism and needs to work on his technique. But his 6-foot-5 frame, 34¾-inch arms and natural power provide him with some upside.

Lance Zierlein lists each NFL team’s top five needs. Here’s is what he had to say about the Eagles.

Top 5 needs: RB, OG, OT, pass rush, WR

No. of selections: 9

Draft picks: Round 1 (8), Round 3 (77), Round 3 (79), Round 4 (100), Round 5 (153), Round 5 (164), Round 6 (188), Round 7 (233), Round 7 (251)

Analysis: One of the most pressing needs is finding a reliable running back to pair with Ryan Mathews. Chip Kelly is gone, but certainly not forgotten as the Eagles must try to clean up some of the personnel mess left behind, including finding a wide receiver. The Eagles’ once-revered offensive line is in dire need of upgrades at both guard and tackle, even with the addition of RG Brandon Brooks from Houston.

John Clayton lists Howie Roseman’s investment in current Eagles players as the fourth-best move an NFL team has made during the offseason.

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has done the best of any front-office executive in investing in home-grown talent. He spent $159 million in contracts on tackle Lane Johnson, tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek and defensive end Vinny Curry. Sometime before training camp, he probably will strike a deal for defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. The Eagles hit it big in the 2012 and 2013 drafts, and that should reflect on the field this year under new coach Doug Pederson.

Matt Miller of Bleacher Report reports that the Eagles will take a receiver at some point in the upcoming draft. Miller also identified Ronnie Stanley as the guy he thinks the Eagles will — and should — draft.

In talking to team sources in Philadelphia and to area scouts who know general manager Howie Roseman, there is a feeling the Eagles will look to draft at least one wide receiver. As one scout put it, [they] have to clean up the mess Chip [Kelly] made at receiver.