2017 NFL Draft

Projecting the draft: Philadelphia Eagles

Projecting the draft: Philadelphia Eagles

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
In hindsight, it is easy to see that a rushed off-season due to the labor dispute made the Philadelphia Eagles' attempt last year at building a "Dream Team" a bad decision. While the Eagles boasted arguably the most talented team on paper, they finished a disappointing 8-8, struggling to develop the camaraderie so important to building a team, rather than collection of individuals.

Despite the trying season in Philadelphia, the Eagles still boast one of the league's most impressive rosters. Certainly there are concerns about depth at various positions but the team has filled obvious holes at middle linebacker with the trade for veteran DeMeco Ryans and quickly responded to the season-ending loss of left tackle Jason Peters by signing another former Buffalo Bill to replace him in Demetress Bell.

With nine selections to play with, general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Andy Reid certainly have the ammunition to address the team's depth concerns. Of their nine selections, three come within the first 51 picks of the draft.

Five picks Howie Roseman and Co. should contemplate:

S Mark Barron, Alabama (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 20)
Of the clubs' remaining areas of concern, safety might be the highest priority - especially considering the passing attacks in the NFC East division. The Eagles remain high on the potential of former second round picks Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. Allen, however, didn't show the same fluidity last year after having ruptured his patellar tendon as a rookie. Jarrett struggled making the transition to the pro game and was replaced by the steadier but limited Kurt Coleman. Barron, frankly, would be an immediate upgrade at the position. The Eagles, however, would be fortunate to have him still on the board at No. 15, especially considering that the Cowboys a pick earlier, have a similar need in the deep patrol.

DT Michael Brockers, LSU (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 14)
Should Barron be off the board when their first pick of the draft comes up, the Eagles might shift their attention to the intriguing talent available along the defensive line. While Philadelphia boasts a solid starting duo in Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson at defensive tackle, Jenkins (31) is no spring chicken and the Eagles may be unwilling to rely on Patterson's recovery from brain surgery. The 6-5, 322 pound Brockers wouldn't be a Day-One starter here but the redshirt sophomore offers great upside.

OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 43)
The moment the Eagles learned of Peters tearing his Achilles, the club may have looked back on their decision to trade backup right tackle Winston Justice to the Colts with regret. In signing Bell as a replacement, Philadelphia addressed the concern on the surface but make no mistake about it, he's not the same caliber of player as Peters. Frankly, Massie isn't either but he is talented, tough and experienced. Considering that Michael Vick is left handed and thus his "blindside" is protected by the right and not left tackle Todd Herremans, the Eagles might be wise to address depth at the position.

OLB Lavonte David, Nebraska (NFLDraftScout.com ranking 48)
While middle linebacker was the Eagles' most obvious weakness among the front seven a year ago, frankly play on the outside was also shaky. Jamar Chaney has the bulk and physicality to handle the conversion to the strongside and but weakside starter Brian Rolle is better suited to being a backup and special teams player. David's athleticism and instincts make him best suited to playing on the weakside. If still available at No. 51 - a pick the Eagles received from the Cardinals a year ago in the Kevin Kolb trade - he'd certainly make a great deal of sense.

RB Bernard Pierce, Temple (NFLDraftScout.com ranking: 87)
The Eagles obviously boast one of the NFL's best running backs in LeSean McCoy but depth behind him is a concern. The team was lauded a year ago for signing former No. 2 overall pick Ronnie Brown to serve as McCoy's backup but the ex-Miami Dolphin wasn't the effective short yardage back he was signed to be. He's currently a free agent and not regarded as a priority to re-sign. Local standout Pierce would seem to make some sense with the Eagles' third round pick. If looking for a reliable goal-line back is a priority, Pierce certainly would make the short list of backs with a track record of success. Pierce finished second in the country a year ago with a school-record 27 rushing touchdowns.

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