Columnist Court Weston will be breaking down the team needs for all 32 NFL teams this off-season. Next up, the Eagles…
1. Wide Receiver – The roller coaster ride that was DeSean Jackson may be over, but if Philadelphia loses its star receiver, wideout becomes a major priority. It is unknown whether the Eagles will pay Jackson the money he wants after his mediocre season, but the four-year starter will draw a lot of interest this offseason, which makes is departure somewhat likely. Without the 5-foot-10 Jackson, Philly could potentially use it’s 15th pick on 5-foot-10 Kendall Wright out of Baylor, or go bigger with LSU’s 6-foot-3 Rueben Randall.
2. Safety – Jaiquawn Jarrett and Nate Allen were less than spectacular as the Eagles’ starting safeties. Neither seemed ready to start in the NFL, which makes finding an upgrade at either one or both safety positions a must. Even if Philadelphia can covet a top safety during free agency, look for the team to take an NFL-ready specimen within the first three or four rounds of the draft.
3. Outside Linebacker – Much of the Eagles’ problems came on defense this year. The defensive line did its part, but without run support and a lack of pass rushing from the outside linebackers make this a priority for Philadelphia. The Eagles should consider pursuing the likes of Leroy Hill (Seahawks) or Manny Lawson (Bengals) in free agency. Look for Philadelphia to add a potential starter in the middle rounds of the draft as well.
4. Inside Linebacker – Where the outside linebacker position was inconsistent, the Eagles’ inside linebacking corps simply failed. The reason? Philadelphia ignored its needs and offered big bucks to star free agents, such as Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins. Perhaps the Eagles can lure a top-tier inside ‘backer through free agency, but if the team chooses not to select a receiver with its first pick, Boston College’s Luke Kuechly would immensely help Philadelphia at the ILB position.
5. Center – Jason Kelce was not ready to start in the NFL in 2011, and although that might change with a full offseason under his belt, the team should find a capable center to compete with Kelce for the starting spot. It is more likely to find such a center through free agency than the draft, but neither route would be a surprise.
Previously: The Dallas Cowboys
Next: The New York Jets