The Philadelphia Eagles did plenty of maneuvering in the 2020 NFL Draft -- multiple trades on Day 3 resulted in a total of 10 picks. Having that many picks was important for the Eagles after they had just 10 picks combined over the past two drafts. It's hard to develop a roster and get younger with limited selections at your disposal, so they made sure to remedy that process in this draft class via trade.
The Eagles emphasized adding talent for franchise quarterback Carson Wentz in the draft and certainly accomplished that goal. Philadelphia selected three wide receivers in the draft, all "burners" that could compete for a gold medal on the 4x100 relay team. Jalen Reagor was the Eagles' first-round pick (unofficial 4.22 40-yard dash time on virtual pro day), John Hightower was the fifth-round pick (4.43), and Quez Watkins (4.35) was picked in the sixth round. They are all perfect fits for Wentz's vertically-oriented skill set as a passer.
Philadelphia also swapped sixth-round picks with the San Francisco 49ers and acquired Marquise Goodwin, who is one of the fastest players in the league. All these burners were added to a wide receiver group that includes DeSean Jackson, one of the best deep-ball receivers in the NFL.
The Eagles committed to adding more speed this offseason via their free agent additions and the wide receivers they added over the weekend. They are trying to mold their offense similar to the Kansas City Chiefs, outrun defenses, and have Wentz make explosive plays with his arm.
"When we went back and looked at our team over the last year, we wanted to get more explosive, we wanted to get faster. It was important we stuck to that," said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman once the draft was completed. "We kind of went over the top to make sure we have explosive athletes for our quarterback, for our play caller, and we're really excited with what we did over the last couple days."
Now that we praised the Eagles for immensely adding talent to the wide receiver position, here are a few things they failed to address in the draft. If the Eagles want to win a Super Bowl this season, they will have to take a second look at these weaknesses and figure out ways to improve on them.
1. Improve depth at cornerback
Surprisingly the Eagles didn't draft a single cornerback with their 10 picks. In defense of the front office and scouting department, the Eagles did trade two draft picks for All-Pro Darius Slay in March, giving the franchise the No. 1 cornerback they haven't had since Asante Samuel. Perhaps the Eagles felt there wasn't an immediate need at cornerback, hoping this is the year 2017 second-round pick Sidney Jones finally turns things around.
With the Eagles moving Jalen Mills to safety, perhaps using one of the earlier selections at cornerback would have helped (instead of using the No. 53 overall pick on a backup quarterback). Philadelphia passed on Kristian Fulton in Round 2 and there was a big drop off in impact players after that, so it's hard to fault the Eagles in that sense. The Eagles also passed on Amik Robertson earlier in Round 4 and Bryce Hall at the end of the round, trading back and acquiring more picks instead. They seem pretty content with a combination of Slay starting with Jones, Avonte Maddox, and Rasul Douglas battling for the other starting job.
The Eagles have plenty of cap space to add a veteran cornerback to the mix and compete with those three for a starting job (we're assuming Nickell Robey-Coleman will be in the slot). Prince Amukamara and Logan Ryan would be solid additions on a one-year deal and the Eagles wouldn't have to forfeit a compensatory pick in 2021 if they sign either player.
2. Find more help at linebacker
The Eagles deserve some credit for addressing a linebacker early, a position they don't value as highly since they play five defensive backs 70-to-80 percent of the time on defense anyway. Davion Taylor is a great addition to a group that needed speed and a starter to replace Nigel Bradham.
CBS Sports NFL Draft Writer Chris Trapasso provided excellent analysis on the Taylor selection:
"Explosive, ultra-versatile LB who was flexed out to corner and played as the hang defender often. New to the position but only raw element of his game comes from quickness of play recognition. Needs to be a tick faster.
"Dynamic mover, both linear and laterally. Good twitch. Battles hard and typically dispatches blocks. Occasionally gets washed away by OLs. Plenty of experiencing beating blocks on outside screens. Elite speed for the LB spot, and it shows often. Good hip-flipping in coverage. Will carry pass-catchers deep down the field in man. Major sleeper."
If the Eagles were looking for a pass-coverage linebacker that is fast to the ball, Taylor is the guy. The Eagles also chose Shaun Bradley in the sixth round, but it's hard to expect him to contribute to the defense in year one. Bradley should be a key contributor on special teams with his speed, but the Eagles should add more to their current linebacker group of Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Jatavis Brown, and Alex Singleton.
If the Eagles are done adding at linebacker, it shouldn't shock anyone in the least. If they do decide to add a veteran in free agency, the Eagles have shown interest in Darron Lee before. Lee fits the description of a fast linebacker (ran 4.47 at the combine in 2016 and is just 25). Perhaps the Eagles take a flyer on him.
3. Add an additional pass rusher
The defensive end market still has some players that would be an immediate help to the Eagles, potentially making their defensive line one of the best in the NFL. The Eagles didn't add a single pass rusher in the draft, but they addressed the interior of the defensive line in free agency with Javon Hargrave and they will get Malik Jackson back after a season-ending foot injury.
At defensive end, the Eagles did use a 2019 fourth-round pick on Shareef Miller and traded a 2021 fourth-round pick for Genard Avery at the trade deadline last year. Their roles should expend from last season, joining defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's pass rushing rotation. Philadelphia does have Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett entrenched as starters and Josh Sweat as a valuable rotational piece, but the Eagles can clearly bolster that group.
Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen would be expensive one-year additions that would immediately make the Eagles' pass rush an elite unit. Having Barnett as the No. 3 defensive end would drastically make Philadelphia better at getting to the quarterback. The Eagles could also revisit trade discussions for Yannick Ngakoue if they like.
Hard to see the Eagles adding talent to the pass rush (they may just bring Vinny Curry back and have him compete for a roster spot), but they have the cap room to make a move. They may just give their young edge rushers a chance to make an impact, especially since they all are speed players off the edge.
4. Add another running back to the mix
The Eagles didn't draft a running back and seem perfectly content with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott as a 1-2 punch in the running back-by-committee. After Sanders and Scott, who will be the No. 3 running back?
LeSean McCoy wants to return to Philadelphia and finish his career, but are the Eagles interested in a 31-year-old running back? Is Corey Clement an option to return after the Eagles let him test the free agent market? The Eagles don't have a power back in their offense, but Elijah Holyfield (who the Eagles signed late last year) could provide that option.
Philadelphia will likely address running back at some point, adding a veteran addition. If the Eagles go for speed instead of power, Chris Thompson would be an intriguing pass-catching option out of the backfield. Frank Gore is the top power back left, but he's also turning 37 in May and spurned the Eagles before.
Undrafted free agent signing Adrian Killins may be the best option of the bunch. He was one of the fastest players in college football and the Eagles have emphasized speed the entire offseason. Killins may be the guy here.