PHILADELPHIA EAGLES / 2013 TEAM NEEDS
New head coach Chip Kelly will bring a fast-paced approach to Philly that requires speed, stamina and depth. The Eagles have some elements that could make this a dangerous unit once more, especially on the ground with LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. Kelly’s running game at Oregon was his backbone. But who is the quarterback?
TOP 3 OFFENSIVE NEEDS
OL — Injuries have left this unit in a state of flux. OLT Jason Peters, C Jason Kelce and ORT Todd Herremans all missed most of the 2012 season. Replacement OTs Demetress Bell and King Dunlap both struggled. ORG Danny Watkins, the 2011 first-round pick, suffered a chronic ankle injury, then was benched. The Eagles know they need better depth, and though the personnel appears to fit the zone-blocking style Kelly is likely to employ, help is still needed.
QB — Is Nick Foles the answer? That’s not entirely clear after his some-good, some-bad six starts at season’s end. The biggest question is if he or Michael Vick fits the schemes that Kelly and Shumur will want to run. Count on them bringing in at least one more QB.
WR— Jeremy Maclin is not signed long term, and he and DeSean Jackson could use a running mate. This also could come in the form of a tight end, which is a thin position, too. But another dynamic wideout really could make the offense more dangerous and tough to defend. This will be Maclin’s season to prove whether he’s worth a long-term deal.
What having a fast-paced offense does is put the defense back on the field following short rests. That means more depth and talent is needed. There are some elements that should make it a more competitive group, but the secondary was a mess, the linebackers were in flux and the defensive line didn’t dominate last season the way most people expected. This unit needs an overhaul with more fresh bodies and better cover players.
TOP 3 DEFENSIVE NEEDS
S — The Eagles have been trying to replace Brian Dawkins and Quintin Mikell since they let both of them leave after the 2008 and 2010 seasons, respectively. Nate Allen has not been the same player since suffering a knee injury as a rookie in 2010. Kurt Coleman has been just OK. Colt Anderson is better suited for special teams. The late-season pass defense was laughable at times.
CB — They spent big money on Nnamdi Asomugha, traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and sent disgruntled Asante Samuel to Atlanta. Asomugha has been a huge disappointment. Rodgers-Cromartie has been inconsistent. Rookie Brandon Boykin showed promise as the No. 3 corner. Curtis Marsh has yet to earn playing time.
DT — Although Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton have shown nice promise, the team released Cullen Jenkins in order to cut salary. In addition, Mike Patterson has been hurt by injuries and illness. The depth is not nearly as strong as it once was.
2012 DRAFT REWIND
1st round (12): DT Fletcher Cox / Mississippi State (GP/GS: 15/9)
Skinny: Still growing but turned in season that has hopes high.
2nd round (46): SLB Mychal Kendricks / California (GP/GS: 15/14)
Skinny: Switched from strong to weak side. Appeared better fit late.
2nd round (59): DE Vinny Curry / Marhall (GP/GS: 6/0)
Skinny: Took a while to see field but flashed tiny bit of flair late.
3rd round (88): QB Nick Foles / Arizona (GP/GS: 7/6)
Skinny: Tough, smart, mistake-prone QB needs to grow more.
4th round (123): CB Brandon Boykin / Georgia (GP/GS: 16/4)
Skinny: A keeper — should be a solid nickel for immediate future.
5th round (153): OT Dennis Kelly / Purdue (GP/GS: 13/10)
Skinny: Thrown into mix at OT, OG. Was overwhelmed at times.
6th round (194): WR Marvin McNutt /Iowa (GP/GS: 4/0)
Skinny: Released, then re-signed to roster late.
6th round (200): OG Brandon Washington / Miami (GP/GS: 0/0)
Skinny: Cut after training camp. Draws paychecks from Rams now.
7th round (229): RB Bryce Brown / ex-Kansas State (GP/GS: 16/4)
Skinny: Fumbling a major worry, but natural running skills wowed.
SUMMARY: This class had some clout, but it still has some big questions — notably with Foles and Curry.