Disappointment. That’s all I could feel about what felt like a very promising season for the Philadelphia Eagles. Thankfully, hope comes at the end of April with the 2015 NFL Draft.
This season was mostly defined by inconsistent play from the quarterbacks and the secondary, as well as injuries throughout the offensive line. Nick Foles, the starting quarterback, missed the last eight games of the season due to a broken collarbone. Mark Sanchez filled in as the backup with Foles injured.
Both quarterbacks played eight games and had mediocre seasons. Sanchez is now a free agent while Foles will become a free agent after the 2015 season.
The secondary could also use some help too. While Malcolm Jenkins played well his first year with the team, the two starting cornerbacks, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, were disgraceful.
Nate Allen, the other starting safety, actually looked relatively good this year for the first time in his career. Although he will be able to return next year after he was released from custody in Florida, he is currently a free agent so the Eagles may decide to part ways.
The offensive line is not as much of a concern. The five starters have shown that they can be dominant when they all play together, and the Eagles have one or two solid backups.
Even more uncertainty came toward the end of the season when starting inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans ruptured his achilles, which is a very hard injury to come back from.
So with that, the Eagles enter the draft with a lot of holes to fill.
What many are hoping for is that the Eagles will be able to pick Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota from Oregon.
It makes sense since he played under head coach Chip Kelly at Oregon, and he would be a perfect fit for the Eagles’ offense since he ran it in college.
Mariota is currently projected to be taken 6th overall by the Jets. In order to get him, the Eagles would have to package a huge deal: possibly two or three first round picks and maybe even a player like Fletcher Cox or Mychal Kendricks.
Is is worth it? Definitely not.
Picking quarterbacks in the NFL is a crapshoot at best. Teams pick wrong all the time. Highly rated players like Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell both got picked early and did not work out. While Tom Brady and Joe Montana both were passed over by every team in the league multiple times, and they each won four Super Bowls.
The Eagles need to fix their defense first, then fill other needs. Foles had an off year, but he has shown he is an above average starting quarterback.
With that being said, here’s how the Eagles should approach the draft.
In the first round, they should try to trade back a few spots to try to pick up a third or fourth pick.
Then they should pick the best defensive back available. It might be Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, Landon Collins, or Shaq Thompson.
The secondary should be their primary need because it was pitiful last year, and they half to defend Odell Beckham, Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Victor Cruz, and Pierre Garçon in their division.
Next the Eagles should use the pick they got from trading back and another third or fourth round pick to get another pick in the early second round.
They should use this pick to take quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley is a very good athlete and ran a similar style offense to the Eagles at UCLA. Chip Kelly also recruited him over Marcus Mariota when they were coming out of high school.
Hundley may not start right away, but he is a really good option for the Eagles.
With the other second round pick, the Eagles should take linebacker Eric Kendricks, also from UCLA.
Kendricks is a highly rated player that would be able to replace DeMeco Ryans in a year or two. Kendricks won the Butkus award, which is given to the best linebacker in the country.
He is also the brother of Mychal Kendricks, who is the other starting inside linebacker for the Eagles. It would make for a great comradery.
In the later rounds, with the other remaining picks, the Eagles should try to take more defensive players, specifically to help out the secondary. Otherwise picking up a wide receiver or an offensive lineman won’t hurt either.
Bottom line: don’t risk it all for one player. Trade back, get more picks, and take more solid players.