To preface, no, I don't think the Eagles should pursue Le'Veon Bell. I like Coach Pederson's approach to the running back by committee offense and with that offensive line, you don't need a back of Bell's caliber. Bell's a great player, but let Dan Snyder continue to be the guy who hamstrings the rest of the team with an albatross contract for a player who is one injury away from being obsolete. This game is won with a great defensive line, great offensive line and good quarterback. While the Eagles should definitely look to upgrade at the RB position, Bell is just not a necessary luxury.
The Eagles go into this draft with more plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, primarily on the defensive line and linebacking squad. They also need to invest quickly in offensive line depth. It would be wise to look into all of these areas of need once free agency starts, but with the looming Wentz extension, the need for value and low cap hit should keep the Eagles out of the big ticket free agent frenzy. I'd also look at replacing Philly legend BDN Foles with Ryan Fitzpatrick, a solid back up for a to-this-point injury prone starting QB. With that said, on to the 2019 NFL Draft.
1. Eagles trade both 2nd round picks (53,57) to Seattle for 21st pick, pick DL Christian Wilkins from Clemson.
With the Eagles letting Tim Jernigan test free agency and the potential retirement of Chris Long, the defensive line is in need of an injection of youth. Wilkins would make a formidable one two punch along that line with Fletcher Cox. While not the biggest guy for an interior DL, Wilkins has the athleticism and versatility the Eagles look for in player evaluation. A line with Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Christian Wilkins, Michael Bennet and Brandon Graham would be truly fearsome. The Eagles got to where they were in the playoffs last year due mostly to the work by that D Line. Expect that trend to continue in 2019. Meanwhile, Seattle owns 4(!) picks in this entire draft. Expect them to look to add to that total here and further on down the draft line.
2. Eagles trade first round pick (25) to Cleveland for Cleveland's 2nd rounder (49), 4th rounder (119) and RB Duke Johnson.
Quite the opposite of Seattle, Cleveland is loaded with picks in this draft and will undoubtedly look to move up to improve what is finally becoming an NFL team. Unaccustomed to only picking once in the first round, Cleveland will change that and get back into the late first round for a WR or DL blue chipper. This gives the Eagles more draft capital and an underrated RB in Duke Johnson, who would be a great addition to their rotation and makes RB less of a drastic need in this draft.
3. Eagles select OT Dalton Risner from Kansas State with pick 49 from Cleveland.
Protect the franchise! And by that, of course, we mean famously injury prone QB Carson Wentz. Dalton Risner would become the heir apparent to Jason Peters, or Lane Johnson should they decide to swing him to the LT position. Though slightly older than you'd like at this stage, Risner comes fully polished and ready to step in from Day One. With the Eagles looking like they're ready to run out Peters one more year, having a player like Risner ready to go would be the smart move. Risner plays smart, strong and violent, and would quickly become a fan favorite.
4. Eagles trade Nelson Agholor, late 4th rounder (127) to Green Bay for Green Bay's third rounder (75), select RB David Montgomery from Iowa State.
Thanks for 2017, Aggy. While Agholor was a solid player for the Eagles on their Super Bowl run, he has been a frustrating player overall. Gifted with talent, Agholor still hasn't had a year where he really put it all together, and at times has been invisible on the field, especially early in his career. His slight regression last year was a big reason why the Eagles reached for the midseason trade for Golden Tate for a third round pick, which ended up hurting them for the 2019 draft. That mistake is made up for here. Green Bay gets a shifty and talented WR for Aaron Rodgers to finally replace Jordy Nelson and the Eagles get potentially the next Brian Westbrook in Iowa State's David Montgomery. Elusive AND adept at breaking tackles, there's a lot to like in the potential of this young Cyclone. The aforementioned trade for Duke Johnson also lessens the load expectation-wise and would allow Montgomery to grow.
5. Eagles select ILB T.J. Edwards from Wisconsin with pick 119 (4th round) from Cleveland.
This pick is about the Eagles letting Jordan Hicks walk, which I think is the right move. Hicks has shown flashes of brilliance in his time here, but he remains inconsistent, at times invisible, and his injury history is too hard to ignore. T.J. Edwards would be a solid replacement for Hicks. Stout against the run and disciplined with gap assignment, Edwards would be a bit of a project with a lack of elite speed, but represents good value at this spot.
6. Eagles select WR Andy Isabella from Massachusetts with pick 138 (4th round).
With Agholor gone, the Eagles need to fill in the slot vacancy. Speed, speed and more speed separate Isabella from the remaining receivers in this class. With great field awareness and the ability to turn on the afterburners with cut-on-a dime precision, Isabella would be a fearless, Wes Welker kind of player for Wentz to find underneath on a needed third and short that could become a gain of 25+ yards easily on a regular basis.
7. Eagles select WR Jalen Hurd from Baylor with pick 163 (5th round).
With the added speed of Isabella, Jalen Hurd gives you Alshon Jefferey B or what we all hoped Jordan Matthews could've become on the outside. Hurd gives Eagles fans what they seemingly always have yearned for: a potential legit end zone jump ball monster. He has all the potential of Terrell Pryor but comes with a similar boom or bust kind of risk, as he is still learning the position after transferring to Baylor due to a concussion he sustained while a RB for Tennessee.
8. Eagles select OL Connor McGovern from Penn State with pick 197 (6th round).
McGovern gives the Eagles additional interior line depth while potentially grooming the next Jason Kelce. While Hungry Dog Kelce's extension was a sigh of relief across Eagles Nation, you have to take the rumor's of his potential retirement seriously. If things go poorly this coming year for Kelce, he may think of hanging them up before his contract is up. It would be a good idea to stockpile as many bodies as possible in order to one day replace the best center in the league and probably Eagles history. Certainly the most beloved.
9. Eagles select DL Sutton Smith from Northern Illinois with pick 208 (6th round).
With their last pick, the Eagles pick from the remains of a great defensive line class. Sutton Smith is a project at the NFL level but is a pure football player with a chip on his shoulder. Though small for defensive line, Smith excels at rushing the passer and could be brought on the field on obvious passing downs in a similar approach as the Eagles took with Mychal Kendricks. The redshirt junior had 15 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss against the run, four forced fumbles, and a pass breakup, a year after he’d led the country with 14 sacks. A lot to like about the player, he would need equal time in the weight and classroom.
2019 NFL Draft Eagles summary:
1. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
2. Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
3. David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
4. T.J. Edwards, ILB, Wisconsin
5. Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
6. Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
7. Connor McGovern, OL, Penn State
8. Sutton Smith, DL, Northern Illinois
Trade: RB Duke Johnson