Philadelphia Eagles play it safe draft, leave glaring holes

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

The Philadelphia Eagles had a successful draft in terms of selecting talent at key positions. The problem lies with the positions they avoided.

The Philadelphia Eagles upgraded their landscaping this past week but neglected their water heater. Allow me to explain.

You probably don’t care, but I bought a house last summer. It’s a nice, modest home, and we were lucky enough to inherit it in good shape. Of course, like any home that’s been around a while, there were areas that needed fixing up. The aging water heater was the biggest need. However, I saw the most potential to beautify the home by sprucing up the landscaping out back, so I started there.

Needless to say, shortly after investing more than I needed to on the backyard, the water heater crapped out. And now I sit here hoping this article goes viral to help pay for it.

The Eagles are a nice, modest team, with a Super Bowl title recent enough that the smell of victory and beer still linger on Broad Street. On paper, the organization had what many would consider being a respectable draft this past weekend.

They traded up to steal tackle Andre Dillard away from the Houston Texans to become the heir apparent to future Hall of Famer Jason Peters. They picked up the dynamic Miles Sanders to complement an anemic running game that finished 28th in the league in rushing last season, with zero 100-yard games. They also added depth to the defensive line, receiving corps, and allegedly found their newest third-string quarterback.

The problem is that the Eagles concentrated on a beautification project while turning a blind eye to some glaring needs.

All of the aforementioned moves certainly help a team looking to remain perennial contenders. But it can be argued that it did very little to keep them contenders right now. In fact, not only are there no likely starters in this newest group of draftees, they may not even be guaranteed to see meaningful action on the field any time soon.

A healthy Peters and Lane Johnson will be blocking Dillard’s path for the foreseeable future. Sanders will have to compete for his share of a timeshare with newly-signed Jordan Howard, Josh Adams, and Corey Clement.

The Eagles’ second 2nd-round pick, J.J. Arcega Whiteside, will begin at best fourth in the pecking order behind Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and the reunited DeSean Jackson. Fourth-rounder Shareef Miller will be equally buried down the depth chart at defensive end, trailing at least Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry.

And it goes without saying that if 5th-round Quarterback Clayton Thorson sees any substantial action outside of holding a clipboard, it will not bode well for the Birds.

Meanwhile, a couple of glaring positional needs on the defensive side remain curiously unaddressed.

Not making secondary a primary (or even a secondary) concern this draft was a bit of a head-scratcher. As for cornerbacks, the recently-resigned Ronald Darby is coming off a season-ending ACL injury. Presumed phenom Sidney Jones is now two years into his forgettable tenure in the league and continues to struggle to stay on the field.

Jalen Mills had similar health concerns and is now dealing with legal issues off of it. What’s left of the CBs (Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Cre’Veon LeBlanc, et al) is either unproven or unreliable.

As for the safeties, Malcolm Jenkins is now on the wrong side of 30 and eight-year veteran Rodney McLeod was also out of commission for all but three games last season. The main backup is 31-year-old free agent signee Andrew Sendejo.

The hope is presumably that Darby, Mills, and McLeod will return good as new, Jones will finally make the leap and Jenkins will remain Jenkins for at least another year. That’s a lot of hoping.

Meanwhile, linebacker—which Philly has had a longstanding, inexplicable allergy to drafting highly (just two taken in the 2nd round or higher this century and none since Matt McCoy in 2005)—remains in dire need of some beefing up. Their biggest playmaker, Jordan Hicks, is off to Arizona, leaving just Nigel Bradham—who turns 30 before the season begins—as the only proven starter on the roster.

The pedigree of the 2019 Eagles draft class seems generally respectable. But “generally respectable” may not equate to another Super Bowl run. Not when a void persists with half the defense.

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But hey, at least their landscaping looks great. Just pay no mind to that leaking water heater.