No Time for Luxury, Eagles Have to Find Starters in This Draft

GM Howie Roseman and his staff have to find players who are ready to step in immediately and others who can play at least half the snaps in 2021
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There are no luxury picks this time around for the Eagles.

No drafting a quarterback the way they did with Jalen Hurts in the second round last year with Carson Wentz entrenched as the starter or reaching in the third round for Davion Taylor, an ultra-raw linebacker who saw the field for just 32 defensive snaps.

No drafting an offensive tackle like Andre Dillard the way they did in 2019 with Jason Peters still on the roster playing the same position.

There will no trading out of the first round, from pick No. 32 in 2018, a year after winning their first-ever Super Bowl, into the second round to take tight end Dallas Goedert who played just 43 percent of the snaps as a rookie while No. 1 tight end, Zach Ertz, vacuumed up an NFL-record 116 catches on 92 percent of the offensive snaps.

No, this draft, scheduled for a three-day run beginning on April 29 in Cleveland, has to be different.

It may seem obvious, but they must find talent both in the short term and long term, but especially in the short term.

They must find, at minimum, two day-one starters. They have to find at least two more who will contribute more than their fourth-round picks from last year did when K’Von Wallace played 18 percent of the defensive snaps and Jack Driscoll played 35 percent of the offensive snaps.

Yes, this looks like a two-year process of retooling, but in an always-wide open NFC East, the Eagles can at least play a role in who wins the division with some astute selections that pay immediate dividends.

And they have the ammunition to do it with 11 picks.

It is time for general manager Howie Roseman and his staff to redeem themselves for some mismanaged picks from years gone by.

As obvious as it may be what needs to be done in this draft, the hope is Roseman views things the same way.

Last year’s draft class netted one starter – receiver Jalen Reagor, who started all 11 games he played in. Hurts didn’t start until Wentz failed but will start this year. That’s fine, but this team needs rookies to step in and take over.

Start at cornerback.

Avonte Maddox didn’t appear to be the answer on the outside last year opposite Darius Slay, so draft one that can come in and start on day one.

It’s never easy to move from college to the NFL at a very demanding position in the NFL, probably the most challenging position of any other on the field.

The expectation is the Eagles will take a corner sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as round one and no later than round two. The likelihood is that they will take two.

They hired a defensive coordinator in Jonathan Gannon with a background in working with defensive backs, not get him some to work with.

Find a playmaking receiver. Maybe Reagor will be that player. Maybe Travis Fulgham will be given the opportunity to become that.

There have been a lot of resources invested in the position the past two years, with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside coming in the second round two years ago and three coming in last year’s draft.

None have really been true slot receivers. That’s where the Eagles need to look, on the inside.

Clemson’s Amari Rodgers would be nice. Kadarius Toney could slide in there, too.

Greg Ward is a solid player, but it’s time for an upgrade there.

Those two positions, along with an off-the-ball linebacker would be three positions where a starter needs to be found.

The Eagles need to find a defensive end and tackle who can play around 40 to 50 percent of the snaps, too.

Another safety to groom would be nice also.

None of these picks are luxuries. 

They are must-haves as soon as possible, so why not make it happen in the soon-to-be-here draft?

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.