Eagles look to improve defense in the NFL Draft

With Carson Wentz securing the quarterback position, the Eagles are looking to add defensive talent in the upcoming draft. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

Joey Hess
Staff Writer

The Philadelphia Eagles look to turn around yet another losing season as the NFL Draft approaches. The Eagles have secured the 14th overall pick in this year’s draft and they are hoping to build on a team that is already showing improvements on both sides of the ball.

The signings of star wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith will certainly help Carson Wentz and the rest of the offense progress into the championship contenders they used to be. However, it is the defense that needs a lot of improvement moving into the 2017 season.
The Eagles are desperately seeking strong corner backs that can help them improve greatly in their secondary. Last season, the Eagles corner backs gave up 13 touchdowns and caught an underwhelming three interceptions.

The player the Eagles would benefit the most from in the first round is corner back Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State. Fox Sports considers Lattimore the best corner back in the draft. And the numbers he put up in 2016 prove this. Lattimore was targeted 35 times with 14 passes defended and four interceptions. These are numbers that would improve the secondary greatly and be a threat to opposing wide receivers. It is unlikely that he will still be on the board at 14. However, if he is, he is without a doubt the best option for Philadelphia in the first round.

Another corner back that would make an instant impact to the Eagles is Marlon Humphrey. According to CBS.com, Humphrey, cornerback out of the University of Alabama, is another possible option for the Eagles at 14. Humphrey is coming off a successful season with the Crimson Tide where he defended 4 passes, hauled in two interceptions for 18 total yards, and managed to have 33 total tackles in 2016.

The Eagles could benefit greatly by drafting a top corner back in the first round after the release of Leodis Mckelvin and Nolan Carroll. The 2017 draft class shows potential for the Eagles as they continue their search to improve their secondary.

The Eagles have an offense that is surely showing signs of success coming out of the 2016 season. However, with veterans Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews not likely to return after this season, they will be in search for a running back who will fill the role and secure a long term role on the offense.

The Eagles are showing interest in Stanford Running back Christian McCaffrey. Coming out of 2016, McCaffrey rushed for 1603 yards scoring 13 Touchdowns on 253 attempts. He also showed potential lining up as a receiver where he hauled in 37 receptions for 310 yards and three Touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey could make major impact on an already progressing offense. Although this seems like a bit of a long shot for the Birds, if drafted by Philadelphia, he has the potential to compliment Carson Wentz in the backfield and make an impact while lined up as a receiver.
Despite the signings of Jeffrey and Smith, the Eagles would also benefit from drafting a key wide receiver in the second round of the draft. CSN Philly reports that the Eagles could secure wide receiver Dede Westbrook out of Oklahoma with their second pick. In 2016, Westbrook proved that he is well worth being drafted early by finishing the year with 80 receptions for 1524 yards and 17 Touchdowns. Dede Westbrook could be a major asset to the receiving corps if he can continue to display these numbers at the professional level.

The Philadelphia Eagles have the potential to secure certain players in the 2017 draft that can make both a short and long term impact on the team. Most mock drafts list the Eagles taking a top corner back in round one due to their failing secondary. It will be interesting to watch how the draft will unfold and if the Eagles land the players they need to enable their playoff chances to increase. Regardless of who they draft, Philadelphia fans are eager for April 27 to see what the future holds for the Birds.