Running back: Thanks to the trade for Jason Peters, the Eagles number one position of need now shifts to the backfield. Correll Buckhalter left for Denver leaving only Lorenzo Booker and Eldra Buckley on the depth chart behind Brian Westbrook. Brian’s well-documented knee problems and other various injuries sounded an alarm that he won’t be around forever. He turns 30 before the season starts, so young, fresh legs are needed.
Tight end: The Birds waved bye, bye to underachieving L.J. Smith, who signed with the Ravens. Smith showed flashes, but never lived up to his second-round status. Brent Celek has been elevated to starter based largely on his late season surge and spectacular playoff performances. Matt Schobel, for some strange reason, still has the third-string tight end job. Another vertical/red zone target is needed. It would be nice to have someone who is a good blocker, but the arrival of Peters, Stacy Andrews and Leonard Weaver offsets the necessity for a run-blocking tight end.
Cornerback: Most fans will cry wide receiver. Personally, I think what they have is enough. A big, physical red zone threat would be nice, but it’s not a must need. Another cornerback is more relevant at this time. Last year’s fourth-round selection, Jack Ikegwuonu, has yet to see the field due a knee injury suffered in January 2008. Relying on just him for depth would be foolish. In addition, the recent trade demands by Sheldon Brown could lead to a lengthy holdout, so the Birds would be wise to cover their backsides.
How will the Eagles address these needs? I’d like to believe Andy Reid will go running back in the opening round. Almost every mock draft has them picking Knowshon Moreno at 21. I think he’ll be gone by then, but if he isn’t, there is still no guarantee he’ll be the choice. It’s probably too early to grab Donald Brown, so backs like LeSean McCoy and Rashad Jennings might be targeted in round two. If they do take Brown at 21, look for a tight end to come off the board in either the second or third round. Jared Cook, Cornelius Ingram and Chase Coffman are names to remember. With no fourth round pick because of the Jason Peters trade, they could wait until the fifth round before taking a cornerback, but that seems risky. They own four picks in the fifth, so they could trade back into the fourth if they wanted. However, selecting a corner in one of the first three rounds is the safer bet. Guys like Mike Mickens, Sean Smith, Kevin Barnes and Bradley Fletcher are players they have shown interest in who should be available between rounds two through four.
One last point: I will not be be surprised one bit if a defensive player is taken at 21. They don’t really need one, but that won’t stop Reid from throwing everyone a curve.