The Philadelphia Eagles are going to see a lot of change between last year and this year. Moving on from long-time head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles hired former Oregon Ducks offensive mastermind Chip Kelly to run the team, and they have made some bold moves already this offseason. Not the least of which was re-signing Michael Vick to a $10 million contract. The one-year deal is a vote of confidence in Vick, if you ask me, as the Eagles could have just as easily moved on and planned to draft someone or use Nick Foles again this year.
I don’t think this team is that far away from contending for an NFC East title. There is a lot of work to be done, especially in the defensive backfield, but this is a team with plenty of pieces in place to make a championship run, if everything goes according to plan. We have laid out the Eagle’s top needs in a separate post, which you can find here.
1. First Round, 4th overall: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei is a big, nasty defensive line prospect who could play either nose or end (see Haloti Ngata) for the Eagles. I’m not saying Lotulelei is quite the athlete Ngata is (there are times when Ngata drops into coverage, for crying out loud) but he has some versatility in a three man front and I think he’d be a great fit with what the Eagles are doing defensively under Billy Davis. The other option here of course is to take right tackle Eric Fisher, and eventually develop him into a left tackle. With Todd Herramans and Jason Peters coming back off of injury, the Eagles can maybe afford to take this gamble here on Lotulelei and fill an even more pressing need on their defensive line. They brought in Isaac Sopoaga from the 49ers, but there is still depth lacking on the defensive front. Star would be a welcome addition and could help make their arsenal of edge rushers even more effective.
2. Second Round, 35th overall: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Michael Vick is playing on a one year deal, and Nick Foles is probably not a good fit for Chip Kelly’s offense. I think the Eagles have always had their eye on E.J. Manuel and this is a logical landing spot for him based on his current draft stock. He is the type of guy who could run the pistol offense in the NFL and make plays with his legs as well as with his very strong arm. Those qualities have never been an issue with Manuel, but consistency has been. I think the Eagles are as good a fit as any for the former Florida State signal caller.
3. Third Round, 67th overall: Kyle Long, OL, Oregon
The former Ducks head coach lands one of his former Oregon Ducks players, and gets a versatile prospect in Kyle Long. Long could be a right tackle or guard for the Eagles, but his presence would be a welcome addition to an offensive line group that had a ton of trouble not only staying healthy last year, but performing when guys went down with injury. I think with his size and athletic ability, the sky is the limit for his potential in the NFL, especially in the type of offense that Chip Kelly likes to run. The Eagles may even have to move up a few spots to snag this guy.
4. Fourth Round, 101st overall: Tavarres King, WR, Georgia
Tavarres King is a speedy playmaker who can stretch the field, and you can never have too many of those guys. The Eagles don’t really have a steady “big” receiver, but in this type of offense they don’t really need one. Adding as much speed as possible is going to really help Chip Kelly build the type of program in the NFL he had at Oregon, just with more well-developed athletes. King had a good Senior Bowl week and was a standout for the Bulldogs the last couple of years. He’s got a lean frame and struggles with making “tough” catches but he can certainly make things happen for you down the field.