Eagles Have Varied Needs As Draft Approaches

In just 22 days, the Eagles will be making their official draft decision. With varying needs on the team and an inability to make a huge free agent splash, it's time to sort out which way the Eagles will go on Draft Day.

1. Defensive tackle: While the Eagles plan to move newly acquired end Darren Howard inside in passing situations, they still need a run-stopping presence inside. They may address this early in the draft next month.

2. Strongside linebacker: The Eagles went in to the off-season needing to upgrade both outside linebacker spots. They addressed the weak side with the signing of free agent Shawn Barber. But they still need to find someone better on the strong side than Dhani Jones.

3. Running back: Brian Westbrook and Ryan Moats both are talented runners, but they are undersized and are more effective on the perimeter than between the tackles. The Eagles need a big, short-yardage runner to complement them.

So, with those areas as needs, how do the Eagles move to address them?

You could start to hear the name Broderick Bunkley as we near the draft. With a strong Senior Bowl performance, Buckley's name started to climb and the Eagles are one of the teams that are watching him. Some believe that Bunkley will be gone by the time the Eagles draft at 14, but it isn't out of the question that the birds will have a shot at getting him if that's the direction that they choose to go. They have a defniite need at the position and Bunkley could be in the right spot for the Eagles to draft.

Haloti Ngata has some work to do, but is generally thought of as the best defensive tackle in the draft. Problem is that he will likely be gone by the time the Eagles draft. That would mean either going after Bunkley or moving in a different direction.

Florida State's Ernie Sims would answer a problem at the OLB spot. This is a kid who is fast and aggressive to a point of inflicting injuries even on his teammates in fall practices. He has the speed to pursue ball carriers and works well in coverage, although it's not his strong suit. With some work on his mechanics, he could become the kind of play-making line backer that the Eagles will need. Most scouts believe that the Eagles will be picking right around where Sims will wind up going, so he's a definite option.

As for help in the backfield, it gets trickier. Lendale White has pretty much taken himself off of the Eagles' radar. With so much more that can be done with their first pick, it's unlikely that the Eagles would get help in the backfield with the 14th pick. It's likely something that they'll address later in the draft or watch for an interesting name to show up on the waiver wire somewhere down the road.


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