Pre-Draft Team Needs: Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off of a season in which they didn't make the playoffs. With that in mind, Scout.com's NFL insider Adam Caplan takes a look at areas that are in need of improvement as we get closer to the draft.

Players Added

Kris Wilson/FB-TE - He can and probably will play both positions. The versatile former second-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs needed a change of scenery and another chance to display his skills. Wilson could see an even greater role if Philadelphia doesn't bring back TE L.J. Smith past this season.

Dan Klecko/FB - The former Patriot and Colt is expected to line up exclusively at fullback this season according to a team source. Klecko is pretty athletic for a player of his size but whether he can make the full-time conversion to fullback remains to be seen.

Bam Childress/WR-KR - The New England Patriots cut him three times but always thought he had enough talent to keep bringing him back. A league source with with knowledge of the situation notes the Eagles signed Childress primarily for a kick return role.

Chris Clemons/DE - He's coming off of a surprisingly solid season considering he was out of the league in 2006. Clemons is the kind of edge rusher that defensive coordinator Jim Johnson covets. He'll be just the type of rotational, third end that the defense needs.

Asante Samuel/CB - He's arguably the best cover defensive back in the NFL and Samuel upgrades a secondary which struggled at times last season. Samuel's ball skills are apparent for anyone to see and he'll make the players around him better. Should the team decide not to trade CB Lito Sheppard, Philadelphia could have the best cornerback trio in the league.

Players Lost

Kimo von Oelhoffen/DT - In very limited playing time last season, the journeyman defensive lineman did a decent job. He remains unsigned though.

Thomas Tapeh/FB - The team didn't offer him a contract and he signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Reno Mahe/RB - He's always available to sign in an emergency situation (see last season).

Ian Scott/DT - He never played for the team after getting hurt early in training camp last year.

Jevon Kearse/DE - He never was the same after suffering a horrific leg/knee injury during the 2006 season. Philadelphia released him but the Tennessee Titans signed him to handle a situational pass rushing role.

Jerome McDougle/DE - The former first-round pick was not offered a contract and will go down as one of the big disappointments of the Andy Reid era.

Takeo Spikes/LB - When healthy last season, he did a decent job but the rapid development of LB Stewart Bradley, not Spikes' contract, made the veteran linebacker expendable.

Will James/CB - He was a much better player before he changed his last name.
 

Pre-Draft Team Needs

1) Wide Receiver - The team made it clear that they were trying to upgrade the receiver position by making a run at signing WR Randy Moss and they also checked into the availability of Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald.

Philadelphia needs one more high end receiver to compete for a top job against WRs Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown who is coming off of a disappointing season. They have scheduled a pre-draft visit with Michigan St. WR Devin Thomas who is a good fit for the West Coast offense which Philadelphia runs.


2) Kickoff/Punt Returner - With field position viewed as very important by coaches, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who follows this team that the special teams return units were poor last season. Look for Philadelphia to solve this issue by looking for a cornerback or receiver in the draft who has return ability.


3) Cornerback - If Lito Sheppard is traded as many expect will happen since recently signed CB Asante Samuel is slated to take over Sheppard's LCB spot, the team will be short a defensive back in the rotation. While many assume that veteran RCB Sheldon Brown will continue to start, that's not a given according to a league source so Philadelphia is likely to address this position early in the draft.


4) Right Tackle - While RT Jon Runyan is probably one of the most durable players at his position over the past 11 seasons (he hasn't missed a start in that time-176 straight regular season plus playoff games), he turns 35 in November and Philadelphia doesn't have his projected successor on the roster.


5) Left Tackle - Starting LT William Thomas has dealt with kidney and back problems off and on for the past three to four seasons and he also turns 34 in November. Some wonder if his back will hold up for another full season and some also wonder if third-year LT Winston Justice is still seen as his eventual replacement.


6) Free Safety - Veteran FS Brian Dawkins turns 35 in October and his contract expires after the 2008 season. There isn't a backup safety who the team sees as ready to take over for him so it's time to address Dawkins' successor.


7) Defensive End - The Eagle defense posted an average 37 sacks last season and while DE Chris Clemons was added, he's coming off of his only good season as a pro. And as the old adage goes, you can't ever have enough quality pass rushers.


Other Issues to Address

Strong Safety

Offensive Line Depth


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