By Bill Pivetz @BPiv_Sports on April 9, 2014
The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball with the absence of some key players. DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant signed elsewhere, and Patrick Chung reunited with the New England Patriots. The Eagles' defense cost them a lot of games, and that can't happen again if they want to win the NFC East title again. Here are the Eagles' five biggest 2014 draft needs.
The Eagles' secondary was better than in previous years. They finished with 19 interceptions and 111 passes defended, ninth and fifth in the league respectively. While the starting cornerbacks were great, the backups were not. The Eagles need some talented depth at the cornerback position.
Todd Herremans, Evan Mathis and Jason Peters did their best to protect Nick Foles throughout the season. They allowed 28 sacks to Foles and 46 to all Eagles quarterbacks, eighth-most in the league. Those three players are getting up there in age, all in their 30s, and no one is sure how many more seasons they can play. As a result, the Eagles need to develop some youth on the offensive line who can play for eight to 10 seasons.
The Eagles' pass rushers totaled 37 sacks in 2013, 20th in the league. Trent Cole led the team with eight sacks. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks followed him with four each. The Eagles had 10 games with two or fewer sacks and were 5-5 in those games. Cole will be 32 in October and is playing out of position. He played as a defensive end in college. The Eagles need to draft a young linebacker to help the current group of pass rushers.
In one season with the Eagles, Patrick Chung did not live up to the hype. He played in just 12 games. He did not record any interceptions and had only three passes defended. Nate Allen had to pick up a lot of the slack and improved a lot. Chung is now back with the New England Patriots. Kurt Coleman played very little in 2013 and will need to step up during training camp. It's been a while since the Eagles had a skillful group of safeties.
DeSean Jackson had his best season in 2013. He was released by the Eagles and signed with rival Washington Redskins. Longtime wide receiver Jason Avant was released and signed with the Carolina Panthers. The Eagles no longer have a deep ball threat in Jackson or a security blanket in Avant. With very little depth, the Eagles may need to use their first-round pick to help Nick Foles and the offense.
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