Philadelphia Eagles: 5 offseason expectations from Howie Roseman

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
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Time to replenish the lines

With nine projected draft picks in this April’s draft, the Eagles will have plenty of opportunities to add much-needed depth to their roster. The Eagles hold their own first-round pick (No. 25 overall) and two second-round selections (No. 53 overall, courtesy of the Ravens, and No. 57). The Eagles traded their third-round pick to the Lions in exchange for Tate.

Roseman likes to build teams through the trenches. Over 40 percent of the Eagles’ 2018 salary cap was invested in offensive and defensive lineman, good for highest-ranked percentage in the league according to data collected on Spotrac. With aging lines on each side of the ball, Roseman and player personnel guru Douglas would be wise to invest premium picks in both.

Future Hall of Famer Jason Peters has yet to announce his 2019 intention. The nine-time Pro Bowler who turned 37 last month may decide to call it a career. Battling through various injuries throughout the 2018 campaign, Peters still managed to play 79 percent of the team’s regular-season snaps and did so at a relatively high level, with Pro Football Focus ranking Peters as the 38th best offensive tackle in the league. Not too bad for a player competing in his 15th season one year removed from suffering a torn ACL and MCL.

While the Eagles have two potential replacements in third-year tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and converted Australian rugby player, Jordan Mailata, Roseman and Douglas must make it a priority adding O-line depth in preparation for the inevitable. All-Pro center Jason Kelce may be pondering retirement, and Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks, rehabbing from a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in the Eagles playoff loss to the Saints, also raise questions about availability next year.

The defensive line is slated to potentially lose pass-rushers Brandon Graham and Walter Payton Man of the Year award-winner Chris Long to free agency, as well as run-stopper Haloti Ngata. There could be another vacancy if DT Timmy Jernigan refuses a pay cut. Either way, it appears that there will be plenty of holes to fill up front.

Coincidentally, it just so happens that the 2019 draft is rich with defensive line talent. There will be much speculation about the Eagles’ plans as the NFL Scouting Combine gets underway in a few weeks, and I anticipate significant buzz around the D-line. Two defensive tackles to keep an eye on, in particular, are Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, both from Clemson. Both currently project as first-round picks, and if one is on the board when the Eagles are on the clock, don’t be surprised if that’s the name on the card.

Between the Eagles’ three selections in the first two rounds of the draft, it would not surprise me to see the team land a run-stuffer to pair alongside Fletcher Cox, an edge rusher for depth, and an offensive lineman.

Either way, expect plenty of new toys up front.

Every championship contender begins its pursuit in the offseason. The next four months will be loaded with excitement and intrigue, and for Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas of the Philadelphia Eagles, this is their time to shine. The seeds they’re about to plant dictate the fruits of the 2019 campaign.

Next. Chris Long’s charity has finally been acknowledged. dark

For the sake of the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans, hopefully, it’s a Super Bowl harvest.