Now that the Philadelphia Eagles' disastrous 2023 season is in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead. The Eagles will need to go through a lot of changes, both in the coaching staff, but also on the roster. With a lot of key players on the verge of retiring or aging out of their primes and almost 20 players hitting free agency, general manager Howie Roseman will have a ton of hard decisions to make in the offseason.
One of those decisions will come at the 2024 NFL Draft. Whether the Eagles will choose to fill their needs by drafting cheap rookies, re-signing their own players, or going on a spending spree on the free-agent market remains to be seen.
Roseman doesn't like to invest a ton of resources in positions outside the offensive and defensive lines, so we can expect him to fill these roles through the draft. Here are the Eagles' most pressing needs in the 2024 NFL Draft.
A complete revamp of the Eagles' secondary might be necessary after how the defense looked in the second half of the season. Over the last few years, Roseman made big swings in the backfield that didn't pay dividends.
James Bradberry was horrible in the loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he was a massive disappointment all season. He is going to be 31 before the start of the next season.
Darius Slay was still the best cornerback on the team, but he may have just suffered a serious injury against the Bucs. Plus, he is 33 years old.
Considering how defensive backs are a young man's game, the Eagles could use some youth injection there. Multi-year investments in two cornerbacks on the wrong side of the age curve were always going to carry certain risks. These big swings and misses could push the Eagles to select an elite cornerback prospect like Denzel Burke or Kool-Aid McKinstry.
Talk about a big swing and a miss. The Eagles trade deadline move to acquire All-Pro safety Kevin Byard from the Tennessee Titans completely backfired as the 30-year-old safety veteran very quickly proved that he was not the player he once was.
After finishing the season with only one interception, Byard looks like he will need to be moved this offseason. He is due a base salary of $9.6 million for next season with a cap hit of over $14 million. The Eagles are not in a position to pay that to a past-his-prime safety.
This means that the Eagles need to target a safety either in the draft or free agency.
A complete overhaul of the linebacker rotation would be welcomed by plenty of Eagles fans. And that might happen regardless of what the Eagles' intentions are.
Zach Cunningham, Shaq Leonard, and Nicholas Morrow are all unrestricted free agents. Leonard could very well retire. There is a decent chance at least a few members of the unit will be out the door in the offseason.
The Eagles need to prioritize this in the draft. A playmaking linebacker who is capable of tackling would be a nice change.
Kenneth Gainwell is the only running back on the roster signed beyond this season. D'Andre Swift is a free agent and Philadelphia should try to re-sign him as long as they can agree on a reasonable deal. However, there is no reason to ever break the bank on a running back.
Regardless of whether Swift stays or not, the Eagles could use a cheap rookie running back, perhaps in the later rounds of the draft. If Swift leaves, a rusher in earlier rounds should be considered.
This one is up in the air because of the uncertainty surrounding Jason Kelce's retirement. If Kelce does indeed retire as expected, the Eagles have some in-house replacement options.
Right guard Cam Jurgens was widely expected to take over center after Kelce. In fact, Kelce has played a big part in the Eagles drafting him in the 2022 NFL Draft as he saw his as a strong successor. This would open up the RG position that would need to be filled.
The Eagles drafted Tyler Steen in last year's draft to potentially replace Jurgens once he makes the move. Yet, it's not clear whether that is still the plan. An addition to offensive line rotation via the draft might be needed considering the gaping hole Kelce's absence would leave.