Following their 7-9 campaign, the Eagles have numerous areas in which they need to upgrade in order to close the gap with the rest of the NFC East and become a top contender.
10. Defensive tackle If the Eagles can’t agree to contract terms with Bennie Logan, they will need another defensive tackle, and it will be difficult to find one as good as Logan.
9. Center The Eagles reversed Chip Kelly’s habit of not drafting offensive linemen last year, but, unless they’re able to re-sign veteran Stefen Wisniewski, they don’t have a suitable replacement if Kelce suffers a long-term injury.
8. Play-caller At times, Doug Pederson seems to be a master at creating game plans. But teams seemed to adjust to the Pederson’s schemes as the year progressed, resulting in particularly poor first halves. He is overaggressive on fourth down, which is compounded by poor play calls on fourth down. Either Pederson needs to amend his approach or he needs to turn over the play-calling to offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
7. Defensive end The versatile Connor Barwin excelled at linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, but he struggled as a defensive end in defensive coordinator Jim Schwart’s Wide-9. Barwin says he’s willing to take a pay cut to remain an Eagle, but will the team want to keep him? Vinny Curry was a huge disappointment after signing a lucrative contract.
6. Defensive coordinator? If you can’t find a way for the versatile Connor Barwin to be effective in your defense, and your defense gives up more big plays than any team in the NFL, perhaps all of the blame shouldn’t be put on the players. Jim Schwartz’s attacking style feasts on teams with offensive line problems, but struggles against teams with better offensive lines and veteran quarterbacks. He probably deserves another chance next season, but some may disagree.
5. Running back Ryan Matthews’ career-threatening injury, his injury history and his salary make it unlikely he will return to the Eagles next season. Unless they’re prepared to move forward with Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner and Byron Marshall, the Eagles need to acquire or draft a reliable No. 1 running back.
4. Linebacker Despite Doug Pederson’s positive comments about Mychal Kendricks after the Cowboys game, it’s difficult to believe that the Eagles would bring back Kendricks at anywhere close to his current salary. And there isn’t an obvious young backup, so they need at least two linebackers.
3. A good first-round draft pick Regardless of the position, it’s imperative that the Eagles draft a player who can contribute right away and become a solid starter with their first-round selection.
2. Cornerbacks One reason the Eagles give up more big plays than any team in the NFL is their starting cornerbacks aren’t very good. How many consecutive years can we accurately say “the Eagles cornerbacks aren’t very good?”
1. Receivers Jordan Matthews is the only member of the receiving corps who should be guaranteed a spot on the roster next season.