Sunday, March 23, 2014
Eagles draft debate: Front or back?
By Dan Graziano
Check out what the mock drafts are predicting for the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 22 in the first round, and you're almost certain to find a defensive player. Sure, they could go wide receiver at that spot if they end up unloading DeSean Jackson, but the general consensus seems to be the Eagles are in great shape on offense and need to fortify the defense in the early rounds of this draft.
So if we assume that, the question becomes: Where on the defense? The front end or the back end?
Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock has the Eagles taking Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. Todd McShay's has them taking Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. The Eagles have had revolving doors at those position in recent years, and the opportunity to find a long-term solution -- especially at safety, where they've struggled for any kind of consistency since the Brian Dawkins days -- will have to be tempting.
But I keep thinking back to Chip Kelly's "bigger people beat up little people" line from last year's NFL owners meetings, and in general I believe that a strong defensive front (specifically a pass rush) helps out the secondary more than a strong secondary helps out the front. So I wonder if it would be temping also to get strong up front, especially in a draft deep in cornerbacks and safeties. Could the Eagles take a pass-rusher like Missouri's Kony Ealy or a defensive lineman like Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt or Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman and then address the secondary in the second and/or third rounds? I don't think it's a crazy idea.
If you had the choice, which would you rather see them do?