KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WHTM) — The Philadelphia Eagles have six picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl 57 runners-up have plenty of holes to fill after key starters left in free agency.
The Eagles will look to the defensive side of the ball with their six picks early and often, as they saw both starting safeties and linebackers walk in free agency, but don’t expect them to reach for those positions too early. Under Howie Roseman, the Eagles have prioritized offensive and defensive line depth, and will likely look that way for both of their first round picks (no. 10 and no. 30 overall).
Below is a list of the positions they’ll be targeting when the 2023 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 27.
The Eagles already boast arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, but that’s not a title they want to give up anytime soon. Philadelphia returns four of five starters after right guard Isaac Seumalo left for the Steelers in free agency, and know Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson don’t have too many more seasons in them. The Eagles will look to add a tackle or interior offensive lineman as early as the first round and could address the position multiple times. They have no proven backups beyond right tackle Jack Driscoll.
Nobody emphasizes building a championship caliber roster in the trenches quite like the Eagles. Even after spending their first pick in 2022 on defensive tackle Jordan Davis, Philadelphia could go right back to the well in 2023 addressing the interior of the defensive line after losing Javon Hargrave to the 49ers in free agency. The pass rushing trio of Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham combined for 38 sacks in 2022 and get Derek Barnett back in the mix in 2023 after missing last season with injury. The Eagles haven’t gone a draft without selecting a pass rusher in more than a decade, don’t expect them to break that trend in 2023.
The re-signing of James Bradberry and restructuring of Darius Slay’s contract bumped this need down the priority list a bit, but the Eagles will still look to address their defensive backfield behind their Pro Bowl corners and talented slot corner Avonte Maddox. The Eagles addressed the safety position in free agency with Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans, and they expect Reed Blankenship to step into a larger role. Cornerback could be an early round target while safety is in play in the middle rounds.
Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards walking in free agency opened up a gaping hole in the middle of the Eagles’ defense, but this is where they expect last year’s third round pick Nakobe Dean to step up. Philadelphia also signed former Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow to a one year deal hoping he can be a stop-gap starting option this season. The cupboard is bare beyond core special teamer Shaun Bradley, meaning the Eagles could look for depth at linebacker in the later rounds of the draft.
A popular hope among fans is that the Eagles will swing big with the 10th overall pick and take Texas star running back Bijan Robinson. It would be the first time since Keith Byars in 1986 that Philadelphia used a first round pick on a running back, but you don’t need to look back that far to know the current organization’s leadership just doesn’t see value in sinking early round assets into this position. Especially after signing Rashaad Penny in free agency to offset the loss of Miles Sanders, the Eagles could add to the running back room in the late rounds, but the organization won’t prioritize the position on day one of the draft.
The dynamic duo of AJ Brown and Devonta Smith have been exactly what the Eagles dreamed of when pairing them with quarterback Jalen Hurts. Behind them, number three receiver Quez Watkins disappointed in 2022 and utility wideout Zach Pascal walked in free agency. Philadelphia could target a raw wide receiver prospect they can develop to take over the third starter spot in the late rounds of this draft.
The 2023 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29. You can watch the 2023 NFL Draft live on abc27 throughout Thursday to Saturday.