The 2010 Eagles season is now behind us and we have nothing to do but look forward to 2011. As is the case every season, there will be faces that leave the team and new faces that join it. Today I want to look at some of the biggest needs the Eagles will have moving into next season.
First off, the Eagles need to find a solid right guard who can consistently play at a high level. We saw a lot of inconsistency at the position throughout the season from both Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole. To the surprise of a lot of people including myself, the Eagles failed to draft an offensive lineman last season.
Head Coach Andy Reid has typically been known for trying to target lineman in the draft, but didn’t do so in 2010. This March, I expect things to be different. The Eagles could afford to bring in a few players along the offensive line and I think it’s somewhere they will look early in the draft. There will be some options at the guard position in free agency, but regardless of whether or not the Eagles try to go after one, I still believe they need to take a guard during the draft.
Another big need for the Eagles will be at the corner back position. Poor play from the Eagles corners killed us in various games, and they need a talented player who can step up and play next to Asante Samuel. Dimitri Patterson showed us that he can be a good player but also looked awful at times. I expect him to compete for a starting spot in Training Camp, but I believe the Eagles will have a new face that will be part of the competition as well.
Staying in the secondary, the two safety position are also interesting with Quintin Mikell becoming a free agent this offseason. Everyone believes Mikell will look for a big pay day and this might prevent him from returning to the Eagles.
The Eagles saw two talented rookies, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, play a lot this season but will lack a veteran to help mold the young players if Mikell leaves. Mikell played fairly well this season so the Eagles will have to see what it will cost to bring him back. If it’s too much, I expect them to try and look for a veteran free agent to bring in.
On defense, the Eagles will also need to decide what they want to do with their linebackers. Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims, and Omar Gaither will all be free agents. I expect the Eagles to let Gaither walk, but it will be interesting to see what they do with Bradley and Sims. Jamar Chaney came in and played well in the absence of Bradley, but are they confident enough in Chaney to let Bradley walk?
Sims will also be an interesting guy to watch. He played well for most of the season, but may be looking for an amount of money the Eagles are willing to pay. They have a young player in Keenan Clayton that they like but would he be ready to step into a starting role in just his second season? Regardless, the Eagles will need to look at some free agents or draft picks to bring in at linebacker.
The Eagles will also need to address the running back position. LeSean McCoy is coming off his best season, but Jerome Harrison and Eldra Buckley become free agents this year. I’ve never understood why they liked Buckley so much, so I think they’ll just have to make a decision on whether or not to keep Harrison. Again, this will be a position they’ll have to bring in more talent.
As I mentioned, McCoy was golden this year, but he needs a legitimate number two behind him to take some of the load off.
Finishing with special teams, Sav Rocca and David Akers will both be free agents. Akers is the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia, but he is aging. He also ended his season with a letdown. Personally, I think this may be the end of Akers’ run in Philadelphia.
Overall, the Eagles have a lot of needs to fill but have done a good job of putting personnel together to be a legitimate playoff team each season. Like in years past, they will need to wheel-and-deal this offseason to remain a contender.