As we round the corner in the final few days before the 2020 NFL Draft, a time for general managers like Howie Roseman to call around the league and to check on his sources and gain intel on everything that every team is thinking, we're here to dot the I's and cross the T's as we prep for Thursday night's first round. Here is everything you need to know about the Eagles as this historic week begins …
1. The Eagles have eight picks in this draft, starting with No. 21 in the first round. And as much as people have tried to read the tea leaves, the team has truly given no indication of what they’re thinking at 21. There are some fairly defined needs if you look at the depth chart: The Eagles have only three running backs on the current roster. They are light at linebacker, having signed Jatavis Brown in free agency, losing Kamu Grugier-Hill in free agency and releasing Nigel Bradham before free agency started. The wide receiver picture has been the subject of great conversation. The Eagles lost Halapoulivaati Vaitai, a valuable swing tackle who could also play inside, in free agency and left tackle Jason Peters remains an unrestricted free agent. Those are some of the positions to watch on Thursday night.
2. It's also important to note the number of draft picks, eight. The Eagles want to work with volume to add to the roster and they had 10 picks before trading away two to Detroit to acquire Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. In each of the last two springs, the Eagles added just five players in the draft. This year, the Eagles have a bunch of options, and they will be in position in the post-draft period to add. That's an extremely valuable process and the Eagles have had a lot of success mining the undrafted pool of players in the past.
3. Yes, the Eagles are working from remote locations. The work to reach this point has been ongoing since early March, before the Eagles vacated the NovaCare Complex on March 13. It's been a total team effort and Howie Roseman has expressed full confidence in the ability to replicate what the Eagles have at the NovaCare Complex – "It's like being at NASA for the Draft," Roseman said. Everything is in place. "We're going to try to keep it as normal as possible on the communication level as good as we can," he added. "There are no excuses for us not to have a really good draft and draft process."
4. Free agency is not yet over, so the Eagles have a few days to make something happen if they desire. According to OverTheCap.com, the Eagles have in excess of $27 million remaining within the $198.2 million cap. A portion of that is going to be spent on the draft class, and the Eagles still have the opportunity to extend contracts of players on the current roster, but there are some still good players on the streets. It's a buyer's market, so if the Eagles want to add a player between now and Thursday, it's right there for them to do so. Last year, remember, the Eagles agreed to terms with defensive tackle Tim Jernigan on a one-year deal on the first day of the draft. Trust me, Roseman is looking at every angle here.
5. Beyond the NFL Draft, the Eagles have their plans in place for the virtual offseason program that begins next Monday, April 27. It's a nine-week program that will be done through the power of technology and the team has a good feel for what will transpire in the voluntary program. And until further notice, the program will remain virtual.
6. Anything else we need to know? There aren't any outstanding items to consider, really. No players who are still waiting to sign tender offers as restricted or exclusive-rights free agents. No players making any waves about new contracts. No troubles on the horizon, other than the obvious situation the entire world is working through. The week ahead is about football, NFL style. And while it won't be conventional, it will be live and it will be real and it will occupy our attention and our passion. This is an NFL Draft week like we've never had, and the Eagles are ramping up for a chance to take the roster, an NFC East-winning one already one bolstered by a strong free agency period, to an entirely new level with young talent across the board.