As the NFL owners and players work toward some kind of resolution to the current labor dispute, there is still the reality that the show must go on. A draft will be held on April 28. Football is going to return at some point. And the Eagles have to be ready. So while there is no league activity at this point, the team is preparing for the draft. This is what we think we know about the fortunes of the most important weekend of the offseason ...
The Depth Is On The Defense
Like last year, the upper-echelon talent is on the defensive side of the football. As many as nine defensive linemen, for example, could be first-round selections. There is substantial talent at cornerbacks. A few of the edge linebackers come with high marks.
So you can expect the Eagles to bring in some players to add to a defense that needs some impact. It is reasonable to say that the Eagles can use good players across the board on defense. Of the eight picks they have at the moment, could they use five of them for the defense?
It's also possible, as some reports suggest, that the NFL will, after a series of court proceedings, begin the league year and jump right into free agency. Under that scenario the Eagles could trade players, sign free agents and operate in a normal manner under the guidelines the league puts in place.
At the moment, though, the draft is the only tangible part of the future still in place.
If Offensive Line Is What The Eagles Want ...
They will have a couple of options in the early rounds. Some of the mock drafts have the Eagles going offensive line in Round 1. It makes sense if the Eagles think they need to address the right side of the line, specifically right guard. I'm going to tell you that Winston Justice, King Dunlap and Austin Howard have some potential to man right tackle, so for me the right guard spot is the one real area to deal with up front.
But would the Eagles use a first-round draft pick on a guard? They did it with Jermane Mayberry a generation ago, and they selected tackle Shawn Andrews and started him at guard in 2004. Now?
We will see about that. Offensive line could be the way to go early for the Eagles.
Trading Picks Is The Only Movement Allowed
If the Eagles get to draft weekend and the rules are in place restricting all movement except trading draft picks for draft picks, the Eagles will still be creative, and likely will still jump all around the draft. Moving up substantially in the first round might be more difficult, but general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Andy Reid are as aggressive as any duo in the league, so they will find a way if they really have a desire.
The draft is here in six-plus weeks. A lot could happen in the league between now and then, and it likely will. How it plays out, well, we're all in this together. We're waiting. We're hoping. We're upset.
All we know is that the draft is going to be here, front and center, before we know it. It is the only comfort in times like this.