To dip into free agency, or to go into the draft? The Eagles have their choice, and at no other position is that more evident than running back. There are choices all over the place. It is, in fact, a good time to want to add a running back in one of the most obvious buyer's market we have ever seen at the position. So, as the Eagles ponder the possibilities, what do they do to find a complement to LeSean McCoy in the backfield?
Let me digress for a moment. McCoy is projected as the starter in his second NFL season, with Eldra Buckley and Martell Mallett expected to battle for the third halfback spot. Things could change, yes, but for now that is how it looks on the imaginary depth chart in my brain. What is missing is a piece to make the halfback position complete. The Eagles need a running back who is not just a good backup. They need someone to challenge McCoy, to make him the best he can be. They need a player who can step in and play at a high level for an extended period of time should McCoy need a rest.
The veterans are falling off the trees and if everything goes as expected, players like Chester Taylor, Thomas Jones, Darren Sproles and even restricted free agent Mike Bell (New Orleans would have the right to match an offer sheet signed, but would get no compensation should Bell leave) can be had for nothing more than a contract agreement.
This rookie class is heralded as well, with C.J. Spiller and Jahvid Best leading the way, and with good value expected in the middle rounds. As with every year, a fifth-round draft pick will make it into the league, and could develop into a starting running back.
So, the Eagles have the call to make. They sure seem headed down the road to get a running back, so the question is do they take the veteran route and bring in one of those "name" players soon to be unrestricted (or restricted) free agents or do they roll the dice in the draft? Maybe they do both, and conclude that the third halfback spots can be upgraded, too.
Any way you slice it, the Eagles have great options at halfback. It's amazing how many good running backs there are in the NFL and about to enter the league in the draft.
- Lots of speculation about the Eagles being interested in soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Julius Peppers and Peppers showing interest in the Eagles. I have no idea, to be honest, but I like the chatter. The way I see it, the Eagles are either players early in free agency or they aren't players at all. This free-agent class has about eight players who are seriously good, and then the rest of the class looks like backup types. I guess we will know in a week's time how serious the team is about making a splash in free agency.
- Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin stopped by the set of *Eagles Live! *on Monday and he was absolutely great. Maclin is in two weeks early for the off-season conditioning program and he expects to make a big jump in his second season. "I need to get better in every part of my game," he said. "My goal is to be as good as I can possibly be. I'm going to work hard and work on my technique and my conditioning. I'm glad to be back and focused on what is ahead for this football team."
- The off-season conditioning program begins in two weeks, by the way.
- If you had to ask me which position is a need and was most puzzling to upgrade, I would say free safety. It just seems to me that drafting a rookie to play that position is a tough proposition. And who is going to hit the market that the Eagles can sign? Signing a veteran as a stop-gap measure doesn't appeal to me. Visions of Blaine Bishop swirling in my head now, folks. Darren Sharper? Not so such he runs well enough to play the position anymore, unless the Eagles make major upgrades to the front seven. What do they do here? Is it possible that the Eagles think Quintin Demps and/or Macho Harris can step up in 2010?