The Eagles attacked two big needs on the first two days of the draft with guard Danny Watkins and safety Jaiquawn Jarrett. Watkins is a virtual lock to start, while Jarrett will challenge second-year strong safety Kurt Coleman for the starting strong safety job. Unless the Eagles re-sign safety Quintin Mikell, they’ll need to bring in another veteran safety for insurance and depth purposes.
While the Eagles selected cornerback Curtis Marsh in the third round, the rookie defensive back likely won’t be ready for significant playing time until his second season at the earliest. He has only played cornerback for two years, so he’s looked at more as a developmental project. With veteran cornerback Ellis Hobbs unsigned and expected to retire, the Eagles will need to fill his vacancy during free agency. Their choices could be limited if it’s determined that last year’s rules are applied. The Eagles could get back cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who played fairly well after taking over for the injured Hobbs last season. Most league observers are expecting the Eagles to make a run at cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, but the cost to sign the veteran defensive back will be quite high considering the market for him should be pretty strong.
The Eagles also will need to add at least one veteran linebacker for depth purposes, especially if the team loses MLB Stewart Bradley, who could become an unrestricted free agent if the 2009 rules are applied.
And finally, on defense, the team is expected to add at least one defensive lineman to the roster in free agency. Speculation is the team will look to sign veteran defensive end Jason Babin, who played very well for new defensive line coach Jim Washburn last season with the Tennessee Titans. However, Babin, because he had a breakout season, could be looking for more money than the Eagles will want to pay because he’ll be looking for a significant role. Babin, who posted a career-high 12 1/2 sacks last season, participated in 713 snaps, the most since his rookie season with the Houston Texans in 2004.
On offense, the starting line is pretty much solidified with Watkins in the fold. The team is expecting a healthy return of center Jamaal Jackson this season.
The one area on offense that could be in need of depth is running back. Veteran Jerome Harrison did a great job in limited playing time last season, but he could become an unrestricted free agent depending on the rules for free agency.
Once player transactions are allowed, it’s expected the team will pursue a trade of quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals. If Kolb winds up being traded, the Eagles would be in the market for a veteran quarterback to back up starter Michael Vick. The feeling is they’ll look to move Kolb because he’s in the final year of his contract and could walk after the 2011 season without any realistic way for the Eagles to keep him.