The first wave of free agency is over and after Howie Roseman addressed the team's need for a veteran, deep threat with the signing of Chris Givens yesterday, it seems like the team will start to transition their focus toward the draft while waiting to see if any undervalued veterans slip through the cracks. So it seems like the perfect time to take the temperature of the Eagles roster as it currently sits.
Obviously, the team is in a state of flux and there are still more moves to come, but an exercise like this can show how much work is left to do before the Eagles can feel confident about having 53 quality football players on their roster heading into training camp. So, here's the team, broken down position-by-position with suggestions on how each unit can be improved before the start of next season.
Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel both signed hefty deals this offseason, so they are both locks to make the roster. The Eagles also signed McLeod Bethel-Thompson to a contract, but I doubt he's much more than a camp body. The Eagles need to find their third QB and he'll probably come from the draft. If Doug Pederson isn't in love with either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, expect the team to take a flier on a developmental guy in the mid-rounds.
With Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner, the Eagles could be set at running back for 2016. Since they moved into the top-10 of the draft, a lot of fans have been drooling over Ezekiel Elliott, but one look at next year's running back class, and it's apparent Elliott isn't a necessity. With guys like Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey set to come out next year, the Eagles waiting for a running back of the future wouldn't be the worst thing. With that being said, the team may add a cheap back later in free agency or after the draft as an insurance policy if Mathews goes down again.
Yesterday's signing of Givens probably spells the end of improving the receiving corps. Pederson has been consistent in his praise of the trio of Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff, and the addition of Givens gives the team a proven deep-ball threat. With those four already locked in, the Eagles won't go after any receivers in the draft, but they could bring in an undrafted free agent to compete with Jonathan Krause and Freddie Martino for the final wide receiver slot.
Tight end is pretty much set with Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton. The one thing that could make this interesting is if Pederson decides to bring the fullback back to Philadelphia. Burton struggled to get on the field over Ertz and Celek and his running back experience could make him the perfect candidate as a situational H-back and fullback.
This was the Eagles biggest concern heading into the offseason and they addressed one guard spot by signing Brandon Brooks. With his addition, four of the starting spots are solidified with guys who are above-average, which is good. However, Allen Barbre is still the penciled-in starter at left guard, but that will probably change on draft night. Barbre can be a valuable reserve and is head-and-shoulders better than the rest of the linemen currently on the roster. Expect the Eagles to add multiple linemen through the draft, one of whom can step in and start in 2016.
The D-line has been the highlight of the Eagles the past two seasons and with Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Brandon Graham occupying the starting spots, that trend could continue. Connor Barwin will transition from outside linebacker and will be good as a pass-rushing end and someone who can drop into coverage if Jim Schwartz dials up a zone blitz.
On the interior, Beau Allen and Taylor Hart are the reserves, but don't be surprised if the team adds another interior linemen who is a prototypical fit in a 4-3 scheme. The team has a lot of bodies, but not much talent. This is another position that could use some more attention before training camp opens in August.
It's scary how much of a need the Eagles have at linebacker, especially in the middle. After the departure of DeMeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso, Jordan Hicks is the only MLB on the Eagles roster and he's coming off a torn pectoral muscle that has the potential to hinder his tackling ability. Hicks has an extensive injury history and it is worth wondering if he can be counted on for 16 games.
On the outside, it's Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks backed by a bunch of guys who are better fits for a 3-4. Najee Goode has proven to be good enough to add value as a bench player, but Roseman has a lot of work to do with this group, or else an injury or two would completely decimate the middle of the defense.
Ironically, the secondary may have the most depth of any unit on the Eagles roster today. They have four veteran cornerbacks who are virtual locks to make the roster in September, leaving one or two slots open for any combination of JaCorey Shepherd, Randall Evans, Denzel Rice and Jaylen Watkins.
As for the safeties, the signing of Rodney McLeod will give the team their best pair of safeties in almost a decade. Ed Reynolds has proven to be a decent reserve and Chris Maragos continues to play well enough on special teams to justify his roster spot. Jerome Couplin could make things interesting and maybe a corner or two could convert to safety in an attempt to make the roster, but with the exception of adding a top talent in the first round of the draft, the Eagles do not need to address their secondary any further.
I don't expect the Eagles to sign another punter or long snapper to push Donnie Jones or Jon Dorenbos. Those guys are among the best at what they do and can be counted on to show up when the season hits.
However, one interesting development is the impending kicking competition between Cody Parkey and Caleb Sturgis. Now, before you laugh and remark about how Sturgis isn't even in Parkey's class, consider this: Sturgis made 85.7 percent of his field-goal attempts in the final 12 games of 2015, but Parkey has struggled since the Eagles won in Dallas on Thanksgiving in 2014, connecting on just 72.7 percent of his kicks in his last seven games. Add in the fact that Sturgis has a better pedigree and was more consistent on kickoffs and you realize this competition is for real.
Tucker Bagley is a columnist for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @tbagley515.