Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/21/12
The “Dream Team” was far from anything to dream about in 2011. There certainly was plenty of star power on the Eagles’ roster, but there were certain gaps in said roster that dragged down the team as a whole, and those will need to be addressed this offseason for the Eagles to advance to the postseason in 2012. 
 
Most Eagles’ fans were quick to point fingers at defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who spent 14 years prior as the Eagles’ offensive line coach.  Fans can’t ignore, though, the absence of legitimate second level defenders:  Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews did not perform at a high level and need to be replaced to pair a solid second level with a star-studded secondary and defensive line.  Assuming the need for linebackers is addressed, we will soon find out if the Eagles’ shortcomings came from a lack of personnel or from poor coaching on the part of Castillo. 
 
The Eagles are slated to pick fifteenth, but, as you’ll see below, they could be a team that is very likely to trade up or down based on where Boston College LB Luke Kuechly projects to land on draft day.
 
Option #1- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College- Simply put, Kuechly is who the Eagles will be targeting at this pick since LB is their biggest need and Kuechly is the only linebacker worthy of a top 15 pick.
 
Kuechly isn’t necessarily a physical specimen who has impressed due to outstanding speed and/or strength, but he rather has great football instincts with a nose for the ball and the intelligence to step in day one and make an impact.  There is a league-wide shortage of truly good tacklers, and Kuechly is great in that department.  Kuechly finished his career at Boston College with 532 tackles, 374 of them coming in his Junior and Senior seasons combined.  Kuechly also is great in pass coverage, and is unbelievably well-rounded and elite despite only-decent measurables.
 
The only way that Kuechly isn’t taken with this pick is that he is taken earlier than pick #15, which the Eagles may have to trade up to ensure they get their guy.
 
Option #2- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - Wide Receiver would be a bigger need for the Eagles if the franchise tag were not to be used on DeSean Jackson, but reports indicate that Jackson will get the tag, keeping him in an Eagles’ uniform for 2012.  While keeping Jackson lessens the need for a receiver, the Eagles could still use another new face to add to the explosiveness of the offense. 
 
Floyd should be on the board at #15, so if Kuechly’s gone, the Eagles could turn to Floyd if they decided not to trade out of the pick.  The desire for a wideout may be nixed from now until April seeing as free agent WR Plaxico Burress has openly stated that he wants to play for the Eagles in 2012 “badly”.
 
Option #3- Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama- There are some minor needs around the roster, but the only truly dire need is at the linebacker position.  If Kuechly is gone by pick #15, the Eagles should still address the position early, so they should either reach and take another LB like Dont’a Hightower or they should trade back later in the first round where they will still be able to get Hightower or another linebacker.  Hightower isn’t a top 15 pick; some evaluators may not even see him as a top-25 talent, but the Eagles’ need at the position is alarming, and Hightower is one of the next best prospects at the position. 
 
 
Honorable Mention: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State (only in a similar reach/trade-back situation like the Hightower option), Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (possible if Asante Samuel is not re-signed)

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