Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/27/14
The Philadelphia Eagles have some major decisions to make this off-season. Wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper become free agents and an assortment of defensive players are going to be testing the market as well. Additionally, as the 2014 draft approaches, the Eagles are looking at which players are going to take them to the next level and help them improve after a 10-6 season that ended in a first-round playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. With an offense coached by former Oregon Ducks head coach, Chip Kelly, who is attracted to players with speed and versatility, why wouldn’t former Oregon Duck De’Anthony Thomas be on the Eagles’ radar? The dynamic speedster stands 5’9” and would fit perfectly into the Eagles’ offense. The Eagles offensive attack would be extremely difficult to stop, with the league’s leading rusher, Lesean McCoy, one of the fastest wide receivers in the league in Desean Jackson, and De’Anothony Thomas, whose explosiveness and skill set resemble that of Cincinnati Bengals halfback Giovanni Bernard’s. However, while speed on offense is crucial, the Eagles have plenty of it. What they lack is size. That is where Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin comes into play. The 6’4”, 232-pound wide receiver, who caught the game winning touchdown in the National Championship game, should be high on the Eagles’ list of prospects. Should Benjamin fall to the Eagles’ number 22 draft pick, he would fit nicely into an offense that could use a big target in the red zone. With the possibility of both Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin finding new homes not in Philadelphia, Benjamin becomes an even more sought out target for the Eagles. Benjamin is a touchdown scoring machine. He racked up 15 touchdowns on 54 catches for 1,011 yards. The 2014 Pro Bowl offensive MVP, Nick Foles, would undoubtedly appreciate having such a dominating presence to throw to every Sunday. It is commonly thought at this point, that the Eagles are going to address an offensive need with their first pick or two in the draft. Nonetheless, there are plenty of holes to fill on their defense. The Eagles were the worst defensive unit in football this season when it came to defending the pass. Oklahoma St. cornerback Justin Gilbert could be the answer to a secondary that struggled mightily. Gilbert would most likely begin the season as the third cornerback on the depth chart, behind Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, but Fletcher has proven to be injury prone, which could present Gilbert with more playing time than expected. Gilbert is a physical cornerback. He had six interceptions and 40 tackles in 2013. Chip Kelly is an offensive-minded coach, but free agency is not going to fix all of the Eagles’ defensive issues. They will need to look toward the draft.
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