The Eagles needed to bolster their pass rush and add multiple cornerbacks, and did just that by selecting defensive end Derek Barnett in the first round and corners Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas on Day 2. It seems like a good bet that another glaring hole -- running back -- will be addressed Saturday.
Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman called the depth at running back in this draft class “historic” earlier this offseason. It’s safe to say, the Eagles feel like there is some value to be had in Rounds 4 through 7.
According to ESPN’s rankings, Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State, Matthew Dayes of NC State, BYU’s Jamaal Williams and Marlon Mack of South Florida are the best available backs. The Eagles have two picks in the fourth round at 118th and 139th overall.
“This is a very good running back draft. We still have a lot of players that we like at that position,” Roseman said.
“We’re looking to find that three-down guy,” head coach Doug Pederson added. “Looking at the guys that are left, I think there’s still one or two guys that are there that have the opportunity to fill that role.”
If the number of three-down backs really is down to one or two for the Eagles, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use a fourth-round pick on one or perhaps even move up in the round to secure one of their targets.
The Eagles are very iffy at the running back position at the moment. Ryan Mathews still is recovering from a neck injury and is expected to be released once he’s able to pass a physical. Darren Sproles is 33 and plans on retiring after the season. And second-year player Wendell Smallwood still is an unknown. The talent pool needs to be filled up.
This also is considered a rather strong tight end class. Michigan’s Jake Butt currently is the second-highest rated available player according to ESPN, and Clemson’s Jordan Leggett is just a few notches below him. At receiver, North Carolina’s Mack Hollins, Josh Malone of Tennessee and LSU’s Malachi Dupre lead the way.
As the 2017 NFL draft hits the back nine, look for the Eagles to add talent to the offensive skill positions.