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2015 NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles one of draft's most intriguing teams

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Let's begin a pre-draft tour of the NFC East by looking at the Philadelphia Eagles.

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The New York Giants will not only battle their division rivals for wins and losses, but also draft prospects, as many players appear to fill common areas of need right across the NFC East. With the 2015 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, we're going to take a look at our division rivals and how each of their positional groups stack up. The focus here is to identify which areas could use an impact player from the first round, where the depth charts need a little tweaking, and what positions are pretty much fine the way they are.

Quarterbacks

Sam BradfordMark Sanchez, Matt Barkley.

Key Number:

Bradford has missed 38 percent of games since he entered the league in 2010.

Analysis:

The Giants will hope that both Eagles games fall in the second-half of their schedule so as to maximize the chance of facing a depleted roster. Both Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez have missed a full season in the past two years. When Bradford did manage to see the field, he appeared to be making some late progress as a player on an underwhelming Rams team. Now that he finally has a competent play-caller, he could develop into a sustainable solution. Even if Bradford doesn't survive the season, the Eagles know what they have in Sanchez and can game plan around his weaknesses.

Draft Target:

There is the obvious link between the Eagles and Chip Kelly's former quarterback, Marcus Mariota (Oregon). Kelly groomed Mariota up from high school. There's chatter about it for a reason. It would most likely take more than Sam Bradford and a first-round pick to trade up high enough to guarantee an Oregon reunion, but it's a logical move for all involved. The ownership have embraced Kelly's vision so far, they might as well go all-in and get him a quarterback who has been preparing throughout college for this specific scenario.

Running Backs

DeMarco MurrayRyan MathewsDarren SprolesChris Polk.

Key number:
Murray and Mathews have been in the league four and five years respectively, yet each have appeared in a full season only once.

Analysis:

I sincerely hope Kelly's miracle smoothies work for him this year because his first few moves as a GM. were to acquire a bunch of injury-prone veterans whose salary-cap hits are almost as much as their medical bills. To complete the impression of fragility given off by the Bradford trade, the Eagles signed Murray and Mathews. Murray is coming off an excellent season that came at the cost of a huge workload and heavy wear, but if they can keep this pair healthy through rotation and a tailored workout scheme, it could work. The issue with Philadelphia's free-agency moves is not talent, it's durability.

Draft Target:

Not an area of need.

Offensive Line

Jason Peters, Evan MathisJason Kelce, Allen BarbreLane Johnson, Andrew GardnerDennis KellyDavid MolkMatt Tobin, Kevin Graf.

Key Number:
Despite suffering major injuries and rotation, Philadelphia's offensive line was actually better at pass blocking in 2014 (81.5 percent efficient) than it was in 2013 (76.5 percent) [via PFF].

Analysis:

According to Pro Football Focus, both Jason Peters and Lane Johnson graded in the top 15 offensive tackles. Evan Mathis was the second-best guard in the league last year and Jason Kelce, at center, was the eighth-best for his position despite a worrying number of penalties. The Eagles are built through their line and it shows. The Oregon-Kelly scheme is effective because the line can open huge holes and blow the defense off their blocks. It's easier to dominate in this area on a college level because top schools can easily recruit the best kids, but in the NFL, things are a bit harder. While Kelly's teams have not been as dominant at the next level, his ability to get dominant play despite injuries is to be commended.

Draft Target:

If they take one in the first round, it would likely be Jake Fisher (Oregon), however it's probable that they'd use a second- or third-round pick instead. They had injuries across the line last year, but were nearly flawless in 2013. A regression towards the mean is the most probable outcome. If it's an early-to-mid round pick, Tre' Jackson (FSU) could be the target.

Tight-Ends

Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton.

Key Number:
The Eagles are one of only three teams to get 1,000+ yards from the tight-end position in each of the last two seasons (New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers).

Analysis:

This will be Brent Celek's ninth season and after Zach Ertz had a breakout year in 2014, look for the Eagles to shift the balance of playing time considerably in favour the youngster. If Ertz can develop as a blocker, he would be one of the best tight-ends in the league. The Eagles don't have many top receivers on their team at the moment so there should be enough snaps for both of these guys to make an impact.

Draft Target:

Not an area of need.

Wide-Receivers

Riley Cooper, Josh HuffJordan Matthews, Miles Austin, Seyi AjirotutuJeff MaehlWill MurphyQuron Pratt.

Key Number:
In back to back years, the Eagles have gotten rid of a 1,300-yard receiver who averaged more than 15 yards per catch (DeSean Jackson - 2013, Jeremy Maclin - 2014).

Analysis:

At some point, losing your most productive guy at each offensive skill position is going to hurt the Eagles. After getting rid of DeSean Jackson last year, they let Jeremy Maclin sign with the Chiefs this year. What's left is a pool of guys who might be good, but aren't going to scare anyone on opening day. Riley Cooper isn't a deep threat and Jordan Matthews took 92 percent of his snaps from the slot [via PFF]. That leaves Josh Huff on the outside and at 5-foot-11, he doesn't fit the mold of the ideal big receiver that Kelly seeks out for his scheme.

Draft Target:

The crazy thing is that the Eagles could trade up to grab Mariota, and still come away with an impact receiver. Someone huge like Devin Funchess (Michigan) or Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma) would make sense. It's such a rich draft for receivers and Philly has some well-placed picks to take advantage of the depth of talent. It's not crazy to think they may even spend more than one selection on this position.

Defensive Line

Fletcher CoxBennie LoganCedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen.

Key Number:
B. Logan's 40 tackles were the most by any defensive tackle in 2014.

Analysis:

There isn't a superstar player to point to on the Eagles' defensive line. The closest would be Fletcher Cox, but really it's just a group of productive role players. Vinny Curry may be looked upon as a potential bust, but  as a specialist pass-rusher, he gets the job done. Between Cedric Thornton and Curry, you get one elite player. Unfortunately, they aren't on the field together all that often so Cox is mostly left to hold down the fort by himself.

Draft Target:

The Eagles probably aren't going to spend another high pick on a 3-4 end. They'd like to give Curry one more year to prove himself before committing a big investment. Logan was decent last year, but was the worst pass-rusher on his team. Danny Shelton (Washington) is a possibility, but that's about it in terms of early picks.

Linebackers

Connor BarwinMychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, Brandon GrahamMarcus Smith, Brad JonesDeMeco Ryans, Bryan Braman.

Key Number:
C. Barwin and B. Graham combined for 103 QB pressures last season [via PFF].

Analysis:

The strength of Philadelphia got stronger with the addition of Kiko Alonso. If he is even 80 percent of the player he was in 2013, the Giants are in for some tough games next year. Alonso was the best coverage linebacker before his injury. Putting him alongside Mychal Kendricks in the middle with Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham flying off the edges is a recipe for greatness. It's so rare that a positional unit can be this intimidating despite getting nothing from last year's first-round pick, Marcus Smith.

Draft Target:

Not an area of need.

Defensive Backs

Byron MaxwellWalter Thurmond, Brandon BoykinEarl Wolff, Malcolm JenkinsNolan CarrollChris MaragosChris Prosinski.

Key Number:
B. Maxwell allowed one reception for every nine snaps in coverage (73rd best among CBs who played min. 25 per ent). The Eagles signed him to a contract worth $63 million maximum (fifth-highest paid CB).

Analysis:

The first thing Kelly did when he arrived was rebuild the secondary. The Eagles signed Cary WilliamsBradley Fletcher and Patrick Chung. Two years later, they're starting over. Admittedly, it's better to admit your mistakes than to die with them but secondary turnover is becoming a pattern for the Eagles.

To replace Williams and Fletcher, they signed a pair of former Seattle corners in Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond. They clearly overpaid for Maxwell in a shallow cornerback market and Thurmond is best suited to play nickel, which is problematic because they already have the best nickel corner in the league in Brandon Boykin.

Draft Target:

There are a lot of DBs that Giants fans want their team to draft, but in reality, pretty much all of them have a better shot at getting drafted by Philadelphia. They pick right where Landon Collins (Alabama) is projected to go. They could easily reach on Eric Rowe (Utah) or Byron Jones (UConn). Ideally, they need another corner outside, but after having committed a ton of money to Maxwell, they're more likely to go for an early safety and address the corner position later in the draft.

For more Philadelphia Eagles coverage, make sure to check out Bleeding Green Nation.