The Philadelphia Eagles are fortunate enough to have two first-round picks in the NFL Draft for the second consecutive year and a top-10 selection for the second time in three years. This is a product of general manager Howie Roseman being manipulative in the draft and stockpiling first-round picks to help the franchise win in the short and long term.
Fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, the Eagles currently hold the No. 10 and No. 30 overall picks in this year's draft. Whether the Eagles keep both of those picks in those respective spots is up for debate (Philadelphia doesn't have a pick in the fourth, fifth, or sixth round), but the Eagles are giving hints what direction they are leaning with that No. 10 pick.
The Eagles have a luxury pick at No. 10 thanks to their trade with the New Orleans Saints from last offseason. Philadelphia landed New Orleans' 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick as part of a package which the Eagles gave the Saints two first-round picks in the 2022 draft (the Eagles' got the Saints' first-round pick which they used to acquire A.J. Brown). The Eagles set themselves up to win now and over the next several seasons as a result of the trade, which is why the No. 10 overall pick is considered a "luxury" pick.
Could the Eagles use that pick to draft the best available player? There has been plenty of discussion whether Philadelphia should select Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who would be the first running back the Eagles have selected in the first round since 1986.
While Robinson would be an excellent asset to the Eagles' loaded offense, Philadelphia's top-30 pre-draft visits suggest why the franchise likely won't pick him at No. 10 -- and hint at the direction the organization will go with that pick.
Eagles top-30 visits
Joey Porter Jr.
Lukas Van Ness
Paris Johnson Jr.
The Eagles have had 16 pre-draft visits to date. Here is the breakdown:
- 12 on defense
- 4 on offense
- 8 on defensive line
- 4 in secondary
- 3 on offensive line
- 1 at running back
What does this all mean?
The Eagles are certainly looking on the defensive side of the ball for this draft, based on the top-30 visits that are out there. Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith and Lukas Van Ness are potential options at No. 10, all on the defensive line -- an area the Eagles have focused on this early in the draft over the past few decades (especially in the Roseman era).
Other players who could be selected at No. 10 are Porter (the only cornerback known to visit who can be selected that high), Johnson and Skoranski (two of the top offensive tackles in the draft). Robinson is the lone outlier here at running back.
Philadelphia could use an impact player at defensive tackle to pair with Jordan Davis and the aging Fletcher Cox. The Eagles would also like to solidify their depth at the position outside of Milton Williams, which is why it's intriguing they have talked to Dexter, Roy and Martin -- as all three are projected to go on Day Two in the draft.
The Eagles have one of the best edge rushing units in football, but Brandon Graham is 35 years old and they like to have impact players in the rotation. Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat are excellent edge rushers who play ahead of Graham, but the Eagles would need extra help behind Graham with Derek Barnett coming off a major injury.
Could Smith or Van Ness be a reach here? Possibly, but if the Eagles like them and what either player brings to the pass rush -- they'll draft that player. Of the defensive linemen at No. 10, Carter is the slam-dunk selection if he falls there.
Porter is the only cornerback who could go in the top 10 that the Eagles hosted. That's interesting with Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon on the board. The Eagles have the top cornerback duo with Darius Slay and James Bradberry, but Slay is 32 and Bradberry is also entering his 30s. This pick could be a developmental prospect on the second team with Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson and Josh Jobe. Perhaps the Eagles use the No. 30 pick on a player like that.
Never count out the offensive line at No. 10, which is why it's notable the Eagles talked to Paris Johnson and Peter Skoronski. Lane Johnson is 32 and while he's signed through the 2027 season, it wouldn't hurt for the Eagles to find and develop his successor while adding depth at the tackle position (Andre Dillard left in free agency). Think of that pick as a "redshirt."
Eleven of the 16 pre-draft visits are in the trenches, a telling sign where Roseman and the front office are leaning.
The Eagles typically have gone in the trenches since Andy Reid was hired as head coach in 1999 (where the philosophy of building in the offensive and defensive line began). Roseman has continued that trend since he was hired as general manager in 2010 (and retook the position in 2016).
Here's a breakdown of the Eagles' first-round picks since 1999:
- 2 quarterbacks
- 0 running backs
- 5 wide receivers
- 4 offensive linemen (2 tackles, 2 guards)
- 9 defensive linemen (5 defensive tackles, 4 defensive ends)
- 0 linebackers
- 1 defensive back
Thirteen of the 21 picks were in the trenches and five of the skill-position players were wide receivers. The Eagles haven't drafted a defensive back in the first round since 2002 (Lito Sheppard). The franchise hasn't drafted a running back in the first round since 1986 (Keith Byars) and a linebacker in the first round since 1979 (Jerry Robinson).
Roseman has 11 first-round picks as a general manager. Five of those picks were on the defensive line and three were on the offensive line. Two selections were at wide receiver and one was at quarterback. Based on what the Eagles have at quarterback (Jalen Hurts) and wide receiver (A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith), it's fair to rule those positions out.
Looking at where the Eagles prioritize and how the front office focuses on the trenches, there's a good chance that pick at No. 10 is an offensive or defensive lineman.
What about Bijan Robinson?
The outlier of the top-30 visits is Robinson, who is one of the best players in this draft class. The Eagles have Rashaad Penny, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell at running back -- while having the No. 1 rushing offense in football the last two seasons.
Robinson's skill set is ideal for the Eagles' offense, yet the Eagles don't value the running back position early in the draft (and haven't for some time). The Eagles let Miles Sanders walk in free agency based on his second contract in market value, optioning for the cheaper player who fits their running style better in Penny.
Philadelphia will likely add a running back in the draft, but it's highly unlikely at No. 10. No running back has been selected in the top 10 since Saquon Barkley in 2018 (No. 2 overall) and only seven running backs have been taken in the top 10 since 2010 (Roseman's first year as general manager).
While Robinson would be a star in the Eagles' offense, the organizational philosophy doesn't value that position that high in the draft. The Eagles prioritize offensive and defensive linemen and are built to manufacture a pass rush that gets to the quarterback at a high-pressure rate.
Perhaps Robinson will break the Eagles' way of thinking, but it's highly unlikely. There's a reason this franchise has been to two Super Bowls over the past six seasons.