Give Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman his due after basically regaining control of the Birds last offseason. The aggressive executive has done his share of trading away some of former Head Coach Chip Kelly’s debatable acquisitions and gotten draft choices in return. From linebacker Kiko Alonzo and cornerback Byron Maxwell to the Miami Dolphins. To running back DeMarco Murray and the move to the Tennessee Titans. And who could forget the deal that sent quarterback Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings. It’s the reason this franchise has a first-round pick this year.

You will recall that Roseman also orchestrated the trade that enabled the Eagles to move up to the second overall pick and take quarterback Carson Wentz. So what is Philadelphia thinking when pick No. 14 is on the clock?

What the team needs

Via free agency, Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson ensured Wentz was surrounded by more experienced wide receivers. They also put a priority on stretching the field, hence the signing of speedster Torrey Smith – who was cut loose by the San Francisco 49ers. They also added Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears) via a one-year contract. But something that would also help the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense immeasurably would be a consistent ground attack. The Birds finished a respectable 11th in the NFL by running for 113.3 yards per game.

But after running for 100-plus yards in each of their first four games, Pederson’s club was held under the century mark on the ground in six of its last 12 contests.

In 2016, Ryan Mathews ran for 661 yards and eight touchdowns, followed by versatile Darren Sproles (438-2 TDs) and Wendell Smallwood (312-1 TDs). Hence this this backfield by committee could use a big-time workhorse.

The Eagles’ offensive unit scored only 32 touchdowns in 16 games in 2016 – 12 in its first four games and 20 in its final dozen outings. A much more balanced attack could lead to significant improvement. Elsewhere, the franchise may also be looking at some help in the secondary, especially at the corners. Philadelphia defenders surrendered 25 scores through the air in 2016.

Top choices

It will be interesting to see when the run on running backs begins in the first round. According to CBS Sports and, they list the top three players at the position in this order: Leonard Fournette (LSU), Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), respectively. At least one of these players should be around when the Philadelphia Eagles pick in the first round. There are a number of teams that bypassed adding a running back in free agency to grab one of these talented young performers. In case you’re wondering, the last time the Eagles drafted a running back in the first round was way back in 1986 (Keith Byars).