Following a breakout season by quarterback Jalen Hurts, the Philadelphia Eagles made it all the way to Super Bowl LVII. Unfortunately for the Birds, they were not a match for MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, losing 38-35 on a last-minute field goal.
To make matters worse, Philadelphia should look very different in the upcoming 2023 season. The team ended up losing many key players in the 2023 offseason.
Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson signed with the Detroit Lions after co-leading the league with six interceptions in his lone season with the Eagles. Starting running back Miles Sanders is on his way to the Carolina Panthers. Notably, one of the top defenders in the 2023 free-agency class, Javon Hargrave signed a four-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
Because of that, the Eagles will need to find many replacements. Fortunately for them, they currently own two first-round picks (No. 10 and 30) in the 2023 NFL Draft. This means the team has a chance of bringing two top prospects even after almost winning the Super Bowl.
With that being said, here are five players the Philadelphia Eagles should target with their first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
5. Brian Branch, S – Alabama
With the loss of Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps, the Birds might go after a new safety in the draft. While they did sign both Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans, they should consider bringing in a rookie to help the secondary.
One player who Philadelphia could think about is Brian Branch out of Alabama. In the 2022 season, he totaled 90 tackles (58 being solo), seven pass breakups and 3.0 sacks. He also had two interceptions and two punt returns, including one for a touchdown. For his performance, Branch earned a First-Team All-American nod.
He is projected to be available around the middle of the first round, so the Eagles could either select him at No. 10 or even trade down to get some extra assets. Either way, adding Branch could be an important move to remain competitive despite the key losses on defense.
4. Bijan Robinson, RB – Texas
As previously mentioned, Sanders is signing with the Panthers and leaving the Eagles. This past season, he had a team-best 1,269 rushing yards and only trailed Hurts in touchdowns on the ground (11 against Hurts’ 13).
Philadelphia ended up re-signing Boston Scott and also brought in Rashaad Penny. Still, since the team has two first-round picks, it might use one to improve its rushing game.
An option for the Eagles is Bijan Robinson out of Texas. In 2022, the junior recorded 258 carries for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished in the top 10 in multiple rushing categories. He also added 19 catches for 314 yards and two scores.
For his effort this past season, Robinson earned a unanimous All-American selection and was a First-Team All-Big 12 member for the second straight year. He also won the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the top running back in college football.
Without Sanders, Robinson could be the starting running back right away, which gives Philadelphia's offense more options to preserve Hurts' body for the playoffs.
3. Bryan Bresee, DT – Clemson
There is no secret that the defensive unit played a big role in Philadelphia's success. The team led the league with 70 sacks and had four players with double-digit sacks. The problem is that one of them was Hargrave, who signed with the Niners.
To replace him, the Eagles could select Bryan Bresee from Clemson. In his final season with the Tigers, the defensive tackle appeared in just eight games due to injuries, registering 15 total tackles and one pass breakup. He still managed to record 3.5 sacks despite his limited time.
Even with his season getting cut short by injuries, Bresee still earned Second-Team All-ACC honors in 2022. With that nod, Breese ended up receiving All-ACC selections in all of his three years at Clemson.
With Bresee, Philadelphia's defense could remain at a high level despite its key losses in free agency.
2. Myles Murphy, DE – Clemson
If the Eagles decide to go defense in the first round, they could also select one of Bresee's teammates. Myles Murphy is another top defensive prospect in this class, and Philadelphia could take him at No. 10.
In the 2022 season, Murphy recorded 40 total tackles with 22 being solo with the Tigers. The defensive end also had two pass breakups and a forced fumble. Most importantly, he had 6.5 sacks across 13 games.
He would earn First-Team All-ACC honors. This marked the second year in a row that he received an all-conference recognition, earning a second-team nod in 2021.
Murphy could already be impactful in his rookie campaign, so he is a name to keep an eye on Philadelphia's board.
1. Jalen Carter, DT – Georgia
Finally, the Birds could end up selecting a player who was projected to go No. 1 not long ago. Following his recent arrest warrant for his involvement in a car crash, Jalen Carter's draft stock went down, with some even projecting him to fall out of the top 10.
Should Philadelphia consider his potential on the field, Carter could be the answer for the team after its many losses in free agency.
The defensive tackle was named a unanimous All-American and First-Team All-SEC member in 2022. Not only that but he was a key member of the Georgia Bulldogs’ back-to-back national titles.
In his collegiate career, Carter registered 83 total tackles with 44 being solo. He also had four pass deflections, six sacks and two forced fumbles. With his help, the Bulldogs had the best rushing defense in the nation in 2022, allowing just 77.1 yards a contest even though they played 15 games, including two in the College Football Playoff.
With the chance of selecting a top prospect at No. 10, the Eagles should have Carter under their radar at the 2023 NFL Draft.