NFL draft expert Mike Mayock participated in his annual pre-NFL Combine media conference call on Tuesday afternoon. Mayock touched on a wide variety of topics over the course of a few hours. Obviously we're most interested in what he had to say about the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to Mayock, there's a clear top priority for the Eagles moving forward this offseason: quarterback.
"If I'm the Eagles, my priority list is quarterback, number one," said Mayock. "I don't know what they're going to do with Sam Bradford, but they'd better figure it out, and if they think there's a franchise quarterback at 13, they'd better take him. My belief is that Goff and Wentz will be gone."
"The question is is Paxton Lynch there, and if Paxton Lynch is there at 13, if they believe he's the guy, they'd better take him, even if he didn't play one snap this year. I think they have to take either a Lynch or -- I don't know if there is a Cook or not, but if they think there's a guy at 13 that's a franchise quarterback, I think everything else flies off the board. They have to take him."
For what it's worth, Lynch has been a popular target for Philadelphia when it comes to mock drafts. It's expected that he might be the only "top three" quarterback in this class available to the Eagles at No. 13. With Bradford's future uncertain and Doug Pederson seemingly interested in drafting a rookie quarterback, it's not out of the question Lynch could be in play in the first round. If the Eagles do end up drafting him, Mayock doesn't see Lynch taking the field in 2016, however.
"He's 6'7", reminds me of Joe Flacco coming out of Delaware," said Mayock. "He's a great athlete for 6'7". He'll surprise you with his athletic ability. He's got a big arm, but he's a year or two away from playing."
Quarterback might be the biggest need for the Eagles, but it's not the only one. Offensive line is obviously a big area of concern. Mayock touched on that topic as well. He said the Eagles "can't draft enough offensive linemen" and that they need to take "two or three" players up front.
The good news for the Eagles is that this year's draft offers a lot of offensive talent. Even better news is that there are offensive tackles who can shift inside to play guard. That's an ideal situation for the Eagles because they need immediate help at guard but long-term help at tackle. The Eagles won't have a shortage of options in that scenario this year.
"Of the tackle group that I think slides inside, most of them I've already got listed as guards, and I think the best one of that is Cody Whitehair from Kansas State," Mayock said. "I think Vadal Alexander from LSU is the next one, and I would probably put Germain Ifedi from Texas A&M in that same group. I think all three of them are second-round picks, and the Eagles, as you know, don't have a second-round pick.
"You start looking at some other guys beyond that, you have two third-round picks with the Eagles, Rees Odhiambo from Boise State, checkered history with injuries, but I think has some talent," he continued. "You've got to do your homework on his durability. I think he's going to kick inside. I think Denver Kirkland from Arkansas is a big road raider, he'll kick inside. Dominick Jackson from Alabama, a later-round pick, will kick inside. Darrell Greene from San Diego State. There's a ton of the tackles that kick inside throughout all seven rounds of this draft."
The Eagles' scouting staff will get the chance to see quarterbacks and offensive line up close and personal this week at the 2016 NFL Combine.