The first wave of NFL free agency is over. A lot of teams had the opportunity to fill roster holes during this signing period. The Philadelphia Eagles were among those who addressed roster needs, but they also opened up some new holes by trading Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray away without bringing in sure-fire replacements. Speaking of the Maxwell trade, the Eagles are now set to pick at No. 8 overall after making a deal with the Dolphins. Howie Roseman said there are 10 players the team really likes in the first round. There are only 45 days until the 2016 NFL Draft is scheduled to start on April 28 so we'll have to wait until then to see who the team really likes. In the meantime, we're going to kill some time with our regular Mock Draft Monday series.
Last week SB Nation's Dan Kadar had the Eagles taking an offensive lineman at No. 13. But who will the pick be now that it's at No. 8? You might actually be able to guess.
"Ezekiel Elliott - Running back value be damned, Elliott is regarded as one of the draft's 10 best players by NFL evaluators. In dropping DeMarco Murray after one season, and moving inside the top 10, the Eagles are in a position to pick Elliott. He can do everything you want in a running back and will give Philadelphia a player to build the offense around."
For more on Elliott, let's revisit what BGN draft expert Ben Natan wrote about him last week.
When a player can create positive offense on every touch the way Elliott can, there is no overvaluing him. Elliott is the best player in this draft class and will make the biggest impact from day one. He would be absolutely outstanding in this offense and when he is touching the ball more times a game than everyone besides the quarterback, there is no "too high" for a player who could completely change the makeup of an offense. The Eagles desperately need a player who can score at any moment and considering the 21 year old back has scored 43 touchdowns since he got to Columbus, it is fair to say he can play that role.
There's been a lot of talk about how running backs don't belong as first round picks in today's game. As I explained over the weekend, I think some of this anti-running back sentiment is a little ridiculous. It's one thing if you think Elliott simply isn't good enough to warrant the No. 8 pick. But this argument that the Eagles shouldn't draft Zeke at No. 8 because they can find another running back later is silly.
The Eagles shouldn’t spend their first round pick on any player. They could just find another player at that position later in the draft.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) March 13, 2016
The concern about running backs having short careers is also over-blown. Elliott doesn't turn 21 until training camp begins in late July. He has plenty of mileage on him and no extensive injury to worry about, especially compared to the situation Todd Gurley was in last year.
The Eagles might not even have a decision to make on Elliott. He's so good that he could potentially be off the board by the time they pick. If he's there, though, the team definitely has to consider taking him. The Eagles desperately need to add a running back with the oft-injured Ryan Mathews not exactly a reliable option as a full-time starter and the aging Darren Sproles being on the final year of his contract. The Eagles just need better offensive players in general. The offense was so bad last season. It really can't hurt to add more talent.