Now that NFL free agency is mostly over, ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay released a new 2016 NFL mock draft. This is McShay's Version 4.0 mock. He had the Eagles taking a defensive tackle in Version 1.0, an offensive tackle in Version 2.0, and an offensive lineman in Version 3.0 as well. This time around McShay has the Eagles taking an offensive tackle yet again, but it's not the same player he mocked to the Eagles when they still had the No. 13 pick. Via ESPN In$ider:
"Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - Jason Peters is 34 years old. It's time for the Eagles to consider teaming Lane Johnson up with a younger tackle on the opposite side. Stanley has experience playing both left and right tackle. With his long arms (35½ inches) and athletic skill set, he has the ideal makeup to eventually develop into a blindside protector at the next level. If he went to Philly, Stanley would get the benefit of not being thrust into left tackle duties from Day 1."
Speaking at the NFL owners meetings this week, Doug Pederson committed to Jason Peters as Philadelphia's starting left tackle. Lane Johnson is the current starter at right tackle and future starter at left tackle so Stanley wouldn't be a Day 1 starter, as McShay points out. It's been suggested that Stanley could play at guard in the short-term before moving to the outside, but others are skeptical of that idea. First, Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz:
Why is Stanley not in the other group? Many people think he is a slam dunk Top 10 pick and sure thing. I think he is a good prospect, but a level down from Tunsil. Stanley posted terrible times in the 3-cone and short shuttle, two athletic tests that focus on agility. That bugs me a bit when talking about him 8th overall. Watch the USC game and you’ll think Stanley should go Top 5. Watch the Clemson game and he’s more like a mid-1st rounder. Tough, physical defenders can give him problems. And the notion that the Eagles could take him and put him at LG for 2016…don’t be so sure about that. They could try that as a short term move, but Stanley looks more like a pure OT to me. I wouldn’t be upset with Stanley at 8, but he’s not close to being my preference. I don’t see him as a special prospect.
Kyle Posey of Bolts From The Blue writes Stanley isn't worth a top 10 pick.
"Big" media will tell you Stanley is worth a top 5-10 pick. Is a tackle that struggles in space, can't change direction, lacks core strength and proper hand placement worth that? Okay then. I don't hate Stanley. I think he does really well against speed rushers. I think there is enough good tape to show you he can be a starter in the league. There's also plenty of exposures and situations where he'll struggle immediately and I'm not sure if some of these issues will be fixed any time soon. I have a late 2nd round grade on Stanley. The buyer beware tag on him is real. I'm apologizing now for my overreaction if he's drafted in the 1st round.
Bleeding Green Nation's Ben Natan also criticized Stanley in his scouting report.
Every play, it feels like Stanley is trying to negotiate with a defender. He does an excellent job getting to a spot, but he tries to purely win on positioning and quickness. Rarely, if ever, does he want to knock a defender on his ass, rather he just wants to quietly escort him out of the play. This is a style I have seen before with Jake Matthews, Luke Joekel, Matt Kalil and other similar athletes, and it is a style that worries me. While I do think Stanley is a better athlete than those aforementioned and possesses better natural strength, I see him try to win consistently on quickness. When he gets to the NFL, he will be exposed to a special sort of violence in NFL trenches, a sort of violence that Stanley does not know how to possess yet.
There's no question the Eagles need offensive line. But it doesn't necessarily have to be in the first around. Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice thinks it's unlikely that the Birds add a new blocker at No. 8. Kempski notes he spoke to an NFL talent evaluator who sees the tackles (Stanley, Jack Conklin, Taylor Decker) behind potential No. 1 overall pick Laremy Tunsil as in the same tier.
Logically, if Stanley, Conklin and Decker are all rated similarly, it shouldn't make a huge difference which of the three the Eagles wind up with, if they had interest. Since at least one of those three players are extremely likely to make it to pick 13, the Eagles' urgency to trade up from 13 to 8 to target Stanley wouldn't make much sense if he's rated similarly or just marginally better than Conklin or Decker.
Adding to the idea of the Eagles bypassing an offensive lineman at pick number eight is the notion that the Eagles can draft one later. Speaking at the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Eagles quasi-GM Howie Roseman identified interior defensive line and the offensive line as the deepest positions in this draft.
So do you like the pick for the Eagles? Here are the seven players that went before the Eagles' pick at No. 8:
1) Titans - Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil
2) Browns - North Dakota QB Carson Wentz
3) Chargers - FSU CB Jalen Ramsey
4) Cowboys - Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
5) Jaguars - UCLA LB Myles Jack
6) Ravens - Oregon DE DeForest Buckner
7) 49ers - Cal QB Jared Goff