The 2016 NFL Draft is slowly inching closer each day. Mock draft season is in full gear and there's no shortage of opinion as to whom the Philadelphia Eagles will be selecting with the No. 13 overall pick. With that in mind, let's take a look at what the experts are saying. [Ed. note: You'll notice some of these mocks were done before the Sam Bradford re-signing.]
FanSpeak (Custom) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
The Eagles re-signed Sam Bradford to a two-year contract but that shouldn't rule out the team from taking a quarterback as early as the first round. Reports indicate the Eagles want to draft a passer within the first three rounds. Wentz would benefit from being able to sit on the bench for a year before potentially taking over the reigns in 2017 depending on how Bradford performs this season. The Eagles can't afford to put all their eggs in the Bradford basket. Wentz might not be there at No. 13, but if he is, he should be in play.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
"The Eagles may be trying to bring Sam Bradford back, but if that falls apart Lynch should be the choice here. Lynch has as high of a ceiling as any player in this year's draft, and has the athleticism and arm talent to develop into a franchise quarterback."
ESPN Insider (Todd McShay) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"This would be an ideal situation for Conklin. Based on the tape I've watched, he has the skill set of a right tackle. But his athletic testing at the combine -- 5.0-second 40-yard dash, 7.63 three-cone and 4.57 short shuttle -- and his long arms (35 inches) suggest he could potentially be a left tackle someday. If he went to Philly, Conklin wouldn't be pressured to protect the QB's blind side from Day 1, given that the Eagles just signed Lane Johnson to an extension."
NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah) - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
"The Eagles need more explosiveness at the WR spot and Coleman is a big-play machine."
NFL.com (Charles Davis) - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
"After drafting Nelson Agholor in the first round last year, Coleman's selection adds to the speed that is needed on the perimeter for the Eagles."
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"Jason Peters' age and injury history could prompt the Eagles to spend a top pick on a young offensive tackle with the footwork and lateral quickness to snuff out pass rushers on the edges."
NFL.com (Lance Zierlein) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"Grinder with an ability to help in the run game and passing game. He's not the premium athlete that Lane Johnson was, but he's more pro-ready coming out."
Drafttek - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"For the last 6 weeks, either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff has been the selection here. However, after impressive showings at the Combine, neither is available this week. Also of note is the re-signing of QB Sam Bradford for two more years. If the Eagles are smart, they will not let the Bradford signing preclude them from drafting a quarterback, even at pick 13, if the right guy is there. This week, the Eagles go with tackle Jack Conklin. If the draft actually played out this way in April, the Eagles would strongly consider trading back if they could find a partner, as Conklin is not an elite prospect. However, what Conklin lacks in natural ability, he makes up for with effort (graded as "winner" in 8 of his 10 regular season personal matchups) and a much-needed mean streak (235 career knockdowns). Also, while other prospects may offer more upside, Conklin offers a higher floor with a lower "bust-potential". Conklin made headlines at the Combine with a sub-5.0 40 time, as well as impressing in the agility drills. Conklin may be better suited as guard or right tackle in the NFL, but that's OK...the Eagles need help everywhere."
Draft Breakdown (Chris Nicolaou) - Taylor Decker, OL, Ohio State
"Jason Peters' age is a concern along with injuries. The Eagles locked up Lane Johnson and with Decker on the left side, the Eagles' tackle situation looks very good moving forward. Decker can especially help in the run game, which Philly desperately needs to help."
FOX Sports (Peter Schrager) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
"Don't think just because the Eagles extended Sam Bradford that they wouldn't take a quarterback in the draft. Remember, this is the team that took Kevin Kolb when they had Donovan McNabb and Nick Foles when they had Michael Vick. Lynch is 6-foot-7, can move, and has a strong arm. I'm told he interviewed well enough and has a bit of flair to him. Flamboyant and big personality isn't the worst thing. As long as he backs it up. He won't start in Year One, but that's OK. I love this pick, even if Eagles fans — and both Bradford and Mark Sanchez's agents — absolutely hate it."
CBS Sports (Rob Rang) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
"Executive vice president Howie Roseman said last week that the Eagles would like to keep incumbent starter Sam Bradford and there have been reports that new head coach Doug Pederson is high on free agent Chase Daniel, who he coached in Kansas City the past three seasons. Should the Eagles address the position with a veteran, help along the line of scrimmage could be the top priority. Until that occurs, however, it is easy to imagine Pederson falling for Lynch's exciting upside."
CBS Sports (Dane Brugler) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"The Eagles need to upgrade the offensive line and Conklin fits in the first round. He is a tackle by trade, but can begin his NFL career inside at guard, giving Philadelphia a long-term option on the edges."
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
"They are likely bringing back Sam Bradford, but don?t they need to get their quarterback of the future? Lynch is a strong-armed athletic passer who could sit for a year or two and learn."
CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"This is going to be a major question mark in every mock draft until Philly makes a move at quarterback. If Sam Bradford isn't back, then it opens up the chance of gambling on someone like Paxton Lynch. Instead they opt for protection."
Rotoworld (NBC Sports) - Joshua Garnett, OL, Stanford
"I’ve been on a few local Philadelphia programs in recent weeks. One question I received was "outside of guard, what position is the biggest need." It was difficult to answer. To me, that shows how much the Eagles need to upgrade the position, arguably at both guard spots. Garnett can be a powerful blocker and will draw the "good teammate" label."
Sports Illustrated (Chris Burke) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"Sam Bradford’s re-signing on a two-year deal doesn’t rule out the possibility that Philadelphia takes a QB later in the draft. Honestly, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of one here, either—nab Carson Wentz or Paxton Lynch, let him sit for a year or two, then hand over the keys. Barring that scenario, though, the Eagles have work to do elsewhere, like along their O-line, where Conklin could play guard or tackle and would help provide Jason Peters insurance."
The MMQB (Robert Mays) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"Jason Peters’ age (34) and concerns about his ability to stay healthy mean considering a tackle here isn’t crazy. Conklin moved around well at the combine, and even if he sits in 2016, he and Lane Johnson would give Doug Pederson’s offense a pair of young, athletic tackles."
NJ.com (Eliot Shorr-Parks) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"Now that the Eagles have their quarterback, the next priority is to protect him. Conklin might not play right away, but the Eagles need a dependable backup offensive tackle, and the 6-foot-6, 308 pound prospect certainly gives them that. Conklin is close to being to start right away in the NFL, which he could given how much time Jason Peters missed last season due to injury."
Scout.com (John Holler) - Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
"The Eagles struggled badly along the offensive line. Jason Peters is at the end of his career and the Eagles would have young bookends in Lane Johnson and Conklin that could give Philadelphia a foundation piece of their offense moving forward."
The Kansas City Star (Terez Paylor) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal
"Yes the Eagles just signed Sam Bradford to a two-year deal worth $26 million guaranteed. But here’s the thing — Bradford hasn’t always played well, and he hasn’t always played healthy. Drafting a player like Goff, who has all the tools to be a good quarterback in the West Coast offense but will need time to learn how to play under center, makes sense. He not only provides protection in case Bradford struggles or gets hurt, he also buys the new regime more time down the road."
NFL Mocks (George Stockburger) - Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State - [Trade down to No. 20 with Jets]
"Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman move down seven spots in this draft, grab a second round pick, and fix a major hole on their offensive line. While Whitehair isn’t a first round lock, it’s Philadelphia’s biggest need this offseason. Chip Kelly failed to address the position in years pass, relying on back ups to protect his quarterback. Whitehair will be the best offensive guard in this years draft with his aggressive hands, square shoulders, and most importantly health. Starting 50 games at Kansas State, he was one of the best offensive lineman in the Big 12 conference for many years."
Chron.com (John McClain) - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Chron.com (Aaron Wilson) - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
Real Football Network (Pat Kirwan) - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
"The Eagles need to re-sign Sam Bradford or move down for a QB like Michigan State’s Connor Cook. It might be better to just stay where they are and help the defense."
San Diego Union-Tribune (Eddie Brown) - Taylor Decker, OL, Ohio State
"The Eagles know rebuilding their offensive line has to be a priority after resigning Sam Bradford. Despite his height – he's 6-foot-7 – Decker moves quite well and plays with great balance in the run game."
Pro Football Focus (Steve Palazzolo) - William Jackson III, CB, Houston
"The first-round hype will continue for Jackson, who was a PFF favorite well before he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at 6-feet tall at the combine. His size and movement skills project him as a future No. 1 corner, even though there may be some growing pains along the way. In a division with Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham, a 6-foot corner with speed and the No. 3 coverage grade in college football last season makes for a good fit."
USA Today (Nate Davis) - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
"He could form a nice inside tandem with Fletcher Cox for a team reverting to a four-man defensive front under new coordinator Jim Schwartz."
Sporting News (Eric Galko) - Jason Spriggs, OL, Indiana
"With offensive line being their biggest need and No. 13 being too high to draft a guard, the Eagles must find an athletic tackle who’s shown kick slide ability on the interior. That way he can play guard as they determine how much longer Jason Peters can man the left side. Spriggs is a four-year starter at left tackle, but he’s an impressive athlete in the mold of Lane Johnson. Bookending the quarterback with those two is an exciting proposition."
Here's a summary of the picks:
OL Jack Conklin - 10
QB Paxton Lynch - 4
WR Corey Coleman - 3
OL Taylor Decker - 2
OL Joshua Garnett - 1
OL Cody Whitehair - 1
OL Jason Spriggs - 1
QB Carson Wentz - 1
QB Jared Goff - 1
DT Sheldon Rankins - 1
DT Jarran Reed - 1
DE Shaq Lawson - 1
CB William Jackson III - 1
OL - 15
QB - 6
WR - 3
DT - 2
DE - 1
CB - 1
Offense - 24
Defense - 4
It's not surprising to see that most of these mocks have the Eagles drafting an offensive lineman in round one. Conklin is new favorite pick. He can play guard for the Eagles in the short-term before moving out to tackle once Jason Peters is gone.
Coleman to the Eagles at No. 13 is an interesting pick. The Eagles showed some interest in wide receivers at the 2016 NFL Combine. Coleman wasn't among them but they could be looking to address that position despite investing a lot of draft resources into it in recent years (Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff). I tend to think the Eagles will try to coach up their young guys instead of spending another high pick on a pass catcher.