All of those mock drafts that have the Philadelphia Eagles selecting Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 8 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft just may turn out to be true. According to NFL insider Jason La Canfora, the Eagles are "in love" with the Ohio State running back.
"If the Eagles stay at No. 8, and especially if two quarterbacks are gone by then as widely expected, then I continue to hear running back Ezekiel Elliott is the pick. They are in love with him, they have done extensive work on him, they have parted with accomplished veteran running backs LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray the past two years, they need an identity on offense and they are going to be limited at the quarterback position no matter who wins the job. So a run game is imperative. This kid has a top-10 skill set and is plug-and-play and I don't see him getting past Miami at No. 12. This very well could be the second straight year we see a back go in the first 10 picks."
It's hard to take pre-draft rumors too seriously. This is a time of year where there's so much (intentional) misinformation out there. With that said, this report is still interesting. Note that the Eagles are hosting Elliott on a pre-draft visit in Philadelphia this week.
There's been debate about whether or not the Eagles should take a running back in the first round. BGN's Dave Mangels wrote about why the Eagles shouldn't draft Elliott (or any other first round running back). I made the case why the Eagles SHOULD draft Zeke because his versatility makes him valuable. BGN draft writer Ben Natan, meanwhile, is higher on Elliott than anyone and thinks he's the best player from this year's draft class.
Based on his public comments, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman doesn't seem opposed to drafting Elliott at No. 8. Here's what he said earlier this offseason:
"There’s this narrative that you can get running backs in the fifth, sixth, seventh round and undrafted free agency," Roseman said during a morning break. "But when you look back at the last ten years of guys that are really in the top ten in rushing, those guys are high picks.
"And so, when you find a special talent at that position, that guy who can run the ball, who can pass protect, who can catch the ball out of the backfield, that’s a unique weapon."
It remains to be seen if Roseman genuinely feels that way or if he was just posturing. We'll see soon enough if the Eagles are serious enough to draft Elliott at No. 8.
Or maybe we won't get to see that happen because there have been a myriad of rumors about the Eagles wanting to trade up for a quarterback. La Canfora has said he doesn't buy the rumors, but he did include this interesting note in his report. Bold emphasis is mine:
"While I have been skeptical that the Eagles would actually move up, again, to land another quarterback, some other executives believe GM Howie Roseman is deadset on making a huge splash in this draft, which could well include drafting a passer very high. We shall see."
So will the Eagles' first round pick be Elliott, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz ... or someone else? Only about two more weeks until we find out.