With the 2016 NFL Draft set to take place later this month, ESPN (In$ider) came up with three players each NFC East team should pick. Let's take a closer look at their suggestions for the Philadelphia Eagles.
1) Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
The Eagles traded DeMarco Murray to Tennessee, so they need to find a young RB. Ryan Mathews will be 29 years old in October. Elliott brings an excellent combination of power, speed and versatility in the passing game. He has a chance to develop into a foundation back. Elliott's rare competitive edge would fit well in Philadelphia, which is looking to get more physical in the run game.
Not much to say here that hasn't already been said. Over 70% of the mocks in our latest mock draft roundup have the Birds taking Elliott. I recently made the case for why the Eagles should draft Zeke at No. 8.
2) Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State
Philadelphia signed Nigel Bradham in free agency to try to fill the void left by Kiko Alonso, who was recently traded to the Dolphins. But Bradham doesn't appear to be the long-term answer, and Perry would be a quality fit next to Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks at the Sam LB position. Perry shows some tightness in space, but he has outstanding size and natural instincts and is a physical run defender. The Eagles could use one of those after ranking dead last in run defense last season (134.6 ypg).
Perry is a big linebacker. He measures in at 6-4, 254 pounds. Perry racked up 296 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble in four years with the Buckeyes. CBS Sports projects him as a second round pick, which the Eagles obviously don't have. Still, the Eagles could afford to add some linebacker depth in the draft. Najee Goode might be the only viable backup behind the team's three starters. Here's a scouting report on Perry from NFL.com.
Physical linebacker who has produced high-end tackle numbers over the last two years at Ohio State. Perry played the role of thumper on a loaded Ohio State team, but may be lacking the athleticism and overall speed to replicate his college production in the pros. His best fit may be as a physical, 3-4 inside linebacker who has to leave the field on passing downs.
3) Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
Left tackle Jason Peters is entering his 13th season and getting close to the end of his career. The likely plan is to move Lane Johnson from his right tackle position to replace Peters, so looking for a developmental right tackle makes sense. Shell, the son of former Raiders head coach Art Shell, doesn't have ideal athleticism and needs to work on his technique. But his 6-foot-5 frame, 34¾-inch arms and natural power provide him with some upside.
The 24-year-old Shell measures in at 6-5, 324 pounds. He started all four years playing for the Gamecocks.
It's a virtual guarantee that the Eagles will draft at least one offensive lineman this year. Howie Roseman said he likes the depth of this offensive line class so the team might not go with a blocker in the first round. Instead, they might opt to coach up a talent like Shell. The rookie wouldn't be forced to play right away.
Shell doesn’t have the feet to play left tackle and doesn’t bend well enough to generate consistent leverage and push as a guard inside. With that said, he has size and length and a four-year starting history in a challenging conference. Add everything up, and Shell looks to be a third day selection as a right tackle only. He may be an eventual starter, but is better suited as a backup.
What do you think of these picks?