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NFL Mock Draft 2016: Eagles take an offensive lineman at No. 8

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Check out our (2016 Eagles mock draft central) for more opinions on who could be the #8 pick in April.

Photo credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL Draft is a little over three weeks (24 days) away from tonight. 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 Philadelphia Eagles taking Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott ... just like everyone else did. This week Adam Stites is filling in for Kadar and he's changing things up at No. 8.

"Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - One of the biggest mistakes that Chip Kelly made in Philadelphia was that he added offensive talent to a team that didn't have the offensive line to make things work. Both starting guards left in the offseason and the Eagles relied on Matt Tobin to take over -- it didn't work well. Brandon Brooks should improve things, but Stanley continues to shore up the unit and gives the Eagles an eventual replacement for Jason Peters, who turned 34 in January."

Make no mistake: the Eagles need to address their offensive line in this year's draft. But will they do it in the first round? Maybe, but I tend to believe they won't. Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice wrote an interesting article about how the Birds are unlikely to draft an offensive lineman at No. 8. Kempski says NFL talent evaluators have the likes of Stanley, Jack Conklin, and Taylor Decker rated in the same tier behind top offensive tackle prospect Laremy Tunsil. The Eagles would have been able to get one of the second tier offensive tackles at No. 13 before they made a trade with the Dolphins. So with that in mind, is one of those tackles really the elite prospect the Eagles covet at No. 8?

Some are skeptical Stanley is worth Philadelphia's first round pick. Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reports the Notre Dame tackle's stock is dropping.

Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame is considered by most as a top 10 lock, but not all teams agree. Several scouts tell me there’s real concern about Stanley’s athleticism and most feel he won’t be able to handle the left tackle position in the NFL, which is causing his stock to drop. Others feel Stanley is just an overrated player. With the likes of Shon Coleman, Le'Raven Clark and Caleb Benenoch available during the draft’s second day, lesser prospects who could turn into starting left tackles in the NFL, there’s an opinion around the league Stanley could fall out of the draft’s initial 10 picks and into the middle of round one.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz listed eight potential impact players from this class and Stanley isn't one of them.

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.

Not everyone is so low on Stanley. SB Nation's Stephen White thinks Stanley could be the best offensive tackle prospect from this class. Yes, even better than Tunsil.

So if it came down to Stanley or Tunsil first overall, I wouldn't give a damn about 40 times or bench press or any of that shit. I'd take Stanley seven days a week and twice on Sunday because I'm reasonably sure from watching his film that, barring injury, he is going to be able to lock down edge rushers for the next decade or so.

My team may not ever lead the league in rushing, but my quarterback should at least make it through a whole season without needing a backiotomy from repeatedly getting blasted from his blind side. If I'm pinning my hopes on a guy getting better at something, I will go with Stanley hopefully becoming a better run blocker rather than hoping Tunsil becomes a better pass blocker.

Here's what BGN draft writer Ben Natan wrote about Stanley in his scouting report.

Stanley is outstandingly fun to watch move. His ability to kick and slide on the perimeter is a work of art. He feet move quickly and eloquently, never looking sloppy with any wasted movement or misplaced steps. In pass protection, Stanley perfectly mirrors edge defenders, showing a great understanding of his opponent in space as well his own body. In the running game, those same quick feet and awareness make him an incredibly effective run blocker. Be it in pass protection or run blocking, Stanley does an excellent job positioning his body to wall off defenders. He embodies finesse and technique.

Unfortunately, his game lacks a "bang."

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.

If the Eagles drafted Stanley, it would clearly be a move for the future. He'd be the top backup offensive tackle behind Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. Then he'd take over as a starter once Peters retires and Johnson moves to the left side of the offensive line.

So what do you think of this week's pick?