The 2016 NFL Draft is less than three weeks away. Mock draft season is in full gear and there's no shortage of opinion as to whom the Eagles will be selecting with the No. 8 overall pick. Let's take a look at which players the experts are projecting to Philadelphia this week.
FanSpeak (Custom) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Doug Pederson reportedly loves Wentz so much that the Eagles are trying to trade up to get him. Maybe that's the case, but what if Wentz lasts longer than expected? Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel fell lower than expected during the 2014 NFL Draft. Maybe Wentz will end up in the same boat and the Eagles will look very smart for being patient by staying at No. 8. I'm not the only one in this roundup to suggest it's possible, as you'll see below.
Bleeding Green Nation (slickpablovick) - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
"Jason Peters still has something to give at the left tackle position, but at 34 years old the Eagles need a contingency plan. Lane Johnson is fresh into a five year $56 million dollar contract, making him either an expensive right tackle or a future bargain on the left side. After those two players, Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly are one snap away from being the only thing between an elite pass rusher and Sam Bradford. Even if Ronnie Stanley does not play at either tackle positions straight off the bat, he is a much needed insurance policy. Think about all the times Jason Peters had to come off the field for a few snaps."
SB Nation (Adam Stites) - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
"Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - One of the biggest mistakes that Chip Kelly made in Philadelphia was that he added offensive talent to a team that didn't have the offensive line to make things work. Both starting guards left in the offseason and the Eagles relied on Matt Tobin to take over -- it didn't work well. Brandon Brooks should improve things, but Stanley continues to shore up the unit and gives the Eagles an eventual replacement for Jason Peters, who turned 34 in January."
ESPN In$ider (Mel Kiper) - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
"A steal at this point, Buckner would look pretty good on a defensive line with Fletcher Cox. Buckner has the ability to really control an offensive lineman and disrupt offenses, and his versatility makes him useful pretty much anywhere."
PhillyVoice (Jimmy Kempski) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal
"In that sense, many believe Goff is more ready to step in at the NFL level and play right away, while Wentz is perhaps a year away but offers a higher ceiling. The "pro-ready" aspect is less of a bonus for a team like the Eagles, who have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under their control for at least the next two years. But certainly, the case can be made that any quarterback could benefit from a year of grooming before they're thrown to the wolves. The Eagles made it fairly clear that they have questions about Bradford as the long-term answer at quarterback when they only re-upped him on a two-year deal. Goff could be that long-term solution to what has been an incredibly unstable quarterback position for the Eagles since the days of Donovan McNabb."
Twitter (Daniel Jeremiah) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State [Eagles trade up to No. 1]
Jeremiah used to work for the Eagles, so this is at least a little interesting. Plus the team reportedly interviewed him for their player personnel chief opening earlier this offseason.
Pro Football Focus (Steve Palazzolo) - Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville
"Building through the defensive line is never a bad idea, and Rankins adds more depth up front for the Eagles to pair with Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan. Rankins can play head up on blockers or penetrate gaps while his two-year grading is as good as any defensive lineman in the class (second overall in the nation in 2014, 16th in 2015)."
Sports Illustrated (Doug Farrar) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
"O.K.—so the Eagles have Sam Bradford back in the fold, and new coach Doug Pederson seems to believe that backup Chase Daniel could be a starter. That’s all well and good, but given Bradford’s injury history and Daniel’s lack of history actually resembling a starter, all that talk could still lead to the Eagles taking a quarterback here. After the trade with Miami to move up from 13th to eighth in the draft order, Philly has a lot more flexibility. And in this situation, it makes sense for Wentz to sit for a while, get used to a higher level of competition and learn the intricacies of the position. Wentz has the frame, arm, mobility and competitive temperament to do more than either Bradford or Daniel in the long term."
Sports Illustrated (Chris Burke) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
"Elliott is the best player on the board at this point, and that really can be the end of the discussion should Philadelphia add him to its Ryan Mathews/Darren Sproles backfield. Any of the next three selections about to come off the board would work for the Eagles, too, meaning this is a juicy spot for them."
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal
"Despite having a pair of veteran quarterbacks on the roster, the Eagles could target Goff as the franchise quarterback of the future."
NFL.com (Charley Casserly) - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State [Eagles trade down to No. 13]
"Missed out on Stanley. Eagles get the second-round pick they lost in the Sam Bradford trade back and solidify their OL."
[Ed. note: the Eagles traded up with the Dolphins only to trade back down with them? Yeah, OK.]
CBS Sports (Jared Dubin) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
"The Eagles, meanwhile, get Wentz, considered in some circles the top player on their board. Yes, they paid Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel a bunch of money, but Bradford's contract does not have a big guarantee beyond this season and they can always let Wentz sit for a year or two behind both of them before giving him the reins to the team."
CBS Sports (Rob Rang) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
"Few players offer more immediate impact potential than Elliott, the consensus top back in the draft. After working previously with LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia and Jamaal Charles in Kansas City, new Eagles coach Doug Pederson is used to operating an offense around a star back. Elliott has the well-rounded game to be a star in Pederson's offense."
CBS Sports (Dane Brugler) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
"With Demarco Murray now in Tennessee and Ryan Matthews also on the trade block, the Eagles are looking for a new identity at running back. Elliott has the talent to be the featured piece of Doug Pederson's offense."
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
"Some scouts like him more than Wentz and Goff. He is a big, athletic kid, and the Eagles need a quarterback for the long run."
CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
"Things take a turn for the real interesting when Wentz falls out of the top five courtesy of the changes up top and the Browns' decision. And it makes things difficult for the Eagles, with Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under contract for pretty good money. But that's part of having Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under contract."
Ourlads - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Drafttek (Broz) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
"It is widely believed that most talent evaluators feel there are 8 to 10 elite prospects in this draft, which means that no matter what happens in the first 7 picks, one of the elite prospects will be available for Philly at #8. In this week's CMD, Vernon Hargreaves III and Ezekiel Elliott are both available (I only consider DeForest Buckner an elite prospect in a 3-4 defense). Once again, cornerback trumps running back for the Birds. The feeling here is that Hargreaves can be a true shut-down corner...from 0 to 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. If receivers get past that point, Hargreaves can really struggle down the field (16.5 yards per completion against in 2015). Teams with two smart veteran safeties like the Eagles have should be able to hide his weaknesses and accentuate his strengths. My great uncle Bri was not a football man, but he used to say "Stay in your lane!" Granted, he usually screamed that at his wife while she was driving, but if Hargreaves can follow this simple advice, he has all the tools to be 7 INT per year kind of guy."
NJ.com (Joe Giglio) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State [Eagles trade up to No. 1]
"We start with the most-talked about team of the offseason making the biggest move of all. In a swap with the Tennessee Titans, the Eagles move up from No. 8 to grab their man: Carson Wentz. The offseason of Howie Roseman continues to make headlines."
NJ.com (Mark Eckel) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
"Sure, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was tempting, but Hargreaves was the easy pick. The Florida cornerback gives the Eagles an elite defender to take on the top notch wide receivers in the division."
NJ.com (Eliot Shorr-Parks) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
"Earlier on in the draft process, I thought Michigan offensive tackle Jack Conklin was the Eagles' best option at No. 8. And he would still would be. But as the draft inches closer, it more it becomes clear that Hargreaves both fills a need for the Eagles and represents the best chance at getting a special player on the defensive side of the ball."
USA Today (Jonah Tuls) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
"I’m sure the Eagles would love to have their quarterback fall into their lap here, but they would most likely have to trade up to get their guy, and with some uncertainty at the cornerback position, Vernon Hargreaves makes a lot of sense here with his playmaking ability."
Pro Football Weekly (Hub Arkush) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal
"This is too high for Goff but betting on Sam Bradford is a fool's errand."
Pro Football Weekly (Arthur Arkush) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal [Eagles trade up to No. 6]
"How much will Roseman enjoy leapfrogging Kelly for franchise QB?"
FanSpeak (Steve) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
"The Eagles just traded away DeMarco Murray so unless they want to hope that Ryan Mathews stays healthy all year they are in the market for a feature back. Elliott is the best in the draft and he could be an elite weapon similar to Gurley from last year."
FanSpeak (Matt) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
"DeMarco Murray is gone leaving a hole at running back. Elliott is clearly the best back in the draft, but he could fall based on how teams value the running back position."
Big Blue View (Invictus XI) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Sporting News (Eric Galko) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
"There’s been obvious quarterback interest from the Eagles, but it’s unlikely that they’ll trade up or even stay put for a quarterback unless Carson Wentz falls to No. 8. Taking the best defender on the board here seems likely, with Hargreaves, Eli Apple and linebacker Darron Lee being the most likely targets. Hargreaves is a plug-and-play starter that can give this defense a quick turnaround under coordinator Jim Schwartz.
QB Carson Wentz - 6
RB Ezekiel Elliott - 6
CB Vernon Hargreaves - 5
QB Jared Goff - 4
QB Paxton Lynch - 1
OT Ronnie Stanley - 3
DL DeForest Buckner - 1
DL Sheldon Rankins - 1
OT Jack Conklin - 1
QB - 11
RB - 6
CB - 5
OT - 4
DL - 2
Offense - 21
Defense - 7
Quarterback rules supreme here. Some experts have the Eagles trading up for Wentz while others have the Birds landing him at No. 8. Other mock drafters have the Eagles going with Goff and one even has Lynch in the mix.
It's easy to think the Eagles will go with a quarterback early on. They've showed a ton of interest in them leading up to the NFL Draft. Too much interest to be just merely a smokescreen. They've worked out a number of top prospects and the Eagles are having most of those same prospects visit their team facility this week.