Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated — RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
The Eagles’ offense was better in 2016 when Darren Sproles was RB1 ahead of Ryan Mathews, in part because of how dangerous Sproles is as a big-play threat. The problem: Sproles isn’t built to handle a 20-plus-carry workload. Cook is, and he’s just as capable of taking one the distance.
That’s not entirely true, the Eagles scored slightly more points per game when Sproles got less than 50% of snaps. But it is true that Ryan Mathews wasn’t a big play threat, Sproles isn’t a starting running back, and the Eagles could use someone who is both. Cook fits that description.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com — CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
Everyone in Philadelphia knows the Eagles have to find a cornerback who can match up with the talented targets in the NFC East. Humphrey has some deep-ball coverage issues, but he's big, fast and physical.
Dane Brugler, CBS — Marlon Humphrey
The Eagles are desperate for help at cornerback and there should be several options for the franchise in the mid-first round. Humphrey has given up several big plays this season, but NFL coaches will be salivating at his size and skill set.
Dan Kadar, SBNation — Marlon Humphrey
Lattimore was the pick for Philadelphia last week, but the differences between he and Humphrey are minimal. Humphrey specializes in getting physical at the line of scrimmage and pushing receivers around.
Marlon, Marlon, Marlon!
There’s a chicken-and-the-egg aspect to pass rushing and secondary play: a good pass rush can elevate a secondary, while a good secondary can help create sacks. The Eagles had an average pass rush (at least, statistically) and a below average set of corners. Adding a long term solution would help both areas out.
Marlon Humphrey could be that guy. Listed at 6’1”, he’s got size, as a former track star (he got the silver medal in hurdles at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships) he’s got speed, and he’s started both of the two seasons he played, so he’s got experience. He’s not afraid to play physical, and starting as a freshman for Alabama is pretty good notch in the belt.
On the downside, Alabama DBs are mostly disappointments once they leave Nick Saban, the best DB coach in football. Buyer beware.
This draft is deep in corner back talent, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Eagles to draft two of them. If so, taking one early makes sense. Why bother waiting around for one later when there’s a top prospect on the board.