With the season over, full attention goes to adding talent to this young football team over the offseason. While there is still free agency to come, it is hard not to get excited about a draft class loaded at cornerback, running back, defensive end and wide receiver. The fact that the Eagles top four needs are all abundantly present this year gives the team flexibility with what it can do over the spring. To get an idea of what the seven rounds may look like, I ran a simulation of the draft using Bleacher Report's Matt Miller's draft board to dictate value. I only picked for the Eagles over the seven round mock and things turned out pretty well...
First Round- Sidney Jones, Cornerback, Washington
With Corey Davis and Dalvin Cook both gone at this pick, it was hard to pass on an instant impact corner back like Sidney Jones. Jones has very good size and athleticism, but his ability to take the ball away on a regular basis is what makes him so special. The Eagles defense is very close and getting a playmaker in the secondary would be outstanding.
Second Round - John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington
I was incredibly ecstatic to see Ross sitting pretty at the 11th pick in the second round. The Washington speedster has outstanding route running and is electric with the ball in his hands. Yes, he can stretch the field, but he can move around the formation and threaten the big play wherever he catches the ball. Getting Ross in the second round would be incredible value.
Third Round - Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
If the Eagles got these three picks to start the draft, I may scream. Carl Lawson is one of my favorite defenders in this year's class. While there are certainly better defenders with higher upside, Lawson is a cerebral, polished defender who does an excellent job rushing the passer. The Eagles need depth along their defensive line and Lawson would be a shot in the arm for a unit that already has Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.
Fourth Round Pick - Pat Elflein, Center, Ohio State
Pat Elflein has moved around during his career but consistently is one of the better linemen in the country. Though he is a bit smaller for the position, Elflein is intelligent, athletic and plays with a good attitude. The Eagles very well could need a new starter (or two) in their interior offensive line next season and Elflein's flexibility will be a help for the team.
Fourth Round Pick (Part Deux) - Isaiah Ford, Wide Receiver, Virginia Tech
While this could have been the place to pull the trigger on a running back, it was hard to pass up Isaiah Ford, who is incredibly underrated at this point. Ford has a solid 6'2" frame and is a good route runner with dependable hands. He does a great job getting open on the outside and he could emerge as a dependable target in the passing game for the Eagles.
Fifth Round Pick - Taylor Moton, Tackle, Western Michigan
This would shock the hell out of me if Moton fell this far, but I am just playing by the rules of this simulator. Moton has outstanding size and athleticism with the ability to play guard or tackle. The Eagles should continue to add youth to their offensive line after getting two promising players last year in the trenches. Moton has the potential to take over at right tackle when Lane Johnson eventually slides over to the left.
Sixth Round Pick - Damontae Kazee, Cornerback, San Diego State
Damontae Kazee is not the biggest, strongest or fastest cornerback, but he is a playmaker. Kazee forced 17 total turnovers in the last two seasons and had 8.5 tackles for a loss in that time frame. He is a smart, feisty cornerback who overcomes his slightly smaller frame to consistently change the game with a splash play. While he likely will not see the field immediately, he would make an impact on special teams and could eventually work his way in as a nickel cornerback or even a third safety.
Seventh Round Pick - James Conner, Running Back, Pittsburgh
It would be a damn travesty if the 6-2, 240 pound Panther fell all the way to the seventh round. Conner will unfortunately have some health concerns considering he had Hodgkins Lymphoma less than a year ago, but there is no questioning his character. Also, Conner is a hard running back who can catch passes out of the backfield. This may be a long time to wait for a running back, but the value at other positions was too great to pass on. If Conner can stay healthy however, he does have a great shot at being a productive player in the NFL.
The likelihood of the draft playing out this way is very slim. The first three players the simulation gift wrapped me all are first round caliber by my measure. Of course, it is only February and a lot can happen between now and the draft... The best thing to do is just continue to enjoy the process and get excited about all the potential players the Eagles can bring in with a deep draft class ahead.