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Draft mailbag: Which side of the ball should the Eagles focus on?

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers

Capitol One Orange Bowl - Florida State v Michigan Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

Each week leading up to the draft, Ben will answer your questions. You can send them in at

Should the eagles spend on WR or skill positions and draft defense or the other way around? Or something different? - Craig

With the way the team and draft is currently, there is no reason the Eagles should not do both. This draft class has a ton of talent at running back, cornerback, defensive end and receiver, so that gives the team some flexibility in terms of offseason plan. Considering the talent at defensive end in the draft and lack thereof in free agency, targeting a defensive linemen in the first and banking on the depth at the other positions in the rest of the draft might be the best strategy. With that, they could choose to also supplement with free agent additions like Robert Woods and a middle cost cornerback to complement young, mid round guys they would bring in.

Some of the bigger corners are intriguing in the mid-rounds... Who would be best suited for Schwartz and this team right now? - Steve

Of the bigger cornerbacks in this draft, I really like Rasul Douglas’ fit on this team in terms of immediate impact. His size is obviously an asset at over 6-2, but he is also a good athlete with impressive ball skills. He can play off coverage more comfortably than a lot of the other bigger guys in this class and that, combined with his playmaking ability (Nine forced turnovers this year) would be a major asset to this team.

What has been the main reason for the Eagles' recent draft failures (Watkins, Smith, Agholor, etc.) poor scouting, management overruling the scouts, or coaches' failures to properly utilize personnel? - Jim

It’s hard to quantify how these guys fail in the NFL. Marcus Smith showed encouraging signs this year. However Smith was a reach during the draft and living up to the potential of a first round pick was always going to be an uphill battle. As for Agholor, he had a tumultuous offseason and had to learn a new scheme… A big part of success early in a career is confidence and when a player lets mistakes snowball in their head, confidence dissipates quickly. This is a big offseason for him.

If Mike Williams and Corey Davis are both off the board and if they still want to select a WR with that first pick, what are some options that fit Pederson's west coast style of play? - Jacob

While I would not force a wide receiver pick with Corey Davis off the board, if the team is married to that position in the first, you would have to draft John Ross. Ross’ speed, route running and savvy after the catch would make him a versatile, explosive weapon on an offense that lacks any dynamic element. Instant impact player.

What do you make of Dalvin Cook's off the field incident and possible injury issues? - Patrick

Dalvin Cook obviously has a past mired by his reprehensible actions. On top of getting into hot water with the law during high school, he assaulted a woman his freshman year at college. That is a horrific thing to do and he will need to answer to NFL teams for that. Cook did turn himself in immediately after the situation and, from all reports, has been a model citizen ever since. Juxtaposed with the Joe Mixon situation where Mixon did not take responsibility publicly until there was a video and also had an angry outburst incident since, Cook’s situation is much different. Of course, these are complicated matters, but I am more comfortable with Cook off the field than Mixon.

As for his injury, while reports of shoulder issues have been abundant this offseason, it is worth taking into account Cook’s college history. Cook was incredibly available his three years at FSU and consistently produced in every game. I’m no doctor, but I wonder how serious an injury is if it never actually hurt his ability to play or play well…

Do you think the Eagles take ArDarius Stewart in the mid-rounds? Also, who are they taking in the first; receiver or cornerback? -Jordan

While it is impossible to predict who they are taking in the mid rounds (especially this early on), Stewart would be a great add to the team in need of dynamic offensive players. Stewart is very good after the catch and his size makes him viable to play all over the field. On top of that, he can contribute on special teams. Stewart is an impressive player and while I don’t know whether or not the Eagles would want him in the mid rounds, he would certainly be a valuable addition to the team.

In the first, the Eagles could go a number of directions. If Dalvin Cook or Corey Davis are there, I would snag one of them. If not, the team would be smart to take one of the edge rushers if they are available. They need to boost their pass rush and with the depth at receiver, cornerback and running back in the class, hitting the premium position first and then banking on the depth of the class is the best strategy. Like I said before though, they should not pass on Dalvin Cook or Corey Davis.

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