clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Draft 2017: After free agency, who will the Eagles pick in the first round now?

New, comments

Which position will the Eagles select in the first round?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles made exciting waves in free agency last week when they signed Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffrey and Chance Warmack to high reward, low risk deals. While the team obviously addressed huge needs in terms of giving Carson Wentz instant impact help on offense, there are still holes on the team that should be addressed in the next few weeks and, more importantly, the draft. With the 14th pick, there are multiple directions the Eagles can go in a deep and multitalented draft class. With the current state of the roster and draft, what are the options like at pick 14?

Running Back

The running back position still needs a lot of help on this team. While the Eagles have some young intriguing players with Byron Marshall and Wendell Smallwood, it would be unwise to solely depend on them to carry the load next season. Darren Sproles is old and Ryan Mathews is likely not on the team by the start of the season, so an impact running back will be important to get in this draft. In the first round, the Eagles will have their pick between Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, most likely. Leonard Fournette would be a fun pick at 14, but the feeling is that he is going a lot higher. Cook, my favorite back in the class on tape, has a lot of medical and off field questions, not exactly helping himself with an underwhelming combine. Regardless, he is still a playmaker. As for McCaffrey, he backed up elite college production and very good tape with an awesome combine, cementing himself as a first round caliber value. However, with such a deep running back class, it would not be the first position I would target in the first round. If the Eagles wanted to, Christian McCaffrey would be my pick at 14.

Wide Receiver

With Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews set to be the top three receivers on the team, going wide receiver in the first round might not be the most obvious direction. However, Jordan Matthews is on the last year of his deal, Alshon got signed to a one year contract and Torrey Smith is an older, complementary piece. Basically, despite the talent in the group for 2017, there is very little long term security. Thus, it would not be a crazy move for the Eagles to go for a wide receiver in this class. There are a lot of intriguing first round types of players at the position. It is hard to know if John Ross or Corey Davis fall to the 14th pick, but the Eagles should sprint to the podium to pick them. Assuming the realistic situation in which they don't, the Eagles might consider a guy like Curtis Samuel or Mike Williams. Both players have a lot of intrigue, but Samuel as some positional ambiguity and Williams' health issues would deter me from making those picks. Though Samuel is especially interesting. The reality is that while the Eagles would be smart to address receiver early, the first round may not have the right players there by the time they pick. If they were to make a pick at 14 and Ross or Davis weren't there, I would swing for the fences with Curtis Samuel.

Pass Rusher

With Connor Barwin out, Bennie Logan probably out and Vinny Curry underwhelming on his new contract, the Eagles could definitely add some juice to their defensive line. This is an exciting defensive line class with a lot of really high ceiling prospects at the edge and defensive tackle positions. By the time the Eagles pick, while Myles Garrett won't be there, there is a good chance Carl Lawson, Malik McDowell and Tim Williams are there. Tim Williams has a few red flags that would give pause at pick 14. However, if Carl Lawson or Malik McDowell were there, that would be a great pick to add some youth and athleticism to the Eagles line. If I had to pick between the two, Lawson has less off field issues and is more consistent, giving the Eagles a dependable and productive edge defender.

Cornerback

This is the logical direction for the Eagles in. With the cornerback depth chart currently standing at a bunch of traffic cones cones and Jalen Mills (who is essentially a traffic cone with cool hair), the Eagles need a massive influx of talent in their secondary. Fortunately, this class is loaded with cornerbacks, having at least 15 players who have top 75 level talent. Unfortunately, a favorite to be pick 14, Sidney Jones, tore his achilles during his pro day, knocking him out of the first round. Among other cornerbacks to consider, Marshon Lattimore is probably not making it out of the top ten in the draft, unfortunately. With him out of the picture and Teez Tabor likely falling out of the first due to his combine and off the field issues, Cordrea Tankersly would be my pick for the Eagles at 14. If there is no way to get Marshon Lattimore, adding an athletic cover corner who has ball skills  like Tankersly would be a massive boost for the defense. While I am not suggesting the Eagles force a pick at cornerback and that best player available should always be the approach, cornerback should be the primary focus of the draft and the first round. Hell, if they could trade up for Marshon Lattimore that would be the best route for them to go in the draft.