Mel Kiper’s 3.0 version of his 2017 NFL Mock Draft is now posted on ESPN. In his first version, Kiper had the Eagles taking a Florida cornerback. He then switched to the Eagles taking a wide receiver at No. 14 in his second edition. Now ESPN’s draft analyst has the Birds back to taking a defensive back in the first round. Here’s his pick for Philadelphia via ESPN In$ider.
“Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State - The Eagles are in a good spot to get their pick of one of the best cornerbacks in a deep class. Several will be on the board at No. 14 with a potential run on pass-rushers at the top of the first round. Conley, the third member of the Ohio State secondary to be picked so far, is rising after the combine, where he ran a 4.44 40 with a 37.5-inch vertical at 6-0, 195. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz needs a new No. 1 corner, and this is a great fit.”
Conley has been linked to the Eagles more often in mock drafts ever since Sidney Jones got hurt. I can’t help but feel this is the case of people forcing a cornerback selection with the Eagles’ pick.
The truth is the Eagles don’t NEED to take a cornerback in the first round. There’s no question the Eagles have a huge hole at corner and getting a player at No. 14 would be ideal, but that doesn’t mean the Birds should force a pick based on need. This is a deep draft class at corner.
In any case, back to Conley. The Ohio State cornerback measures in at 6-0, 195 pounds. Conley played 35 games for the Buckeyes over three years. During that span, he recorded 91 tackles, 15 passes defensed, and six interceptions. Spider graph time:
For what it’s worth, CBS Sports projects Conley to be a second-round pick. They have him ranked as their No. 9 overall cornerback. Here’s a scouting report on Conley from NFL.com:
NFL Comparison: Aqib Talib
Bottom Line: Press-corner with experience at both cornerback spots and an ability to fit into a variety of coverage techniques. He plays with good top-end speed and has the ball skills to challenge and defend passes on any level. He can step in right away in zone coverage, but could struggle to match patterns from a pedal. He will likely be targeted by teams seeking long cornerbacks who can crowd and trail receivers down the field. He has the talent to become an early starter, but he must improve in run support.
Is Conley really the best pick for the Eagles at No. 14? Here’s who Kiper had going off the board before the Eagles picked.
1 - DE Myles Garrett
2 - DL Solomon Thomas
3 - S Jamal Adams
4 - DL Jonathan Allen
5 - CB Marshon Lattimore
6 - TE O.J. Howard
7 - S Malik Hooker
8 - RB Leonard Fournette
9 - LB Takkarist McKinley
10 - WR Mike Williams
11 - LB Haason Reddick
12 - QB Mitch Tribursky
13 - QB Deshaun Watson
This means Kiper has the Eagles passing up on Reuben Foster, Derek Barnett, John Ross, Corey Davis (Kiper’s third receiver), and others.
Are you OK with this pick, Eagles fans?