Roughly two weeks until the 2017 NFL Draft begins. Are you tired of mock drafts yet? You’re not? Great news! Rotoworld’s Evan Silva and Josh Norris teamed up to identify the Eagles’ three biggest needs and share a seven-round Eagles mock.
The Eagles’ needs are fairly obvious and you could probably guess them without looking: cornerback, running back, and defensive line. Wide receiver, outside linebacker, and offensive tackle earned honorable mention.
As for the mock draft, here’s a round-by-round breakdown with my analysis of the picks.
CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State - Conley has a legitimate shot at becoming the best corner in this draft. He plays at a high level from the left side, right side and in the slot. This should be the absolute latest he remains on the board.
With this type of mock, it’s not like I can tell who else was on the board when Norris made the pick. Regardless, I don’t think Conley will be the selection at No. 14. I won’t say the Eagles definitely won’t go corner in the first round, but it seems like they’re leaning towards defensive end. Even putting that rumor aside, I just don’t envision Conley as Jim Schwartz’s ideal cornerback. He doesn’t play with the aggression and confidence that Schwartz clearly values. Of course, Schwartz isn’t the one making the pick, but his influence on the team’s defensive personnel decisions has been obvious.
RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee - The Eagles need a running back who can create big plays, and Kamara fits the bill. Kamara can work as an explosive runner and receiver in a timeshare role.
While I’ve been saying I believe there’s a 99% chance the Eagles don’t go running back at No. 14, I think they could easily go that direction at No. 43. At least, I hope that’s the case. Running back is a huge need for Philadelphia.
Kamara is an interesting player. There’s a belief he has the talent to be a three down running back, but he hasn’t proved it yet. He’s never handled 20 carries in a game. Still, the 21-year-old is fairly athletic and he makes plays. His ability to catch passes should also be of interest to the Eagles.
WR Chad Hansen, Cal - The Eagles acquired band-aids at receiver in free agency, and all three starters might not be on the roster in 2018. Hansen is a developing outside receiver who flashes a tremendous catch radius.
Hansen was seen working out with Carson Wentz earlier this offseason. It’s believed Hansen is on the list of wide receivers the Eagles told Wentz to study and report back on this offseason.
Hansen, 22, only put up one really strong year at Cal (92 - 1249 - 11) before deciding to go pro. Though projected to be a Day 2 pick, some believe he’s a top five receiver in this class. He has above average size and athleticism. The Eagles could hope he turns into a No. 2 wide receiver behind Alshon Jeffery.
DL Charles Walker, Oklahoma - This interior defensive line class is thin. A misunderstanding led to an odd exit from Oklahoma for Walker, but he was an animal in 2015 and has been cleared medically.
I’d be surprised if the Eagles didn’t go defensive line before round four.
Walker’s a bit of a complicated case due to his decision to leave his team early. The Eagles will surely want to do their homework on him to get all the details.
The Eagles still have a need at defensive tackle with Beau Allen going down and Timmy Jernigan only under contract through the end of this season.
WR Shelton Gibson, West Virginia - I reported a few weeks ago that Gibson is on the Eagles' radar, along with a number of other receivers. Gibson offers pure vertical ability, something the team severely lacked last year.
The Eagles hosted Gibson on a pre-draft visit in Philadelphia. As Norris notes, Gibson would give the Eagles a sorely-needed deep threat. Gibson is very fast; he reportedly ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro day and his 60-yard shuttle time is in the 99th percentile.
Imagine for a second the Eagles snag both Hansen and Gibson in this draft. Then compare their 2017 wide receiving corps to 2016’s version.
2017: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Chad Hansen, Shelton Gibson, Nelson Agholor
2016: Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner, Bryce Treggs
One of those groups certainly looks better than the other!
LB Dylan Cole, Missouri State - One of the most athletic linebackers in this class.
The 6-1, 236 pound Cole played four years at the Division I FCS level. He’s pretty strong; he put up 36 reps at 225 pounds in his own unofficial NFL Combine scenario. The Eagles need depth at linebacker with Jordan Hicks prone to injury, Nigel Bradham prone to getting in trouble, and Mychal Kendricks prone to getting traded. The team might address the position on Day 3 like this.
CB Aarion Penton, Missouri - Slot corner who participated in the East-West Shrine Game, then earned an invite to the Senior Bowl.
Sounds like a Schwartz corner, per this scouting report from DraftAnalyst.com.
Slightly undersized but tough cornerback who can line up in dime packages at the next level. Instinctive, effectively reads and diagnoses the action and tracks the ball in the air. Quick flipping his hips transitioning downfield, gets his head back around and competes to defend the throw. Fires out of his plant to the play, has a burst of closing speed and quickly makes his way up the field to defend screen passes and running plays. Does not back down to a challenge and takes on bigger opponents to make the stop.
The Eagles need answers at outside cornerback, but the nickel spot is also a long-term concern for them as well.
EDGE Fadol Brown, Ole Miss - Late round edge help ... a difficult ask.
Brown measures in at 6-4, 280 pounds. He has decent size and athleticism so maybe he can carve out a role as a backup/rotational defensive end.
How would you grade this seven round mock draft for the Eagles?
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