As the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, the NFL writers here at SB Nation get together to do a mock draft. The setup is simple: each writer plays general manager for their team and makes the pick. There are no trades. The draft goes two rounds deep.
When I made my pick for the Eagles at No. 14 a few weeks ago, I took Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. For the Eagles’ second round pick at No. 43, I stuck with my Crimson Tide bias. I selected Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
Gowton: Cornerback is the most obvious need for the Eagles. With this pick, Philadelphia potentially gets a long-term solution they’ve sorely lacked for years now.
There’s talk of Humphrey being a potential Eagles target at No. 14 overall. The Alabama cornerback plays with that feisty, physical confidence that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves in his corners.
There’s no question Humphrey has flaws, but he’s only 20 years old. He was a productive player in only two seasons played for the Crimson Tide and he has good size and athleticism. The tools are there for the Eagles to coach him up.
As I noted, quite a few people believe the Eagles might draft Humphrey in the first round. SB Nation’s Dan Kadar is among those who believes this is possible and he deemed my pick the best one in this year’s mock draft so far. (Thanks Dan!)
Analysis: This is arguably the best pick of this mock draft thus far because of the value and need. Humphrey is a top five cornerback this year. If the class weren't so deep he'd be at or near the top in most years. The tools are not only there for the Eagles to coach up. The tools are there for Humphrey to be a star. Humphrey possesses every tool you want in a No. 1 cornerback, he just needs refinement and experience.
I realize not everyone is so high on Humphrey. And I get it, he has his weaknesses. But again, he’s only 20 years old. He’s really athletic. And there’s no question he’s a Jim Schwartz cornerback in terms of being ultra competitive and confident. I love the aggression he plays with. Tell me you don’t love this hit.
On the same play at almost the exact same moment, Marlon Humphrey lands a huge hit while Ryan Anderson gets his bell rung. pic.twitter.com/M3Fzdrs7PK— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) April 15, 2017
Humphrey plays like that on a regular basis, as you can see in his highlights below.
For more on Humphrey, check out BGN’s scouting report on him.
Humphrey is a very exciting player who is flashy, physical and athletic. It is hard not to love a player who is so willing to knock offensive players on their asses. It is also easy to see that Humphrey has a lot of learning to do at the position. For the Eagles, Humphrey would fit well into their off coverage philosophy and he certainly would fit the attitude that Jim Schwartz wants on defense. However, in such a deep cornerback class, it is easy to get picky about different aspects of each player given the competition they have in this draft. Humphrey has top 40 talent but his rawness still keeps him out of that top tier of cornerback prospect. It will be exciting to see him grow in the NFL, however, because he certainly has the tools to be a successful NFL player at cornerback or safety if he is able to improve.
And here’s his spider graph.
So to recap, I added both Reuben Foster and Marlon Humphrey to the Eagles’ defense. Those additions could go a long way in giving Philadelphia a tougher, nastier, more physical unit under Schwartz.
I wasn’t able to get any offensive help for Carson Wentz, which is unfortunate, but the Eagles having a better defense could take some pressure off him.
Do you approve of the Eagles drafting Marlon Humphrey at pick No. 43?
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