Happy Draft Week! After several long months of the draft process and day after day of hearing about the same players, the 2017 NFL Draft is only three days away! There is no doubt the Eagles find themselves lucky to have eight picks in a draft that is loaded with depth at specific need positions such as wide receiver, cornerback and running back. Here I take a knock at predicting how the Eagles draft will shake out. I don’t do prediction mocks usually, if at all, but after running a few simulations using Arif Hasan’s Consensus Board, which ranks players based on collective averages of dozens of big media boards, I got a good idea of where players could potentially land in the draft. Based off of player interest this offseason, needs and tendencies in liking certain kinds of player, here is how the Eagles 2017 NFL Draft could turn out.
Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri: As the draft approaches, the whispers have grown into yells that the Eagles might be drafting the Missouri pass rushing specialist in the first round. While Harris may not have great athletic ability, size or run defense; his polished rushing ability, especially as a wide end, fits perfectly into what the Eagles need on their defensive line. While I would go in a different direction with this pick, addressing cornerback or giving Carson Wentz another weapon, there is no doubt Harris would be an immediate role player in this defense.
Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC: Adoree Jackson is one of the many cornerbacks that the Eagles have shown interest in this offseason, bringing him in to visit Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Besides Jackson’s incredible athletic ability, what stands out about him is that he has gotten better every season at USC. While he is still a high variance player, his ball skills are game changing and if he continues to improve, he could be a playmaking star in Philly. Not to mention, he is one hell of a return man.
Taywan Taylor, Wide Receiver, WKU: The Eagles also brought WKU’s explosive wide receiver into Philly for a visit and that should excite Eagles fans. Taylor is a tremendous deep threat who also is a very crisp route runner. With the starting three wide receivers theoretically set for 2017 with Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews, the Eagles might not need to immediately address the receiver position, but they would be smart to get day two value considering Matthews nor Jeffery are signed beyond 2017. Taylor would be in a limited role his rookie year, but could see a big feature in the offense down the road.
Damontae Kazee, Cornerback, SDSU: Considering their cornerback predicament, the Eagles double dipping in the mid rounds would be massively beneficial to them. Kazee, like Jackson, visited the Eagles and would be a great stylistic fit with Jim Schwartz. While Kazee does not have great size, he is a physical ball hawk who would thrive in the slot in the NFL. The Eagles should be emphasizing guys who can take the ball away on defense and with 15 interceptions in the last two seasons, there is no doubt Kazee has a knack for the ball.
Shelton Gibson, Wide Receiver, WVU: Similar to the Eagles needing to double dip at cornerback, double dipping in an intriguing receiver class would be a smart move as well. Gibson visited Philly and I am sure him averaging 23 yards per catch over the last two seasons has something to do with the team’s interest. Gibson is an incredible deep threat who is a bit raw in the rest of his game. He would have the luxury of time considering the guys ahead of him on the depth chart and could develop into a nice player for the Eagles down the road.
Elijah Hood, Running Back, UNC: The Eagles could stand to add a running back much earlier in the draft, but they seem likely to play the value game at the position this year considering their other needs. The Eagles took interest to Hood during the combine. Hood has a lot of intrigue as he was poised to be a top back in the country last summer before having a down year due to injuries and offensive philosophy change. Hood is a well-built back who runs with power behind his pads and at his best looks shifty even as a 230 pound back. Hood lost some of that juice this season, so taking a chance on him day three would hope that he can regain his 2015 form. If he does, the Eagles could have a major steal.
Dan Skipper, Tackle, Arkansas: The Eagles showed interest in the tall Razorback at the combine and could be intrigued enough in his 6’10”, 320 pound frame to take him late in the draft. Besides being tall with long arms, Skipper has very few plus traits. His natural strength, leverage and athletic ability are not on NFL level, but the Eagles could be banking on his size and attitude to fill in the depth chart at tackle. While it is not likely he will see playing time in his career, the Eagles eventual need to get younger at tackle could be nipped in the bud by adding an intriguing project player.
Blair Brown, Linebacker, Ohio: From what I can tell, Blair Brown is one of the more underrated linebackers in this draft class. Not only did Brown test well at the combine, he also had an incredibly productive career in college. Brown’s lack of size could hurt him on draft day, but he is a pretty well rounded defender. With the Eagles needing to add bodies to their linebacker group considering Mychal Kendricks being in a constant state of “just about to be traded” and Nigel Bradham being on the last year of his deal, it would be savvy to add Brown this late. I would be giddy to land a late round pickup like this and Brown could be a surprise early contributor if the Eagles can land him.
While these picks could all easily be wrong and we truly have no idea what the Eagles are going to do, it is a good practice to take note of the Eagles visits and interviews when projecting the draft. While I am sure a lot of people in the comments, myself included, would like to see the draft shake out a little differently, this scenario adds a lot of exciting and intriguing players to the team who can contribute sooner than later.
Grade this seven round Eagles mock draft.
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