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NFL Draft analyst thinks Eagles are deciding between two players in the first round

Plus some more draft hints.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been interesting to hear what NBC Sports and Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris has had to say about the Philadelphia Eagles leading up to this year’s 2017 NFL Draft. It seems like he’s plugged in.

Norris was the one to say the Eagles gave Carson Wentz a list of wide receiver prospects to study. Since then, we’ve learned that was true; Wentz spoke about it last week. Norris was first to note the Eagles as one of the few teams with owner permission to draft Joe Mixon. A number of local reporters have since confirmed that sentiment. Lastly, and most relevant to today’s story, Norris has been all over the Charles Harris to the Eagles buzz. Shortly after he connected Harris to Philadelphia in a mock draft last week, a rumor emerged that Harris is one of five players the Eagles are considering with the No. 14 pick.

So again, when Norris speaks, it’s interesting to hear what he has to say. Norris dropped some more information about the Eagles in a recent Rotoworld podcast.

Norris seems to believe the Eagles are basically considering two players with the No. 14 pick. Transcript below, bold emphasis is mine.

I’m not going to say Christian McCaffrey is NOT the pick, [but] I would be surprised if it was the pick. […] It’s not going to be Dalvin Cook. Sorry to ruin people’s dreams, it’s not going to be Dalvin Cook. I really don’t think it’s going to be John Ross, either. Not to ruin people’s dream.

Unless some one big name falls, like Jon Allen [or Leonard Fournette or Derek Barnett], someone like that, OK, I think this decision is between Gareon Conley […] and Charles Harris. I keep mentioning Charles Harris’ name.

I think that defensive end spot is pivotal for Jim Schwartz, obviously. And I think Charles Harris is widely, widely loved in the NFL and we’re catching up to it now. I think that he definitely fits.

And if we can talk about the draft narrative real quick, I think it’s absolutely telling that big draft [analysts such as] [NFL Network’s Daniel] Jeremiah, [NFL Network’s Mike] Mayock, [ESPN’s Todd] McShay, whoever, did not drop Charles Harris after his Combine performance, even though he tested in the ninth percentile. To me, that means the conversations that they’re having in the pro day circuit or whatever up until he tested at the pro day are still all positive stuff about Charles Harris. In fact, he climbed on a lot of peoples’ board after the Combine.

So, again, I think Charles Harris … I’m not going to say he’s the top selection here, but I think that he’s in that group of three that they can choose from. And then they kind of approach the cornerback position like the Carolina Panthers did last year [with multiple picks after Day 1]. And there’s a specific name that they might like in Round 3. Just to say.

Conley and Harris are two of the aforementioned five players the Eagles are rumored to take. Both players certainly make sense from a need perspective, so it’s not too hard to believe.

Also interesting to note how Norris snuck a line about the Eagles liking a certain third round cornerback prospect. He refused to say the name, unfortunately, so we’re left guessing. Rasul Douglas? Jourdan Lewis? Cordrea Tankersley? Teez Tabor? Cameron Sutton? Ahkello Witherspoon (visited Philly)? Shaquill Griffin (also visited Philly)? Sidney Jones if he falls that far?

Another Norris hint that didn’t appear in the Rotoworld podcast but got mentioned when he was talking about Mixon last week was a note on Alvin Kamara.

I would not be surprised if a number of those teams [interested in Mixon] think they can just pivot to a clean Alvin Kamara. Because I think Alvin Kamara out of Tennessee has a similar skill set for teams that want to deploy that type of receiving back with running upside as well. And again, Alvin Kamara has basically done nothing wrong in comparison to Joe Mixon.

The Eagles hosted Kamara on a pre-draft visit in Philadelphia. They also used one of their 60 NFL Combine meetings on him.

The truth is no one truly knows what’s going to happen this week. There are rumors and smokescreens and hidden agendas everywhere. But if I had to project a mini-mock draft based on the things we’ve heard so far, including this information from Norris, I’d say the Eagles’ first three picks will look someone thing like this.

Round 1 - Charles Harris (or Derek Barnett)
Round 2 - Running back (Joe Mixon or Alvin Kamara or Dalvin Cook)
Round 3 - Cornerback (Maybe one of the corners I listed above)

Now, of course, watch me be completely wrong as the Eagles draft Corey Davis at No. 14. Maybe all this hype about Harris and defensive players is a ploy to hide the Eagles’ true intentions of drafting a skill player at No. 14.

Man. Thursday night can’t get here soon enough.

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