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NFL Mock Draft: Cornerback isn’t the need for the Eagles it used to be

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The times they are a-changin’.

NCAA Football: South Florida at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There are only 58 days until the 2018 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 26. Until then, we’re going to kill some time with our weekly Mock Draft Monday series.

Here’s who Dan Kadar has the Philadelphia Eagles picking in his weekly mock draft for SB Nation.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

The Eagles are another team in the back end of the first round that could do well with a cornerback. Hughes is a player whose draft stock could rise at the combine.

Kadar had the Eagles drafting Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews the past two weeks, so it’s nice to see a new pick here.

The bad news is that I don’t think this pick is very realistic, either.

Cornerback has been a need for the Eagles so long that it’s almost hard to blame people for realizing that it isn’t anymore. If anything, Philadelphia has too many corners at this point.

2017 starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are set to return in 2018. They were obviously good enough to be starting corners on a Super Bowl winning team. Both players had some ups and downs.

Then there’s 2017 second-round pick Sidney Jones, who Howie Roseman said was a top 10 talent on their draft board prior to the Achilles injury. Is he going to seize a starting role?

One can’t forget about 2017 third-round pick Rasul Douglas, who showed some potential while making a few starts while Darby was hurt last year. He’s a factor in the equation as well.

The Eagles do have a need at nickel corner, assuming impending free agent Patrick Robinson isn’t retained. There’s been an assumption Mills could replace him in that role. Maybe. The Eagles experimented with that last offseason but it didn’t last long, which could be a sign they didn’t like that fit.

So, unless we’re talking about some amazing can’t-miss corner prospect, I don’t see the Eagles going that direction this early. I don’t know that Hughes really qualifies here. Scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:

Draft Projection: Round 2

Sources Tell Us: “I wish he would have stayed. I don’t see him as a ‘one’ and I think he could have been with another year. He’s just raw right now but he’s got the ability to become a really tough ball challenger.” -- NFC regional scout

NFL Comparison: Bradley Roby

Bottom Line: Hughes simply hasn’t had the game experience he needs to put together the consistency in coverage that teams might like to see. He’s a projection-based prospect who has shown twitch, ball production and toughness in a small sample size. Despite being a little short, he is likely to stay outside in coverage. While teams wait for him to gain coverage experience, they can certainly lean on his tremendous talents as a return man. Hughes has potential, but there is still work to be done in coverage.

The Eagles really do need to upgrade at the punt returner and kick returner spots, especially if Darren Sproles won’t be back. Still, that’s obviously not a primary reason to take a guy at No. 32 overall.

What do you think about this week’s pick?