The 2018 NFL Draft will be here before you know it. Now that the Combine is over, mock draft season is in gear and there’s no shortage of opinion as to whom the Philadelphia Eagles might select with the No. 32 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking this week.
FanSpeak (Custom) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
LVE is reportedly coveted by the Eagles. He’s not expected to make it to No. 32, but crazier things have happened. With Nigel Bradham reportedly set to leave in free agency, linebacker is a huge need for Philadelphia.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
This is another value choice on an offensive lineman. Williams can play guard or tackle in the NFL, but didn’t do enough at the combine to rise up in the draft.
ESPN (Todd McShay) - D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
The Super Bowl champions have the luxury of drafting for value, for a roster without many holes. Chark is a raw route-runner but has the tools to develop. His stock is on the rise after a great Senior Bowl week and combine workout, punctuated with a 4.34 40 and 40-inch vertical jump. He could fill Torrey Smith’s role as an explosive vertical WR in the future.
NDT Scouting (Joe Marino) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice is too tantalizing of a playmaker for the Eagles to let slip by them at the end of the first round. He can make a dominant rushing attack even better.
PhillyVoice (Jimmy Kempski) - Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
In terms of checking off those boxes, here’s what I see in Michel: Run inside: Check. Run outside: Eh, maybe not a major area of strength, but he can do it. Route running ability: Check. Hands: Check. Pass protection: Check. In his college career, Michel’s numbers weren’t what they could have been because he had to split time with Nick Chubb at Georgia. Despite splitting carries, Michel still finished with more than 1,220 rushing yards in 2017. The Eagles’ future at the running back position is a little uncertain. LeGarrette Blount may or may not be back. Most (self included) would lean toward the latter. Jay Ajayi will be back next season, but he is in the final year of his deal. The Eagles have openly acknowledged his knee issues. It’s very possible Ajayi won’t be on the team in 2019. Corey Clement proved to be a very valuable third-down back as a rookie. Michel could contribute as a rookie along with Ajayi and Clement, and then take on a much larger role in 2019 and beyond.
Bleacher Report (Matt Miller) - Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
The Philadelphia Eagles rode a dynamic offense to the Super Bowl and were able to outmaneuver the New England Patriots for a ring. To stay on top of the league for another season, the Eagles can look to improve the middle of the offensive line with an agile mauler in Will Hernandez. Hernandez was the standout lineman at the Senior Bowl and had another good showing in drills at the combine. He’s a big man (6’2”, 348 lbs) with excellent ability to lock on and drive out defenders. With Hernandez clearing the way for Jay Ajayi, the Eagles run game could take off.
Pro Football Focus (Steve Palazzolo) - Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
With left tackle Jason Peters nearing the end of his career, the Eagles add depth and a potential replacement in Jones. He improved every year at Ohio State, peaking with an 84.9 overall grade last year and a 98.0 pass-blocking efficiency that ranked 14th in the draft class. Jones still has work to do to clean up parts of his game, but that makes him a good fit in Philadelphia, where he has time to develop.
NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah) - Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Eagles have the luxury of simply taking the best player available, and Oliver would be a perfect scheme fit.
NFL.com (Lance Zierlein) - Ronald Jones, RB, USC
The Eagles would love to add a slasher with big-play talent at running back, and that is exactly what Jones would provide.
CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Depending on what cuts the Eagles have to make (Torrey Smith?), it wouldn’t be surprising to see them chase a little speed in the draft, especially if a guy like Kirk lands here.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
They have to get ready for when Jason Peters isn’t around. Williams would bring great value here.
CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Crosby is a compact, mobile offensive tackle who’ll thrive in Philadelphia’s zone running scheme. He’s a solid choice to be Jason Peters’ heir apparent.
CBS Sports (R.J. White) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Eagles take a chance on the inconsistent Williams to potentially be their long-term answer at left tackle. The former Texas tackle was outstanding in 2016 but his play fell off last year. However, he put up great athletic testing numbers at the combine, and it would be surprising if he doesn’t hear his name called on Thursday.
CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
With LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles headed for free agency, Guice, who has drawn comparisons to Marshawn Lynch, would seem like a natural fit. Yes, Jay Ajayi and Super Bowl hero Corey Clement return (along with Wendell Smallwood) but as Blount proved in 2017, you can never have too many talented backs in a game where injuries can derail a season.
NFL Draft Scout (Rob Rang) - Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Super Bowl champs boast one of the more complete rosters in the NFL but could use an intimidator in the back end. Harrison remains better against the run than the pass at this point, but he could be afforded a “redshirt” year with veterans Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod already in place in Philadelphia.
DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
The biggest need for the Super Bowl champs is a potential replacement for veteran left tackle Jason Peters, but the value just isn’t there in this scenario. Instead, they opt for a luxury pick with Michel, giving Carson Wentz yet another explosive weapon with which to attack opposing defenses.
DraftTek (Broz) - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
USA Today (Nate Davis) - Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
Jason Peters is 36 and only lasted seven games last season. Philadelphia would be wise to begin eyeing a next-gen blind side bodyguard for Carson Wentz.
L.A. Times (Sam Farmer) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Eagles are looking at linebackers. They need to re-sign Nigel Bradham, and Jordan Hicks has had two serious injuries.
Newsday (Nick Klopsis) - Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Jason Peters tore his ACL and MCL in late October, and even though the Eagles signed him to a three-year extension in June, he’ll be 36 to start the season. Orlando Brown is the son of Orlando “Zeus” Brown, the late former Browns and Ravens offensive lineman. Just like his dad, Brown is a mammoth 6-7 7/8, 345 pounds. That’s excellent size for the NFL, but he tumbled down draft boards with an rough showing at the Combine (5.85 40, 14 bench press reps, 19 1/2-inch vertical, 6-10 broad jump). His tape tells a different story -- he’s a better run blocker than pass protector, but he could play either tackle spot. The question is, which Brown will teams get?
Sporting News (Eric Galko) - Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
With Jason Peters aging, the Eagles need to plan for the future along their offensive line. Jones has experience on the left side, but he can transition to right tackle if the Eagles want to move Lane Johnson.
OT Connor Williams - 3
OT Jamarco Jones - 2
LB Leighton Vander Esch - 2
RB Derrius Guice - 2
RB Sony Michel - 2
OT Brian O’Neill - 1
OT Orlando Brown - 1
OT Tyrell Crosby - 1
OG Will Hernandez - 1
RB Ronald Jones - 1
WR D.J. Chark - 1
WR Christian Kirk - 1
CB Isaiah Oliver - 1
DT Maurice Hurst - 1
S Ronnie Harrison - 1
OT - 8
RB - 5
LB - 2
WR - 2
DT - 1
OG - 1
CB - 1
S - 1
Offense - 16
Defense - 5
- Offensive tackle and running back are the most popular positions at No. 32.
- Connor Williams makes a lot of sense to me if he falls to the Eagles’ pick. His measurements aren’t awesome but he tested very well at the Combine. Williams could potentially be undervalued due to how injuries impacted his 2017 tape. The Eagles could take Williams and groom him to be a replacement at offensive tackle. If Williams doesn’t work out at tackle or the Eagles just like Halapoulivaati Vaitai better there, they can try moving Williams inside to guard in the future.
- I really couldn’t see the Eagles picking a corner in the first round before the Daryl Worley trade. It has to be even more unlikely now.