The 2018 NFL Draft is merely days away and mock draft season is driving us to insanity by this point. There’s no shortage of opinion about who the Philadelphia Eagles could select with the No. 32 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking this week.
Bleeding Green Nation (Brandon Lee Gowton) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Eagles don’t have a lot of immediate needs, but they do have some long-term areas they could afford to shore up. Offensive tackle is arguably at the top of the list. Starting left tackle Jason Peters turned 36 in January and he’s coming off an ACL injury. Lane Johnson is arguably the best right tackle in the league but he’s also one PED suspension from being out for two seasons. It’s true that swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai showed some positive signs while filling in for Peters last year. He also struggled at times. Big V finished the 2017 season with one of the worst pressure rates allowed in the league, per Pro Football Focus. Drafting Williams allows the Eagles to hedge their bet on Vaitai. Plus it really wouldn’t hurt for them to be four-deep at this position when you consider Philadelphia was one snap away from either Taylor Hart (a converted defensive tackle) or Will Beatty starting at offensive tackle once Peters went down. Williams can potentially take over as a starter in 2019 if/when Peters retires. If it turns out he can’t be a full-time player at tackle in the NFL, the Eagles can kick him inside to guard. The downside of this pick is it doesn’t offer the Eagles immediate impact. That’s OK, though. Investing in the trenches had a huge part in Philadelphia winning their first Vince Lombardi Trophy. And with NFL teams struggling to find quality offensive linemen these days, the Eagles can take Williams here and worry about finding a slot corner or wide receiver depth elsewhere. It wouldn’t have been as easy finding a quality tackle later on in this year’s draft.
Bleeding Green Nation (Benjamin Solak) - Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Despite having Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod both on the roster, the potential for a safety at 32 is very real for Philadelphia. Reid is the hot name from the building, and he’ll be the featured scouting report below—but don’t ignore Jessie Bates III (Wake Forest) or Ronnie Harrison (Alabama) as two other options at 32.
Bleeding Green Nation (Michael Kist) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Five prospects that the Eagles brought in for official visits come off the board in this area (Daniels, Vander Esch, Hughes, Evans, Alexander), narrowing the Super Bowl Champions’ options at 32. If the Jacksonville Jaguars decided against replacing the departure of nickel Aaron Colvin this early and instead went with a quarterback or a speedy wide receiver like LSU’s DJ Chark, Alexander would be hard to pass up for the Eagles. One player that fell out of the first round in this exercise is Texas’ offensive tackle Connor Williams. Depending on how the Eagles feel about his ability to stick on the outside while providing depth at the guard spot while he sits behind Peters would largely affect this selection. Not knowing how they view Williams, I decided instead to go with the bell-cow running back from LSU that the Eagles have shown massive interest in by selecting Derrius Guice.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Philadelphia lost Patrick Robinson in free agency, and could add a player similar to him in Alexander. Although he missed some time last season due to injury, Alexander has first-round talent. He’s good at making a play on the ball, and shows good body control to go up and make a play.
ESPN Insider (Todd McShay) - Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
The Super Bowl champs can afford to go best player available here. I’ll figure out how to divvy up carries later.
NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah) - Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
The Eagles have the luxury of taking the best available player at this spot. Michel would be a dynamic playmaker in this offensive system.
NFL.com (Chad Reuter) - Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
The release of Daryl Worley leaves a corner position open, and Hughes fits the slot role quite nicely.
DraftAnalyst (Tony Pauline) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Eagles like Guice and are spending a lot of time with the ball carrier.
CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Crosby is a powerful, compact tackle who can eventually replace Jason Peters.
CBS Sports (R.J. White) - Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
I wouldn’t be shocked if the Eagles trade down from No. 32 (maybe with Buffalo?), but after the team quickly moved on from Daryl Worley and his off-field issues, cornerback could be a great position to target with the talent expected to be available in the late-first, early-second range. Oliver gives the team long-term insurance in case Ronald Darby isn’t re-signed, and he has the upside to be one of the league’s top corners.
CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
With LeGarrette Blount now in Detroit, 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.
CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
They don’t need a running back, but Guice could give them another body to throw out there. Having tons of talent at the position helped in a massive way down the stretch last year.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
He is a fast corner who could help alleviate the loss of slot player Patrick Robinson in free agency. The Eagles brought him in for a visit.
The Ringer (Danny Kelly) - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
At 36 years old, Jason Peters won’t keep playing forever, and he may never be the player he was after he returns from a torn ACL and MCL. The defending champs could use some depth at tackle, and Miller is an athletic developmental prospect who could be Peters’s long-term replacement.
NFL Draft Scout (Dane Brugler) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
That noise you hear? That’s a collective groan from the rest of the NFC East who don’t want to see a physical, violent ball-carrier like Guice added to the division.
NFL Draft Scouting (Rob Rang) - Jaire Alexander, RB, Louisville
With a stacked roster, the Super Bowl champions are in the enviable position of being able to take the best player available or trade out. With Patrick Robinson moving on (and more potential than production among the other corners on Philadelphia’s current roster), GM Howie Roseman could fall for Alexander’s fit as a potential immediate help at nickel.
DraftTek (Broz) - Justin Reid, S, Stanford
With only a week left before the 2018 NFL Draft, it’s almost time to stop obsessing on mock drafts, trade rumors and player evaluations, and move on to more important things in our lives (like the 2019 Draft, for instance). The Eagles are picking at spot #32, so unless you’re an Eagles’ employee or an expert draft analyst worthy of full-time NFL Network employment, there’s really no point in speculating on the Eagles’ plan. So here’s what I think they’ll do: they will try like crazy to trade back for two Friday night picks. However, I predict that Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph will be (foolishly) selected in the 20’s by QB-desperate teams, and once this happens it will lessen the value of the 32nd pick. I think the Eagles will have to stay at #32, or take an uninspiring trade-back offer for an extra RD4 pick (which I just don’t think they’d do). There’s a lot of talk about Derrius Guice, Dallas Goedert, or even Courtland Sutton here. I don’t buy it; I think the Eagles stick with a premium position and chose the best player remaining from the DB, OT, or D-Line group. The OT group is weak, so I doubt that’s an option. This week the pick is Justin Reid, a safety in whom the Eagles have shown interest. Before you say “but Safety isn’t a premium position”, it should be noted that Reid is an extremely versatile defensive back (something the Eagles highly covet). In fact, over 65% of Reid’s defensive snaps were as an outside CB, slot corner, or ‘coverage linebacker”. Like Malcolm Jenkins, Reid fits the interchangeable-safety mold the Eagles require. It is his ability to cover WRs man-to-man that will vault him into the same discussion as more traditional outside CBs that may be on their board. Reid’s 2017 production was outstanding: 99 total tackles, 5 INTs, and 6 pass break ups. With Malcolm Jenkins getting grayer every time I see him, and knowing that Rodney McLeod will almost certainly be released after 2018, adding a young gun to the safety group makes sense here.
The Athletic (Bo Wulf) - D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
With no second- or third-round picks in their arsenal and several players still on the board who fit their M.O., the Eagles would love to trade down and pick up some Day 2 ammo. Barring that, Derrius Guice, Justin Reid, James Daniels and Donte Jackson all fit needs and have reportedly taken part in pre-draft visits to Philadelphia. But Moore is arguably the best receiver prospect in the draft, blending productivity and impressive measurables. He gives the Eagles (who won the Super Bowl) a longtime partner in crime for Carson Wentz.
EaglesWire (Ed Kracz) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
When in doubt, go with what the organization’s philosophy is, which is to build from the inside out on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The Eagles could go pass rusher here, especially with Brandon Graham in the final year of his contract and having turned 30. If so, maybe the fit is Boston College’s Harold Landry to team opposite Derek Barnett. Williams has short arms, but he might be too hard to pass up here. If Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey or UCLA’s Kolton Miller is on the board, it will be one of them, but they won’t last this long. Williams may not, either, though he didn’t play as well last season as he did in 2016, so maybe he slides. It’s time to start addressing a line that has 36-year-old Jason Peters as one of the bookends. Williams’ future may be on the inside, however — perhaps as a replacement for 30-yard-old Jason Kelce at some point.
EaglesWire (Turron Davenport) - Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Eagles use their first-round pick on Harrison, a player that will immediately assume the No. 3 safety role. Harrison is an experienced player, having carved out a role in Alabama’s defense since his freshman season. The junior safety will be asked to eventually step in for Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins much like he was asked to step in for Landon Collins (Giants) and Eddie Jackson (Bears) in college.
Sporting News (Eric Galko) - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
The Eagles could look at running back Derrius Guice with this pick if he’s still available, but adding a top swing tackle would be a great luxury pick and a long-term move they’ll be happy they made once Jason Peters retires.
DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Ronald Jones, RB, USC
Easterling has the Eagles trading down from No. 32. They make a deal with the Buccaneers to get pick No. 38 here.
RB Derrius Guice - 5
RB Sony Michel - 2
OT Connor Williams - 2
S Justin Reid - 2
CB Jaire Alexander - 2
RB Ronald Jones - 1
OT Tyrell Crosby - 1
OT Kolton Miller - 1
CB Mike Hughes - 1
CB Donte Jackson - 1
CB Isaiah Oliver - 1
S Ronnie Harrison - 1
WR D.J. Moore - 1
RB - 8
CB - 5
OT - 4
S - 3
WR - 1
Offense - 13
Defense - 8
- There are 13 different players mocked to the Eagles this week.
- Sony Michel is generating some late buzz as a potential Eagles pick. It’s interesting to see that former Eagles/Ravens scout Daniel Jeremiah has him going to Philly. Also interesting to see that the great Ray Didinger, who had the Eagles taking Derek Barnett at No. 14 last year, has Philly taking Michel as well.
- Mike Mayock, another Philly guy, recently moved Michel up to his No. 2 overall running back in this year’s class, only behind Saquon Barkley. Mayock’s rankings aren’t just about what he thinks as much as what he hears, so keep that in mind. Here’s what Mayock had to say about Michel: “I think Sony Michel is a first round talent. I think there’s some concerns out there about his knee and whether or not that would push him in the second round. But I compare him a little bit to Alvin Kamara. I don’t think he catches the ball as well but a similar run game.”
- I feel like Michel would be a trade down option for the Eagles, but maybe they love him enough at No. 32?
- Guice is the most popular pick for the Eagles. Mayock recently moved him down to RB3 with Michel moving up. Hmm.
- I think the Eagles would be pretty cool with a number of these options at No. 32. (I know I am.) With that in mind, I continue to think a trade down is likely.