With the NFL Draft just one week away the Eagles are piecing together their final draft big board. The Eagles have only six picks in this years boasted heavily talented deep draft class. Since the Eagles pick at 22 in the first round they most likely cannot get their hands on the few premier players at the top. However like I said this draft is considered “the deepest in years” by many NFL scouts and draft experts.
In my two previous mock drafts I have the Eagles drafting defense with five of their, at that time, seven picks. In the first mock, which I did as the season began, I had selected Loucheiz Purifoy with their first pick and then Dion Bailey, Cyril Richardson, Vic Beasley, Terrence Brooks, James Franklin, and Ishaq Williams respectively. In the second mock, Dee Ford was their first pick and at that time his stock had taken off like a rocket. Then they picked Xavier Su’a-Filo, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Terrence Brooks, Logan Thomas, Prince Shembo, and Mister Cobble.That second mock was before free agency and before they released DeSean Jackson. Things have changed a little since then.
The Eagles come into this draft with needs and I’ll identify them. Their top priority would be a pass rusher. Jadeveon Clowney will be gone in the first two picks, Khalil Mack will be off the board in the first 10 picks and Anthony Barr has a chance to drop to the Eagles at 22 but it’s unlikely he makes it past the top 15. If Barr were to drop to the Eagles at 22 then I believe they will select him. We’ve heard of the rumor of the Eagles making a trade with the Miami Dolphins for last years third overall pick Dion Jordan. A report came out that said the Eagles offered a second round pick and Brandon Graham for Jordan but the Dolphins declined. The Dolphins may change their mind as the draft rapidly approaches. Other needs are a safety, wide receiver, offensive line, and defensive line. The Eagles have stressed that they will be taking the best player available at each pick.
A couple of players could very well be traded and used to acquire picks. Matt Barkley, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Bryce Brown, and even James Casey. All of these player are expendable at this point for either because we have too much depth at that position or they don’t “fit” the scheme.
Since the Eagles only have six picks, trading down is a strong possibility. Some possible suitors would be the 49er’s, Browns, and Broncos. The best case scenario would be to trade with the 49er’s for their first, a second, and either their third or fourth depending on which second round pick they get. This would give the Eagles eight picks total and a trade for Dion Jordan even more possible if they really want him.
Assuming non of these events occurs and the Eagles have their original six picks then this is how I see them drafting.
Darqueze Dennard – CB, Michigan State-
I consider Dennard the best corner in this draft and think he will turn out the best pro career. Dennard is what the Eagles are looking for in terms of his style of play. I know they just signed Carroll and already have Fletcher, Williams, and Boykin but Williams cap hit next year will be big and the Eagles may seriously consider cutting the veteran after next season. He is a feisty corner who fights with the receiver at the line of scrimmage, has a knack for making plays, and he isn’t afraid to come up and make tackles on backs. Darqueze won the Jim Thorpe award recognizing him as the best defensive back in the NCAA. Here are his highlights and if you don’t fall in love right away I’ll be shocked.
OTHER PICKS- Jordan Mathews, WR, Kyle Fuller, CB, Anthony Barr, OLB.
Kyle Van Noy – OLB, BYU-
Van Noy has the athleticism to be a great pass rusher for the Eagles. Out of all the outside linebackers I’ve seen in this draft Van Noy has the best awareness and coverage skills among 3-4 outside linebackers. The Eagles currently have Trent Cole and Connor Barwin at OLB and adding Van Noy would allow for Cole to play more against the run and have Van Noy come in on passing downs. Since Van Noy excels in pass coverage that would give Barwin more chances to rush the passer and for the Eagles to mix up blitz from either side of the line. This would also give Van Noy a year to build up his strength to play against the run with Cole here for at least another year.
OTHER PICKS- Allen Robinson, WR, Keith McGill, CB
Round 2: TRADE
Kelvin Benjamin – WR, Florida State-
Hold on before you automatically write this mock off listen. I’m predicting the Eagles to trade up here to select Benjamin and you may say that he won’t fall out of the second round. Well, I think he will and here is why. Benjamin is rank the 11th best WR prospect according to CBS and in Mike Mayocks opinion he is the 5th best WR prospect. This tells me two things. One, no one ever really knows and two, there is uncertainty with where Benjamin gets drafted. Due to the strength at the WR position this year, Benjamin’s performance at the combine, reportedly blowing off a team visit, and weight which may lead him to converting to a tight end, I believe he will fall to the late second, early third round. If Benjamin wasn’t filled with so much potential and hype from the success the Florida State Seminoles had this past year then he would probably drop even further down teams boards. And then you may ask why would the Eagles then take a risk on this player? Well because they can. They have Cooper and Maclin although Maclin is coming off an ACL tear those injuries aren’t what they used to be and players are recovering from them better than ever. They also have Arrelious Benn who they have yet to see play but hes a solid WR if he can stay healthy and learn the playbook. There is no reason to suggest he can’t. Plus The Eagles will draft another WR later in the draft as well as sign undrafted players. Nonetheless this is a bold prediction that would require their 3rd, a pick next year, and possibly Brandon Graham.
OTHER PICKS- Dion Bailey, S, Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Brandon Coleman, WR
Craig Loston – S, LSU-
Loston is a big physical player who would compliment Malcolm Jenkins, Earl Wolff, and Nate Allen in the back. He’d also be an addition to the special teams unit. He’s solid in coverage but still needs work and needs to wrap up more often when making his tackles. He flies around the field delivering big blows whenever he has a chance to punish the opponent.
Ryan Groy – OG, Wisconsin-
Groy ranks amongst the top in arm length and in the three cone drill in his position. These are key for coach Kelly’s high paced offense. He also has one of the better forty times. He’s got the physical tools the Eagles are looking for and without a sixth round pick this would be a good pick up here. Also with the play and aging of Herremans they will need to find a replacement sooner rather than later.
Jeff Janis – WR, Saginaw Valley-
Janis would be a bit of a project but could develop into a faster Eric Decker type of player in terms of frame and ability. He has tremendous work ethic and should, will, buy into Chips system.