The Eagles have eight picks in the 2017 draft, with a second selection in the fourth round coming courtesy of the Browns as part of the Carson Wentz deal. Will they keep them all? Will they move up? Down? Will they finally part ways with players long-rumored to be on the trade block in search of more picks? We don’t know yet. But we are so, so close to finding out. Happy 2017 NFL draft eve, everyone. Here’s seven rounds of hypothesized Eagles draft picks.
Round One, Pick 14: John Ross, WR, Washington
Cornerback is the Eagles’ greatest need and least addressed issue of the offseason. But it just doesn’t work out here. Marshon Lattimore will be gone. Sidney Jones tore his Achilles. Gareon Conley is unlikely to be drafted two days removed from a rape accusation. The Eagles could aim for Marlon Humphrey from Alabama, but the value at corner comes later.
They could take the best pass-rusher on their board, be it Derek Barnett, Takkarist McKinley or Charles Harris. That would help replace Connor Barwin and push Vinny Curry, and generally shore up the pass-rush for years to come. We have them taking Barnett in our full NFL first round mock. Saying the same thing again would just be lazy.
If they’re to look for an offensive weapon, Dalvin Cook is making a bit of a comeback to Eagles draft rumors, with his grandmother stating Duce Staley wants to draft him. But receiver is the more likely selection here, and if one of Corey Davis, Mike Williams and Ross is available, the Birds may be unable to resist. Getting Ross’ 4.22 speed to stretch defenses in the way Desean Jackson used to sounds pretty good. And it’s just fitting if the Eagles use the pick they got for Sam Bradford to give Wentz a weapon Bradford never had.
Round Two, Pick 43: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
The last time the Eagles took a receiver in round one and a running back in round two (see: Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy) it worked out pretty well. The main critique of Kamara is a lack of use in college, but that can be a positive too: less tread on the tires. Kamara combines speed and power in his runs and was used heavily (40 receptions in 2016) in the receiving game by Tennessee. If the Eagles want to tangle with Joe Mixon, he could be another consideration here, and even Cook may fall this far.
If the Eagles don’t take a receiver in round one, Penn State’s Chris Godwin should be going off the board somewhere around here, and made a living taking apart several of the top defensive backs in this draft. This is also an important time to start looking at cornerback, as a severe run should be taking place at the end of the first round. Fabian Moreau and Adoree’ Jackson are a pair of southern California ones who have been connected to the Birds and may come off the board here.
Round Three, Pick 99: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
The Eagles acquired this pick from the Ravens, dropping back from 74th in the third round to 99th in exchange for Timmy Jernigan. If Tabor is around here he could be an absolute steal for the Eagles. He was a first round prospect with top five cornerback game tape who has seen his stock tumble after a pair of slow forty times at the combine and his pro day. The new Eagles regime seems to prefer aggressiveness and technique over reliance on physical traits like size and speed, and Tabor would fit what Jim Schwartz is trying to do on defense to a tee.
Colorado’s Ahkello Witherspoon is another corner who could still be available here. If the Eagles are looking for a running back, perhaps Texas’ D’Onta Foreman is the name you hear called. Alabama’s Ryan Anderson is an edge rusher the Eagles have paid attention to and should go on day two as well.
Round Four, Pick 119: Corn Elder, CB, Miami
It might be getting greedy to want Elder still around here, but in a cornerback class this deep it is possible. It would certainly be no surprise to see this be the point the Eagles double dip at the position. Elder’s a hard hitting corner that could step right into the nickel role for the Eagles and keep Malcolm Jenkins in the defensive backfield doing what he does best.
Baylor’s speedy K.D. Cannon is an option at receiver if the Eagles are still looking to stretch the field and don’t have someone like Ross or Godwin in the fold already.
If Elder is gone, San Diego State’s Damontae Kazee is a possibility at corner.
Round Four, Pick 139: Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA
Vanderdoes could play inside or outside on the line for the Eagles, but in a 4-3 probably finds a better home at tackle. To that end, he’d help replace the departed Bennie Logan, fighting Jernigan and Beau Allen for playing time.
He showed great potential early in his career at UCLA, but injury struck and he is still returning to full strength. His pro day improved on his combine numbers, and he’s a potential big-boom reward for the team that drafts him.
Round Five, Pick 155: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
Conner would supplement Kamara and the backs already on the Eagles roster nicely. A great story who beat Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he would be the big back that might let the Eagles occasionally run the ball on third and fourth and short.
Round Six, Pick 194: Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Boulware plays above his size and faster than his speed. He turned up around the ball plenty as the leader of Clemson’s defense and the Eagles are in desperate need of depth at linebacker.
Round Seven, Pick 230: Jojo Mathis, DE, Washington
Mathis had to have foot surgery during the 2016 season, but before that he was off to a hot start. The Eagles could find less potential in the seventh round, and he’d address that “future-of-the-pass-rush” need we talked about all the way back in round one.
So there we have it, seven rounds, and it’s down to you whether the most traumatic result is ending up with no offensive linemen or waiting until the end of the third round to get the ball rolling on cornerbacks. Vague defenses of these hypothetical oversights: the Eagles have done a great job getting younger on the offensive line the past two off-seasons, and it’s not the priority it once was, though we’ve obviously seen why it should never be ignored. And we’ll be very surprised if the draft finishes with the Eagles holding these (and only these) exact selections. Howie Roseman likes his trades, and the Eagles may bounce all over the middle rounds to find the corners they want. We hope so.