As a Philadelphia native, I was thrilled to learn the 2017 NFL draft would be held in Philadelphia for the first time in over 80 years. Finally, we get the chance to boo the Giants picks. I love the idea of the NFL draft moving from city to city each year giving fans all over a chance to see it in their home town, hopefully they give every city a chance before going back to NY.
The draft is one of my favorite offseason events. I just love watching it play out and usually I have a pretty good idea how teams will pick. However, this year in particular has had some bizarre circumstances leading up to the draft making it even more unpredictable then we are typically used to. I am not even going to attempt to predict how the draft will unfold, instead I will just address the likely scenarios I see playing out for my Philadelphia Eagles.
Here is a breakdown of each player along with a percentage estimate of how I see the likelihood of the player being selected by the Eagles at 14 on Thursday night.
1) Derrek Barnett (20%) – While I personally prefer the Eagles pass on Barnett, the Eagles are no stranger to picking edge rushers in the first round. Barnett is a safe pick and would be the typical Howie Roseman choice. As an Eagles fan this concerns me as we have seen some of Howie’s bust in previous years (Marcus Smith). That being said, Jim Schwartz’s defense is predicated around the pass rush and Barnett would be a welcomed addition.
2) Charles Harris (15%) – The Eagles sure like drafting defensive lineman in the first round and should Barnett go before 14, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Eagles reached a bit for Harris. Ideally, the Eagles should target Harris if they traded back, however Howie is no stranger to reaching a bit for edge rushers. While many people think the Eagles will go CB to fill their biggest need, one way to help the secondary is to upgrade the defensive line and I see this as the most likely scenario.
3) Marlon Humphrey (13%) – There is no question that cornerback is the Eagles biggest need, however with the injury to Sidney Jones and the rape allegations facing Gareon Conley the Eagles are running out of options at 14. Should the Eagles decide to go CB at 14 I believe the Alabama cornerback will be the Eagles pick. Humprey has the speed, size, and toughness that the Eagles would want, however he lacks the ball skills and might be a reach at 14. My personal preference is that the Eagles pick the best talent on the board rather than reach for need at 14.
4) Mike Williams (12%) – Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and Jordan Mathews are all basically on one year deals, so drafting a WR that could grow with Carson Wentz over the next ten years would not be a bad decision. Williams fits the prototype at WR and he has shown the ability to produce against top talent. The question is will Williams be on the board at 14?
5) Corey Davis (10%) – The only reason I believe Davis will be on the board at 14 is because of his injury and his inability to compete at the combine. Davis has the size, speed, and the personality that I believe would fit right in at Philadelphia. While Davis is not as much as a safe pick as Mike Williams, I believe he has a higher ceiling.
6) Christian McCaffrey (10%) – McCaffrey is by far the highest riser in this year’s draft due to his versatility. While McCaffrey does fit the Sproles type of mold that Eagles love, the chance of him being there at 14 seems unlikely.
7) Dalvin Cook (5%) – While there has been a bunch of Buzz in the Eagle’s building that they could take Cook despite questions about his character, I find it unlikely that the Eagles would invest a 1st round pick in a running back with these concerns.
8) John Ross (5%) – Ross has the fastest 40-yard dash ever recorded at the combine, and speed has been missing since the departure of Desean Jackson making Ross a player the Eagles will have to consider at 14. That being said, I find it unlikely the Eagles will draft Ross due to his extensive injury history.
9) Rueben Foster (5%) – The Eagles haven’t drafted a true linebacker in the first round since 1979 (Jerry Robinson), but should Foster fall they will seriously have to consider him. The recent news of his diluted urine test sample and his repaired shoulder makes him an unlikely pick for the Eagles at 14 despite his impressive tape.
10) Trade Back into 20s (5%) – Howie Roseman loves to make trades and it is quite possible the Eagles will look to trade back on Thursday night to avoid reaching for a CB or edge rusher at 14.
After months of waiting and speculating, the NFL draft is finally upon us. While these are the likely scenarios I see playing out, the below is the players I prefer to see Eagles take.
1) Corey Davis – Corey Davis reminds me of T.O. and he has great character and I believe he would also be a perfect fit with Carson Wentz. Recently Davis expressed his desire to play for the Eagles, “If I get drafted by [the Eagles], I’ll be really happy. Carson’s a great quarterback, a great leader, and he’s taking the team in the right direction”.
2) Dalvin Cook – It is my opinion that Cook is the best RB in this year’s draft and would be a perfect fit for Eagles offense. Just watch his tape! Despite his character concerns, I would roll the dice.
3) Mike Williams – You know what you are getting with Williams and I would love to acquire a WR that can be here long term with Wentz.
4) O.J. Howard – I think it would be hard to pass him up if he fell to 14. Elite TE and the Patriots have shown that 2 TE can definitely work.
5) Trade back – I would prefer the Eagles trade back for any other player. I think that it is a mistake to reach for talent and over the years we have seen the Eagles blow first round picks for just this reason. If they are going to draft an edge rusher or a CB then trade back to the 20s where you can get these guys and also pick up an additional pick.
Finally, I will end with my prediction. Unfortunately I know how Howie tends to run the draft and for that reason I think that Eagles will end up drafting Barnett. I believe this will be a big mistake.