We’re about a month away now from the 2017 NFL Draft and this is one I consider to be absolutely critical to the success of the Eagles going forward. We all know by now general manager Howie Roseman made the ballsy move to package a huge trade together last year for quarterback Carson Wentz in the draft. For a team with as many flaws as the Eagles had to finish 7-9, this draft as I believe, will determine just how much they can scout talent as well as putting said talent around Carson Wentz. Here is how I believe the Eagles will go come April.
Round 1: Christian McCaffery- Runningback (Stanford)
Back in September and October, it was evident the Eagles needed to go cornerback in round one without any questions asked. As we sit here today, it has become more and more clearer just how deep the cornerback position, as well as this draft as a whole, is. Lately I’ve been doing my homework on Christian McCaffery and there is not a doubt in my mind that he fits the Eagles offense beautifully. He might not be a power, in between the tackles runner, but he runs with strength, speed, finesse and great vision. What makes him more appealing is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. All offseason has been dedicated to giving Carson Wentz weapons and McCaffery would be the Brian Westbrook that Donovan McNabb had for years to come.
Round 2: Tre’Davious White- Cornerback (LSU)
Last year’s seventh round selection, Jalen Mills, was a former LSU cornerback and safety. Mills slipped because of off the field concerns but really played well in his rookie season. His former LSU teammate, Tre’Davious White, is a polished corner who has tremendous ball skills and excels in man coverage, something Jim Schwartz relies on. White could be a first round pick, but with this draft being as deep as it is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slip. If he does, boy is this value for the Eagles because White is a surefire starting corner.
Round 3: Sidney Jones- Cornerback (Washington)
Sidney Jones is arguably the best cornerback in this draft. The unfortunate news is that he suffered a torn Achilles tendon a few weeks ago and will not be ready until training camp which will hurt his draft stock. Jones had his surgery completed by the renowned surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson. Anderson believes Jones, only being 21 years old, will make a full recovery within 4 months which is perfect timing for camp. If Jones is indeed on the board here in the 3rd round, the Eagles will have stolen one of the draft’s best prospects. Pairing a healthy Jones with Tre’Davious White as I had the Eagles pick prior to Jones, would IMMEDIATELY solve the Eagles woes at cornerback for the next decade.
Round 3: Cooper Kupp- Wide Receiver (Eastern Washington)
Right now the Eagles have one 3rd round selection and two 4th round selections. I would not be surprised to see the Eagles take the earlier 3rd round choice and possibly a player (Jordan Matthews, Jason Kelce, Mychal Kendricks etc) to move up for Kupp as I’ve noted here. Kupp worked out with Carson Wentz this offseason on a few occasions and given his size and skillset, he would be a fantastic slot option next to Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. I don’t believe the Eagles are going to commit to Jordan Matthews long-term, so grabbing Kupp who would fit in this offense nicely would pay huge dividends for Wentz and the offense.
Round 4: Montravius Adams- Defensive Tackle (Auburn)
The Eagles lost Bennie Logan in free agency and I’d have to believe that even if they’re comfortable with Beau Allen being the starter next to Fletcher Cox, they’d want to address the position in the draft. Adams has great size and run stuffing ability and would be a nice addition to the defensive line, something the Eagles need to add more and more depth to. Adams could push Beau Allen and vice versa in camp for the starting spot.
Round 5: Elijah Lee- Outside Linebacker (Kansas State)
The Eagles saw little to no production from Mychal Kendricks a year ago and Kendricks eventually fell out of favor with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. I believe the Eagles should and will address the linebacker position and Lee is a good candidate in the 5th round. While Lee has all the physical tools, he will need some grooming and playing on a defense with both Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham who had superb seasons a year ago, Lee might be able to catch on to their style and form a solid trio of linebackers.
Round 6: Garrett Sickles- Defensive End (Penn State)
The Eagles defensive line needs more depth and Sickles is the perfect pick to add depth. While he has great awareness and rush skills, Sickles needs improvement on breaking through the line on bigger offensive lineman more consistently. He would be a formidable rotational player that has Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith and Steven Means. It’s not earth shattering but getting Sickles who could push and compete would really help the Eagles pass rush overall.
Round 7: Blake Jarwin- Tight End (Oklahoma State)
Brent Celek is getting up there in age, there is just no denying it and if you look at the Eagles over the years, they’ve always had great depth at the tight end position. Jarwin could slide in as a fourth tight end who could learn from Celek, Zach Ertz and Trey Burton. Jarwin has great size and hands as a tight end but just needs polishing on his blocking and route running; something the Eagles tight ends have a lot of experience in. Using this last pick to get Wentz another big bodied weapon is a smart move in my opinion.
Overall I think the Eagles will grab an offensive player or two and really try to focus on the defense as I’ve laid out here. If by some miracle some of these picks came to fruition (especially the Sidney Jones pick) you’re looking at a team with some nice, young stud talent that could really come together in a quick amount of time.
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