The Eagles have to spend pick 14 on a CB, right? That is a critical position and the Eagles don’t have much there. Or maybe the team will add an impact runner or receiver, someone to play with Carson Wentz for the next 5 to 10 years. That would certainly make a lot of sense.
Don’t forget that football games are usually won in the trenches. My PE.com column this week is about how the Eagles have addressed the OL to make that a strength and now need to do the same for the defensive line.
There is talent needed at both DE and DT.
The DE class is loaded, the DT class isn’t. There are only a couple of possibilities for DT at 14. The first would involve Alabama star Jonathan Allen falling. That may seem unlikely due to his reputation, but there are some concerns about his shoulders. If Allen were to slide, the Eagles would have a chance to take a terrific, but flawed prospect. The only reason he would slide is if teams were genuinely worried about how arthritic his shoulders truly are.
I don’t anticipate Allen sliding, but it is possible. Allen is a gifted DL and would be interesting to pair with Fletcher Cox. Even though I don’t think it will happen, I’m sure the Eagles will discuss what they would do if Allen did tumble down in the draft.
Malik McDowell is a more realistic possibility. The 6-6, 295 Junior from Michigan State would be a really interesting addition to the Eagles.
#PositivePlays Prospect of the Day: Malik McDowell v. Wisconsin
Has lateral run stuffing game. Lived in backfield. Beat Ramczyk twice. pic.twitter.com/wAd6ksxqed
— Edgar Salmingo, Jr. (@PanthersAnalyst) February 28, 2017
Malik McDowell would definitely be a nice fit up front for us too pic.twitter.com/P9iFGTWH5N
— Nathan Butler Jr. (@ATLSportsNate) February 19, 2017
The question with McDowell is value. He won’t be a 1st round pick to everyone. Others will see him as a Top 20 guy. I think he would interest the Eagles. I don’t know for a fact they like him, but he makes sense. Jim Schwartz loves long, tall DL. McDowell is 6-6 and has arms that are almost 35 inches long. He is versatile. McDowell can play nose tackle, under tackle and end.
McDowell didn’t have a great 2016 season. The whole Michigan State team was down. Ideally, you would like a talented veteran like McDowell to play well and make the guys around him better. Instead, he didn’t play consistently well and also missed 3 games due to an ankle injury. McDowell is a Top 15 talent, but he didn’t play anywhere close to that level last year.
The Eagles talk about wanting hard-working, tough guys that are highly competitive. McDowell’s 2016 season did not show him to be that guy. There would be risk in taking a player like him. At the same time, if things click, he could be an inside force to pair with Cox for the next 5 years.
My point here isn’t to say the Eagles should draft McDowell, but I think we can get trapped in a cycle of talking about the same prospects over and over. The Eagles might have some player in their sights that we’re overlooking.
While this isn’t a great DT class, the Eagles will have targets in other rounds. Nazair Jones has a very similar build to McDowell and is a talented DT. He is more of a mid-round target.
Nazair Jones fantastic job using his hands to keep cut block off of him, then closes to collect TFL of RBhttps://t.co/isO4U6i1Kt
— Ryan Booher (@bootang25) September 13, 2016
— Lee Pace (@LeePaceTweet) September 25, 2016
Jones isn’t much of a pass rusher. He is more of a run-stuffer, but that might work well with Cox. We don’t really know what the Eagles are looking for. Jim Schwartz loves pass rushers, but with Graham, Curry, Cox and whoever the team adds at DE, he might like a run defender to add to the mix.
We’ve got a lot to learn with Joe Douglas being new to the draft this year and Schwartz also having some say about who he wants.