2018 Eagles Draft Preview

Posted: April 26th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on 2018 Eagles Draft Preview

OVERVIEW

The Eagles are Super Bowl champs. They have a talented roster that is fairly set. They don’t have a full set of picks. This is an unusual set of circumstances, to say the least. The Eagles do have some needs, but the overall theme for the draft should be adding young talent. This isn’t a great draft class, but it is deep at some positions and the Eagles can bolster their depth in multiple areas.

The picks:

1 – 32
4 -130
4 – 132
5 – 169
6 – 206
7 – 250

The needs:

Slot
TE
RB
S
LB

The Eagles need some youth at other positions, but those are more about the future than the present.

With Patrick Robinson gone in free agency, the team could use someone to come in and challenge for the slot spot right away. This could be pick 32 or a mid-rounder. The Eagles might play Jalen Mills or Sidney Jones inside, but would love a rookie to come in and make a strong push for that job.

LeGarrette Blount also left. The Eagles would like someone to add to the RB mix. I think there is also a concern about the future. The team may not want to pay Jay Ajayi big money down the line so having a rookie to develop at that spot would make sense.

The Eagles need depth at S. Corey Graham might retire. Chris Maragos is coming off an injury and is better on STs than defense. Unless the team secretly loves Tre Sullivan, they really do need some depth at this spot.

LB could be set if everyone is healthy, but it feels like the Eagles still would like to add another body to the mix.

There is always a need for young talent on the lines.     

WR and DE could be positions of need in 2019 so there is something to be said for drafting those spots now to give the players a year to learn before having to play extensive snaps.

DEPTH CHART (key players)

WR  Alshon Jeffery … Mack Hollins
WR  Mike Wallace … Shelton Gibson
WR  Nelson Agholor …
QB  Carson Wentz … Nick Foles … Nate Sudfeld
RB  Jay Ajayi ………… Corey Clement … Wendell Smallwood
TE  Zach Ertz …….…. Richard Rodgers … Billy Brown
LT  Jason Peters …….… Halapoulivaati Vaitai
LG  Stefen Wisniewski … Isaac Seumalo
OC  Jason Kelce
RG  Brandon Brooks … Chance Warmack
RT  Lane Johnson

DE  Brandon Graham …. Chris Long … Steven Means
DT  Fletcher Cox ……….. Destiny Vaeao
DT  Tim Jernigan ………. Haloti Ngata ….. Elijah Qualls
DE  Derek Barnett ………… Michael Bennett
WB  Mychal Kendricks … Corey Nelson … Nate Gerry
MB  Jordan Hicks ……….. Paul Worrilow
SB  Nigel Bradham ……… Kamu Grugier-Hill
SS  Malcolm Jenkins …… Chris Maragos
FS  Rodney McLeod ….. Tre Sullivan
CB  Ronald Darby  ……. Rasul Douglas
CB  Sidney Jones  ………….. D.J. Killings
NB  Jalen Mills

P Cameron Johnston
K Jake Elliott
LS Rick Lovato

*****

VISITS / WORKOUTS INFO

Visits to Philly

RB Derrius Guice – LSU
RB Rashaad Penny – San Diego State
RB Ronald Jones – USC
WR Daurice Fountain – Northern Iowa
WR Courtland Sutton – SMU
TE Chris Herndon – Miami
OT Chukwuma Okorafor- Western Michigan
OT Connor Williams – Texas
OT Jamil Demby – Maine
OC James Daniels – Iowa

DE Uchenna Nwosu – USC
DE Kemoko Turay – Rutgers
LB Leighton Vander Esch – BYU
LB Darius Leonard – South Carolina State
LB Jermaine Carter Jr. – Maryland
LB Rashaan Evans – Alabama
S Justin Reid – Stanford
S Ronnie Harrison – Alabama
S Jeremy Reaves – South Alabama
CB Donte Jackson – LSU
CB Mike Hughes – UCF
CB Jaire Alexander – Louisville
CB Isaiah Oliver – Colorado
CB Tremon Smith – Central Arkansas

Pro Days

OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma – OL coach worked him out at Pro Day
OT Chukwuma Okorafor – WMU – Jeff Stoutland worked him out at Pro Day
OT Mike McGlinchey – Notre Dame – Asst OL coach Eugene Chung worked him out at his Pro Day
OT Jamil Demby – Maine – Asst OL coach T.J. Paganetti worked him out at his Pro Day
OT Mattias Rankin – Mississippi State – Jeff Stoutland at his Pro Day
OT Matt Gono – Wesley – scout at his Pro Day…visit in Philly for local pro day
OT Brandon Parker – NC A&T – Private workout
OT Matt Diaz – Wagner – private workout

OG Austin Corbett – Nevada – OL coach at his Pro Day
OG Will Hernandez – UTEP – OL coach worked him out at his Pro Day
OG Quenton Nelson – Notre Dame – Asst OL coach Eugene Chung worked him out at his Pro Day
OG Tony Adams – NC State – Private workout

OC Tanner Stallings – UTEP – OL coach worked him out at his Pro Day

TE Tyler Conklin – Central Michigan – TE coach at his Pro Day
TE Hayden Hurst – South Carolina – TE coach at his Pro Day
TE Durham Smythe – Notre Dame – TE coach Justin Peelle worked him out at his Pro Day
TE David Wells – San Diego State – Eagles will work him out
TE Ben Johnson – Kansas – Eagles showing interest
TE Dallas Goedert – South Dakota State – TE coach Justin Peelle worked him out at his Pro Day

WR J’Mon Moore – Missouri – Says he is “receiving interest from the Eagles”
WR Christian Kirk – Texas A&M – WRs coach Gunter Brewer worked him out at Pro Day
WR Courtland Sutton – SMU – Eagles to meet with him before Pro Day
WR D.J. Moore – Maryland – private workout
WR Anthony Miller – WRs coach at his Pro Day
WR Qadree Henderson – Pitt – Eagles showing interest
WR Korey Robertson – Southern Miss – Eagles showing interest

RB Nyheim Hines – NC State – Duce Staley at his Pro Day
RB Jaylen Samuels – NC State – Duce Staley at his Pro Day
RB Kalen Ballage – Arizona State – Duce Staley at his Pro Day
RB Sony Michel – Georgia – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Nick Chubb – Georgia – Duce Staley w0rked him out at his Pro Day
RB Trent Cannon – Virginia State – scout worked him out at Pro Day
RB Chase Edmonds – Fordham – Eagles showing interest

QB Kyle Lauletta – Richmond – Press Taylor at his Pro Day…also a private workout

RS/WR Braxton Berrios – Miami – Eagles scout worked him out at Pro Day

***

DE Kentavious Street – NC State – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DE Rasheem Green – USC – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at his Pro Day
DE Josh Sweat – Florida State – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at his Pro Day
DE Harold Landry – Boston College – Jim Schwartz was at his Pro Day
DE Joe Ostman – Central Michigan – Showing interest
DE Cavon Walker – Maryland – Met with him at his Pro Day

DT Nathan Shepard – Fort Hays State – DL coach worked him out at Pro Day
DT Tim Settle – Virginia Tech – DL coach worked him out at Pro Day
DT Joshua Frazier – Alabama – met with him
DT B.J. Hill – NC State – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Justin Jones – NC State – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Josh Fatu – USC – DL coach Chris Wilson was at his Pro Day
DT John Atkins – Georgia – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Trenton Thompson – Georgia – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Derrick Nnadi – Florida State – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at his Pro Day
DT Tracy Sprinkle – Ohio State – talked to him at his Pro Day
DT P.J. Hall – Sam Houston State – campus workout
DT McKay Murphy – Weber State – son of Dale Murphy…Eagles met with him at Pro Day
DT Taven Bryan – Florida – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at Pro Day
DT Maurice Hurst – Michigan – asst DL coach Phillip Daniels worked him out at his Pro Day
DT Julian Taylor – Temple – private visit
DT Bilal Nichols – Delaware – private workout

LB Nate Cichy – Wisconsin – LB coach at his Pro Day
LB Jaylyin Minor – Cincinnati – interviewed by multiple Eagles scouts at all star game
LB Uchenna Nwosu – USC – extensive interview at his Pro Day…DL coach was there
LB Nick DeLuca – North Dakota State – Private workout
LB Leighton Vander Esch – Boise State – LBs coach worked him out at his Pro Day

S Jordan Brown – James Madison – Eagles showing interest
S Natrell Jamerson – Wisconsin – Eagles showing interest

CB Chandon Sullivan – Georgia State – coach at his Pro Day
CB Tremon Smith – Central Arkansas – met with him before his Pro Day
CB Trey Johnson – Villanova – met with him at his Pro Day
CB Josh Jackson – Iowa – Eagles showing lots of interest per Tony Pauline
CB Malik Reaves – Villanova – private visit or workout

LOCAL PRO DAY

RB Ray Lawry – Old Dominion
P Ryan Anderson – Rutgers

SMALL SCHOOLS

James Madison – scout at Pro Day
Maine – scout at Pro Day
Missouri Western – scout at Pro Day
Fairmont State – scout at Pro Day

Do visits and workouts matter? Heck yes. The Eagles brought in Derek Barnett last year. They brought in Shelton Gibson as well, so this isn’t all about 1st round picks either. This stuff definitely matters.

One key point…not every visit or workout gets leaked before the draft. Always keep that in mind.

SO WHAT HAPPENS AT PICK 32?

Hopefully the Eagles move back. If they drop back 8 to 10 spots, they can add at least a 4th round pick. I’d love for them to somehow get a 3rd, but that likely would mean moving back 15 to 20 spots. That wouldn’t be ideal in my mind.

If the Eagles stay put, they like to have 5 names they are targeting for their pick. If those 5 are gone, they try to move back. Here is my guess at 5 names for 32.

DB Justin Reid
WR Courtland Sutton
RB Sony Michel
CB Mike Hughes
OG Will Hernandez

You could make a case for OL Connor Williams, WR Christian Kirk, other CBs or RB Derrius Guice. It feels like Guice might slide a bit. I don’t know if that means character concerns or maybe meetings between him and teams didn’t go as well as hoped. A few weeks ago there was a buzz about Guice maybe going Top 20. Now you wonder if he could be on the board at 50.

DT Maurice Hurst and LB Leighton Vander Esch were both thought to be Top 20 kind of talents, but they now might be sliding for medical reasons.

I think the Eagles like Hurst. I think they would love LVE, if he was 100 percent healthy. Spinal issues are no joke when it comes to football. You would have to really trust your medical people to spend an early pick on him. And some team might.

The Eagles were at his Pro Day and then brought LVE to Philly for a visit, very possibly for medical reasons. At the very least, they have given him a lot of thought. I have no idea if he was removed from their draft board, downgraded or still sits in the 1st round.

Let’s go back to the players I did list and talk about them.

DB Justin Reid – 6-1, 204 – Stanford

Reid is the kind of versatile, productive player the Eagles should love. He can line up as a FS and roam the deep middle. He can play in the box like a SS. He can also cover the slot, which he did for much of 2017. I think the Eagles would love him in the slot because of his size, athleticism and man cover skills. If someone else emerges as the nickelback, Reid could slide back to FS, where he could really thrive.

Reid picked off 5 passes in 2017. He has good ball skills and terrific hands. Reid is a gifted athlete who can cover a lot of ground quickly when he does play the deep middle. He sees where the ball is going and then attacks. He’s got 4.4 speed and it shows. While he can be a physical player, Reid isn’t a vicious hitter or great tackler. He tends to run to his targets and not through them. That’s something he needs to work on. As the NFL continues to evolve, I do think Reid is the kind of DB teams will prefer. He can play anywhere and he can cover.

In terms of the slot, I see a player who can press or play off. He is smart and can mirror receivers. Reid is physical, but not as grabby as some college corners. He’ll certainly need to adjust to the rules in the NFL (less contact). Reid has the speed to run with receivers down the field.

The biggest question for me is whether Reid gets to pick 32. I tend to think someone will take him before that.

WR Courtland Sutton – 6-3, 218 – SMU

Imagine Alshon Jeffery was younger and at his athletic peak. That’s Courtland Sutton. The Eagles have shown an affinity for big, talented receivers and Sutton fits that bill. Sutton was highly productive at SMU. In four years, he caught 195 passes, including 31 TDs. He averaged 16 yards per catch, showing his ability as a vertical threat.

Sutton has good hands and can make some spectacular catches. He was really good in the slot, just overwhelming some of the DBs he faced. He doesn’t have elite speed, but running 4.50 at his size is just fine. His game isn’t about running by CBs. Sutton can go up and get the ball even when he is covered. If there is a concern for me, it is the fact that Sutton was covered more tightly by college CBs than I would care for by a guy with his athletic ability.

My biggest keys for WRs are hands and body control. Sutton is strong in both areas. He also plays to his size. Nothing drives me crazier than a big WR who thinks he is a jitterbug type of player. Sutton is big and uses his size to his advantage. He has good RAC skills and isn’t afraid to work the middle of the field.

There is a real argument to taking a WR at 32. The Eagles have shown they can find RBs all over, but WRs generally need to be high picks. And as we saw in 2016, a QB with crappy receivers is going to have his struggles. Wallace and Agholor could be in the final year of their deals so adding a WR to get ready for 2019 would make a lot of sense.

RB Sony Michel – 5-11, 214 – Georgia

Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry in 2017. In the SEC.

That really feels like the only argument you need to make in his favor. But there are plenty of good things to say about Michel. He can block, catch and is a dynamic runner. Michel only ran 4.54 at the Combine, but he plays faster than that speed.

I think the Eagles would love to have a young, stud RB to pair with Carson Wentz. They had serious interest in Dalvin Cook last year, but that didn’t work out. Michel would be a good fit for the Eagles offense. He is a N-S runner who hits the hole hard. He can run E-W on some plays, but he’s not a dancer. The Eagles love to let their big guys pound on defenses and it helps when you have a RB who attacks upfield and doesn’t hesitate.

While Michel is mostly a N-S guy who attacks the hole, he does have good feet and he can make defenders miss. He can avoid tacklers in the backfield or at the second level. He just isn’t going to dance unless he has to. His first instinct is to run hard and try to go by you or through you. It would be a lot of fun to see an explosive runner in this Eagles offense. Michel would make a great offense even better.

There is a report out on Wednesday night that he has a bone-on-bone issue in his leg. If true, that could affect his long term durability. This report is from Mike Lombardi, who I do not fully trust. We’ll see if Michel slides on Thursday/Friday.

CB Mike Hughes – 5-10, 189 – UCF

Terrific college player and NFL prospect, but there are questions. Hughes left UNC after a year due to an incident. Is he a bad guy or was that more of an isolated incident? Hughes sat out 2016 after transferring and then had a great season in 2017. Is he a one-year wonder? NFL teams have a lot to work through with Hughes.

Put on the game tape and you will see a gifted cover corner. Hughes presses most of the time and is able to smother receivers. He is a good, not great, athlete. Hughes is a physical player and can be a pretty good tackler. He picked off 4 passes in 2017 and shows promise as a playmaker. Hughes had 3 return TDs in 2017 on STs and another one on defense. When the ball is in his hands, he can make things happen.

I think Jim Schwartz would be a big fan of Hughes as a player. He is a confident, aggressive CB. I think Hughes would be good in the slot. He has the agility to handle that spot. He also is a tough, physical player that will hit and tackle. While there are character questions because of his time at UNC, Hughes was part of a team that just had an amazing season. He was one of the best players for that defense and a big reason they were so good. The Eagles have to at least be interested.

The Eagles recently hired Gunter Brewer to be the WRs coach. He had been at UNC for the previous six years, meaning he was there when Hughes was there for his one season. Brewer can offer the team honest insight into whether Hughes is a kid who did something dumb or whether he’s a guy the team should avoid. The fact the Eagles brought him to the Novacare tells me they are curious. They’ve been willing to take some chances in recent years and Hughes could be good value.

OG Will Hernandez – 6-2, 327 – UTEP

If you were to draw up what Doug Pederson and Jeff Stoutland want in an OG, I think Hernandez is what you would see. He weighed 340 at the Senior Bowl and then lost a few pounds so he could be in top shape for the Combine. Hernandez is a naturally huge dude. The Eagles love massive, athletic OGs. Hernandez is not just a road grader. Sure, he can physically dominate the guy across from him, but Hernandez can also move around. He is more athletic than you think and can block on the move.

Hernandez redshirted back in 2013 and then started the next four years at LG. He developed into a dominant college player. People wondered how he would fare against top competition. Hernandez went to the Senior Bowl and put on a show. He was outstanding.

Stefen Wisniewski played well at LG in 2017, but Hernandez has the potential to be a dominant blocker. If you had him and Brandon Brooks as your OGs, that would be a great way to protect Carson Wentz up the middle. It would also be fun to watch Hernandez get out in space and destroy LBs and DBs on screens and runs.

I don’t know that Hernandez makes it all the way to 32. Feels like he’ll go before that.

PREDICTION

The Eagles trade back. It is no secret that Howie Roseman wants extra picks. And no one works the phones as well as Howie.

-1st Round Board for the Eagles-

QB:

RB: Saquon Barkley, Sony Michel

WR: Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Christian Kirk, Courtland Sutton

TE: Dallas Goedert, Hayden Hurst

OL: Quenton Nelson, Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez, James Daniels, Frank Ragnow, Mike McGlinchey, Kolton Miller, Connor Williams

DE: Bradley Chubb, Marcus Davenport, Harold Landry

DT: Vita Vea, Da’Ron Payne, Taven Bryan

LB: Tremaine Edmunds, Leighton Vander Esch (medical?)

IB:  Roquan Smith, Rashaan Evans

S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James, Justin Reid

CB: Denzel Ward, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Mike Hughes, Isaiah Oliver

I will post a full draft board for the Eagles on Friday.

*****

ALL TOMMY TEAM 

(my favorite non-1st round players)

QB Mason Rudolph – Oklahoma State
RB  Jaylen Samuels – NC State
WR  James Washington – Oklahoma State
WR  DaeSean Hamilton – Penn State
WR  Byron Pringle – Kansas State
TE  Durham Smythe – Notre Dame
OT  Jamil Demby – Maine
OG  Colby Gosseett – Appalachian State
OC  Will Clapp – LSU
OG  Braden Smith – Auburn
OT  Brandon Parker – NC A&T

DE  Uchenna Nwosu – USC
DT  Foley Fatukasi – UConn
DT  Trenton Thompson – Georgia
DE  Marquis Haynes – Ole Miss
LB  Fred Warner – BYU
LB  Josey Jewell – Iowa
LB  Darius Leonard – SC State
S  Siran Neal – Jacksonville State
S  Marcus Allen – Penn State
CB  Avonte Maddox – Pitt
CB  M.J. Stewart – UNC

***

Please draft a couple of these players

WR Christian Kirk
WR Dante Pettis
TE Durham Smythe
OT Jamil Demby
OT Brandon Parker
OG Colby Gossett
RB Sony Michel
RB Jaylen Samuels

DE Justin Lawler
DT P.J. Hall
DT Foley Fatukasi
LB Andre Smith
LB Jack Cichy
S Siran Neal
S Trayvon Henderson
S Jeremy Reaves
CB M.J. Stewart
CB Avonte Maddox
CB Grant Haley

Please avoid these players

DE Tyquan Lewis – Talented, but highly inconsistent.
OT Kolton Miller – Huge and talented, but a project as well. Not worth a 1st rounder.
DE Rasheem Green – I don’t get the hype.
OT Chukwuma Okorafor – Tons of potential, but too erratic for me.
TE Mike Gesicki – I love him as a prospect, just not for the Eagles. Essentially he’s a giant WR. Eagles need a TE.

***

Ideal scenario for the draft. Trade back and add an early 4th. Mychal Kendricks could be dealt for a late pick or to move up in a round. Here, I’ve got him traded for a 6th rounder.

2 – WR Christian Kirk – Texas A&M
4 – RB Royce Freeman – Oregon
4 – TE Durham Smythe – Notre Dame
4 – CB Grant Haley – Penn State
5 – DT James Looney – Cal
6 – OL Jamil Demby – Maine
6 – S Natrell Jamerson – Wisconsin
7 – LB Nick DeLuca – North Dakota State

Kirk would give the Eagles a guy who can play in the slot or outside and who is explosive. He is also a dynamic returner.

Freeman had a great career at Oregon. He is 229 pounds and would give the Eagles a big, athletic runner. He can deliver big plays and also use his size to pound on defenders.

Smythe would come in to compete for the backup TE spot right away. He instantly might be the best blocking TE on the team. He would need to develop as a receiver, but the potential is there.

Haley would challenge for the nickel spot and be a good STer.

Looney is 6-3, 287 and a terrific athlete. He would be an ideal fit for the Eagles 1-gap system.

Demby played LT in college. He might be able to play OT in the NFL, but would be even a better fit at OG. Terrific run blocker. Has the size and versatility the Eagles like. Played well at the Senior Bowl, but had a poor Combine workout.

The Eagles need S depth and Jamerson could help. Also a terrific STs play who even has return ability.

DeLuca would be a LB to develop for the future. Interesting player with good potential. Had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl.

 

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