Stock Up, Stock Down for Philadelphia Eagles' Top Draft Targets
It's draft week, finally. After the longest offseason in NFL history (literally, as this is the latest in the calendar year the draft ever took place), the fanbase finally has something to cheer about.
They'll look to fill the rest through the draft. Specifically, the Eagles need a pass-rushing outside linebacker, a big wide receiver, at least one more defensive back and some depth on the offensive and defensive lines.
The Eagles pick 22nd in the first round, if they don't trade up or down. The following slides will highlight five players who have likely been on their board. Two of the players have rising draft stock, while three are falling. And all five could be a possibility to be selected by the Eagles with the 22nd pick.
RISING: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Cody Latimer's draft stock has risen more than just about any player in the draft over the last few months.
Several months ago, he was frequently considered a mid-round pick in most mock drafts. Now he's risen to the point that many are projecting the Indiana receiver to land with the Eagles as the 22nd overall pick. Consider ESPN's Todd McShay (subscription required) as one of those experts.
If the Eagles select Latimer at No. 22, they'll have a big, physical player who can help replace the 1,332 receiving yards the team lost when they released DeSean Jackson.
With LeSean McCoy and Sproles out of the backfield, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Latimer at receiver and Zach Ertz and Brent Celek at tight end, the Eagles will have seven reliable weapons for third-year quarterback Nick Foles.
FALLING: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the consensus top safety on the draft board. He's a player the Eagles would almost certainly select with the 22nd pick.
He's also a player who actually has a chance of sliding to the Birds' pick, something the team wouldn't have expected several months ago. Clinton-Dix isn't necessarily doing anything to hurt his draft stock, but other players, such as Morgan Moses, Ja'Wuan James and Latimer, are rising.
Clinton-Dix would immediately start for the Eagles, alongside Jenkins, with Nate Allen and Earl Wolff. More importantly, he has a real chance to become the team's best safety since Brian Dawkins left in free agency more than five years ago.
RISING: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Ryan Shazier is one of the players who has been quietly rising on most team's draft boards over the last few weeks, to the point that NFL.com's Ian Rapoport tweeted that he thinks Shazier is a lock to land in the first round.
The outside linebacker at Ohio State ran a ridiculous 4.36 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. That's absolutely insane for a linebacker. Any team would love that speed, but the Eagles will especially love it, since they need to get faster at the position.
Shazier hasn't been linked to the Eagles in many mock drafts, but he's someone the team would have to strongly consider if he's on the board at pick No. 22.
FALLING: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Remember when Sammy Watkins versus Mike Evans versus Kelvin Benjamin was a thing in NFL draft circles?
Yeah, that was before the Florida State receiver turned in a disappointing combine performance. Since then, he's really dropped in mock drafts, from an easy first-round pick, to the point where he's considered a mid-second-round selection on many boards.
Some, such as Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, say Benjamin could still be selected by the Eagles in the first round. While I wouldn't be a fan of the pick, I think any receiver selected by Chip Kelly in the first round is still going to turn into a pretty good player.
FALLING: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
A few weeks ago, C.J. Mosley was considered by most to be a top-15 pick in the first round. I have seen him as high as eighth overall to the Minnesota Vikings.
But there's no question that his draft stock has dropped in recent weeks. Rotoworld's Evan Silva tweeted about Mosley's injury history while at Alabama, and Mosley has subsequently dropped on most draft boards.
He's a player I would have been thrilled to see the Eagles draft at No. 22 just a few weeks ago. Now I would rather see the Eagles pass on him when they're on the clock, if he's still available.