One round is in the books. With this new draft format, it means that the Eagles will spend their Friday night looking for talent in the second and third rounds. After addressing a big need on their offensive line in the first round, it’s time to start looking elsewhere.
So where do they start on Day 2? As of right now, they have one second-round pick (54th overall) and one third-round pick (85th overall).
They clearly need to start looking for some players to improve their shaky defense. After passing on Jimmy Smith in Round 1, you have to believe the Eagles will strongly look at drafting a corner in the second round.
Whether or not they think they can land a solid corner in free agency, I still view this as a very high priority.
The top two corners heading into the second round will be Aaron Williams from Texas and Brandon Harris from Miami. Both are solid players and fall just out of the top-tier range of those taken above them.
However, both may be taken early in the second round. If the Eagles are high on either of these two guys, they will likely have to trade up to get them.
Two other potential targets the Eagles could trade up for are Akeem Ayers and Da’Quan Bowers. I wouldn’t say either player is extremely likely, but I wouldn’t rule them out completely. Both are guys that have first round talent but have fallen to the second round.
Ayers is more of a 3-4 linebacker, but the Eagles were interested enough to bring him in for a workout before the draft. He may not fit their system perfectly, but he’s a high-motor guy that can make plays all over the field.
Bowers was formerly projected as a candidate to be taken with the first overall selection, but his draft stock has fallen dramatically due to concerns about his knee. He can be a great player in the NFL if he stays healthy, but there’s definitely some risk associated in taking him.
If the Eagles decide to stay put and Williams and Harris are off the board, they could go for a corner like Ras-I Dowling from Virginia. Davon House from New Mexico State and Curtis Brown from Texas could both be options as well.
I could also see them looking for a big run stopper in the middle for Jim Washburn to start developing. They’re starting to age a bit at the defensive tackle position, and they could use a young guy to work into the rotation. Guys like Stephen Paea, Allen Bailey and Jarvis Jenkins could be options.
To me, the third round is the linebacker round. There are some good prospects at linebacker that should be available in the third round, and I think this is where the Eagles will cash in.
Who will it be? I’m thinking Casey Matthews. I really feel like he’s the guy they want. Make sure to keep an eye on linebackers late in the second round into the early third round. If they are coming off the board quickly, I think the Eagles could make a move up for Matthews.
Matthews seems like a Danny Watkins-type player. He’s a hard worker, and really fits what the Eagles look for in a player.
If they don’t end up with Matthews, there are some other options out there. Bruce Carter, Chris Carter and Colin McCarthy could all be options in the third round.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles ended up with three selections on the second day. If they do, it would probably be an additional pick in the third round. Again, I think they’d look for another defender, probably along the defensive line.
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