Philadelphia Eagles Pre-Combine 7-Round Mock Draft
Philadelphia Eagles mock drafts are more and more valuable by the day as the pre-draft process wears along, but the NFL Scouting Combine is when things truly begin to come into focus.
Eagles fans and NFL followers alike don't have to look hard to figure out the areas in which the team needs to progress significantly before the 2017 season, but finding the right fits in the draft class to fill those needs is a much harder task. A player can have all the talent and drive in the world, but he has to fit the scheme that he's being drafted into in order to have a productive start to his career.
The Eagles run some pretty unique sets on each side of the ball, so let's take a stab at mocking the best fits and most talented players available to get Philly over the hump as 2017 playoff contenders.
Round 1, Pick No. 14/15: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
There's been plenty of talk about the Eagles drafting one of the undoubted top two receivers in the draft, Clemson's Mike Williams and Western Michigan's Corey Davis. If either of them fall to the Eagles in the middle of Round 1, it should be an easy decision.
Williams is the more likely early pick, but fans shouldn't feel like they got the consolation prize with Davis. The star wideout from a Western Michigan squad that went undefeated during the regular season in 2016, Davis may be the more complete receiver with more of a dynamic ability to extend plays after the catch.
While the Clemson star shone during the national championship and is the better one-on-one receiver, Davis is definitely more consistent and didn't undergo any injury struggles in his collegiate career. It's well-documented how badly the Eagles need at No. 1 wideout to go along with Jordan Matthews, and Davis would fit perfectly into that role.
Note: A coin toss will between the Colts and Eagles will determine who picks No. 14 overall and No. 15 overall.
Round 2, Pick 43: CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
The Eagles will miss out on a lot of great first-round talent at cornerback by passing in Round 1, but they can still get a star-caliber cornerback for the future in the second round.
Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley wouldn't just be a talent worth nabbing in Round 2 and trusting to be an early starter. He would also be an incredible fit. Tankersley is a rangy, physical 6'1" stud who rivals Alabama's Marlon Humphrey as perhaps the best true cover corner in a deep cornerback class.
The cornerback position has been an eyesore for the Eagles in recent seasons, and stop-gap signings like Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll haven't been the answer.
It's increasingly obvious that the cash-strapped Eagles will have to look early in the draft rather than free agency for the answer at cornerback, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz relies heavily on dependable cover corners who can take great receivers out of the game in one-on-one coverage.
Round 3, Pick 74: DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova
The Eagles have other needs, but it's never too early to address the lack of consistent edge-rushing that plagued the Philly defense in 2016. Here, they get a small-school sensation to shore up that weakness.
Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon didn't get much publicity in college playing for the Wildcats and understandably so, but he's turning plenty of heads ever since the pre-draft process began. Kpassagnon wrecked the Senior Bowl, and happened to speak with Eagles representatives during his time there, according to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel.
Outside of Brandon Graham, there wasn't much in the form of pass-rushing from Eagles defensive ends last season. With Connor Barwin likely hitting the road and Vinny Curry needing to prove himself more next season, having a youthful edge rusher like Kpassagnon to add to the rotation would be ideal.
With the shockwaves that the big-bodied and explosive Kpassagnon has generated throughout the pre-draft process, he's sure to put up impressive numbers at the combine and draw even more interest. Some team will snatch him up in the middle rounds and make him one of the steals of the draft, and the Eagles would be lucky to be that team.
Round 4, Pick 119: WR Travis Rudolph, Florida State
Let's face it: the Eagles are vastly undermanned at the receiver position. Even if they take a first-round wideout, there's still a severe lack of dependable depth with Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham failing to live up to expectations.
If Philly doubles down at receiver in the draft, there will be some great value at the start of Day 3, and Florida State's Travis Rudolph will be high on that list. The 5'11", 192-pound playmaker is overshadowed by a deep class of receivers, but he excels with his route-running and reliable hands and those are two things that the Eagles miss from their current receiving core.
Simply put, the Eagles don't want to go into the 2017 season depending on guys like Agholor and Green-Beckham to finally show some real development and consistency. Adding Rudolph to the fold would give them some insurance at the position and more youthful talent to groom.
Round 4, Pick 139: RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
Carson Wentz needs help on offense at more than just the receiver spot. He also needs more effectiveness from his backfield, and that will have the Eagles front office taking a stab at landing a high-value sleeper in the middle rounds.
Oklahoma's Samaje Perine could be that guy. It's rare to see a back who broke records with the Sooners available at this point in the draft, but he could fall to this area due to a deep running back class and some concerns about his speed and elusiveness translating to the next level.
Perine may not fit the mold of the dodgy, speedy back that teams are coveting in the draft these days, but he would complement second-year back Wendell Smallwood very well. While Smallwood stretches the field and gives the backfield a speed dimension, Perine will come in for short-yardage situations and act as the bruiser of the two.
Round 5, Pick 155: OL Greg Pyke, Georgia
The Eagles have plenty of veteran talent up front on an expensive offensive line that ranked eighth in the league, per Pro Football Focus, but there's a pressing need for young talent to develop. Tackle Jason Peters is 35, guard Allen Barbre is 32 and fellow guard Jason Kelce will hit 30 during the 2017 season.
A versatile lineman capable of developing on either the edge or interior would be ideal, and Greg Pyke appears to fit the bill. The 6'6", 300-pound Georgia mauler is a well-proven run-blocker who paved the way for a Bulldogs rushing attack that carried their team over the last couple of seasons.
Pyke has some work to do in pass protection, and limitations there could prevent him from being a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. But if he doesn't pan out on the outside, Pyke should be a strong candidate to take over at guard when the Eagles do decide to part ways with Kelce or Barbre.
Round 6, Pick 194: LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
One of many positions of need for the Eagles this offseason is at linebacker, where they have two dependable, every-down studs but have a glaring hole at weak-side linebacker.
Of course, the needs are so serious at other spots that they may not be able to address the position until the sixth round. That's where they can take a shot at landing a potential sleeper in Wisconsin's Vince Biegel.
At the Will linebacker spot, the Eagles need an instinctive player who can diagnose plays and get to the point of attack in a way that complements Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks. Biegel won't be that right away, but he'll be able to rotate in and make some valuable contributions on special teams as he develops into a potential starter.
Round 7, Pick 230: CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech
As stated before, it would be hard for the Eagles to go after receivers or cornerbacks too recklessly, given how serious the needs are at each position. They would be smart to take a flier on a cornerback prospect in Round 7.
Brandon Facyson could be a solid option. The former Virginia Tech standout saw his production taper off in his final season after an injury-plagued stretch of his collegiate career, but he has the measurables at 6'2" and 191 pounds to be a big-time cover corner who's capable of handling the physicality that causes many college corners to flop in the NFL.
Facyson didn't really produce as scouts hoped in a 2016 season in which many eyes were on him, but he's just the type of prospect that the Eagles could groom at a cornerback position that needs all the help and youth it can get.