Since the Eagles’ season has well been over, it’s time to start dreaming about how they can fix what ails them this offseason. Free agency will likely alter things a little bit, but for my first 2017 mock draft I’m just going to do my best to guess at value and the current potential of a particular player being there in a given round.
How prospects are viewed will also change dramatically over the next few months. There will be some who rise up the draft board and others who fall. One thing that will remain the same, though, is the positions the Eagles need to address…regardless of what happens in free agency.
1.WR Corey Davis, 6′ 3″ 215 lbs, Western Michigan
First, I’m going to say that I fully expect Mike Williams to be gone by the Eagles’ pick. Fortunately, there’s a decent chance that Davis will still be there and he is basically on the same level as Williams.
Secondly, I could argue that CB is a more important need, but I will strongly implore that the Eagles go WR in Round 1 if Davis (or Williams) is there.
Reason being, if you want that stereotypical “No. 1 WR” type of player — a guy who has the size, athleticism, ability to out-muscle opponents or run past them, and be able to “take over” — they are mostly Round 1 kind of players.
If your idea of a No. 1 WR is someone like Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Mike Evans, or Demaryius Thomas, then you need to get that guy in the first round. Corey Davis has the ability to be on that level.
Here’s a scouting report on Davis by Rob Rang of CBS Sports (from September):
Davis sports a tapered, athletic frame with a well-developed upper body. He is a smooth accelerator with a legitimate second gear to track down deep passes and changes directions quickly and with good body control.
Frequently moved to create matchup problems for the defense, Davis has an advanced understanding (compared to most college receivers) of the flanker, splint end and slot responsibilities. Davis is a smooth route-runner who incorporates a series of stutter-steps and shoulder fakes to generate separation. He tracks the ball well over his shoulder, shows the ability to extend and pluck the ball from outside of his frame and is generally a reliable hands catcher, overall.
Given his height, Davis shows impressive agility and acceleration to elude defenders once the ball is in hands, as well as core strength and determination to break tackles.
At this point, I feel Davis is the kind of receiver that would pair very nicely with Carson Wentz and would grow into the true No. 1 WR the Eagles have lacked since Terrell Owens.
Here’s a highlight clip. Check out his catches at the 42-second mark and the 2:09 mark. They are two examples of catches we have never seen from our current set of receivers. Would be nice, huh?
2.CB Desmond King, 5′ 10″ 203 lbs, Iowa
Not too long ago, King was thought of as a certain first-round caliber player. However, his stock has slid a little bit as of late because the notion has surfaced that NFL teams may view him more as a Safety due to lack of speed.
Hopefully this remains true because he is exactly the kind of player we want in our Secondary and would seem to fit the profile of a Jim Schwartz type of player. Check out what Ben Natan at Bleeding Green Nation had to say about him:
Standing at 5’10”, Desmond King is not the NFL’s prototypical cornerback, but don’t tell him that. Since taking the field a few years back, Desmond King has been one of the best, most productive cornerbacks in college football. The senior has 12 interceptions, 8.5 tackle for a loss, 33 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and three defensive touchdowns in his career as a Hawkeye. All of that in less than four full seasons… So I won’t be the one to tell him he cannot be a successful NFL cornerback because of his size.From a trait perspective, King offers mostly everything you want from a cornerback. He has excellent football movement, wasting very little motion during his backpedal and transitions smoothly in coverage. He is incredibly physical, both at the line of scrimmage, as a tackler and in coverage. He does an excellent job with hand placement when pressing and with the ball in the air, he positions himself well to make plays on the ball while also exhibiting strength to outmuscle defenders. His awareness in coverage actually makes him even better in zone than he is in man coverage, which says quite a lot. He has awesome “click-close”, meaning his ability to quickly diagnose and make a play on the ball is outstanding.
Most impressive, however, is King’s overall physicality, and it plays a big role in why he is so successful as a defender. He plays a no-finesse game that is predicated on playing stronger, more violent football than the player across from him. It doesn’t matter if it is a 6’2″ wide receiver or a 230-pound running back. King is bringing the same kind of fire for every play. His run defense is truly awesome for not just a cornerback, but any defender. He does a great job diagnosing run plays, fighting through blocks on the perimeter and making strong tackles.
Some analysts have compared King to former Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield due to his stature and physicality. For an Eagles comparison, I’d say King would be like Sheldon Brown (whom they also drafted in the second round).
3.CB Cameron Sutton, 5′ 11″ 186 lbs, Tennessee
This could be a stretch that Sutton is still on the board when we pick in this round. However, I’m banking on the fact that he suffered an ankle/foot injury in September and missed a large chunk of the season.
Heading into this year, Sutton was viewed as a likely second round pick, so I’m hoping the injury may end up letting him slip into the third. Much will depend on the Combine and medical checks, but if he’s still there in the third, he would be a steal.
Sutton is a confident, fluid athlete at his best in man coverage. He throws up a hand into the face of receivers when in press, showing the strength with his initial jam to hinder receivers off the line, as well as the loose hips to turn and run with them.
Sutton’s experience shows in his route anticipation. He changes direction easily and locates the football quickly, showing excellent hand-eye coordination to rip at the ball when it arrives. Sutton offers terrific initial quickness, helping him break on underneath routes and slip past would-be tacklers when he gets the ball in his hands.
Sutton’s ballskills are evident in his comfort as a returner, where he shows the soft hands to pluck outside of his frame as well as the savvy to wrap both arms around the ball while in traffic. Demonstrates the second gear and composure with the ball in the air that scouts are looking for.
While scouts would like to see Sutton bring more physicality, the light feet, awareness and soft hands necessary to be a force in coverage are all there. Further, his leadership and work ethic have been lauded by Tennessee’s coaches, including by new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.
Sutton with King would be a good compliment to each other and give the Eagles flexibility in the Secondary.
4.RB Jamaal Williams, 6′ 1″ 220 lbs, BYU
If Doug Pederson is truly an Andy Reid disciple, I’m sure he’ll be looking for a few BYU players! In this case, he could be getting a steal if Williams is still on the board in Round 4.
In 2016, Williams rushed 234 times for 1,375 yards and 12 TDs. He only caught seven passes, but is capable of being an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield. He has the talent to be a three-down back and hopefully that’s exactly what we’d get.
If Williams were to be drafted based on talent, he’d likely be a second-rounder and at worst a third-rounder. However, there are a few reasons he may very well be there in the fourth…
He missed the entire 2015 season for reasons he termed as needing to “get his personal life together.” After digging a little further, it seems he had to choose between withdrawing for a year or face an indefinite suspension for violating team rules.
In 2014, he suffered a major knee injury in the beginning of the season so before returning this past season, he basically missed almost two full years of football. However, he returned in 2016 and played lights-out by many accounts, showing no ill-effects of the knee injury and time off.
Here’s a quick scouting report from breakingfootball.com:
Physical yet smooth runner who runs with a purpose. Tough to bring down and demands gang tackles. Pulls the pile. Never stops fighting for extra yardage. Insurmountable toughness running the rock. Gives 100% effort at all times. Spins off defenders well. Remains upright with good balance after contact. Very strong. Can run it between the tackles or cut it outside. Hits holes hard with a lot of burst. Explosive burst running through the 1st level. Knows how to break through the line of scrimmage into space. Plus speed, quickness and lateral agility for a back his size. Sets his feet well and uses momentum to his advantage. Bounces to the inside off cuts well. Great vision and is quick to read blocks off the exchange. Good chunk yardage runner. Excels at the goal-line. Fumbled only 4 times on 700 carries at BYU. Reliable last resort for a QB in the passing game. Team captain. Willing blocker. Senior Bowl invitee.
5. G Ethan Cooper, 6′ 3″ 325 lbs, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Sleeper alert! You probably haven’t heard much about this guy, but I’m pegging him as someone who will start to get a little more buzz as the pre-draft process plays out. He competed in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this past weekend and was part of an impressive offensive line that paved the way for 213 rushing yards on 42 carries.
With a good showing in that game along with an impressive Pro Day, he should start to get noticed more. Right now, he’s a guy who has dominated at the D2 level and has good size, strength and speed (former basketball player).
He’s somewhat of a long shot, but he could end up being a diamond in the rough. Also, he plays RT though he’s more than likely going to be a Guard in the NFL.
5. DE Derek Rivers, 6′ 4″ 255 lbs, Youngstown State
Another small school sleeper pick here, but Rivers could be a legitimate draft board riser…possibly all the way up to Day 2. This past season he posted 14 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss. Over his four year college career, he has a total of 37.5 sacks and 56.5 tackles for a loss.
He has good size and is said to have good strength, excellent speed off the edge, plays with a relentless demeanor and has dominated at his level. Rivers is a player that will have a lot riding on the NFL Combine and the pre-draft process to determine where he gets drafted.
6. OLB Dylan Donahue, 6′ 3″ 240 lbs, West Georgia
Must be something about the small school prospects I like when we get to the mid-late rounds. Always trying to find that hidden gem. The scouting on Donahue seems to be very limited but at the minimum he projects to be a good ST’er and backup with the upside to work his way into a starting role.
7.C/OT J.J. Dielman, 6′ 5″ 300 lbs, Utah
At this point in the offseason doing a mock draft and looking for a seventh round player, we may as well just throw darts. In fact, beyond the first three rounds at this point it IS a lot of dart throwing until we start to get a clearer picture how scouts view some players.
In any case, Dielman is a prospect that would likely go higher than the 7th round if not for a season ending injury to his lower leg. He had played Tackle before switching to Center due to needs along Utah’s OL.
Obviously, that shows quite some versatility to switch between those two positions. The Eagles could certainly use more depth and flexibility for the line.