Why Eagles Should Draft Reuben Foster or Christian McCaffrey | Eagles Addict
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As draft season chugs along, I’m beginning to think more and more that there may not be a “perfect pick” at slot 14 for the Eagles.  Perfect as in the best overall player, value at that slot and how that player fills a need.

Early on, I had zeroed in on CB Sidney Jones as the Eagles’ best possible pick at 14.  However, now that he’s no longer a first round option, I’m having trouble zeroing in on another player. 

This draft is said to be flush with talent – and it does appear to be – but, it seems to me that no one particular player who has a good chance to be available at pick 14 stands out above the rest as a “no brainer” Eagles pick.

However, there is one guy with an outside shot at being available when the Eagles are on the clock…

Alabama LB Reuben Foster.

Reuben Foster

I want this guy on a seek and destroy missions against opposing RBs and QBs. Photo: Stuart McNair

I’ve been reluctant to talk about him much as an Eagles target for two reasons: He probably won’t be there at 14, and, the Eagles as an organization haven’t spent a first round draft pick on a true LB since 1979.

If Foster isn’t there at 14, that’s one thing.  If he is there and the Eagles don’t take him, that’s another.  And, that would be unacceptable in my opinion.

Foster is the type of player that would give this Eagles defense a new identity.  I can see him having a Ray Lewis type of career.  He would transform and lead this Eagles defense for the next decade.

He is a ferocious hitter and plays with the kind of tenacity that Eagles fans would immediately fall in love with.  Foster would be the perfect defensive weapon to combat Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott…wouldn’t you just absolutely love having a player on defense who would be in the perfect position to put the smack-down on those guys? 

I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired of seeing Elliott do that “eating” motion after a big run.  How fun would it be to see someone like Foster shove that utensil down his throat?

At Middle Linebacker, Foster would have the opportunity on any given play to lay out Elliott and/or terrorize Prescott.

Foster is a force against the run, the pass and as a blitzer. He’s a 3-down ‘backer that can do it all.  Check out this scouting report by Pro Football Focus…good stuff.

If Foster is on the board when the Eagles go on the clock, their decision should take them exactly .00001 seconds to write his name on that card and sprint it to the podium.  There would have to be an exceptional player still available for me to excuse the Eagles for not picking him.  I can’t even think who that could be, to be honest.  Myles Garrett?  Maybe Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas?

I would pick Foster over virtually everyone else, including Marshon Lattimore.  If the Eagles needed a Safety, I’d consider Jamal Adams over Foster, but that’s about it.  There is not a better overall player worthy of being picked ahead of Foster.

Unfortunately, Doug Pederson is from the school of Andy Reid.  Reid notoriously disregarded and/or could never properly evaluate the LB position during drafts for most of his tenure.  Granted, Pederson is not running the show like Reid was, but I’m sure his philosophy will have influence during the decision-making process.

So, let me just state this now: The Eagles would be complete morons to pass on Reuben Foster if the reason is that they just don’t value the LB position as much as other positions.  If he’s on the board at 14, there’s a 99.9% chance that he would clearly be the best player available AND would still fill a very underrated need.

Highlights of Foster, the “hardest hitting linebacker in college football”…

After Foster, things get a little less clear.  However, there is one player who – if Foster isn’t there – the Eagles should take at 14 over anyone else…

Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey.

Christian McCaffrey

Forget about any made-up concerns, this guy is GOOD. Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I can hear the moans and groans already… McCaffrey? At 14? It’ll never happen!  The Eagles and Joe Douglas never draft a RB in Round 1.  McCaffrey can’t carry the load.  He’s too much of a gadget guy and not a true RB.  Positionally, it’s a poor first round investment choice because Running Backs historically are only able to give you somewhere around 5 – 8 years of good production due to the wear-and-tear on their bodies.

Did I get all the complaints and worries right?  Okay, now stop being a Nancy and forget all of that crap.

I get the concerns and some of them are valid.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those concerns are all based on preconceptions and past history of players at the same position.  None of them directly reflect on McCaffrey, the player, only the position he plays.

McCaffrey, the player, is absolutely outstanding.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now…the guy does it all.  He can run inside. He can run outside. He can make people miss in the open field.  He can be lined up wide or in the slot and killed the Wide Receiver drills at the Combine and at his Pro Day.  He can return punts and kickoffs.  He’s got the speed.  He’s got the moves.  He’s got the drive.  He’s got the character.  He’s got the football IQ.

What he doesn’t have are the questions that Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon have.

McCaffrey is a weapon.  And therein lies some analysts’ concerns…”he has to be used creatively” or “he has to be in the right system”, etc.  Hogwash.  The guy can be a 3-down ‘back and utilized in many different ways.  If an offensive coach doesn’t know how to utilize a player like him, he has no business being a coach.

As far as him being able to “carry the load”, I really don’t understand the concern.  His size?  He’s the same size as LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook. Granted, he’s a little lighter than traditional “work horse” running backs, but he also brings much more to the table than many of them.

If you’re concerned about the whole “using a first round pick on a position that has a short NFL shelf life” thing, McCaffrey is just 20 years old (turns 21 in June).  That’s the same scenario age-wise as when McCoy came out…and he just completed his 8th (and very productive) season and has remained relatively healthy over the course of his career so far.

I do understand some of the concerns with McCaffrey, but ultimately I think they are minor and his skill/ability far outweighs them.  I’ve liked the thought of adding McCaffrey to our offense for a while now but got caught up in many of those aforementioned concerns. 

I’ve decided now that, who cares?  The guy is exciting to watch and would fit the description of drafting an “impact player” at 14.

Then I saw Daniel Jeremiah fire off a bunch of tweets about him that sealed my decision about just saying “screw it, draft him!”

I mean, seriously…what’s not to love about this guy?

Value is subjective.  If the Eagles are sitting there at pick 14 and have to decide on the best player available, McCaffrey could very well be the guy. Is there another player that could realistically be on the board at 14 who is better at their position than McCaffrey is at his?

I have more questions about virtually all of the other popular Eagles picks at 14…

WR John Ross?  His extensive injury history is concerning to me (meniscus tears in both knees, micro-fracture surgery in one knee, recovering from torn labrum right now).  Plus, after signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, seems like a little bit of overkill to take Ross in Round 1.

WR Corey Davis/Mike Williams?  Good players and good value at 14, but again…overkill?  Especially Williams, since he’s basically the same kind of receiver as Jeffery.

DE Derek Barnett?  His draft stock seems to be all over the place.  His reputation is that he mainly wins with strength and motor and isn’t really one of those explosive/quick-twitch pass-rushers.  Solid player, but is he a good fit for Jim Schwartz and is he worth pick 14?

CB Marlon Humphrey? Good athlete, physical player, but gets beat deep and doesn’t have the knack for getting his head around when the ball is in the air.

Don’t get me wrong, I like all of these players. However, I just happen to like McCaffrey more.

I would take Marshon Lattimore over McCaffrey, but he won’t be there and I wouldn’t trade up for him.  After him, the CB group is deep but nobody really stands out over the others.  The order in which they go off the board is anyone’s guess and will likely be decided by how teams view them as a scheme fit.  To me, there isn’t a particular CB I see as a “must take” at 14 over McCaffrey.

At this point I’d take Foster if he’s there, without question.  If he’s not and the Eagles have to take someone at 14, McCaffrey would be my pick.  However, trading down may be a good idea as well.

For now, Foster is my dream pick.  Unfortunately, I’m sure it’ll remain just that…a dream.  McCaffrey though?  That’s a pick that would generate quite a bit of buzz in the Philly area, wouldn’t it?

The Eagles haven’t drafted a RB in Round 1 since Keith Byars in 1986 nor a LB in Round 1 since Jerry Robinson in 1979. I’d say they’re overdue to make a change to one of these statistics.


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