Pre-draft interest by way of official visits or private workouts is always something to monitor when it comes getting a feel for what the Eagles may do in the annual NFL Draft.
Dating back to 2012, the Eagles have had each of their first round picks in for an official visit at the Novacare Center and they’ve also drafted many players they showed some form of pre-draft interest in (workouts, meetings, etc).
Besides the actual players themselves, another thing to pay attention to is what positions they seem to be showing the most interest in. For example, in 2015 the positions in which they showed the most of interest in during the pre-draft process were WR and CB. Their first two picks that year were…WR and CB (Agholor and Rowe).
So far this year, the positions the Eagles seem to be showing the most interest in when accounting for visits, workouts, and some type of meeting are, in order, WR, RB, CB. If you go just by visits to the Novacare, then the order would be DB (CB/S), WR, then RB.
No surprise, right? They’ve also shown a decent amount of interest in DL position, albeit not quite as much as the other three.
Furthermore, there are certain prospects that they show a special level of interest in by doing some combination of an official visit, private workout, and/or meeting with them at the Combine or Senior Bowl, etc.
The real surprise when researching all of this is that, even though the Eagles have shown a lot of interest in the CB position in general, there hasn’t been any one particular prospect where they’ve shown “special” interest by way of the ultimate combination of a visit, workout AND a meeting (Senior Bowl/Combine/Pro Day).
With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to do a mock draft based only on pre-draft interest level. My picks are made from level of interest shown and value in a particular round. Here we go…
1. WR John Ross, 5′ 11″ 188 lbs, Washington
The Eagles met with him at the Combine, attended his Pro Day, were the only team he went in for an official visit prior to his shoulder surgery, and they also privately worked him out.
The Eagles are unanimously thought of to be looking for a speedy WR to stretch the field and were interested in Kenny Stills as well as Brandin Cooks. They ultimately “settled” for Torrey Smith and he is hardly a sure thing…this year and beyond.
The level of pre-draft interest in a player can’t get any higher than what the Eagles have shown with Ross. The last time they showed this level of pre-draft interest in a WR was with Nelson Agholor in 2015.
Ross could very well be the real pick at 14.
2. RB Dalvin Cook, 5′ 10″ 210 lbs, Florida State
Even though the level of pre-draft interest can’t get any higher than it has with Ross, it can be matched! Like Ross, the Eagles have met with Cook at the Combine, Pro Day, privately worked him out and had him in for an official visit.
Cook has some off-field questions that apparently prompted at least one NFL Scout to say: “The pattern of bad decisions are alarming, really. With my job on the line, I trust [Joe] Mixon a lot more than Dalvin Cook.”
That statement (if true), says a lot about how folks in the business might see Cook. I’m sure it’s also why the Eagles are doing their due diligence. Furthermore, it could ultimately be the reason why Cook is still on the board at pick 43.
Could you imagine taking Ross and Cook with our first two picks? Everyone knows the Eagles need defense, but taking these two players would set Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense up for success for years to come.
Ross and Cook – so far – are two individual players the Eagles have shown the most pre-draft interest in and play two of the positions the Eagles are showing the most interest in overall.
They’ve also shown a lot of interest in WR Chris Godwin so you could make a case for going Cook in the first, followed by Godwin in the second…based on pre-draft interest.
3. CB Ahkello Witherspoon, 6′ 3″ 198 lbs, Colorado
Trading back 25 spots in Round 3 has certainly changed the scope of this pick. Personally, Witherspoon is not my favorite player here but if the first two picks go like the above, they have to start addressing the DB position here.
Witherspoon could be the best CB still on the board, at least in terms of potential given his physical traits. He certainly has the size and athleticism teams will love, but the knock on him is his tackling/run defense skills.
The Eagles met with him at the Combine and brought him in for an official visit.
4. CB Damontae Kazee, 5′ 10″ 184 lbs, San Diego State
Kazee is generally seen as a third or fourth round pick by most analysts, mainly due to his slight stature. The Eagles need CBs and may need to hedge their bet on Witherspoon. The Eagles met with Kazee at the Senior Bowl and hosted him for an official visit.
Howie Roseman loves him some Senior Bowl players!
4. DE Dawuane Smoot, 6′ 3″ 264 lbs, Illinois
The Eagles will almost certainly address the DE position during the draft. The only question is in what round. They’ve shown a decent amount of interest in players like Jordan Willis and Charles Harris, but they would have to be 1st and 2nd round picks.
The Eagles have only met with Smoot at the Senior Bowl, so far, but he is the type of player that could develop and be a good fit for Schwartz’ scheme. Here is a scouting report on him from Pro Football Focus.
5. DT Ryan Glasgow, 6′ 3″ 302 lbs, Michigan
With newly acquired Timmy Jernigan set to be a free agent after this season along with the now-injured Beau Allen, the Eagles could still very well be looking for an interior defensive lineman.
His scouting reports don’t necessarily match-up with what we tend to think Jim Schwartz wants in a lineman (not said to be much of a pass rusher), but the Eagles have shown a decent amount of interest in him.
They met with him at the Senior Bowl, Combine and privately worked him out.
6. OT/G Ethan Cooper, 6′ 2″ 322 lbs, IUP
Cooper is a small school prospect that played well against his level of competition. He played RT in college and has decent athleticism. Good developmental prospect, especially for the RT position.
The Eagles brought him in for an official visit.
7. CB Ashton Lampkin, 6′ 189 lbs, Oklahoma State
Developmental prospect with some traits to work with. You can check out a scouting report on NFL.com right here.
The Eagles have met with him at the East/West Shrine Game, the Combine and attended his Pro Day.