Who’s in Play for the Eagles at No. 8?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — For the Eagles the trade that sent disappointing 2015 starters Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to Miami was important for a couple of reasons, namely the organization was able to rid itself of Maxwell's bloated contract and Howie Roseman was able to flip-flop first-round picks with the Dolphins.
From a pure football perspective the latter part of that equation is the more important one because Roseman believes the top-tier of this upcoming draft is 10 players deep so by moving up from No. 13 to eight overall, the Eagles, by definition, will be snaring what they feel is an impact player.
Here are the current odds of who that might be:
3-to-1: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - Stanley isn't a need with both Jason Peters and Lane Johnson back in the mix for '16 but Roseman will stay true to his board and if the Fighting Irish product is the best player available, the Eagles will jump and let the chips fall where they may. Stanley is athletic enough to start at left guard and solve the gaping hole there while sliding out to left tackle once Peters is gone. That would also enable Johnson to stay where he is now most comfortable, right tackle.
5-to-1: Vernon Hargreaves, DB, Florida - Two teams ahead of the Eagles need significant help in the defensive backfield, San Diego at No. 3 and Baltimore three picks later. There also happens to be only two back-end defenders worthy of being selected in the top eight selections, Florida State corner Jalen Ramsey and Hargreaves, the versatile Gators defender. Ramsey is in the conversation with Myles Jack as the best defender in this draft and it's inconceivable he'll be an option for Philly at No. 8 but Hargreaves is in the mix because Baltimore also needs help in the front seven and could look at Joey Bosa if he's still on the board.
10-to-1: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - There are really two questions you have to sift through with Elliott, namely is he a top-10 level talent? And is his position worthy of that kind of selection in today's NFL environment? Scouts are split on the former with some believing only generational talents like Adrian Pederson belong that high in this pass-happy era while others see Elliott as a potential elite three-down back. When you consider where Doug Pederson came from and the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs ran off 11 straight wins after Jamaal Charles was lost to a torn ACL, it's hard to imagine the Eagles putting Elliott in their top 10.
10-to-1: DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon - The Eagles are set up front when it comes to starters for Jim Schwartz's 4-3 defense but the veteran defensive coordinator likes to use a rotational system to keep everyone fresh for the fourth quarter and the Eagles' depth is lacking on paper. Outside the hope is Connor Barwin holds up after spending his first seven seasons as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. Inside the only real options right now are pedestrian run stuffer Beau Allen and Taylor Hart, who did nothing with his first opportunity to play last season and, like Barwin, is best suited for the 3-4. Buckner is a widely athletic prospect who can play inside and outside and would shape up as a significant rotational contributor from Day 1.
15-to-1: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - The Eagles interest in Wentz as the long-term answer at the game's most important position is real but his stock is also booming right now after his impressive pro day last week. Tennessee is trying to leverage that into luring someone to trade up to the No. 1 spot in order to get Wentz because Cleveland at No. 2 overall is still leaning QB despite signing Robert Griffin III last week. Moving up again is likely too prohibitive for Roseman, who will not mortgage the future for an FCS product, even one with a significant ceiling.
20-to-1: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - Two different NFL sources have told 973espn.com that the Eagles believe the transcendent Jack is the best football player in this year' process and they are hardly the only team that believes that. It's almost inconceivable that Jack will be available at No. 8 but if he is, Philadelphia would sprint to the podium to get him.
25-to-1: Jared Goff, QB, California - There are some who believe the Eagles are intent on finding the long-term answer at QB sooner rather than later despite bringing back Sam Bradford and signing Chase Daniel as the backup. A lot of dominoes would have to fall for Goff to be available for the Eagles at No. 8 but if the Titans are forced to stay put at No. 1 and select Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, Cleveland lunges at Wentz, Dallas passes on a signal caller and Chip Kelly's 49ers make-up with Colin Kaepernick, it makes things real interesting for the Eagles, who are doing their due diligence.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen