Eagles 7-Round Mock Draft
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - It's time to swing and likely miss by taking a stab at our annual full, seven-round Eagles mock draft.
The needs are obvious in Philadelphia, starting with cornerback and moving on from there to edge rusher, running back, receiver and perhaps another tight end or offensive tackle.
Expect Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas to add bodies at most of those positions and perhaps multiple ones at corner, starting at No. 14 overall where the late-rising Gareon Conley will be the pick over an additional weapon for Carson Wentz.
Here we go:
Round 1, No. 14 overall - CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State - Considered to be more of a plug-and-play option that his more talented teammate Marshon Lattimore, Conley offers excellent ball skills and tends to attack the football when it's in the air.
At 6-foot and about 200 pounds, Conley's biggest issue coming into the NFL figures to be functional-football strength which could be an issue because he's best in press-coverage looks. As a run defender, he doesn't mind sticking his nose in the trash but is not a strong fundamental tackler although that's something you can say about most college corners these days.
In coverage, Conley's biggest weakness tends to be timing-based routes where he lacks the feel for what's coming. Despite all of that he projects as a Day 1 starter, likely opposite veteran Patrick Robinson with Jalen Mills fitting in as the nickel corner.
Also, keep an eye on speedy receiver John Ross and Missouri edge rusher Charles Harris.
Round 2, No. 43 overall - RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma - A first-round talent Mixon falls to Day 2 because of the ugly off-the-field issue he had at Oklahoma but Jeffrey Lurie has reportedly given Roseman and Douglas the green light to draft Mixon, a potential three-down back who could develop as a bell cow and immediately would jump to the top of the Eagles' depth chart at the position.
Mixon is a speedy and explosive back with excellent ball skills and the willingness to pass protect. He runs a little too high but that kind of thing is easily correctable.
Round 3, No. 99 overall - DE Ryan Anderson, Alabama - Although Philadelphia added veteran Chris Long to replace Connor Barwin, a bigger pass-rushing threat is needed to complement Brandon Graham and Anderson looks like a fit as a wide-9 option to throw in the mix.
Anderson is the rare pass rusher who will arrive with a second move already in his repertoire although he's not the most explosive athlete in the world around the edge. At 99, however, he offers tremendous value.
Round 4, No. 119 overall - CB Teez Tabor, Florida - Once thought of as a potential first-round pick early in the process, Tabor simply can't run and that will send him tumbling to the third day where the Eagles will be glad to pounce because Jim Schwartz had the wherewithal to utilize zone corners in a positive way.
Round 4, No. 139 overall - WR Shelton Gibson, West Virginia - The Eagles simply can't afford to count on Torrey Smith being a consistent deep threat after the year he had in San Francisco and Gibson can get on opposing corners very quickly and really stretch the field. He's inconsistent catching the ball underneath but the Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz to handle the heavy lifting there.
Round 5, No. 155 overall - WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M - Another speedy receiver, Reynolds also brings a 6-foot-3 frame to the dance and ability to win 50/50 balls down the field. He was a big red-zone producer with the Aggies but will need to add muscle to his 195-pound frame.
Round 6, No. 194 overall - CB Jeremy Cutrer, Middle Tennessee State - The carpet-bombing at CB continues with a lengthy 6-foot-1 project with solid ball skills. Cutrer is not physical at all, however, and probably needs a year in the weight room before he would be able to contribute at the NFL level. He could be this year's Alex McCalister, a red-shirt candidate from the get go.
Round 7, No. 230 overall - TE Billy Brown, Shepherd - The new en vogue thing in the NFL is to look for the hybrid safety/linebacker on defense to match up with the players who are listed as tight ends but are really just glorified slot receivers.
The Eagles have never had that Jimmy Graham-type matchup nightmare in the slot so rolling the dice on a raw prospect like Brown, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound monster who put up his numbers at a lower level playing receiver, would be a prudent way to finish things.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen