I’ve made probably four or five mock drafts at this point, and now seemed like a good time to release my next one. A word to the wise before we get started though, I’m going extremely in depth on this on. Hours of tape watching went into this, but it’s probably my best draft yet. Let’s get started. As a side note, if you’d like to do some tape watching yourself, draftbreakdown.com has good video’s on most prospects.
Round 1: The Eagled have so many options here it’s ridiculous. Having the 8th overall pick puts the Eagles in pretty much the perfect place to do whatever they want in this draft. Trade up, back, or stay in place it doesn’t much matter. So with the 8th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, I’ve given into my doubts and I have the Eagles taking Ezekiel Elliot. No, I do not believe that Elliot is going to be the next Adrian Pederson. Not even close. However, he’s got the tools to be successful. Power, speed, and the ability to both catch the ball out of the backfield and block makes Elliot a very complete runner. Like I said, he’s not the next Adrian Pederson, but I do think that Elliot will provide the type of productivity the Eagles were hoping to get out of Murray this past season. My main problem with Elliot is his apparent lack of vision. He’s good at hitting holes when they open right in front of him, or speeding past a defender in open space, but he struggles if he can’t find much space. Vision is hard to teach, which means should the Eagles draft Elliot, they’ll have to hope he gets better with experience. At the end of the day, I think the Eagles could get better value out of one of several other players still available here, but there’s no doubt that Elliot will be a good player, and since running back is now a position of need, he makes a lot of sense.
Round 3: Despite the signing of Brandon Brooks, the Eagles still need to address the offensive line and tackle Joe Haeg is a good choice here. Matt Millers 11th overall offensive tackle, Haeg was charged with protecting potential first round QB Carson Wentz. He’s got good size at 6’6” and 304 pounds, but definitely can add to his frame and will need to in order to properly handle true bull rushers he’ll face in the NFL. He’s got surprising speed, agility, and balance which makes him well suited to handle speed rushers. He sometimes keeps his hands set to low for to long, but that can easily be fixed with proper work. He actually reminds me a little bit of Lane Johnson in size and play, but he’s simply not as NFL ready. Haeg would be a starting guard and/or capable backup for his first season or two before eventually taking over as the starting right tackle when Lane Johnson moves over permanently. There is probably going to be some questions as to if he can handle the increased skill and competitiveness of the NFL, but Haeg has all the tools to succeed in the NFL, assuming he continues to add to his frame.
Round 3: The Eagles still need to address the QB position, and taking Christian Hackenberg here would be ideal. I’m sure you’re all looking at the screen as if I’m a total idiot right now, but hear me out. Christian Hackenberg is not a bad QB. He absolutely has all the tools to succeed as a starting QB in the NFL. So why was he not so great in college? Simple, his O-line was absolutely horrendous. I’ve been watching tape of college football for years, and it was easily one of the worst offensive lines I’ve ever seen. Hackenberg usually has 2-3 defenders on him in a matter of seconds. Not even Tom Brady would have much success with the Penn State O-line. They’re awful. So yes, it does make sense to take him here. When given time, Hackenberg can make good throws. He’s got good size (6’4” 223 lbs.), and the more tape I watch, the more I see that he’s got the fundamentals down well. He makes good pre-snap decisions, and the constant pressure means he has good movement in the pocket, and the ability to make throws on the run. In short to medium throws, his accuracy is very good. Obviously though, he’s not a perfect prospect. His accuracy on deep throws leaves something to be desired, and his release isn’t very fast. He also needs to learn when to keep the ball, and when to just throw it away and avoid a sack. But the Eagles aren’t drafting Hackenberg to start day one. Given the proper 2-3 years of development, he’ll be able to step in and be the QB that fans are looking for. Please understand I’m not saying Hackenberg is a perfect prospect. He definitely needs work, but the Eagles need a QB, and he’s a good option.
Round 4: The Eagles are going back to the offensive line here, taking guard Isaac Seumalo. A 4-star center recruit out of high school, Seumalo had offers from all over the nation before choosing Oregon State. While he initially started at center, a rash of injuries to both the Oregon State O-line and to Seumalo himself forced him to move all over the place. By the end of his college career, Seumalo played every position on the O-line (except left guard). Seumalo suffered a broken foot in college that required two surgeries, and is still a cause for concern. But Seumalo is a mean son of a bitch, and extremely tough. His size and build allows him to be tough and successful at the point of attack, both at the snap and of the second level. He’s got good balance, lateral quickness, and strong hands makes him hard to elude. He’s also very smart, positioning himself in the right place to shut down defenders. He’ll be a career guard but that’s probably something the Eagles could use. If the Eagles wanted to, they could plug him a a starter immediately (he’s very pro-ready) and have a line that looks something like this:
LT: Jason Peters – LG: Isaac Seumalo – C: Jason Kelce – RG: Brandon Brooks -RT: Lane Johnson
That is a huge step up from what we had last year, and a line that I feel would be extremely dominant.
Round 5: I’m in no way ready to write off the Eagles young trio of receivers, and I think eventually they’ll prove to be a dominant group. But a team can always use another wide receiver and Cody Core out of Old Miss would be a good 5th round target. The Eagles are lacking a big, physical receiver and at 6’3” and 205 lbs, Core gives that to the Eagles. He’s got large hands (10 and 3/8th inches), and good focus. He’s not afraid to go up and get the football, and tends to win 50/50 balls. He’s also pretty fast (he ran a 4.47 forty) which means he’ll be able to stretch the field well. He certainly needs some development, but he’d be a great addition to the young group of players the Eagles can put forward. He’s capable of stepping up when he needs to, and to me, is a sleeper in this year’s draft. He can also be a valuable special teamer, which is important for a mid round receiver. My main problem with Core is his stance on the line, and first couple steps. They can definitely be better, which would give me more explosiveness off the line, but it’s not a huge issue.
Round 5: The Eagles have a potential starting trio of linebacker’s in Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, and Mychal Kendricks; but are seriously lacking in depth. Blake Martinez would be a good choice here. Martinez definitely looks the part of an ILB, with a big frame and broad shoulders. He’s a good run defender, and decent in coverage, but really struggles in pass-rushing. He’s also a little taller than the average linebacker (6’2”), and doesn’t really possess the needed straight line speed to beat backs to the edge, and can allow big plays in this way. He’s not a day one starter, and will need some development time, but he can be a capable backup while he develops. He’s a safe pick late in the draft.
Round 6: The Eagles appear to have locked in their starting safeties, with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. But it never hurts to have depth, and Kent London is a very interesting prospect. He’s got good size, at 6’2”, good hands and good speed. He’s got a propensity for making big hits, and always seems to be around ball. He’s just undeveloped. Given time, and the right coaching staff, London could easily become a “diamond in the rough”. One of my personal favorite players, I think that he’s got a hell of a lot of potential, and that the Eagles can give him both the right coaching staff, and development time to be a successful NFL safety.
Round 7: After Kelce’s somewhat of a down season last year, it makes sense to add some camp competition at center, and Mike Matthews is as logical as any other 7th round center. He’s on the smaller side at 6’2” and only 294 pounds. But he’s got a great attitude and really pays attention to the fundamentals of the position. I’d doubt he makes the roster, by the could compete for a spot of the practice squad.
Round 7: While the Eagles are pretty stacked along the defensive line, it never hurts to have depth, and Luther Maddy would certainly do that. Maddy is a great fit as a 3 technique in a 4-3 defense He’s quick, and is extremely disruptive, making lots of plays behind the lines of scrimmage. He’s solid as both as pass rusher and a run stopper, and is capable of making big plays all over the field. His major concerns are simply height, at only 6-foot, he can be pushed around by bigger, sturdier offensive lineman. Still though, I could easily see Maddy making either the roster, or getting a spot on the practice squad. The talent is there, as well as the willingness to improve.
Round 1 – RB Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State University)
Round 3 – OL Joe Haeg (North Dakota State)
Round 3 – QB Christian Hackenberg (Pennsylvania State University)
Round 4 – G Isaac Seumalo (Oregon State University)
Round 5 – WR Cody Core (University of Mississippi)
Round 5 – ILB Blake Martinez (Stanford University)
Round 6 – DB Kent London (Southeastern Oklahoma State University)
Round 7 – C Mike Matthews (Texas A&M University)
Round 7 – DT Luther Maddy (Virginia Tech University)