Round 1: Gareon Conley, CB – Conley is a do it all corner who can play anywhere you need him too. After redshirting his freshman year, Conley played in all 15 games as a redshirt freshman, before becoming a starter as a sophomore. His consistent play and lack of injuries gives him plenty of experience as a high level corner against NFL level talent. Over his college career he allowed just 37% of passes to be completed, which includes just 14 receptions his final season. His tape shows a physical corner and at 6’0” 195 lbs with 33 inch arms, Conley has ideal NFL size and length. With impressive tape backed up by his stats and his combine numbers, Conley can be the plug and play starter the Eagles need at cornerback. The biggest knock on Conley is his tackling. His form needs some improvement, and you’d like to see more consistency and effort in some of his tackles, but tackling can be taught. The Eagles need a guy who can step in a be the number 1 corner the team has been missing since the days of Astante Samuel and Conley is their best bet at finding that.
Round 2: Cordrea Tankersley, CB – The last time the Eagles invested heavily in the cornerback position through the NFL draft was way back in 2002, when they drafted Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown in the first two round. The team back in 2002 is remarkably similar to the team today. With a young QB, powerful offensive and defensive lines, and strong safety and linebacker play, the Eagles drafted two corners to complete their defense. Throw in future franchise running back Brian Westbrook in the third round and the move paid off. Signing TO soon after, the Eagles went on to play in the Super Bowl just two seasons later. The Eagles might look to replicate that move this year. Paring Tankersley with Conley gives the Eagles two long, versatile corners to grow together. At 6’1”, 199 lbs, and with 32 inch arms, the Eagles could field a scary ball hawking secondary that’s going to be tough for opposing offenses to play against. Both can play in a variety of scheme’s, fit what Jim Schwartz like’s in his corners (for the most part), and have a well round play styles. With competition in the slot, the Eagles can complete their defense and take pressure off Wentz and the offense to win games.
Round 3: Chris Wormley, DL – Three defensive picks in the first three rounds may seem like a lot. But it’s elite defenses the win Super Bowl’s and the Eagles defense isn’t far off. Wormley is an impressive athlete who can play both inside and outside. His impressive bend and agility means he can easily set the edge on rushing plays, before kicking inside as a powerful pass rusher. With great instincts and reaction time, Wormly always seems to be near the ball. His coordinators rave about his leadership, football IQ, and ability to be coached. While he’ll need some coaching to help improve his overall consistency and timing, clear starters and some depth already on the Eagles defensive line means he can adjust to NFL play speed while gaining experience in limited snaps. Wormly will be able to refine his game and learn from top players like Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, and has the potential to be versatile, consistent playmaker for the Eagles.
Round 4: Josh Reynolds, WR – Despite signing two wide receivers in free agency, the Eagles don’t have a clear long term solution at the position. Josh Reynolds will help solve that. With impressive ball tracking ability and ball skills (second best 50/50 receiver in this class), Reynolds is both a deep threat and a red-zone target. He’s got good size and speed and has both the athleticism and ball skills to work anywhere on the field. He’ll need to improve his footwork and utilize different releases, but he’s a team player with the work ethic and blocking ability to become a solid number 2 receiver for the Eagles, and is a good succession plan for Torrey Smith.
Round 4: Donnel Pumphrey, RB – The Eagles need a new running back and could find a mid-round steal in Pumphrey. A smaller back (5’8” and 176 lbs), there are valid concerns that Pumphrey’s size will limit him in the NFL, but he’s a good match for the Eagles offense and is always a threat to make big plays. Pumphrey pairs quick feet with good vision and patience in a way that makes it seem like he always making plays on tape. He knows how to use his size and footwork to his advantage, and even though he’s small, he’s very good at lowering his shoulder and picking up yards after contact. You could compare him to Darren Sproles, but Pumphrey is a better rusher than Sproles is. The Eagles met with Pumphrey at the Senior Bowl, and with Duce Stanley and Darren Sproles to help him along, Pumphrey can be a legit RB1 in the NFL.
Round 5: Tanner Vallejo, LB – Whether or not Mychal Kenricks is on the team this coming season remains to be seen, but the Eagles still need a linebacker, whether it’s for depth or not. Vallejo would bring a nice combination of instinct, tackling, and coverage ability to the Eagles, and is a solid run stopper who’s very good at making open field tackles. Vallejo’s biggest weakness is his general lack of pass rushing ability, but he would rarely be asked to do that playing under Jim Schwartz. While he’s by no means a plug and play kind of guy, he’s a good fit for the wide-9 Schwartz uses, and could be a solid weak side linebacker for the Eagles, solidifying the position and giving the Eagles a versatile group.
Round 6: Dede Westbrook, WR – More wide receiver depth, the Eagles should take a chance on drafting Dede Westbrook late in the draft. A top receiver for me talent wise, Westbrook simply has too many question marks to be drafted earlier than this. But he’s one of the more complete receivers in this draft, and combines good speed and footwork to get open all over the field. He’s got good hands and could play outside or in the slot. He’ll need time to adjust to the physicality of the NFL, but this is a low risk high reward type of pick.
Round 7: Mitch Leidner, QB – The Eagles landed some potential steals in the 7th round of last years draft, but they need another QB for several reasons. First off, they’re going to have to stop paying veteran QB’s big money to be back up’s eventually, and what’s more, there is nothing wrong with a little competition. While Leidner may end up being nothing more than a camp body, it makes sense for the Eagles to add another QB for OTA’s and training camp.