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April 27, 2018

20 players who make sense for the Eagles in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft

After trading out of the first round into the second, perhaps a little further than some envisioned, the Philadelphia Eagles currently hold the 20th pick in round 2, at 52nd overall. And so, let's list 20 players who make sense for the Eagles with that pick.

• Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: Guice averaged 7.8 yards per carry during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Obviously, that is excellent. His 5.3 yards per carry average in 2017? Not nearly as impressive, though Guice battled through some injuries. Additionally, in three seasons, Guice has just 32 career receptions, although that could be a symptom of LSU not using their backs much in the passing game. Guice is a violent runner with good cutting ability in the hole, as well as great balance and change of direction at top speed. Guice would have been a slam-dunk first round pick, if not for personality concerns. Where he lands will be one of the more interesting story lines of this draft.

• Ronald Jones, RB, USC: The Eagles have a bigger, bruising back with some explosion in Jay Ajayi, as well as something of a well-rounded back in Corey Clement. What they lack is a home run threat, which is what Ronald Jones could be in Philly's offense.

• Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: When Georgia lost Todd Gurley for the season in 2014, Chubb came in and the Bulldogs' run game didn't suffer all that much. In his first five games in 2014, playing second fiddle to Gurley, Chubb only had 31 carries for 224 yards and 2 TDs. As the starter, Chubb lit it up in the final eight games, carrying the ball 219 times for 1547 yards (8.1 YPC) and 14 TDs. He looked like an elite prospect, until he shredded his knee in 2015. In 2016 after returning from his devastating injury, his explosive cutting ability and home run potential wasn't quite what it used to be. In 2017, Chubb looked to be a little closer to what he once was, a year removed from his injury, but is not the elite prospect he once was. Another concern would be Chubb's receiving numbers, as he had just 31 receptions in four years at Georgia. Chubb has a low center of gravity, running with good power and vision, but his projection to the NFL is difficult one because of his medical history.

• Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: With a 6'3 frame and a wingspan of 79 ¼", Sutton has a large catch radius, and impressive measurables to go along with his size. Sutton is adept at winning 50-50 opportunities, like current Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Having two bigger receivers would pose matchup problems for opposing defenses that lack a pair of bigger corners.

• Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Kirk was a productive receiver as soon as he arrived on campus at Texas A&M, where he put up over 1,000 yards as a receiver his freshman year in a crowded wide receiver room. At 5'11, 200 pounds, Kirk is built more like a running back. Think Josh Huff, but with actual receiving ability, as in, polished routes and good hands. In addition to his receiving ability, Kirk is a star returner. Over his career, Kirk had 7 return touchdowns (6 punt returns, 1 kick return).

• James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State: Over the last three years, Washington had over 4,000 receiving yards and 33 TDs on 19.8 yards per reception. He is the type of deep threat the Eagles have looked for in recent years, and with Mike Wallace on a one-year contract, Washington could make sense as the long-term field-stretching outside receiver.

• Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis: Two years ago, we profiled a lot of quarterbacks, including Paxton Lynch. In watching Lynch, I can remember thinking, "this WR #3 is really good." It turns out that was Anthony Miller, who has put up big numbers at Memphis. Miller runs good routes, he has excellent hands, good body control, he tries to break tackles, and he gets yards after the catch. He's going to be a good professional wide receiver.

• Deon Cain, WR, ClemsonCain is the next in line of really good receivers to come out of Clemson. Cain, like Washington above, has good speed and is a threat to take the top off a defense. Additionally, he has good hands, great body control, and is thought of as a good blocker.

• Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State: At a lower level of college football, Goedert dominated, which is what you would expect of a legitimate NFL prospect. In 2016, Geodert caught 92 passes for 1293 yards and 11 TDs. In 2017, he had 72 catches for 1,111 yards and 7 TDs. He has a long highlight reel of outstanding catches, and could be an added weapon and matchup problem for Carson Wentz, especially in the red zone.

• Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State: Gesicki is a local kid from Manahawkin, N.J. (near Long Beach Island), where he was a three-sport star in football, basketball and volleyball. As with players like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron and other basketball-oriented tight ends, you can see Gesicki's hoops skills transfer onto the football field. He is an extremely athletic tight end with rare jumping ability who excels at winning 50-50 balls and should be an immediate impact player in the red zone.

• Connor Williams, OT, Texas: After missing a big chunk of the 2017 season with a knee injury, and then not playing at his best once he did return, some of the shine is apparently off of Williams, who was at one time being projected as a top 10 pick. Williams had mixed results at the Combine. His athletic measurables were fantastic, but the tape measure revealed his 33" T-Rex arms, which will scare off teams who may not view him as a viable tackle prospect as a result. If Williams pans out as an offensive tackle in the NFL, great. If not, I believe his floor is as an athletic quality starting guard or center.

• Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh: O'Neill enrolled at Pitt as a tight end before moving to RT initially, eventually finishing out his college career at LT. That LT-RT versatility will be a check mark in his favor with Doug Pederson. As you might expect of a converted tight end, O'Neill has excellent athleticism for an offensive tackle (though he does have Burger King hands). While O'Neill is athletically gifted, he is an unfinished product whose technique needs refinement, and many analysts believe he needs to add some strength in the weight room. For the Eagles' purposes, O'Neill is a perfect fit, in that Jeff Stoutland will have plenty of time to coach up his mechanical deficiencies while O'Neill adds some bulk.

• Martinas Rankin, OT/OG/C, Mississippi State: Rankin was a first-team All SEC selection at LT in 2017, but is probably too small (6'4, 308) to play tackle in the pros. Many believe that Rankin is versatile enough to play all five spots along the offensive line, similarly to Isaac Seumalo coming out of college.

• Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon: Crosby was a starter along the Ducks' offensive line for four years dating back to the 2014 season, when Oregon played in the National Championship Game. He has experience both at left tackle and right tackle, and could probably also play guard at the next level, which in theory should interest the Eagles. Crosby puts defenders on their asses. He's powerful in the run game, and very physical both in pass protection and drive blocking. However, it's pretty clear to see that he doesn't exactly have cat-like quickness, which will pose problems against speed rushers in the NFL.

• Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan: At, 6'1, 292, Hurst is far from a prototypical defensive tackle. In 2017, Hurst had 59 tackles (13 for loss), 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Those numbers aren't great, but make no mistake, Maurice Hurst is really good player. He's quick, fast, he sheds blocks, and he constantly makes plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

• Lorenzo Carter, Edge, Georgia: At 6'5, 250, Carter is a size-length freak, and a former five-star recruit out of high school. However, his sack numbers at Georgia are unimpressive. In four seasons there, he had just 14 total sacks, though he does have upside. The Eagles took a chance on a similar speed-length freak in Alex McCalister, though Carter is going to require more of an investment than a seventh-round pick. At 250 pounds, Carter would have to put on weight in the NFL to play DE. The Eagles would have to determine if he can do that without losing explosiveness. Or maybe with his 4.5 speed, he's a linebacker in a 4-3? Difficult prospect to project to the NFL.

• Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State: In 2017, Leonard was the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, racking up 124 tackles (14.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 INTs and 2 blocked kicks. He is an interesting prospect who fits the speed profile Jim Schwartz looks for in his linebackers.

• Donte Jackson, CB, LSU: Jackson, a track star who ran a 4.32 at the 2018 NFL Combine, is the latest LSU defensive back who will go early in the draft. He has outstanding athleticism, but is undersized at 178 pounds, and projects to the slot at the next level.

• Justin Reid, S, Stanford: Reid is a versatile, do-everything safety with very good ability in coverage, who has a lot of the same traits as Malcolm Jenkins. He could play in the slot early in his career, and could serve as the long-term replacement for Jenkins, whenever his career winds down.

• Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama: When you think of 6'3, 214 safeties, you think of thumpers who play close to the line of scrimmage. While Harrison will make big hits, he is also skilled in coverage, as Bama used him as a deep half safety, with some assignments against some of the better tight ends they faced. 

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