March 28, 2017
The Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine, and free agency are all in the book, and once the NFL Annual Meetings in Phoenix wrap up tomorrow, there will be nothing left until the 2017 NFL Draft at the end of April.
And so, let's do one last Eagles only seven-round mock draft, until the next one (ha), which will probably be a day before the draft. In case you missed our first three editions, you can find them here:
Onto version 4.0:
Since 2009, the Eagles have traded up four times. On those four occasions, they drafted Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and of course, Carson Wentz. When you look at the Eagles' recent draft history, they have had by far the most success when they have been aggressive and traded up for a player in the first round.
If there's a player I can see Eagles targeting in a trade-up scenario this year, it would be Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore.
Lattimore is only a redshirt sophomore who has participated in under 20 games in his career at OSU, partly due to hamstring issues. 2016 was Lattimore's only season as a starter, when he had 41 tackles, four interceptions, and nine pass breakups. Lattimore is a phenomenal athlete, doing a great job of staying in phase with opposing receivers out of tight press coverage.
A highlight reel:
According to cfbfilmroom.com, Lattimore was targeted 36 times in 2016, and gave up just 13 receptions, or approximately one per game. He allowed one TD while collecting four INTs. He was also credited with 36 tackles, and just one missed tackle. That's outstanding.
Lattimore was a player of interest at the Combine's medical checks because he had surgery on his hamstrings. Assuming everything checked out, he'll be long gone by the time the Eagles pick at 14. If teams drafting ahead of the Eagles are concerned with his medicals and he falls a bit, the Eagles will have to decide if Lattimore's exciting talent is worth the injury risk as well as the cost to move up.
The Eagles have eight draft picks both in 2017 and 2018, as well as tradeable players such as Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks. In the 2012 NFL Draft, Cox was not expected to fall to 12, but when he did, the Eagles made the move up from 15 to get him. If Lattimore fell to, say, 10-ish, they could certainly try to be aggressive once again.
We published a thousand-word piece on Mixon yesterday, which you can go check out for more detail, but the "too long; didn't read" version is that there isn't a running back in this draft that better fits what the Eagles need than Mixon from an on-field perspective. He's a first-round talent with size, speed and receiving ability who could help complete the Eagles' offense. However, he comes with "baggage," if you can sum up a disgusting video of Mixon punching a woman as hard as he can in the face "baggage."
Ideally, you'd prefer to get a better "bad guy discount" than the second round, but if the Eagles want Mixon, this is where they would have to take him, and obviously, Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas would need the approval of Jeffrey Lurie.
Over the last two seasons, Willis has 21 sacks, 32.5 tackles for loss, and 7 forced fumbles. Obviously, that is great production. He also tested incredibly well at the Combine:
Willis will have to develop a wider repertoire of pass rush moves at the next level, but the athleticism is there, as is the hustle, and that is something I believe Jim Schwartz values highly.
Sutton is a highly athletic corner who does a good job of getting his hands on the football. Unfortunately, he's 5'11 with 30" arms (that's really short), and he only ran a 4.52 at the Combine. Add all that together and Sutton is probably a slot corner in the NFL, but he can be a really good one.
Sutton doubles as an outstanding punt returner. In 2015, he led the NCAA with a whopping 18.7 yards per punt return on 25 attempts, including two scores. Sutton fits a need both at corner as well as at punt returner, where the Eagles will eventually have to replace Darren Sproles.
A highlight reel:
As we've noted previously, in addition to needing outside corners, the Eagles need a slot corners as well. To begin, the Eagles' lack of depth at slot corner was exposed last season when Malcolm Jenkins was forced to drop down into the slot, negating his big play ability on the back end to some degree. Also, if you look around at the rest of the NFC East, the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins have three very good slot receivers in Cole Beasley, Sterling Shepard, and Jamison Crowder, not the mention that Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham often line up in the slot as well.
Henderson is a less-heralded receiver in this class, but he put up great numbers in 2016. A look at his career numbers:
Louisiana Tech runs a spread offense conducive to big numbers, however, note Henderson's career 19.6 yards per catch. Had Henderson blazed the 40 at the Combine, you might have seen the hype pick up on him. However, he ran a 4.46, which isn't bad, but probably will keep him as a Day 3 guy.
Griffin has good size at 6'0, 194, and he ran a 4.38 in addition to other impressive numbers at the Combine:
Griffin has a cool backstory. He and his brother Shaquem (who only has one hand) both enrolled at UCF, when Shaquill had offers from schools like Alabama, but the brothers were adamant that they were a package deal.
Griffin is an aggressive tackler that Schwartz will like, and has the size-speed combo that will allow him to play on the outside in the pros.
At 6'1, 296, Smart doesn't have the size to be a three-down player in the NFL, but he is a disruptive, penetrating player who can fit in an attack-style defensive front like the one employed by Schwartz.
A highlight reel:
In 2016, Smart had 5.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. The Eagles' depth at DT took a hit when Bennie Logan bolted for Kansas City in free agency. Smart can be a rotational player to add to the mix.
Here's McDermott's scouting report, via Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
SOURCES TELL US: "Just not strong enough to play in our league. Unless he finds more core (strength), I can't see him being able to survive against power." -- AFC South scout
BOTTOM LINE: McDermott's impressive high school resume is usually an attention-grabber for NFL offensive line coaches looking for athletes. However, his lack of functional core strength is a debilitating weakness that could make it tough for him to maintain an NFL career. McDermott's size will likely get him drafted, but there are quite a few holes in his game that are in desperate need of work.
McDermott's measurables are very appealing:
If the Eagles believe they can IR McDermott with a hangnail they way they did with seventh-round pick Alex McCalister last year, he could make sense as a player they stick in the weight room for a year before they have any expectation of him making the 53-man roster as an OT reserve, which they don't need at the moment, but will in a year.