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April 05, 2016

Eagles only mock draft, version 5.0

Eagles NFL
040516JaredGoff Ron Jenkins/AP

Jared Goff is skinny, but he has proven he can take a pounding.

Getting tired of mock drafts yet? Not to worry. We're only 23 days away from the draft. It'll all be over soon. This will be the last Eagles-only mock draft we publish until mayyyybe a day or two before the draft.

To note, for each new mock draft we have published we have not duplicated any players at all. So if you missed any, you can go back and take a look at some previous versions, with players who also make sense for the Eagles (or made sense at the time):

Version 1.0

Version 2.0

Version 3.0

Version 4.0

Round 1 - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (6'4, 215)

In the last 20 years, the Eagles have drafted in the top 10 three times, and only once (Lane Johnson at pick No. 4 in 2013) since they took Corey Simon sixth overall in 2000. I note that to emphasize how rare it can be for teams to be in a position to draft a quarterback that highly. In my opinion, both Carson Wentz of North Dakota State and Goff are worthy of a top 10 pick.

Last week, we published an "Eagles big board," which is essentially how I would order the Eagles' draft board if I were Howie Roseman. Goff came in as the No. 2 player on the board, behind Wentz.

I like Wentz more than Goff, although Goff has certain traits that are better. He has outstanding pocket presence and a very accurate arm, but lacks what Wentz has in terms of arm strength and mobility. 

While Goff almost looks frail (comparatively speaking), he has also faced his share of pressure from opposing defenses. He is more battle-tested in terms of being able to throw under duress and getting up from big hits. In each of the last three years, Goff has attempted at least 500 passes. Wentz has attempted 612 for his entire career.

In that sense, many believe Goff is more ready to step in at the NFL level and play right away, while Wentz is perhaps a year away but offers a higher ceiling. The "pro-ready" aspect is less of a bonus for a team like the Eagles, who have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under their control for at least the next two years. But certainly, the case can be made that any quarterback could benefit from a year of grooming before they're thrown to the wolves.

The Eagles made it fairly clear that they have questions about Bradford as the long-term answer at quarterback when they only re-upped him on a two-year deal. Goff could be that long-term solution to what has been an incredibly unstable quarterback position for the Eagles since the days of Donovan McNabb.

Round 3 - Christian Westerman (6'3, 298)

Westerman is a former big-time high school recruit (27th in the country by, who is an athletic freak. He's such a freak, in fact, that he made FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman's preseason list of freaks:

A former five-star recruit who landed at Auburn, Westerman came back home to ASU and settled in as one of the best guards in the Pac-12. The 6-4, 301-pounder is also one of the strongest men in college football. Check out the video of the 22-year-old Westerman banging out 20 reps on the bench with 315 pounds last month. A year ago, Westerman also bench pressed 225 pounds a team-best 41 times.

Predictably, Westerman had a good showing at the Combine, however, as you'll see in the graph below, he's a bit undersized:

Westerman reminds me a lot of Evan Mathis, in that he is a beast in the weight room, and wins on the football field with athleticism and technique. However, despite his impressive weight room measurables, he is not a player who is often going to move NFL defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage against their will. The Eagles have that on the other side of the line in Brandon Brooks. On the left side, they can add a player here who can do more in the screen game and pulling on outside runs.

Round 3 - Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State (6'3, 301)

In the Eagles' former 3-4 scheme, Washington would not have been a consideration. However, as a one-gap penetrating DT, he makes sense in an aggressive, attacking 4-3 scheme under Jim Schwartz. Washington's interview process will be important, as he was arrested for solicitation last December and suspended for the Buckeyes' bowl game.

In a wide-nine scheme, Washington can use his lateral agility to beat interior offensive linemen.

Round 4 - Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin (6'1, 244)

Schobert finished his season with 10 sacks as an edge rusher in Wisconsin's defense, but at 6'2, 236, he's probably going to have to transition to a 4-3 linebacker in the NFL.

Schobert is a good athlete, so I don't foresee that being an issue. Against Iowa last season, he nearly single-handedly wrecked the second half of the game, when he had 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, several additional knockdowns, and he killed the QB while throwing, which led to a pick. This is worth your time:

The Eagles have very little in the way of linebacker depth. There's Najee Goode, and not much else.

 Nigel BradhamJordan Hicks Mychal Kendricks 
 Brandon Hepburn Deontae Skinner Najee Goode

The Eagles are almost certain to add linebacker depth in the draft, and Schobert would be good value with the first pick in the fourth round.

Round 5 - Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama (6'1, 210)

Drake was stuck behind Heisman Trophy winning Derrick Henry in 2015, and had to find other ways to get on the field. Alabama used Drake in a variety of ways, including as a running back, a slot receiver, a kick returner, and on coverage teams. He's not an every-down back in the NFL, but he has some Brian Westbrook-like qualities to his game, in that he's versatile and tougher than you might expect.

In his three seasons at Bama, Drake averaged 12.4 yards per reception, which is excellent for a running back. If the Eagles were to draft Drake, they'd still likely have to add another back to the stable in 2017, but Drake could serve as an eventual replacement for some of the things the aging Darren Sproles gives you offensively.

Round 5 - Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina (6'5, 324)

Shell is a relative of Art Shell, the former OT and head coach of the Raiders. Shell played both left tackle and right tackle at South Carolina, which is a trait Doug Pederson specifically mentioned as valuable when asked what he likes in his offensive linemen. He was also a four-year starter in the SEC, so he has extensive experience facing off against now-NFL pass rushers. In the NFL, Shell is probably best suited at RT. 

With the Eagles' OTs set for 2016, Shell can sit for a year or two, and if he develops, he could be an option to take over Lane Johnson's old RT spot when Johnson eventually replaces Jason Peters at LT.

Round 6 - Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech (5'6, 161)

The Eagles specifically targeted speed when they signed Chris Givens in free agency. Additionally, the receivers they have reportedly had in for pre-draft visits to the NovaCare Complex so far have been speed guys.

Which brings us to Jakeem Grant. While Grant is likely to be the smallest player drafted, he is also the fastest. Enjoy:

Round 7 - Dan Vitale, FB, Northwestern (6'1, 239)

Super Bowl.

OK, but seriously, though, the Eagles are likely going to have a fullback on the roster this year, and while Trey Burton will get a crack at it as well (I personally think Burton has more value as a tight end), I could see the Eagles adding a fullback either very late in the draft or as an undrafted free agent.

Vitale is an intriguing fit in a West Coast offense as he caught 135 passes over his career at Northwestern, and tested very well at the Combine:

Round 7 - Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida (6'1, 232)

Here's Morrison's overview, via Dane Brugler of CBS:

Arguably the most intense player at the college level, Morrison wasn't supposed to play the first half of the 2015 season due to a serious knee injury in the Gators' bowl game last January. He was expected to miss 10-12 months, but was back on the field in only six months and has played at a very high level as a senior.

Do yourself a favor and just watch Morrison's game against Ole Miss, and you'll see what Brugler is talking about when he says he's an intense player. I mean, watch this crazy bastard throw his body around. He's in on everything:

Sooooo... How is he available in the seventh round in this scenario? Well, he ran a 5.1 40 at his pro day, which is going to raise huge concerns about a serious knee injury Morrison suffered in 2014. While he came back to play in 2015, Morrison did not have the same speed. 

But in the seventh round? Hell yes. Just stick him on special teams and let him destroy people.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski