April 29, 2017
With their first three picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Eagles loaded up on defense, selecting Tennessee DE Derek Barnett, Washington CB Sidney Jones, and West Virginia CB Rasul Douglas. On day three, the Birds added a pair of players on offense in North Carolina WR Mack Hollins and San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey.
In case you missed any of those write-ups, you can find them here:
In the fifth round, the Eagles have one pick, at 155 overall. It is the 11th pick in the fifth round. Here are my top 20 options for the Eagles in round five of the 2017 NFL Draft:
• Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin: In 2016, he had a heavy workload, carrying the ball 314 times for 1375 yards and 15 TDs. When you watch him run, the obvious thing you'll notice is that he will break a lot of tackles. That is a something the Eagles won't have much of at the running back position when they release Ryan Mathews. However, he was a non-factor in the passing game, his Combine performance was bad, and he comes with character issues. He doesn't quite fit what the Eagles are looking for in a runner, but as an added back to throw on the pile, he would make sense in the late rounds.
• Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina: Hood is a big 5'11, 232 pound back who probably only projects to the next level as a short yardage guy because of his lack of speed. Hood is also a good blocker, so perhaps he can double as an occasional fullback.
• Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia: Over the last two seasons, Gibson has 80 catches for 1,838 yards (for a ridiculous 23.0 yards per catch) and 17 TDs. He ran a disappointing 4.50 at the Combine, but he clearly has deep ball skills and excellent tracking ability. Gibson is a one-trick pony, but it's a pretty neat trick.
• Jake Butt, TE, Michigan: Butt is far from an elite athlete, but he has reliable hands, he makes the most of his limited athleticism with subtly good route running, and he's not going to shy away from contact once he gets the ball in his hands. The downside? Butt tore his ACL in Michigan's bowl game against Florida State, and there's a decent chance he'll be a complete non-factor in his rookie season.
• George Kittle, TE, Iowa: Kittle has good hands, and he ran a 4.52 at the Combine. In watching him, he also shows a lot of tenacity as a blocker. Kittle is only eight pounds lighter than Brent Celek. With Celek likely to be a cap casualty next offseason, Kittle is a guy the Eagles can try to bulk up a bit to be an inline blocker in 2018 and beyond.
• Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh: Bisnowaty started in 43 games in his college career, all at left tackle, however, he'll likely move to right tackle in the pros. The words you'll often see to describe Bisnowaty are physical, scrappy, tough, etc. That's often a kind way of saying a guy isn't athletic, but he tries hard. In Bisnowaty's case, he has decent athleticism and he excels in the run game. Doug Pederson likes the scrappy types. When asked what he looks for in offensive linemen, Pederson once said, "Guys that are athletic who can get out on the perimeter and run, aggressive up front, have a little, as they say, 'piss and vinegar' in their neck are guys that you look for." That's Bisnowaty.
• Dan Skipper, OT, Arkansas: At Arkansas, Skipper played both at LT and RT, which could make him useful as a swing tackle. Also, at 6'10, he would have some usefulness on the field goal block team. Over his college career, Skipper had 7 blocked kicks.
• Eric Magnuson, OG/OT, Michigan: At Michigan, Magnuson was slated to be the Wolverine's left tackle, but that never happened. Instead, he started at guard and right tackle during his college career (RT in 2016), while getting reps at left tackle in practice. He is also thought to have the requisite intelligence to play center. Magnuson even played a little tight end, changing his jersey number for a short time to No. 81. He was used mainly as an extra blocker at TE, similarly to the way the Eagles used Matt Tobin and Seumalo in jumbo sets this past season. Magnuson could be a player of interest in the middle rounds who provides good depth at multiple positions, with his ceiling being a starter at RT.
• Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State: Kazee is a lesser known player on a very good San Diego State team who does a great job attacking the football in the air. Over the last two seasons, he has 15 interceptions. He also added three forced fumbles and is aggressive in run support. At 5'10, 184, Kazee is projected to be a slot corner at the NFL level. Ron Brooks took a pay cut to stay with the team in 2017. Kazee could be a long-term solution at slot corner.
• Corn Elder, CB, Miami: Despite his small size, Elder is a physical tackler who also contributes on special teams for the Hurricanes. In 2016, Elder had 76 tackles (4.5 for loss), 3 sacks, 1 INT, and 12 pass breakups. In 2015, he had 41 tackles (4 for loss), 2 sacks, 2 INTs, and 11 pass breakups.
• Marquez White, CB, Florida State: White was very good in 2015 at his corner spot in the Seminoles' defense. That season, he allowed a grand total of just nine completions, 131 yards and no touchdowns on 28 total targets. In 2016, while he was still good, he didn't have quite as much success, as was overshadowed by sophomore Tarvarus McFadden, who led the nation with eight interceptions. White's tackling will have to improve, as CFBfilmroom.com has him down for 27 tackles and 7 missed tackles in 2016. That won't be acceptable in the pros. Still, in a Florida State secondary that has been absolutely loaded with great defensive backs, White is flying under the radar a bit, but he could be a good coverage corner at the next level.
• Jeremy Cutrer, CB, Middle Tenneessee State: Cutrer has great length at, 6'1, with long arms. Over the last two seasons, he has six interceptions and 23 pass breakups. He has good ball skills, and does a nice job anticipating routes. However, he is extraordinarily skinny, which is understandable considering he was once homeless and has a crazy (but inspiring) backstory. He has tried to add weight at MTSU, and will likely continue to in the pros. Cutrer gets his hands on a lot of passes, but is a bit of an ankle diver as a tackler.
• Desmond King, S, Iowa: After watching King get roasted all week at the Senior Bowl, I don't think he is long for corner in the NFL, at least on the outside. I think he'll be a safety who can also play slot corner, and he may even slip to Day 3 of the draft. King has good ball skills, as he racked up 13 pass breakups and tied for second in the NCAA with 8 INTs in 2015. He had three picks (one for a pick-six) and seven pass breakups in 2016. He was also Iowa's primary kick and punt returner, putting up decent numbers, but never taking one back for a touchdown. I don't think you'd view King as an answer at returner, but he'd be another guy who can do it.
• Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson: Johnson has a nose for the football, collecting five interceptions this past season for Clemson. He also says dumb stuff. For example, before the Tigers' playoff game against Ohio State, Johnson said that OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett has a weak arm. Prior to Clemson's game against Louisville, Johnson would only refer to star quarterback Lamar Jackson as "No. 8." Dumb? Confident? Potato, potahto. However you see it, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves him some finger-wagging defensive backs, and Johnson could be an option in the late rounds.
• Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern: As a sophomore in 2015, Walker filled up the stat sheet, compiling 120 tackles, 20.5 of which were tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a touchdown. In 2016, he had 105 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 1 INT, 4 forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Very underrated player who has flown way under the radar.
• Steven Taylor, LB, Houston: Over the last three seasons, Taylor has 242 tackles, 22.5 sacks, 39.5 tackles for loss, 7 FFs, and 3 INT. However, he's only 6'1, 225, and limited athletically.
• Carroll Phillips, DE/LB, Illinois: In 2016, Phillips had 56 tackles, 9 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. Where he would fit with the Eagles is unclear. He could potentially be a situational pass rusher early in his career, with the idea of trying to add bulk to his thin frame, or the Eagles could view him as a SAM linebacker in their 4-3.
• Keionta Davis, DE, Tennessee-Chattanooga: In 2015, Davis had 13.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. In 2016, his production dipped a bit, but was still good, when he had 10.5 sacks. Davis is a bulkier DE who may interest the Eagles as a rotational defensive end.
• Hunter Dimick, DE, Utah: On the season, Dimick was third in the nation with 14.5 sacks, including a five-sack performance against Arizona State. He also has 21 total tackles for loss and six batted passes. While his sack total is impressive, Dimick is more of a hustle type than a guy projected to put up big numbers in the pros. Still, Dimick is a good run defender from his DE spot, with a good motor.
• Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane: 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. In 2016, Smart had 5.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. He can be a rotational player to add to the mix.
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