5 players Philadelphia Eagles could select with first-round pick
Could one of these five players be wearing a Philadelphia Eagles uniform in 2017?
The Philadelphia Eagles will have either the 14th or 15th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Their final draft position will be decided by a coin toss at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Eagles could go several routes with their first-round selection. Philadelphia is dealing with a major deficiency in receiving threats and may opt to take a wideout in the first round. But with Ryan Mathews likely to be released this offseason and Darren Sproles set to retire after the 2017 season, running back could be another possibility.
Philadelphia also needs help defensively. The Eagles’ secondary was the worst in the NFL in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus. Cornerback Nolan Carroll is set to become a free agent this offseason, Leodis McKelvin is a possible cap casualty and Jalen Mills still has a lot to prove at the professional level.
The Eagles will have plenty of options in the first round, but who will they take? These five players are legitimate candidates.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook is the best running back prospect in this year’s draft. In 2016, Cook had the best season of his collegiate career, running for 1,765 yards, 19 touchdowns, and also catching 33 balls for 488 yards and another score. Cook leaves Florida State as the Seminoles all-time leading rusher with 4,464 yards in just three seasons.
Cook is a physical runner with great vision and breakaway speed. He isn’t the most elusive back, but does a phenomenal job at following his blocks, locating soft spots and exploding through for big yardage. However, he does have ball security issues. Cook fumbled the ball six times in 2016 and 13 times in his three-year collegiate career. Off-the-field issues are a concern as well. Cook was suspended in 2015 after he allegedly punched a woman outside a bar, but was reinstated the following month.
There’s no denying Cook’s skills on the field, but his ball security issues and off-the-field problems could deter the Eagles if he is available when they make their selection.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The obvious need for the Eagles is wide receiver. Carson Wentz was forced to work with a historically terrible receiving corps in 2016 and that needs to change immediately. Mike Williams, one of the top receiver prospects in the draft, could be available when the Eagles make their selection and would instantly make the offense better.
At 6’3″ and 225 pounds, Williams is a big-bodied receiver with strong hands and a nice physical element to his game. Williams caught 98 balls for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior season at Clemson after missing almost all of the 2015 season with a neck injury. The injury could scare off some teams on draft day, putting the Eagles in prime position to nab him at 14 or 15 if they choose to take a wideout early.
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
This year’s draft is very deep in cornerback talent, so drafting a corner in the first round shouldn’t be a huge priority for the Eagles. But if Marshon Lattimore is still on the board while they’re on the clock, they’d be absolutely insane not to pull the trigger.
Lattimore is arguably the best cornerback available in the draft. In 2016, he was targeted just 35 times and was credited with 14 passes defensed along with four interceptions, which is, uh, pretty amazing.
Lattimore will undoubtedly be one of the more highly sought-after players in the draft and may be off the board before the Eagles make their selection. But if he is available at 14 or 15, they’d be addressing a dire need while also taking the best player available.
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Marshon Lattimore may be the most complete cornerback prospect in the draft, but Sidney Jones isn’t all that far behind him.
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Jones is a ballhawking corner with terrific anticipation and a nose for being around the football at all times. Jones is drawing early comparisons to former Washington teammate Marcus Peters, who is currently playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Though talented at tracking balls and attacking the point of the catch, Jones’ thin frame is a cause for concern. At only 181 pounds, bigger receivers will take advantage of Jones in press coverage and easily outmuscle him into open space.
Jones is a turnover machine and has the ball skills to shift a game’s momentum instantly, which the Eagles could certainly use more of.
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
I’ll go out on a limb and call Davis the best receiver available in this year’s draft. He may be coming from a smaller school, but Davis has the potential to be the NFL’s next great receiver.
Davis is the all-time FBS leader with 5,205 career receiving yards and leaves Western Michigan as the only receiver in FBS history with over 300 receptions, 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his career. The 6’3″, 213-pound wideout has the prototypical size of a No. 1 receiver. But in spite of his imposing size, he still runs smooth routes and brings good speed to the table. Davis has a formidable second gear, making him a major threat after the catch.
Davis has caught the eye of just about every team in the league in recent months and is quickly rising up draft boards. Right now, Davis could fall onto the Eagles’ lap, but a strong showing at the NFL Combine could result in another rise in stock for the Western Michigan product.