Final thoughts prior to first round of 2017 NFL Draft

Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL Draft is finally here. It’s like Christmas in April

The NFL Draft is here and teams will finally get to unwrap their first round of presents tonight, beginning at 8 PM. So much has happened with injuries, diluted samples and criminal allegations that the first round is going to be an adventure. What will the Philadelphia Eagles do now that one of their most mocked picks could slide out of the first round?

First, two players the Eagles should avoid

When the Eagles pick at 14, if they stay there, two players may be on the board that they should avoid. John Ross, wide receiver from the Washington Huskies, and Charles Harris, defensive end from the Missouri Tigers, should be avoided at 14. This is not an indictment on their abilities, but Ross is not a number one receiver in the NFL. He is a specialty player, a receiver who will run past a defense. Players like that can be drafted in later rounds (remember DeSean Jackson was a second round pick). With Harris, he is not a dominating enough edge defender to be the pick at 14. Given the depth in this draft, they should still trade down, even to 25 with the Houston Texans, to gain another pick or two.

Who should the Eagles take at 14?

Gareon Conley will not be picked in the first round. He was one of the most mocked selections for Philadelphia. Christian McCaffrey was the other primary mock selection and he may not get out of the top 10. The Eagles should take the player they have rated as the best player available from the following group: Corey Davis or Mike Williams, wide receivers who can be legitimate number one receivers in the NFL, Marlon Humphrey, a corner back who is the best run defender at corner in the draft; Derek Barnett, a defensive end who is the all time sack leader at a school where Reggie White played, or Reuben Foster or Haason Reddick, two linebackers that would be an upgrade from Mychal Kendricks. Six players that will immediately help the Eagles in 2017. However, the best play is to trade down if either Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes are available at 14.

Just for fun, the Eagles could draft an all slide team

The Eagles could select Foster in the first round, who drops to 14 because of a diluted urine sample and being dismissed from the Combine. They could follow up with Joe Mixon in the second round sliding because of physically assaulting a female student. Then they could go with Sidney Jones cornerback in the third round, who falls because of a pre-draft achilles injury. They could follow up with the aforementioned Conley, who could be there in the fourth round because of his sexual assault allegation.

Finally in the all slide draft the Eagles could take Dede Westbrook, again in the fourth round, dropping to that round due to off the field issues at the University of Oklahoma. This looks like an old-time Oakland Raiders draft, and it will never happen.  But if teams can get solid positive information, this group of players could really be value picks if they can take advantage of a second (last) chance (two big ifs).

The league has done a great job hyping the draft. The drama is building of who will rise and who will fall for the players in attendance (just ask Aaron Rodgers). The trades and information smokescreens are finally playing out. It’s reality television at it’s finest. Let the games begin!