This Eagles mock draft -- like every mock draft -- is inaccurate and strictly for entertainment purposes only.
For the past 24 hours, I debated releasing a mock draft altogether, even though I had been working on one for several days. It’s a senseless exercise to begin with, as the odds of being right about any of these choices is slim. In the 2017 NFL Draft, the probability is lower than ever.
We’re just hours away from the draft, and we’re still not sure who’s going to the Cleveland Browns with the first-overall pick. There’s also little consensus on how to rank the prospects beyond Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, and by the time the Eagles are on the clock at No. 14, it’s anybody’s guess where these players will go.
Adding to the mystery are a collection of potential top-15 talents who are next to impossible to rank due to character concerns or injuries. Ohio State’s Gareon Conley, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Alabama’s Reuben Foster, Washington’s Sidney Jones or Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon all could’ve been options for the Eagles at 14 in alternate universe, and two or three still are -- now, who knows?
Those could be some of the options, as are Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Central Florida’s Corey Davis, Alabama’s O.J. Howard, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Washington’s John Ross and LSU’s Tra’Davious White, to name a few. Frankly, we don’t even know when the run on quarterbacks will begin, which could drastically alter how the board looks when it’s the Eagles’ turn.
Even as we get into the later rounds, where there seems to be a tad more consensus in the rankings, there are some 300-plus prospect to choose from altogether. The Eagles currently have eight picks, which gives me roughly a 2.5 percent chance of nailing just one, presuming they don’t trade some away.
So long story short, don’t expect me to get this right. I certainly don’t, and anybody who tells who differently is kidding themselves -- this year more than most.
14. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
White isn’t necessarily graded as the best player or even cornerback available at this point, but that might be an oversight. Not many defensive prospects come along with four years starting experience at an SEC program, plus return punts, too. Don’t take my word for it, though. This is Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas talking about White at the Senior Bowl, via Turron Davenport for USA Today.
“He’s a leader. He’s been ultra-productive. He’s tough as nails. He plays nickel, he plays outside, he has ball skills. You can stack his level of production up against any corner in this draft.”
There is a chance the Eagles could land White or a similarly graded corner in round two, but I don’t think he lasts that long or they find a better fit. This fills a need, does so with somebody the Eagles are comfortable with, and a case could be made White is the best defensive player available here, rankings be damned. There’s probably 10 different directions they could go here -- including a trade down -- but either way, this choice makes a lot of sense.
43. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
No, I’m not willing to bet $500 on it, but I do buy into the buzz that Foster is sliding as the draft approaches. He may be a top-10 talent on the football field and hands down the best linebacker in the draft, but there is a host of other issues teams should be worried about.
That being said, the Eagles recently sent somebody to Tuscaloosa to see Foster, so their interest seems legitimate. The Baltimore Ravens had a history of drafting linebackers and Alabama products while Douglas was a member of the front office as well. Every year, at least one prospect falls much farther than expected. If Foster somehow lasts this long, he’ll be well worth the risk for the Eagles.
99. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
Hunt rushed for 4,945 yards -- 25th in FBS history -- and 44 touchdowns in four seasons for the Rockets, but it was the strides he made as a receiver out of the backfield his senior year that should make him attractive to the Eagles. With 41 receptions for 403 yards and a touchdown in 2016, Hunt showed the kind of dual-threat ability vital to coach Doug Pederson’s west coast offense.
118. Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
Hendrickson recorded 30.0 tackles for loss and 23.0 sacks over his junior and senior seasons. No, it wasn’t again top competition, but timed at 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, he has the speed defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is looking for off the edge.
138. Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
Gibson was supposed to run one of the fastest 40-yard dashes at the NFL Scouting Combine. Instead, the clock started fast, and he was timed at 4.5 seconds. That may cause him to drop a round or two in the draft, but the stats tell a different tale. Gibson averaged 22.6 yards per reception in three seasons at WVU and can flat out fly. He returns kickoffs, too.
155. Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
Undersized at 5-foot-10 and not the greatest athlete, Kazee makes up for it with tremendous instinct and a nose for the football. Recorded 15 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles over his junior and senior seasons, while being aggressively natured in run support, too, racking up 8.5 tackles for loss. He’ll compete, which Schwartz loves in a corner.
194. Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood
The NCAA All-Division record holder with 633 tackles, Harris is short at 5-foot-11 and not especially explosive, he simply knows how to play football. Had an offer from an FBS school and likely would have excelled, but was already committed to Lindenwood. Has the potential to become an outstanding special-teams contributor.
230. Nate Hairston, CB, Temple
Hairston is an extremely raw prospect who is nowhere near ready to play cornerback in the NFL, but the Eagles could stash him on the practice squad for a year or two while he learns. He’s a local prospect, so what the hell, throw him on here. If I got one of these right, I’ll be popping open the champagne on Saturday night.