Hudrick's 2017 NFL mock draft 1.0: Eagles get potential shutdown corner

Hudrick's 2017 NFL mock draft 1.0: Eagles get potential shutdown corner

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, which means the 2017 NFL draft is right around the corner. The Eagles will either hold the No. 14 or 15 overall pick (the pick will be decided via coin flip) thanks to their trade with the Minnesota Vikings for quarterback Sam Bradford. Here is Paul Hudrick's mock draft 1.0 to get you ready for the 2017 NFL draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

*Denotes junior
** Denotes redshirt sophomore

1. Cleveland Browns - *DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, 6-5/270
Garrett is going to be a disruptive player in the NFL for a long time. He should fit just fine in Gregg Williams' 4-3 scheme.

2. San Francisco 49ers - DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3/291
If Allen had come out as a junior last season — like Garrett this year — he likely would've been picked in the teens. Allen gives the 49ers another young, talented piece in their front seven. New GM John Lynch will opt for defense and look to get new head coach Kyle Shanahan a veteran quarterback.

3. Chicago Bears - *QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, 6-3/220
Trubisky has the best arm talent of any quarterback in the draft. Then again, the arm talent of the current Bears’ quarterback has never been questioned. Trubisky’s tools will be too much for the Bears to pass up.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars - *RB Leonard Fournette, LSU, 6-1/235
Fournette has the best strength and speed combo I've seen since Adrian Peterson. He battled a nagging ankle sprain all season, but when he did play, he was scary. He'll add a dynamic playmaker and a physical aspect to the Jaguars' offense.

5. Tennessee Titans - **CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-1/192
Lattimore has elite size and athleticism. Jason McCourty has one year left on his deal and there's not a ton of depth at that position. Lattimore has the potential to become a No. 1 corner.

6. New York Jets - *S Jamal Adams, LSU, 6-1/213
Calvin Pryor has struggled. So has the entire Jets' secondary. Enter Jamal Adams, a special safety with the ability to disrupt against the run and the pass. The best part of his game is his calmness. He dissects plays and plays under control.

7. Los Angeles Chargers - **S Malik Hooker, Ohio State, 6-2/205
Hooker is an elite centerfielder with crazy range and ball skills. He's been compared to future HOF safety Ed Reed. He adds to a Chargers defense that could be a decent unit if healthy. 

8. Carolina Panthers - *DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 6-3/265
After Garrett, Barnett is probably the best pure pass rusher in this draft. The Panthers desperately need a strong outside rusher to complement their depth at tackle and linebacker.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1/228
A pick that just makes a ton of sense. Foster has been (fairly) compared to the Panthers' Luke Kuechly. He forms a scary tandem with Vontaze Burfict playing on the weakside.

10. Buffalo Bills - *QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4/230
The Tyrod Taylor situation was a mess. So was Rex Ryan's firing. Welcome to Buffalo, DeShone! From watching the three likely first-round quarterbacks, Kizer is the one I actually like the most. I see a lot of Steve McNair in him.

11. New Orleans Saints - *DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 6-3/273
You could really project any defensive player to the Saints here. Thomas teams up with last year's first-round pick, Sheldon Rankins, and veteran Cameron Jordan. That has the makings of a solid unit.

12. Cleveland Browns - *QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-3/215
This would work out pretty well for Cleveland. They'd get arguably the best player in the draft and the best quarterback in college football last season. Watson's intangibles are off the charts. His decision making waned at times during the year, but his National Championship performance was one for the ages.

13. Arizona Cardinals - *WR Mike Williams, Clemson, 6-3/225
Sorry, Eagles fans, but I just don't see a way Williams gets to No. 14 or 15. He could easily go in the top 10. Williams is a perfect fit for Arizona. He can learn under future HOFer Larry Fitzgerald. 

14/15. Indianapolis Colts - DE/OLB Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-4/252
Like the Saints, you could throw any defensive player here and it would be a solid pick. Williams isn't just a pass rusher, either. He's instinctive and disruptive in the run game as well. He's a perfect replacement for the retiring Robert Mathis.

14/15. Philadelphia Eagles - *CB Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0/181
Jones isn't the sexiest name available, but he's been an outstanding football player for Washington. After starting 25 of 26 games and racking up six interceptions in his freshman and sophomore seasons, teams stayed away from Jones in 2016.

Before the Peach Bowl, Alabama head coach Nick Saban compared Washington's secondary to the Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom. If that's the case, Jones was the Huskies' Richard Sherman. Jones lined up on the left and locked down that side of the field. According to PFF, Jones only saw 48 targets, 199th in the nation. Opposing quarterbacks had a rating of 42.2 when targeting him.

He'd fit in Jim Schwartz's scheme. He excels in both man and zone coverage and plays the game with a ton of confidence. He's fluid in his movements and may be the most technically sound corner in this draft. He's got long arms and is extremely physical at the line of scrimmage. Jones can start right away and make an impact in the Eagles' secondary.

Sure, receiver is a huge need as well. At this point, Western Michigan's Corey Davis would be the best on the board. As good as Davis is (I profiled him relentlessly this season), a player like Jones, with the potential to become a shutdown corner, is more valuable. Florida's Teez Tabor will be brought up in this range as well. He's another very good prospect, but Jones is a more consistent player and the one the Eagles should take.

16. Baltimore Ravens - WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan, 6-3/213
If the Eagles take Davis, I wouldn't be surprised. Davis is a precise route runner who is physical and fast. He's been my draft crush all year and worthy of top-10 consideration. A minor ankle procedure will cause him to miss pre-draft workouts, but it shouldn't affect his draft status.

17. Washington Redskins - *WR John Ross, Washington, 5-11/190
The Redskins will likely lose DeSean Jackson and possibly Pierre Garcon this offseason. If they're looking for replacements with similar skills, they could take the lightning fast Ross to pair with last year's first-round pick Josh Doctson.

18. Tennessee Titans - *CB Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0/201
Tabor has impressed with his ball skills and his swagger, something people have noted as a trait Schwartz will appreciate. I wouldn't fault the Eagles for taking Tabor instead of Jones. I just see Jones as the more reliable of the two. Tabor and Lattimore could be a formidable duo for the Titans.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - *RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-11/213
With Doug Martin's future uncertain, Cook is a legitimate playmaker and a three-down back. Martin finished second in the league in rushing in 2015 in Dirk Koetter's offense. Cook should be able to have similar success. 

20. Denver Broncos - *OT Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6/310
The Broncos need to establish themselves as a run-first offense and protect whoever is under center. Robinson has been a hotly debated prospect, but I still consider him the No. 1 offensive lineman on the board.

21. Detroit Lions - **CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1/196
Before struggling in the College Football Playoff, many experts considered Humphrey the best corner in the draft. He has world-class speed. He's also got great size and is a physical player.

22. Miami Dolphins - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama, 6-6/251
The run on Alabama players continues. Jarvis Landry is a model of consistency while Devante Parker had a decent sophomore campaign. The Dolphins also saw running back Jay Ajayi emerge as a bell cow back. Howard gives Ryan Tannehill a serious threat at tight end as head coach Adam Gase continues to get more pieces for his offense.

23. New York Giants - *LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-4/230
For as strong as the Giants' defense was, they were still missing a playmaking linebacker. Cunningham fits that bill. He's likely more of a 4-3 outside linebacker at the next level, but spent his time on the inside at Vandy. With his athleticism, he never has to come off the field.

24. Oakland Raiders - *TE David Njoku, Miami, 6-4/245
Derek Carr has two outside threats in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and the team would be wise to bring back free-agent running back Latavius Murray. In Njoku, Carr gets a dynamic tight end who can expose the middle of the defense and stretch the field.

25. Houston Texans - *OT, Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-6/314
Could the Texans use this pick in an attempt to get a quarterback? After watching Brock Osweiler this year, they probably should. But Ramczyk could fill a similar hole as Lane Johnson did for the Eagles. He could start his career at right tackle before taking over on the left for a former All-Pro in Duane Brown.

26. Seattle Seahawks - *OT Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5/300
The Seahawks just miss out on Ramczyk but get a decent consolation prize in Bolles. While Ramczyk may fit better in the run game, Bolles is very long and athletic. He needs to add some strength, but Bolles has potential.

27. Kansas City Chiefs - *RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 6-0/200
Jamaal Charles has likely played his last game with the Chiefs and perhaps his last game ever. Spencer Ware had a good season, but McCaffrey offers more. Give McCaffrey Charcandrick West's touches, and Ware and McCaffrey could form a nice one-two punch in Andy Reid's offense.

28. Dallas Cowboys - DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, 6-6/272
Charlton is a perfect fit for Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys. Dallas hasn't had a player register double-digit sacks since 2013. Charlton may not reach that mark in 2017, but certainly has the potential to do it in the future.

29. Green Bay Packers - DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2/265
Both Charlton and McKinley could end up going earlier. This a great draft for edge rushers, especially in the first round. What stands out most about McKinley is his length. His hands almost touch the ground in a two-point stance. With Julius Peppers and Nick Perry set to hit free agency, McKinley may be the best player available and fit a need.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - *DE Charles Harris, Missouri, 6-3/260
Harris played primarily with his hand in the dirt, but I thought some of his better pass rushes came out of a two-point stance. James Harrison isn't immortal (I don't think), so the Steelers need to groom someone on the other side of the promising Bud Dupree. The disappointing Jarvis Jones is also a free agent.

31. Atlanta Falcons - *S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, 6-1/205
Peppers is a weird prospect because nobody is quite sure where he fits and he only had one career interception. There's clearly talent there, but it's tough to define him as either a safety or linebacker (or a running back?). I bet on Dan Quinn to find a use for Peppers as he continues to build his defense around dynamic athletes.

32. New England Patriots - *DE, Carl Lawson, Auburn, 6-2/253
For as stingy as the Patriots' defense was, they could have used a little more sack production from their outside rushers. Lawson would be an intriguing prospect for Bill Belichick and company. He isn't as physically imposing as Charlton or McKinley, but he was just as disruptive in 2016.

With high expectations, Derek Barnett knows he still has plenty to learn

With high expectations, Derek Barnett knows he still has plenty to learn

Back near the far hedges of the NovaCare Complex's practice fields, a small group of defensive linemen in white jerseys and shorts participated in some drills. There were barely enough of them to even assemble a defensive line. More than half of the 90 men on the Eagles’ current roster were not at the team’s facilities. 

One of those few defensive linemen was Derek Barnett. On the first day of his first training camp, reporters later crowded around the first-round pick’s temporary locker as if he were the second-coming. Someone asked if he had any issues, considering his high-profile status, with the location of his locker, which is in the middle of the room and not one of the permanent stalls along the wall.

“I ain't made no plays yet,” Barnett said Monday, “so I'm cool with this locker until I make some plays.”

Good point. In terms of both Barnett’s career and this Eagles season, it is early. Very early. And to overhype the magnitude of Monday’s practice with rookies, quarterbacks and selected veterans would be silly. But Barnett knows where he stands, and he took the day as another opportunity to learn. He knows he must.

"Just keep on repping," Barnett said. "I come in and get better each day. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Barnett has never lived anywhere outside of Tennessee. He hails from Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville. He attended the University of Tennessee, where his 33 sacks in three seasons broke Reggie White’s school record. Now the 21-year-old lives in Philadelphia, away from his family — especially his mother, whom he credits as his greatest influence — for the first time. They talk just about every day, and she’s been helpful in his move. Google Maps has been an aid, too. Barnett wants to know more about the city and its history.

He can absorb that knowledge over time, but the Eagles, of course, would prefer that he learns how to beat NFL offensive tackles as quickly as possible. Barnett joined a defensive end unit led by its only clear-cut starter in Brandon Graham. After that, Barnett, along with Chris Long and Vinny Curry, will get time. He might start, he might not. Any pressure that came along with going 14th overall, Barnett said, he doesn’t feel. But an internal force drives him.

“I have very high expectations for myself,” Barnett said. “And that's every year I go into a football season. I'm the biggest critic of myself.”

To get out on the field a few days early was good for Barnett, he said. After spending the time off over the last few weeks at home in Tennessee and working out with former All-Pro end Chuck Smith and Atlanta, he relished the opportunity. Given the limited numbers, Barnett lined up on both the right and left sides of the ball. He said he feels comfortable on either side. It was the not the game action he’s been anxious for, and it didn’t feel “real” without all the veterans, but it was a start.

The vets are on their way, though. The first full-team practice is Thursday, and with that will come the more polished Graham, Curry and Long. That’s three more sets of eyes to critique him, and three more sets of skills for him to watch; Barnett said observing their methods will help him get “mental reps.” The competition won’t hurt either.

The transition appears to be smooth so far. Barnett said he’s had to “unlearn” some of what he did in college, replacing it with a new set of muscle memory. The pace Monday was faster than during OTAs, but Barnett acknowledged that there are no days off in a league where everyone on the field is more capable. You can’t “slack mentally.”

"Coming in today, my coaches said, 'Just play, go, you can make mistakes, and if you do we'll correct them,'" Barnett said. "I didn't feel like there were many mistakes, but I still got some technique things … Things I need to do better."

All of it is new — the techniques, the coaches, the team and the city. Still, familiarity remains.

“It feels like I'm a freshman again, but I'm a rookie,” Barnett said. “I gotta come in and work hard and prove to my teammates that it's important to me and show the coaches they can trust me if they put me on the field.”

Eagles sign Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba to be tight end

ap-adam-zaruba-eagles.jpg
AP Images

Eagles sign Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba to be tight end

The Eagles didn't just look north of the border for their newest player. They looked to a completely different sport. 

On Monday afternoon, the Birds signed undrafted free agent and Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba to a three-year contract, although the length of the contract is standard. 

Zaruba, a 26-year-old Vancouver native, had a tryout before being signed, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed earlier on Monday. 

Listed at 6-5, 265 pounds, Zaruba is the Eagles' biggest tight end, even bigger than Brent Celek (6-4, 255). While the Eagles have three tight end spots locked up — Celek, Zach Ertz and Trey Burton — Zaruba will likely need to shine on offense and as a special teamer if he has any chance to make the team. 

While this isn't Zaruba's first time playing football, it is his first time playing football in a while. His last competitive football game came in high school, according to TheProvince

Zaruba redshirted as a football player in his freshman year at college and then never played after that, becoming a full-time member of the Canadian national rugby team by 2014. 

He's apparently made a name for himself in the rugby world. Here are some highlights, including an impressive one-handed grab: 

It likely won't be an easy transition from rugby to American football, but the Eagles were probably impressed by Zaruba's athleticism. On June 29, he posted a video to his Instagram account claiming he ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash while weighting 260 pounds. To put that into perspective, that time would have ranked second among all tight end competitors at this year's combine and would have been faster than the time put up by 19th overall pick O.J. Howard. 

Zaruba isn't the first rugby player to attempt the conversion to the NFL. The most famous example is Patriots' special teamer Nate Ebner. The U.S. rugby player has played for the Patriots since 2012 and was a second-team All-Pro in 2016. 

After signing Zaruba, the Eagles' roster is full at 90 men.