On the day of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, Jared Sherman has 20 thoughts on this year's class and classes from year's past.
1. As you've read countless times over the past several months, the 2017 cornerback class is as deep as I've ever seen. I see four slam dunks (Marshon Lattimore, Marlon Humphrey, Tre'Davious White, and Kevin King) going in the first round, with several (Quincy Wilson, Adoree Jackson, and Chidobe Awuzie) knocking on the door. This depth bodes well for the Eagles, who can grab some help for Carson Wentz at No. 14 knowing the CB depth should allow them to land a potential starter in the second round.
2. Thank goodness the Eagles were able to land Wentz last season, because this QB class has no surefire studs. Of the top quarterbacks available, I have the most confidence in DeShaun Watson becoming a legit starting QB. He's started for three years, has consistently won games, and stood out in the biggest ones. He's short, and his arm strength won't wow you, but the guy is a leader, played in a pro-style offense, and won't need a lot of grooming before you can put him behind center. Don't be surprised if he's off the board at No. 4 to the Jaguars.
3. Corey Davis is the best receiver in this class. He doesn't have the speed of John Ross, or the sheer size of Mike Williams, but he's the total package. Yes, the competition he played against wasn't top tier, but he's coming from the same conference that produced Antonio Brown (Central Michigan), Julian Edelman (Kent State), and Randy Moss (Marshall), and I'd take any of them. If I'm the Eagles and had to choose between Davis, Ross, and Williams, I'd take Davis all day.
4. This is a terrible interior defensive line group. Outside of Alabama's Jonathan Allen and maybe Stanford's Solomon Thomas (who could project outside to DE), this class is really lacking true impact players. If the Eagles are looking for depth at the position after losing Bennie Logan, they should look at Michigan's Ryan Glasgow in the late rounds.
5. If Philadelphia was open to trading Malcolm Jenkins, there is real depth at safety in this draft. In the second round, the Birds may be able to grab Texas A&M's Justin Evans, Florida's Marcus Maye, Connecticut's Obi Melifonwu, or NC State's Josh Jones. All should be impact players early in their careers. I could even see some team grabbing Evans or Jones late in the first round.
6. Best names in the draft:
• Fish Simpson - S - Kansas: His real name is Anthony. His brother, a WR at Kansas, was called Shaky.
• Weston Steelhammer - S - Air Force: Sounds like the main protagonist in a series of bad detective novels.
• Gunner Kiel - QB - Cincinnati: If you had to come up with a name for QB in a TV Show, this would be it.
• Speedy Noil - WR - Texas A&M: Seems like a fitting name for a WR.
• Bobo Wilson - WR - Florida State: If this football thing doesn't work out, he has a name suited for playing blues guitar.
• Taco Charlton - DE - Michigan: No explanation needed.
• Noble Nwachukwu - DE - West Virginia: Most fun name to say in the draft.
• Charmeachealle Moore - LB - Kansas State: Man, first day of school every year must have been tough for both him and his teachers.
7. Three years from now, these will be the Top 10 players out of this draft:
• Corey Davis - WR - Western Michigan
• Jamal Adams - S - LSU
• Reuben Foster - LB - Alabama
• Leonard Fournette - RB - LSU
• Budda Baker - S - Washington
• Myles Garrett - DE - Texas A&M
• Forrest Lamp - OL - Western Kentucky
• Malik Hooker - S - Ohio State
• Taco Charlton - DE - Michigan
• Christian McCaffrey - RB - Stanford
8. I know there's been a lot of talk of the Eagles drafting Tennessee DE Derek Barnett, but I think that'd be a mistake. Barnett was super-productive in college but relies too heavily on jumping the snap count to get pressure. Physically he reminds me of Brandon Graham minus the closing burst. He'll be solid in the NFL, but not worthy of a Top 15 pick.
9. The most intriguing defensive player that may fall to the Eagles is Foster. Despite the combine incident and diluted urine test, I'd take him on my team in a heartbeat. Foster reminds me of Luke Kuechly on the field - he's just everywhere. The Eagles haven't had a true difference maker on defense since Brian Dawkins (Fletcher Cox isn't one). Foster could be that guy. Linebacker isn't a pressing need, but someone with Foster's ferocious playing style and obvious talent may be enough to force the Eagles' hand.
10. Of course Wentz's career will define Howie Roseman's 2016 draft, but I have high hopes for Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vatai, and Jalen Mills going forward. All showed something last year, and all could (should) be starters by 2018. Joe Walker, their last 7th round pick who got hurt in training camp, is also coming back this year, and he very well could grab a spot on the roster as a special teamer and Jordan Hicks' backup.
11. You can't judge a draft until three seasons have past, so looking at the 2014 class here are the Top 5 best picks based on value (where they were drafted compared to others at their position) and performance:
• Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR) - Giants Pick No. 12: OBJ was the third WR selected (Sammy Watkins at No. 4 and Mike Evans at No. 7)
• Zack Martin (OG) - Cowboys No. 16: This pick was a bit of a wildcard after many thought Jerry Jones was going to grab Johnny Manziel.
• Derek Carr (QB) - Raiders No. 36: Oakland found its franchise QB in the second round. Bet Jacksonville, who took Blake Bortles at No. 3 overall, feels great.
• Allen Robinson (WR) - Jaguars No. 61: This is the guy I was pounding the table for the Eagles to take.
• Gabe Jackson (OG) - Raiders No. 81: Another guy I loved, who has blossomed into an All-Pro OG.
• Devonta Freeman (RB) - Falcons No. 103: The 6th RB off the board after legends like Bishop Sankey, Tre Mason, Dri Archer, Jerick McKinnon, Terrance West, and Charles Sims.
• John Urschel (OG) - Ravens No. 175: The math genius has become a very solid starter in Baltimore.
• Daniel McCullers (DT) - Steelers No. 215: The massive McCullers is a productive late-round find.
• Beau Allen (DT) - Eagles No. 224: Not sexy, but the man with the massive arms has become a reliable rotational player for the Birds.
12. I think Marlon Humphrey has a lot of plus tools (speed and tackling), but I'm not sure he's a guy I want on an island. I'd pass on him at No. 14.
13. I think there's a good chance Carolina grabs Christian McCaffrey at No. 8.If he's there at No. 14, I wouldn't be opposed to taking him. He brings a lot to the table, and I think the Eagles priority should be to build around Wentz first.
14. While I don't buy into arguments that you can't draft Player A because he comes from XYZ University, and they have historically not produced solid pros at that position, I wonder if any NFL team has pause when looking at Alabama OT Cam Robinson. It's odd how many highly-rated offensive linemen Alabama's produced who haven't had a ton of success in the NFL:
• Ryan Kelly (2016 - Indianapolis) - 1st Round
• Cyrus Kounandjio (2014 - Buffalo) - 2nd Round
• Chance Warmack (2013 - Tennessee) - 1st Round
• D.J. Fluker (2013 - San Diego) - 1st Round
• Barrett Jones (2013 - St. Louis) - 4th Round
• James Carpenter (2011 - Seattle) - 1st Round
• Mike Johnson (2010 - Atlanta) - 3rd Round
• Andre Smith (2009 - Cincinnati) - 1st Round
15. I've seen a couple of mock drafts that have Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers going in the first round. Rivers certainly had a brilliant career at YSU (41 career sacks) but I think the first round is a bit of a stretch. He's too small to play DE on running downs, and has limited pass rush moves, relying heavily on being a superior athlete to the competition he faced in the FCS. Look for Rivers to go late in the second or early third round.
16. I love Temple's Dion Dawkins. He will be an instant starter in the NFL. If I'm running the Jaguars' front office (Note: I'm not) I'd think long and hard about him early in the second round.
17. Ohio State CB Gareon Conley, recently accused of sexual assault, was a surefire first-round pick just a week ago. Now, like Dallas OG La'el Collins last year, he probably won't be selected at all.
18. Strange that Joe Mixon will absolutely be drafted (and possibly by the Eagles). I'm all for second chances, and I know he was only 18, but as the father of both a son and daughter, I couldn't in good conscience have him in my locker room.
19. Such a shame Washington CB Sidney Jones tore his Achilles during his pro day. I really thought he'd be the guy the Eagles take at No. 14. Now, I'm still onboard with taking him in the third round. He's too talented and hard working not to take a gamble on that in 2018 you'll have a starting CB ready to roll.
20. Here's my Eagles-only mock draft:
• First Round (14) - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
• Second Round (43) - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
• Third Round (99) - Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
• Fourth Round (118) - Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
• Fourth Round (139) - George Kittle, TE, Iowa
• Fifth Round (155) - James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
• Sixth Round (194) - Jeremy Clark, CB, Michigan
• Seventh Round (230) - Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State