NFL

Potential Eagles' targets for 14th pick eagerly await draft fates

Potential Eagles' targets for 14th pick eagerly await draft fates

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

Earlier this week, Western Michigan receiver Corey Davis sent Philadelphia Twitter into a frenzy with a couple taps of his thumb. 

Davis, after appearing on ESPN Monday, retweeted a fan's tweet — that read "Future Eagle" — to Trey Wingo. 

"Yeah, I did," Davis said with a chuckle Wednesday morning at Shriners Hospital for Children at a day-before-the-draft charity event. 

"I did that by accident. That was an accident. I've got love for Philly, but it was an accident."

Oops. 

Of course, this retweet set off sirens in Philadelphia. "Book it! The Eagles are going to take Davis with the 14th pick!" Not so fast. 

While Davis, the record-setting wide receiver from Western Michigan, said the couple of button pushes were an accident, there are several other options for the Birds at 14. And plenty of them were in attendance on Wednesday morning. 

For his part, Davis wouldn't mind joining forces with Carson Wentz in Philadelphia. 

"He's a great player," Davis said. "He's a competitor and he kind of plays with a chip on his shoulder as well. I kind of like that about him. He's got a swagger about him as well."

Davis was one of 21 players at Shriners on Wednesday for a PLAY 60 event put on by the NFL. He was one of several in attendance who might be a fit for the Eagles when they're on the board at 14 on Thursday night. 

Just like Davis, Washington receiver John Ross, who broke the combine's 40-yard dash record by running a 4.22, also had a meeting with the Eagles in Philadelphia during the pre-draft process. Ross is known for his 40 time in Indianapolis, but he made sure to note he's more than a track star. 

"That 4.22 means so much to everybody else," he said. "It doesn’t mean that much to me."

Like most of the prospects on Wednesday, Ross hasn't spent too much time thinking about scenarios. He thinks his meeting with the Eagles went well, but don't ask him where he thinks he'll be drafted.

Did the Eagles show more interest than other teams?

"I'm a horrible judge," said Ross, who has a lengthy injury history that could drop him in the first round. "I think they've all showed a lot of interest." 

For Haason Reddick, the event on North Broad Street, blocks from Temple's campus, had to feel like home. The former Owl is very likely going to be a first-round pick and has a chance to even make it into the top 10. 

Maybe Reddick wouldn't be the perfect fit in Philly at 14, but it could certainly happen. And that would be just fine for the Camden, New Jersey, native. 

"I think that'll be great, being a hometown guy, a guy that's familiar with Philadelphia, a guy that's played in the Linc," Reddick said. "If I'm on the board and Philly calls my name, I think that's the best-case scenario for the city to get somebody that they already know."

While the Eagles could use another linebacker, it's not as big a need as cornerback, a position where the Eagles are in desperate need. 

For a few weeks, it looked like Ohio State's Gareon Conley would be a perfect fit at 14, and he was supposed to be in Philly this week for the draft. But a rape allegation that surfaced on Tuesday kept Conley out of the city and might have him freefalling down draft boards. 

His Ohio State teammate and fellow cornerback Marshon Lattimore is in town, but there's a very strong chance he's off the board well before the Eagles pick. 

"[Conley is] going through it," Lattimore said. "I try to keep his spirits up, tell him that I got his back 100 percent. That's all I can say on that."

If the Eagles still decide to draft a CB in the first, maybe they could land on Tre'Davious White from LSU. While White has been an under-the-radar prospect in the last couple of months, his tape is impressive and his aggressiveness and versatility would fit well with the Eagles. 

"The people that really watch film and the people that really watch prospects, they know I'm one of the best, if not the best in this draft," he said. "It's just a matter of what team likes me the most. We'll see."

White, like the others, visited the Eagles earlier in the process and would welcome the opportunity to play with fellow LSU products Jalen Mills and Ron Brooks in Philly. According to White, Mills was the guy who showed him the ropes early during his LSU career. In fact, White was preparing to go out to dinner at a restaurant of Mills' choosing on Wednesday night. 

If the Eagles don't go with a corner, a receiver or a linebacker, how about a pass-rusher? 

While the team brings back Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry, Jim Schwartz's defense is predicated on getting to the quarterback with the front four and the Eagles didn't do that nearly enough in 2016. 

Derek Barnett gets to the quarterback (see Didinger's final mock draft). In fact, he got to the quarterback so much at Tennessee, he broke Reggie White's school sack record. 

"My mindset going into a game was to be dominant," Barnett said. "If I'm dominant, everything will fall into place. I had that mindset when I came in as a freshman and before I knew it, I was breaking Reggie White's record. For my name to be in the same sentence as him, it's a blessing."

There seems to be a decent chance Barnett could continue to follow White's path to Philadelphia.  

Getting picked by Philadelphia, if nothing else, would at least save him a plane trip. 

"It would mean a lot. I would just have to drive up the street, not too far. A few blocks over," he said. "I'd already be at home."

Didinger's NFL mock draft 2.0: Best-case scenario for Eagles at 14

Didinger's NFL mock draft 2.0: Best-case scenario for Eagles at 14

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

A lot has changed since my first mock draft with reports of diluted urine samples (Reuben Foster and Jabrill Peppers) and concerns about lingering injuries (Jonathan Allen and John Ross) impacting the stock of likely first-round picks. A player many linked with the Eagles — Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley — now is accused of rape, which will have investigators scrambling for more information.

Add to it the likelihood that so many teams are looking for quarterbacks that they will overdraft players at that position — some analysts are predicting two and possibly three quarterbacks will be taken in the top 15 — and it makes this Round 1 almost impossible to project. But we'll try anyway. So here is my second attempt to make sense out of the draft, which kicks off Thursday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

1. Cleveland — Myles Garrett, defensive end, Texas A&M
He has been at the top of every draft board for the past two months and while there are occasional rumbles about the Browns taking local boy Mitchell Trubisky, I don't believe it. I think the Browns do the smart thing for once and take Garrett, the best prospect in the draft.

2. San Francisco — Jamal Adams, safety, LSU
There are a lot of questions surrounding other blue-chip players in this draft but none with Adams. He is a rock-solid pick and new GM John Lynch, once an elite safety himself, will begin the massive rebuild right here.

3. Chicago — Marshon Lattimore, cornerback, Ohio State
There is a lot of talk of teams backing away from Lattimore, a one-year starter for the Buckeyes with a history of hamstring problems, but if you watch the tape you see elite ability.

4. Jacksonville — Leonard Fournette, running back, LSU
Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone want to bring toughness to this woeful franchise and what better way than with a 240-pound sledgehammer running back who will take some heat off QB Blake Bortles.

5. Tennessee — Solomon Thomas, defensive end, Stanford
The Titans ranked 30th against the pass last season so improving the pass rush is a high priority. Thomas, an explosive edge rusher, will help right away.

6. NY Jets — O.J. Howard, tight end, Alabama
The first big surprise of the night. The Jets have major quarterback issues but getting a 6-5, 250-pound target with 4.5 speed will make even this mediocre bunch look good.

7. Chargers — Malik Hooker, safety, Ohio State
Outstanding ball skills and exceptional range make Hooker an ideal fit for a defense that couldn't cover the deep half of the field last season.

8. Carolina — Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford
This will break the hearts of Eagles fans hoping the fleet playmaker will be there at 14, but the Panthers need to put better weapons around QB Cam Newton.

9. Cincinnati — Jonathan Allen, defensive tackle, Alabama
There are concerns about his shoulder, but the chance to get a player this good with the ninth overall pick will be too tempting for coach Marvin Lewis to pass up.

10. Buffalo — Marlon Humphrey, cornerback, Alabama
The Bills lost Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots so they fill the void with Humphrey, who combines 4.42 speed with toughness.

11. New Orleans — Tre'Davious White, cornerback, LSU
The Saints ranked last in the league in pass defense last season so they start the rebuild with a cornerback from right down the road.

12. Cleveland — Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback, North Carolina
This would be the Browns' dream scenario -- that is, they can get both Garrett and Trubisky -- so for the sake of the long-suffering fans in Cleveland, let's give them what they want just this once.

13. Arizona — Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Texas Tech
This kid isn't anywhere close to being ready to play in the NFL but coach Bruce Arians feels he has time to develop him while Carson Palmer finishes out his career. It is a major reach in my opinion but the pre-draft buzz is that the Cardinals want Mahomes.

14. EAGLES — Derek Barnett, defensive end, Tennessee
This was my best-case scenario for the Eagles and with a few things breaking their way it now appears Barnett may be available at 14. It didn't seem likely even two weeks ago, but now it could happen, and to me, this would be an easy call for the Eagles. Jim Schwartz builds his defense around a strong pass rush from his front four and Barnett will improve that immediately.

15. Indianapolis — Charles Harris, defensive end, Missouri
Rising fast on most draft boards. Will improve what has been a pitiful defense in Indy.

16. Baltimore — Mike Williams, wide receiver, Clemson
I have Williams as the No. 1 receiver on my board so he may not fall this far, but if he does he won't fall any farther. GM Ozzie Newsome will grab him.

17. Washington — Haason Reddick, linebacker, Temple
The first Owl to go in Round 1 since Muhammad Wilkerson. Ran the fastest 40 among all linebackers at the combine (4.51).

18. Tennessee — Corey Davis, wide receiver, Western Michigan
Granted, it was a lower level of competition, but still, 97 receptions and 19 touchdowns last season gets your attention. A welcome target for Marcus Mariota.

19. Tampa Bay — Dalvin Cook, running back, Florida State
A complete NFL skill set -- vision, quickness, great hands, but a lot of red flags off the field. If he can stay out of trouble, a reunion with QB Jameis Winston will make the Bucs a fun team to watch this season.

20. Denver — Ryan Ramczyk, offensive tackle, Wisconsin 
Proof that this is a down year for offensive linemen: Ramczyk is the first one off the board. A one-year starter for the Badgers after transferring from Division III.

21. Detroit — Reuben Foster, linebacker, Alabama
A tackling machine. Fast, instinctive and relentless. You love him on tape but off-the-field issues have dropped his stock. At this point in the draft someone will take a shot. Let's say Detroit.

22. Miami — Gareon Conley, cornerback, Ohio State
Similar to Foster, Conley looked like a sure top-15 pick until the rape allegations surfaced this week. No doubt some teams will back off but Conley will still go in the first round and the Dolphins need help on defense.

23. NY Giants — Garett Bolles, offensive tackle, Utah
Adding Brandon Marshall gives the Giants a fine set of targets but now they need better bodyguards for QB Eli Manning. Bolles is the best pass blocker in this class.

24. Oakland — Cam Robinson, offensive tackle, Alabama
At 6-6 and 320 pounds, Robinson fits the mold of Raider linemen. Think Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Bob Brown, etc. OK, they are all in the Hall of Fame and Robinson has a long way to go, but he looks the part.

25. Houston — Forrest Lamp, offensive guard, Western Kentucky
The Texans' offensive line was a mess last season. Lamp, the best guard in the draft, will be a Day 1 starter.

26. Seattle — Kevin King, cornerback, Washington
Given Richard Sherman's uncertain future, the Seahawks pick up another corner in the 6-3 King, who can play that brand of intimidating defense.

27. Kansas City — Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Clemson
The buzz around Watson to the Chiefs has grown stronger in the past week. Perhaps Andy Reid sees in Watson the same qualities he saw in Donovan McNabb. I had him as my No. 1 QB ahead of both Trubisky and Mahomes. This seems like a good landing spot for a kid who knows how to win.

28. Dallas — Takkarist McKinley, defensive end, UCLA
The Cowboys need to improve their pass rush and McKinley is very quick coming off the edge.

29. Green Bay — Adoree Jackson, cornerback, USC
The Packers ranked 31st in pass defense last year and it proved to be their undoing in the postseason. Jackson will be an immediate starter and also provide pop on special teams. He had four punt return touchdowns for the Trojans.

30. Pittsburgh — T.J. Watt, linebacker, Wisconsin
Comparisons to his brother are inevitable but unfair. He's not as physically dominant as J.J. but the difference isn't Casey Matthews to Clay Matthews either. T.J. is a relentless pass rusher who will fit perfectly in the Steelers' 3-4.

31. Atlanta — Taco Charlton, defensive end, Michigan
The Falcons need to add another pass rusher to take some of the pressure off Vic Beasley. Charlton, who really came on last season (10 sacks), can be that guy.

32. New Orleans — John Ross, wide receiver, Washington
He was the talk of the combine when he ran the fastest 40 on record (4.22 seconds) but there are real concerns about his history of shoulder and knee injuries. Can he hold up physically in the NFL? If so, he will be a very nice deep threat for Drew Brees. 

Best and worst Eagles draft picks ever at each offensive position

Best and worst Eagles draft picks ever at each offensive position

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

With the draft now just a day away, this is the perfect time to look back at Eagles drafts throughout history to determine the best and worst picks they've made at every position.
 
We set 1970 as a starting point for this only because that's when the AFL and NFL merged, creating the modern National Football League we now know (and also because that's when Ray Didinger started covering the Eagles for the Philadelphia Bulletin, and we figure anything that happened before Ray started covering the team doesn't really matter).
 
So here we go. We have the best and worst picks on offense today, with the best and worst defensive picks coming tomorrow.

Quarterback

Best: Donovan McNabb, 1st round, 1999
Looking back, this was a very tough call for the Eagles, but one of the very first decisions Andy Reid made as Eagles head coach may have been the best decision he ever made as Eagles head coach. By picking McNabb over Akili Smith, Cade McNown and Daunte Culpepper, Reid got the Eagles pointed in the right direction for their playoff run from 2000 through 2009. McNabb won nine playoff games, made six Pro Bowls and threw more than twice as many TDs as interceptions in his 11 years as Eagles QB. Best quarterback in Eagles history and it's not close.
 
Worst: Kevin Kolb, 2nd round, 2007
This comes down to Kolb vs. Bobby Hoying. Kolb was a second-round pick and Hoying a third-round pick. Hoying won only three games in the NFL and Kolb won just nine -- only three as an Eagle. But the edge goes to Kolb since he was supposed to be the heir apparent to McNabb and he was a very high second-round pick -- 36th overall. He had a couple big games but ultimately was too brittle and too shaky in the pocket to last in the NFL.

From 2000 through 2015, 47 quarterbacks have been taken in the first 36 picks and only seven won fewer games than Kolb.

Running back

Best: Brian Westbrook, 3rd round, 2002
It has to be Shady vs. Westbrook. Westbrook was a third-round pick in 2002, and LeSean McCoy was a second-round pick in 2009. As great as Shady has been, the edge goes to Westbrook. From 2004 through 2008, he was the best running back in the NFC, and to me, his big edge on Shady is in playoff production. Westbrook averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the postseason with 33 receptions and six TDs and was part of seven postseason wins. McCoy averaged 3.9 yards per carry in the playoffs with nine catches and one TD and no postseason wins.

Only three third-round picks in NFL history have more yards from scrimmage than Westbrook: Curtis Martin, Frank Gore and Ahman Green.
 
Worst: Michael Haddix, 1st round, 1983
You could go Siran Stacy here. He was the 48th player taken in the 1992 draft and never had an NFL carry and lasted just one year in the NFL. But come on. It's got to be Michael Haddix, the eighth player taken in the 1983 draft. Haddix finished his career with a 3.0 rushing average, the lowest in NFL history. On the board when the Eagles picked at No. 8? Dan Marino, Joey Browner, Bruce Matthews, Roger Craig, Mark Clayton, Albert Lewis, Richard Dent, Henry Ellard, Anthony Carter and Chris Hinton. To name a few. Oops.

Wide receiver

Best: Mike Quick, 1st round, 1982
There haven't been that many good ones. It comes down to close friends Mike Quick and Harold Carmichael, with DeSean Jackson also in the mix. But I'll go with Quick simply because from 1983 through 1987, he was as good as any wide receiver in football. Quick's career was cut short by knee injuries courtesy of the Veterans Stadium concrete turf. Carmichael played a lot longer and had a tremendous career, but during that five-year period from 1983 through 1987, Quick caught 309 passes for 5,437 yards and an NFL-best 53 touchdowns with a ridiculous 17.6 per-catch average despite never really having an elite quarterback. He had Jaws after his prime and Randall before his prime. Quick, the 20th pick in the 1982 draft, made five straight Pro Bowls before his knees gave out.
 
Worst: Freddie Mitchell, 1st round, 2001
Now, this is a tough call. Mike Bellamy was a second-round pick in 1990 and never caught a pass. Kenny Jackson was the fourth overall pick in 1984 and averaged 15 catches per season as a pro. Nelson Agholor has been a massive disappointment. There was Reggie Brown in the second round in 2005, third-round failures Josh Huff, Chris T. Jones and Billy McMullen. Plenty of guys to choose from. But it has to be Freddie Mitchell, mainly because of who the Eagles bypassed to take him. On the board when the Eagles picked at No. 25 in 2001: Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Chambers, for starters. Those five combined for 4,034 catches, 55,020 yards, 336 touchdown catches and 19 Pro Bowls. Freddie? He finished with 90 catches, 1,263 yards and five TDs.

Tight end

Best: Brent Celek, 5th round, 2007
Keith Jackson is the obvious choice, but he spent only four years with the Eagles and although he made three Pro Bowls and continued playing through 1996, he was never the same player after 1990. I'm going out of the box here and picking someone who never made a Pro Bowl and never had a 1,000-yard season. In 10 seasons here, Brent Celek has piled up 385 catches, 4,868 yards and 30 touchdowns. Celek, a fifth-round pick in 2007, is the only remaining position player on the roster who's won a postseason game as an Eagle. But more importantly, he's had a really solid career as the 162nd player taken in the draft a decade ago and has represented the team and the city superbly for 10 years now, as opposed to Jackson, who wanted out so bad he challenged (and beat) the NFL's free-agency rules. Celek? Only seven tight ends in NFL history have played 10 or more years, all with the same team, and caught more passes. Celek has quietly become an all-time great Eagle.
 
Worst: Lawrence Sampleton, 2nd round, 1982
The Eagles used the 47th overall pick on Lawrence Sampleton in 1982, and the second-round pick generated just three catches for 52 yards in parts of three NFL seasons with them. Sampleton added eight receptions as a scab with the Dolphins in 1987. Even with those catches, Sampleton finished his career with 11 catches, and only 10 tight ends in NFL history drafted among the top 50 picks finished their career with fewer.

Offensive tackle

Best: Tra Thomas, 1st round, 1998
Another no-brainer. Has to be Tra Thomas, who manned left tackle for the Eagles at an exceptional level from Day 1 of 1999, his rookie year, through the 2008 NFC Championship Game. Thomas missed just 11 games in 10 years in Philly, was named to three Pro Bowl teams and started all 10 playoff wins under Andy Reid. In fact, the last time the Eagles won a playoff game without Tra starting was 1995. Thomas announced, "I won't be another Eagles first-round bust," on draft day in 1995, and he was sure right.
 
Worst: Kevin Allen, 1st round, 1985
The less said about Kevin Allen the better. He was the ninth pick in the 1985 draft, which means the Eagles selected him 12 picks ahead of Jerry Rice. The mid-1980s were not good ones for the Eagles. From 1983 through 1985, they selected Michael Haddix and Kevin Allen instead of Dan Marino and Jerry Rice. Imagine Marino throwing to Rice for the Eagles from 1985 through 1995? Just imagine.

Guard

Best: Jermane Mayberry, 1st round, 1996
You could go with Shawn Andrews, who did make two Pro Bowls and earn All-Pro status once before back injuries and other issues derailed his career after just 63 games. But ultimately, we remember Andrews for reasons other than what he did on the football field, and I'm going with Jermane Mayberry, who didn't work out as a left tackle but became a very good guard, even making his first Pro Bowl in 2002 — his seventh NFL season. Mayberry started at right guard through the whole 2000 through 2004 stretch, when the Eagles reached four straight NFC Championship Games.
 
Worst: Fireman, 1st round, 2011
I can't even write his name. Let's just say the Eagles used the 23rd pick of the 2011 draft to select a 26-year-old Canadian who wanted to be a fireman and not a football player.

Center

Best: Jason Kelce, 6th round, 2009
Not many candidates here. A lot of the Eagles' recent starting centers — Bubba Miller, Hank Fraley, Jamaal Jackson — were undrafted. Jason Kelce may be on the outs these days, but he's been a solid center for this team since he was a sixth-round pick in 2009. In fact, Kelce is the only offensive lineman the Eagles have drafted in the last 12 years to make a Pro Bowl, and he's made two.
 
Worst: Scott Peters, 4th round, 2002
Tough to find a bad center the Eagles have drafted because they haven't drafted one in the first three rounds since Guy Morriss in 1973 — 44 years ago. The highest they've drafted a center since then is the fourth round, and that was center-guard Scott Peters out of Arizona State in 2002. Peters never played a down for the Eagles and played in just seven games in his career, all with the Giants, and all losses. He was out of football soon after his 25th birthday.