Philadelphia is fresh off their first ever Super Bowl Championship and they’re enjoying all the spoils that go with it. Including picking dead last in the first round. Normally this wouldn’t be a very big deal, but the Eagles are short on picks this year due to the Carson Wentz and Ronald Darby trades.
Luckily they have one of the more complete rosters in the league, so they can afford to reach for a need or take a luxury player with the future in mind. I’ve compiled a few players that I think Philadelphia would be interested in that fit needs and may also be available when they pick.
Billy Price, C/G Ohio State: I know the Eagles won offensive line of the year, they were dominant in all phases and have studs in Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson. Steven Wisnewski played admirably, but he’s not the future at left guard. Price is an absolute stud, he’s a mauler in the run game and cerebral calling protections in the passing game. He could replace Wisnewski if his play falls off, and then eventually be the future at center. Right now he’d be amazing depth, as Philly is one injury away from Isaac Seomalu starting, and nobody wants that. Price is one of my favorite players in the entire draft. If he’s available they should run their card to the podium.
Mark Andrews, TE Oklahoma: This would be an extreme luxury pick with Zach Ertz already in the fold. But this all comes down to how much they decide to value the backup TE position. Brent Celek could be retiring, and Trey Burton will more than likely walk during free agency to become a team’s number one tight end. If either of them stay this probably isn’t even a discussion. Andrews is a huge body at 6’5 and 253 pounds. He’s excellent at adjusting to the ball and using his size as leverage. Pairing him with Ertz in this dynamic offense is a terrifying thought.
Malik Jefferson, LB Texas: Jefferson in the 1st round might be a slight reach, but without a 2nd round pick this would be their only chance at landing him. Linebacker is arguably their only true position of need. Jordan Hicks can’t stay healthy, Nigel Bradham is a free agent, and Mychal Kendricks was considered to be a bad fit in Schwartz’ system last season, he also has a high cap number. Jefferson is still a fairly raw player, but his athleticism is off the charts. He’ll run faster than some receivers at the combine. If Philadelphia feels confident in his upside he could be a true impact player.
Harold Landry, DE Boston College: People have different outlooks on Landry, I personally think they’re forgetting how dominant he was before he had a less than stellar senior season after his injury. I can’t see him falling this low, but if he does this would be a slam dunk as Philadelphia could continue to add to their impressive array of defensive linemen. If Vinny Curry is cut or traded due to his cap number like many suspect, Derek Barnett would become the starter. This would allow Landry to fill the role of backup and allow him to develop without much pressure to immediately produce.
Ronald Jones, RB USC: Tailback is a sneaky need for the Eagles. They were extremely effective in the run game this season, but Blount is 31 and may not be back with the team in 2018. Jay Ajayi is entering the final year of his rookie deal and has legitimate health concerns due to his knees. This may cause Philadelphia to be hesitant to extend him, which would leave Corey Clement as the only definite back in 2019. While Clement is a great complimentary back, his game isn’t in the mold of your typical bell cow. Jones is an extremely gifted runner with great vision and speed. He would work well with Clement and will remind Doug Pederson of Jamaal Charles in a lot of ways.
James Washington, WR Oklahoma State: This is another luxury pick, but with Torrey Smith on his way out the Eagles could be searching for another receiving weapon. Mack Hollins is thought to be next in line on the outside, but Washington is a special player. Many will point to the system he was in during college as a reason why he was so productive. But he has strong hands and wins at the point of contact, he’s got more speed than many give him credit for. Washington has a ton of upside, and in Doug Pederson’s offense you really can’t have enough weapons.
Isaiah Oliver, CB Colorado: I’m sure most reading this are scratching their heads at a corner. The Eagles look to be stocked with young and intriguing talent at the position, but I went with him for a few reasons. One being that you can never have too many corners in today’s pass first NFL. Another reason is that he’s got the potential to be an elite corner, he’s got the size at 6’1 and 190 pounds to go along with extremely long arms. He’s also got sprinter’s speed and great ball skills. My other thought is that the Eagles don’t have great depth at safety, and Malcolm Jenkins isn’t getting younger. Jalen Mills’ could transition to safety, a position he might be better suited to play due to his size and speed. Factor in Patrick Robinson more than likely leaving in free agency and the possibility of Ronald Darby leaving after his rookie deal is up. The Eagles wouldn’t skip a beat with a deep group of young players at a premium position. I know this is another very long term plan, but that’s how dynasties are built!