The 2016 NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis. Fans heard from Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman on Wednesday, and the individual player workouts will begin on Friday.
While some fans will get their first real taste of the prospects on Friday, members of the media were given an appetizer earlier in the week as NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock held his annual pre-Combine conference call.
Mayock was asked about what the Eagles might do with the 13th overall pick in the first round and whether it might be wise to trade back in order to possibly pick up a second-round pick, something the team doesn’t currently have at its disposal. Mayock, who played his high school football in Haverford, Pennsylvania, explained his thinking for where the Eagles might turn with their first-round pick.
“I think moving back all depends on when they're on the clock and who's available,” said Mayock. “If I'm the Eagles, my priority list is quarterback, number one. I don't know what they're going to do with
“My belief is that (Jared) Goff and (Carson) Wentz will be gone. The question is ‘Is Paxton Lynch there?’, and if Paxton Lynch is there at 13, if they believe he's the guy, they'd better take him, even if he doesn't play one snap this year. I think they have to take either a Lynch or -- I don't know if there is a (Connor) Cook or not, but if they think there's a guy at 13 that's a franchise quarterback, I think everything else flies off the board. They have to take him.”
Many draftniks have linked Lynch to the Eagles at the 13th pick. According to Mayock, Lynch’s physical traits remind him of a local quarterback who has already won a Super Bowl in his NFL career.
“He's 6-7, reminds me of Joe Flacco coming out of Delaware,” said Mayock. “He's a great athlete for 6-7. He'll surprise you with his athletic ability. He's got a big arm, but he's a year or two away from playing. … If you think Paxton Lynch is a franchise quarterback, you'd better go get him because there aren't many of those guys out there.”
With the question about the quarterback position still looming large for the Eagles heading into the 2016 season, Mayock believes there are still other positions that should be addressed in this year’s draft. Mayock pointed to the offensive line as another spot where the Eagles would serve themselves well to upgrade this April, potentially in the first round.
“(I)n order of priority, it's quarterback, and then for me it's offensive line,” Mayock said. “Eagles need to take two or three offensive linemen in this draft, and then after that they need to take a couple of defensive backs. Depending on how the board sets up at 13, if there's nobody there that they're that wild about and they can trade down and pick up a second, I'd be all about that. But it's going to be all depending on what happens with their board.”
Mayock then weighed in with the players he thinks rank among the top of the position group on the offensive line, highlighting a few talented big men from the Big Ten along the way.
“Well, at this position, I would tell you that for instance Jack Conklin from Michigan State would be the perfect right tackle,” Mayock said. “I think he can handle speed off the edge. He's a tough guy, gets movement at the run game. I think Taylor Decker could play left or right. Then you start to get into a guy like Jason Spriggs, who I think you could get in the second or third round, and I like him on the right side better than I do on the left. Willie Beavers from Western Michigan I think is an under-the-radar kid who can play, but he's going to need a little time to get ready.
“So there's some people out there, and it's just a matter of where do you get them, and I think there's going to be a run on tackles somewhere -- I think there's four potential first-round picks, and then after that a group of guys, Le'Raven Clark, Shon Coleman, Spriggs, (Germain) Ifedi, (Jerald) Hawkins, those kind of guys are going to go fairly quickly. And another two names for you on the right side, Spencer Drango from Baylor, and Kyle Murphy from Stanford. I think both will be right tackles in that kind of fourth-round range.”
Be sure to check out our continuing NFL Combine coverage throughout the week here on PhiladelphiaEagles.com.