Philadelphia Eagles News

The Intrigue Of Draft's First Round

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Let's hope this is the last time in a long time for the Eagles to have a draft pick in the top 10 of the first round. We want division titles, deep playoff runs and the Lombardi Trophy -- and draft picks at the end of rounds.

As it stands now, of course, the Eagles have the eighth pick on April 28 and the projections are all over the place.

A quarterback? Is one of the top two going to be on the board at 8? 

What about a running back? Ezekiel Elliott is the top-rated player at that position and the Eagles have a spot to fill after trading DeMarco Murray and ...

Or an offensive lineman? The Eagles could still very well draft one or two or three offensive linemen even after signing Brandon Brooks and Stefen Wisniewski in free agency.

Maybe Jim Schwartz would like more help for the defense. Is there a top-rated defensive back who would be on the board and immediately impact this secondary? Have we even mentioned the idea of a stud linebacker coming in to shake up a room that hasn't had a lot of conversation in the offseason? Maybe the Eagles go out and get themselves a standout pass rusher to add to the arsenal up front.

Who knows? We're only three weeks out and the intrigue is thick. This is the first top 10 draft pick for the Eagles since 2013 and that year was fairly easy to figure: The Eagles picked at No. 4 and were either going to get one of the top three offensive linemen or maybe Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan. Neat and tidy. Easy to predict.

This spring, at No. 8, the perspective is quite a bit different. The top 10 of the draft, according to the "experts" has its core, but within that are the variables starting with Tennessee at No. 1. Will the Titans hold on to the pick, or will a big, bold move come to trade up from a team in the top 10? That's one unknown. Another is the Colin Kaepernick holding pattern. If Kaepernick is still a 49er in three weeks, would the 49ers, at No. 7 overall, take a quarterback? Certainly, if San Francisco deals Kaepernick, the 49ers would seem all lined up to draft a quarterback at No. 7, if one of the top two -- North Dakota State's Carson Wentz or Cal's Jared Goff -- is still on the board.

I vowed only last week to put the draft hype in the rear-view mirror, but it's worth a glance from time to time. I wonder just how murky the draft picture will be in three weeks. Will we have a clear sense at all what's going to be available to the Eagles at No. 8?

A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT

  • I really liked Stefen Wisniewski's candor when he talked about how disappointed he was not to have had bigger, better offers in free agency. He wanted a long-term contract and instead is here on a one-year deal. Wisniewski has a lot of incentive to have a great season and get into the long-term-contract game. Expect him to get looks at center and both guard spots as the Eagles improve their depth and competition. Left guard remains a question mark, for sure.
  • What does the wide receiver draft class look like? Doesn't sound like there are a lot of exciting prospects at the top of the draft, which is why I wonder if the Eagles will go in that direction at all after signing veterans Chris Givens and Rueben Randle in free agency. Those two, along with Ronald Darby, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff, make for five on the depth chart. There are a couple of other pretty talented younger players who have been around the NFL a bit here as well. Is there anyone in the fourth or fifth round of this draft who is better than what the Eagles presently have? Just thinking out loud ...
  • On April 6, 1995 Norman Braman agreed to sell the Eagles franchise to Jeffrey Lurie. For those of you old enough to remember Braman and his time as the franchise's Owner, think for a moment how things would be if Braman still owned the team. Would the Eagles still be in Philadelphia?
  • Which free-agent signing will have the biggest impact? Could be Brandon Brooks, who is slated to be the starting right guard. Could be Nigel Bradham, who has a chance to start at one of the linebacker spots with his range and physical play. Could be Rodney McLeod at safety, who has the coaching staff really excited to see how he teams up with Malcolm Jenkins.
  • Perhaps my biggest question at this moment regarding the defense is this: Will Jordan Hicks get the call to play middle linebacker, and if so, is he big enough to be a thumper? Is Hicks sturdy enough at 236 pounds to play the middle and how much weight and bulk can he add after tearing his pectoral muscle last season? The young man showed signs last year of being a terrific player, and his performance was encouraging. He's good enough to start somewhere at linebacker. Is he destined to play in the middle? 
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