The NFL Draft will start on Thursday night.
Regular-season college games, campus visits, all-star games, the Combine, private workouts, and prospect visits to Philadelphia are all done. There is no more information to gather, no more opinions to form. The only thing left to do is make some picks.
Or some trades.
The Eagles are short on picks this year and it feels like teams will call them to inquire about getting the 32nd pick. There will be a player or two who slides to the end of the first round. A team with an early second-round pick might covet those players and want to move up to get them.
If the Eagles love the players on the board, they'll stay put. If they have similar grades on several players, the smart move is to trade back and add an extra pick or two.
Here is my final mock draft for the Eagles, with them making a trade to move back a few spots and add an extra pick. I have them making a deal with Denver to acquire picks 40 and 106. The Broncos had a terrible year in 2017, but can easily bounce back and be a playoff team. They need quality more than quantity. The Eagles would love to add another mid-round pick to help them fill a few holes on the roster.
Second Round (No. 40 Overall): RB Ronald Jones, USC
Jones would add an explosive element to the Eagles' backfield. He is the kind of dangerous runner who can go all the way any time he gets his hands on the ball. Jones would be an interesting addition to a backfield that already has Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.
Ajayi is the biggest and most physical back of the trio. Clement has some size and is the best receiver. Jones is only 204 pounds, but he would be the fastest of the group. He ran for 31 touchdowns over the past two years. Jones averaged 13.4 yards per reception in 2017. He is a big-time playmaker.
As great as the Eagles' offense was last year, more weapons are always welcome. Coaches will tell you that big plays are invaluable in the NFL. Defenses are just too good for teams to sustain long drives on a consistent basis. Any players who can help deliver chunk plays become highly important. Jones could be that guy for the Eagles.
Fourth Round (No. 106 Overall): CB Avonte Maddox, Pitt
Patrick Robinson left in free agency and the Eagles could use someone who is a natural in the slot. Maddox played inside and outside at Pitt. At 5-9 and 184 pounds, Maddox has more of a build for the slot.
Maddox is the kind of player Jim Schwartz should love. Maddox is very confident and aggressive. He covered huge tight end Mike Gesicki at times in the Pitt-Penn State game and held his own. Maddox didn't care that Gesicki was the bigger star or the bigger player. He reminds you of Jalen Mills in that regard.
Maddox had a great showing at the Combine, running 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and testing well across the board. He could come in and challenge for playing time right away. Maddox has some punt return experience and could also help the coverage units on special teams.
Fourth Round (No. 130 Overall): TE Chris Herndon, Miami
Zach Ertz is a star tight end for the Eagles, but the departures of Brent Celek and Trey Burton left the team thin at the position. Richard Rodgers was signed to add veteran depth for 2018. The Eagles need to find some long-term help at tight end.
Herndon is a solid overall prospect. There aren't any major holes in his game. He has a good mixture of size and athleticism. He is a good receiver, showing good hands and the ability to run after the catch. Herndon is an effective blocker with potential to get better in that area. He has a good combination of strength and physicality.
Herndon has the experience, skills, size, and athleticism to come in and contribute right away. He could push Rodgers for the No. 2 tight end spot or come in and play in three tight end sets, as well as on special teams.
Fourth Round (No. 132 Overall): DE Chad Thomas, Miami
One Hurricane isn't enough, so the Eagles have to get a second. Thomas is a big defensive lineman at 6-6 and 281 pounds. He is versatile. Miami had him play left and right end, defensive tackle, and even had him stand up like a linebacker at times. Thomas was productive wherever he played.
Thomas went to the Shrine Game and stood out there. That helped him get an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he also played well. The Eagles love versatile defensive linemen. Thomas could play outside or inside. He can move around and he's good on stunts. Thomas could be especially valuable as an interior pass rusher because of his quickness and size.
Fifth Round (No. 169 Overall): OL Jamil Demby, Maine
Demby was a four-year starter at left tackle for Maine. He played in the Senior Bowl and showed good potential as a pass blocker. At 6-4 and 319 pounds, Demby has the build to play tackle or guard. He is a terrific run blocker and plays with the kind of physicality the Eagles want in their offensive linemen.
The Eagles have some young talent on the offensive line, but there is always room for another versatile, physical blocker.
Sixth Round (No. 206 Overall): S Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama
Here's another small-school player who the Eagles saw at the Senior Bowl. Reaves was a three-year starter at South Alabama, playing cornerback and safety for the Jaguars. When I watched him play, Reaves reminded me a lot of Rodney McLeod.
Reaves is a tough hitter and physical tackler. He can play in space or come down into the box and help stuff the run. Reaves finished his career with 20.5 tackles for loss and eight interceptions, showing he can make plays against the run or back in coverage. The Eagles need depth at safety, so Reaves makes a lot of sense.
Seventh Round (No. 250 Overall): LB Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State
Jordan Hicks is on pace to be ready for the 2018 season. When healthy, he gives the Eagles one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. Unfortunately, Hicks has had injury issues in two of his three years, so the team could use some long-term insurance at middle linebacker.
DeLuca started at middle linebacker for 2 1/2 years for the Bison. He racked up 329 tackles and deflected 17 passes. At 251 pounds, he has the size to play the run. DeLuca also shows the potential to be effective in coverage. He could also be outstanding on special teams. DeLuca helped himself with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.