Eagles

Hudrick's 2017 NFL mock draft 2.0: Eagles get productive edge rusher

Hudrick's 2017 NFL mock draft 2.0: Eagles get productive edge rusher

The 2017 NFL draft is right around the corner. The Eagles will either hold the No. 14 overall pick thanks to their trade with the Minnesota Vikings for quarterback Sam Bradford. Here is Paul Hudrick's mock draft 2.0 to get you ready for the 2017 NFL draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia. Version 1.0 is here

*Denotes junior
** Denotes redshirt sophomore

1. Cleveland Browns - *Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M, 6-4/272
This is a slam dunk. Moving on.

2. San Francisco 49ers - *Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford, 6-2/273
With Kirk Cousins still in their sights for the future, new GM John Lynch goes defense. New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is a Pete Carroll disciple. The Seahawks have used bigger linemen (Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril) as ends in their 4-3. Thomas is versatile and can be effective on the inside or outside.

3. Chicago Bears - *Jamal Adams , S, LSU, 6-0/214
The signing of former Eagle Quintin Demps means safety isn't an immediate need, but Adams is such a difference maker. He's instinctual, tough, physical and can cover. He's the type of player you can build your defense around.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars - *Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, 6-0/240
The Jags have invested heavily on their defense. With no offensive line prospects being worthy at No. 4, they add a special player in Fournette. Fournette takes pressure off quarterback Blake Bortles. T.J. Yeldon will also be a nice change-of-pace complement to Fournette's powerful style.

5. Tennessee Titans - **Marshawn Lattimore, CB, Ohio State, 6-0/193
In a deep corner class, Lattimore is the best of the bunch. He's a physical prototype and has plenty of speed. His multiple hamstring injuries may scare some teams off, but Lattimore has the potential to be a shutdown corner.

6. New York Jets - *Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina, 6-2/222
If the Jets stay here, they could go in any direction. Trubisky has all the physical tools you want in a franchise quarterback. He was a one-year wonder for the Tar Heels so the acquisition of vet Josh McCown can only help Trubisky.

7. Los Angeles Chargers - **Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State, 6-1/206
Hooker is an elite centerfielder who also has limited college experience. His testing numbers in Indy only confirmed that Hooker is an excellent athlete. His presence adds more intrigue to an already promising young defense in LA.

8. Carolina Panthers - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama, 6-6/251
Howard can team with All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen to form a scary tight end duo. Howard not only gives Cam Newton another receiving threat but also an outstanding blocker at the tight end position. If Fournette slips, he's an ideal fit as well.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama, 6-3/286
With the three main cogs to the Bengals' front -- Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson -- all approaching 30 and nearing the end of their deals, the Bengals need to get a little younger up front. Allen is a guy that can help a team immediately and in the future. 

10. Buffalo Bills - *Mike Williams, WR, Clemson, 6-4/218
Keep an eye on Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster in this spot. New head coach Sean McDermott could use a Luke Kuechly-type 'backer to lead his defense in Buffalo. With that said, I'm going with Williams to pair with another former Clemson receiver in Sammy Watkins. Williams and Watkins have skill sets that will complement each other well.

11. New Orleans Saints - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama, 6-0/229
The Saints need all the defensive help they can get. Foster is a fast and physical linebacker that can fit in any defense. The Kuechly comparisons are fair. Foster can get sideline to sideline in a flash and punish ball carriers upon arrival.

12. Cleveland Browns - *Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson, 6-2/221
Keeping Watson here. Again, it's a nice haul for the Browns getting Garrett and then Watson. Watson showed enough at Clemson for Hue Jackson to think he can get the most out of him. He might be the "safest" of the first-round quarterbacks, but he also might have the lowest ceiling.

13. Arizona Cardinals - *Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech, 6-2/225
When it was first suggested that Mahomes could be a first-round pick, I thought the draft world had gone crazy. When I went back and watched him, I saw what others saw. There are plenty of tools for Bruce Arians to work with. With that said, he is super raw. The release is slow, the mechanics are a mess and the decision-making is questionable. Given a little seasoning, the Cardinals might have Carson Palmer's eventual replacement.

14. Philadelphia Eagles - *Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee, 6-3/259
It's odd. When I read mocks from/talk to people I respect, the responses are mixed on Barnett. Some think there's no way he gets out of the top 10 (like Ray Didinger). Others don't think he's worthy of being picked in the top 15. I could see him slipping to 14 and if he does, the Eagles should pounce.

No, Barnett is not a physical and athletic specimen like Garrett, but Barnett is just a damn good football player. After Garrett, it's clear Barnett is this draft's best pure pass rusher. Barnett racked up 32 sacks, breaking Tennessee's all-time record, set by some guy named Reggie White. Is Barnett the next Minister of Defense? No. But who is?

Barnett will have to earn his time in the rotation with Brandon Graham coming off a strong season and Vinny Curry coming off a rough year after signing a big contract. Veteran Chris Long has also been added to the mix. If Curry's struggles continue, the Eagles could save roughly $5 million by cutting him after the season.

It's worth noting that pass rushers generally struggle as rookies. A year after posting just four sacks for the Falcons as a rookie, former first-round pick Vic Beasley led the NFL in sacks in 2017. Barnett has the potential to be a consistent player at the next level. He wins with violent hands and brute strength. That should translate just fine to the NFL.

15. Indianapolis Colts - Haason Reddick, LB, Temple, 6-1/237
The Colts are also in desperate need of defensive playmakers. Enter the local kid. Reddick has the instincts of an inside 'backer but the pass rush skills of an edge rusher. He could be used inside for early downs and outside for obvious passing downs. Size is a concern as a pass rusher, but recently retired Colt Robert Mathis racked up 123 career sacks playing at around 240 pounds.

16. Baltimore Ravens - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan, 6-3/209
With speedsters Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman in the fold, Davis is a perfect complement as a possession receiver that can play outside or in the slot. Williams might have the higher upside, but Davis is so polished as a route runner he may have the biggest impact of any receiver as a rookie.

17. Washington Redskins - *Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State, 6-6/295
A stud prospect out of high school, McDowell never showed his full potential at Michigan State. An optimist would say he's just scratching the surface of what he can be. A pessimist would say he's an underachiever. It's worth noting that he'll turn just 21 in June. He'd be an intriguing fit as a 3-4 end for Washington.

18. Tennessee Titans - *John Ross, WR, Washington, 5-11/188
The Titans have the opposite situation of the Ravens with solid possession receivers in Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe. They need speed and Ross has plenty of it. What I like most about Ross is that he's not just a burner. He actually runs good routes and creates with the ball in his hands.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - *Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford, 5-11/202
The McCaffrey-to-the-Eagles hype has been strong. Really McCaffrey's hype in general has been insane since his incredible combine. Projecting McCaffrey to the top 15 is a little too rich for my blood. Along with DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, Jameis Winston would have a full complement of weapons.

20. Denver Broncos - *Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah, 6-5/297
The more I studied the tackles, the more appealing Bolles became. His combine made him only more attractive. He's crazy athletic for a tackle and has a mean streak. His stock is soaring, but I like him here. The Broncos need all the help they can get in protecting whoever their starting quarterback is. 

21. Detroit Lions - *Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State, 6-0/195
Conley isn't the strongest or most physical corner in the draft, but he can flat out cover. Darius Slay has been excellent in Detroit. Putting Conley on the other side could give a Detroit one of the better secondaries in the league.

22. Miami Dolphins - *Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan, 5-11/213
Forget the one career interception, Peppers can play. He proved at the combine that actual ball skills aren't the issue. Nor is his speed. Peppers would form an interesting tandem with former Pro Bowler Reshad Jones. 

23. New York Giants - *Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin, 6-6/310
I actually like Alabama's Cam Robinson more, but I don't think he and Erik Flowers are an ideal pairing. Ramczyk has a better chance to start at left tackle from Day 1. The Giants have plenty of weapons. Now they just need to keep Eli Manning upright.

24. Oakland Raiders - *Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt, 6-3/234
The Raiders have some pieces on defense, but a starting middle linebacker isn't one of them. Cunningham may project better as a playmaking weakside linebacker, but he was a stud as a middle linebacker during his time at Vandy. 

25. Houston Texans - *Cam Robinson, OL, Alabama, 6-6/322
If Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer is on the board, the Texans will likely give him a long look. In Robinson they get a right tackle that's strong in the run game and could eventually evolve into a left tackle. Houston could opt to take the same path the Eagles did with Lane Johnson, letting Robinson play on the right before taking over for former All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown.

26. Seattle Seahawks - Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan, 6-6/277
Washington corner Kevin King is a trendy pick here, and he would make sense. I'm going with Charlton. He fits the Seahawks' size profile for DEs, and Bennett and Avril are both in their 30s. Charlton and the emerging Frank Clark could be a formidable duo in the future. He's also a great value pick at 26. 

27. Kansas City Chiefs - *Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State, 5-10/210
Cook drops this low only because of off-the-field issues. The talent is clearly there. Andy Reid has shown in the past he's not afraid to take players with troubles off the field. The hope is a strong head coach with a strong locker room will get the most out of Cook. This also seems like a good spot for Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.

28. Dallas Cowboys - TreDavious White, CB, LSU, 5-11/192
White could easily go in the top 20, so this is a great value pick for Dallas. White isn't a freak athlete like Lattimore, but he's strong in coverage. He should be able to play on the outside in the NFL, but he also has the toughness to play in the slot.

29. Green Bay Packers - Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA, 6-2/250
Corner is a strong possibility, but they could use another edge rusher as well. Nick Perry is back, but Clay Matthews is 30 and there isn't much in the pipeline at the position. McKinley would fit the Packers' profile at outside 'backer and could contribute in a rotation with Perry and Matthews.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - *DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame, 6-4/233
Kizer has a lot of Ben Roethlisberger in him. He has great size, a big arm and is a sneaky athlete. Kizer will have at least one season to learn behind Big Ben. When they hand over the reins to Kizer, he'll have a strong offensive line and elite offensive weapons. Kizer has a chance to be the best quarterback in this class. If he lands in Pittsburgh, those chances only improve.

31. Atlanta Falcons - *David Njoku, TE, Miami, 6-4/246
This would be scary. Njoku is an athletic freak who's excellent after the catch. Giving Matt Ryan Njoku to go along with Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel just doesn't seem fair. I'd have my money on Ryan to repeat as league MVP.

32. New Orleans Saints - **Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama, 6-0/197
Corner is a need and Humphrey has the physical profile of a shutdown corner. He's physical but I was troubled by what I saw out of him during the CFP. He lacks ball skills and has trouble locating the football. If he can improve in those areas, the sky's the limit. 

Eagles-Cowboys predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Cowboys predictions by our (cough) experts

The Birds are back.

And fresh off the bye week, they hop right into a doozy Sunday night against the divisional rival Cowboys at AT&T Stadium (8:30 p.m./NBC).

Will the Eagles (8-1) push their win streak to eight games? Or will the Cowboys (5-4) answer the bell at home and keep things interesting in the NFC East?

Here are our expert predictions for the Week 11 matchup:

Reuben Frank (9-0)
Eagles 38, Cowboys 11. Usually, I work my way up to the actual prediction and try to build up a tremendous level of anticipation with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about matchups, trends, analytics and whatnot before getting around to the pick. 

But not this week. I’m not messing around here. The Eagles are going to crush this team. 

Here’s a stat I love: Since 2000, the Cowboys have lost 21 games by at least 22 points. Ten of them — almost half — have been against the Eagles. And five of their seven home losses since 2000 by 22 or more points have been at the hands of the Eagles. Don’t believe me?

2000 at Texas Stadium — Eagles 41, Cowboys 14
2001 at the Vet — Eagles 40, Cowboys 18
2001 at Texas Stadium — Eagles 36, Cowboys 3
2002 at the Vet — Eagles 44, Cowboys 13
2002 at Texas Stadium — Eagles 27, Cowboys 3
2003 at the Linc — Eagles 36, Cowboys 10
2004 at Texas Stadium — Eagles 49, Cowboys 21
2008 at the Linc — Eagles 44, Cowboys 6
2011 at the Linc — Eagles 34, Cowboys 7
2014 at AT&T Stadium — Eagles 33, Cowboys 10

Big Red used to crush the Cowboys, didn't he? Even soon-to-be-Florida head coach Chip Kelly had himself a rout of the Cowboys — it got the Eagles to 9-3 on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. 

So here’s the funny thing: I picked 38-11 and then decided to change my prediction to the averages of those 10 routs and it turned out to be … 38-11. That's fate. Eagles will return to Philly Monday morning 9-1 with an eight-game winning streak and a virtual lock on the NFC East. This one's going to be fun!

Eagles 38, Cowboys 11

Dave Zangaro (7-2)
No Sean Lee. No Ezekiel Elliott. And a banged-up Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith (at best). 

Even if all of them were completely healthy, I'd probably lean toward picking the Eagles. Without them? No-brainer. 

Now, maybe the Eagles come out of the bye week a little rusty. It could happen after a long layoff, especially after a flight to North Texas for the game. But the Eagles have proven time and time again that their focus just isn't an issue. There's no reason to expect that to be a problem Sunday night. 

And the Birds are getting healthy. Ronald Darby is back. As well as the Eagles' other corners fared while he was gone, there's a reason he's a starter. And they get back Zach Ertz, who just happens to be one of their most important offensive weapons. 

Games against division rivals are not normally easy, so maybe the Eagles don't blow them out. But I think this is a win. 

Eagles 27, Cowboys 20 

Derrick Gunn (8-1)
Now that their bye week is over, the Eagles are focused on wrapping up the NFC East. Dallas is licking its wounds after getting manhandled down in Atlanta. Elliott is serving his suspension. Lee is out with a hamstring injury, and the Pro Bowler Smith is ailing with a groin injury. 

It all sounds too easy for the Birds, but with Prescott on the other side, they’re not about to overlook this one. And they still remember what happened in Dallas last season.

Without Elliott and Smith, trying to establish a ground game against the Eagles’ top-ranked run defense will be near impossible. 

Dallas is 0-2 in games Lee hasn't played in this season. 

Carson Wentz will spread the wealth through the air, and now that Jay Ajayi has had extended time to get familiar with the offense, the Birds' running attack should be even more diversified. 

If the Eagles' defense can make the Cowboys' offense one-dimensional, it's game over.

Eagles 27, Cowboys 17

Ray Didinger (8-1)
The Otho Davis Scholarship Fund dinner was held this week, honoring the late Eagles trainer and awarding scholarships to students pursuing careers in sports medicine. The room was full of former Eagles players and Philadelphia fans and, of course, there was a lot of conversation about Sunday's big game against Dallas.

The confidence level was high. I heard a dozen variations on "This will be a blowout." The thinking goes something like this: No Elliott, no chance for the Cowboys. Their pitiful performance in last week's loss to Atlanta was all the evidence the Eagles fans needed. And, yes, if that same Cowboys team shows up Sunday night, the Eagles will be in fine shape.

But my guess is the Cowboys will play much better this week at home. I'm still not sure it will be enough because right now the Eagles are playing better than any team in the NFL. I'll take the Eagles, which will virtually wrap up the division title, but I don't think it will be as easy as some folks think.

Eagles 28, Cowboys 20

Andrew Kulp (8-1)
With all their injuries and suspensions, the Cowboys really don't look so hot. 

Arguably their three best players — Smith, Elliott and Lee — are all out. They won't be able to run the ball, they'll struggle to protect Prescott, and the defense will struggle to slow down Wentz and the Eagles' offense.

All the stuff about this being a division rival on the road or the possibility of the Eagles coming off their bye week flat are going to fade pretty quickly with one simple reality. The Cowboys are an inferior opponent right now. Maybe not 49ers bad, or even Broncos bad, but at this point, they could struggle to finish .500.

Eagles 38, Cowboys 23

Corey Seidman (6-3)
No Zeke, no Lee, maybe no Smith, banged-up Bryant … the Cowboys are oozing with "nobody believes in us" potential this Sunday night. And just when one team is so undermanned that all hope looks lost (see: Giants-Broncos earlier this season), things turn out in an unexpected way.

Still, I'm not taking the Cowboys in this game. If they had Zeke, I think I would. But Alfred Morris is in that Rob Kelley mold of plodding running back who tends to struggle against the Eagles, and that'll make the Cowboys' offense one-dimensional. With Bryant at less than 100 percent, I just don't see Dallas keeping the pace.

Eagles 34, Cowboys 17

Doug Pederson uses last season's losing streak to motivate Eagles

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Doug Pederson uses last season's losing streak to motivate Eagles

This time last year? The Eagles actually still had a winning record and were thinking playoffs.
 
Then disaster.
 
The Eagles were 5-4 going into Week 10 a year ago and proceeded to lose their next five games, the first three in blowout fashion.
 
It was the Eagles' longest losing streak since an eight-game streak in 2012, Andy Reid's last year, and third longest since a seven-game streak spanning 1998 and 1999.
 
More importantly, it was the team's longest losing streak that began with a winning record that late in a season since the notorious 1994 collapse in Rich Kotite's final season — a 7-2 start turned into a 7-9 finish.
 
A losing streak like that can either destroy a team's character or make it even stronger.
 
And Doug Pederson knew it could go either way.
 
"I look back at that, and I just kept reminding the team that you put in the hard work and the preparation, and you believe in each other, you believe in yourself, you trust the process, and that's not cliché," he said Friday.
 
"You have to trust what I'm talking about, what the coaches are talking about, and just stick together, and there's no pointing fingers. That's what they did. They hung together."
 
That losing streak began with a home loss to Seattle. Although the final score was 26-15, it was a 26-7 game until a Dorial Green-Beckham touchdown in the final minutes. (Really.)
 
After that came a 27-13 loss to the Packers at the Linc and then the low point, an embarrassing 32-14 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati, a game the Eagles trailed 29-0 late in the third quarter.
 
"That was sort of a defining moment at that point," Pederson said. "I guess we were as low as we were going to be as a team and organization coming out of that game. The guys responded well.
 
"(The) messaging was the same. We practiced the same after that. Lot of pride, too. Lot of pride in the coaches. Lot of pride in the players and this organization. …
 
"We needed to change it. We needed to fix it. Even though we didn't win a couple games after that, you saw steady improvement (and then) we figured out a way at the end of the season to win those two games and finish on a high note."
 
The Eagles rebounded to show some fight in close losses to the Redskins and Ravens, then closed out the season with wins over the Giants and the Cowboys. Granted, the Dallas win was over a bunch of scrubs, but after a five-game losing streak, any win was welcome.
 
Pederson said Friday that pushing through that five-game losing streak and coming out and staying together as a team was instrumental in this team's 8-1 start going into Sunday night in Dallas.
 
"I think it directly affects the team this season," he said. "Things happen for a reason, and you learn from them, especially in this business. And really, in life in general. Things happen, and you learn from them. You make the necessary corrections and you move on.
 
"You don't dwell in the past, but you remember, and you reflect from time to time. So I think it's a direct correlation to where the team is today, learning how to finish games and learning how to play together and understanding that they are a good football team."
 
The Eagles are atop every NFL poll these days. They have the NFL's best record and share the longest winning streak with the Saints, and Pederson said it's not always easy for the players to ignore all the praise being lavished on them.
 
"Well, it is hard because the team, rightfully so, is being praised in a lot of areas and they're well deserved of the credit and the praise," he said.
 
"But at the same time, we understand that we can't look past this week. We can't look past this game. It's a division game on the road, national spotlight again. It's two teams that are undefeated in the NFC East. I'd like to say that every game is important, but none more important than the one we're faced with Sunday night."
 
Sunday night starts a very difficult stretch, with four of the next five games on the road and three of those road games against teams with winning records.
 
A year ago, the Eagles were 1-7 on the road, finishing with seven straight losses.
 
This year, they go into AT&T Stadium Sunday 3-1 away from Philly.
 
"Four out of the next five weeks we're traveling, it's kind of like the start of the season," Pederson said.
 
"This is sort of a tough stretch, but at the same time, it's one that we welcome. If we want to separate and become a good football team and a consistent winner in this league, these are the stretches that you have to go through and find ways to win games."