Nick Chubb

Best players available for Eagles in second round of NFL draft

Best players available for Eagles in second round of NFL draft

With Round 1 in the books and the Eagles trading back, we look at the best prospects that could be available when they’re on the clock at pick 52.

We’re operating under the assumption that Derrius Guice, Courtland Sutton, Dallas Goedert, Connor Williams, Harold Landry and players of that ilk will be off the board.

D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
Chark possesses great size (6-foot-3) and speed (4.34). His lack of eye-popping production is partly because of LSU’s offense and quarterback play, but he was also inconsistent in his route running and his strength at the catch point. He offers an intriguing complement to Alshon Jeffery.

Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
Bates’ ability to cover and help in the run game should appeal to the Eagles, who value versatility in their safeties. Bates can be overaggressive at times, leading to poor angles and missed tackles, but those issues are coachable. He can serve as the team’s third safety and learn from Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. He should produce on special teams from Day 1.

Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
The only thing keeping Miller from being a higher pick is his size (5-foot-11). Despite his diminutive stature, he put up 22 reps at the combine and has huge hands (10 5/8”). He ran 4.48 at his pro day, showing he has NFL explosiveness. And, oh yeah, his production at Memphis was crazy. He had at least 95 catches, 1,400 yards and 14 TDs in each of his last two seasons.

Fred Warner, LB, BYU
Warner has tremendous size (6-3/236) and length. He’s also a great athlete, playing somewhat of a hybrid safety/linebacker role. He has experience covering slot receivers and tight ends and has solid ball skills (seven career INTs). He’s a bit risky without a defined position, but he’s incredibly intriguing.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Sony Michel may have gone at pick 31, but Chubb was Georgia’s bell cow this season. If not for a horrific knee injury during his sophomore season, Chubb would likely already be in the NFL. He’s big (227 pounds) and powerful (29 reps) but certainly not slow (4.52). He’s an old school back and doesn’t offer much in the passing game. With that said, he still has great value as a runner. Especially as he gets further away from his injury.

Tyrell Crosby, OL, Oregon
Crosby is a road grader that plowed the way for Oregon’s potent running game. He played both left and right tackle for the Ducks but may be best suited to play guard at the next level. Pass protection was an issue at times, but what better mentor for a young tackle than one of the best to ever do it in Jason Peters?

Running backs that could fit Eagles in 2018 NFL draft

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Running backs that could fit Eagles in 2018 NFL draft

We continue our positional breakdown leading up to the 2018 NFL draft with a look at running backs. Instead of a top five, we'll highlight players at these positions who fit the Eagles and have a chance to be available when the team picks.

We looked at quarterbacks to start the series. Now we'll take a look at running backs.

At No. 32
Ronald Jones II, USC, 5-11, 205 pounds

Jones is coming off a monster junior season at Southern Cal. He carried the ball 261 times (that's a ton) for 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns and also chipped in 14 catches for 187 yards. Jones might be a little on the light side, but he's surprisingly physical, which can be good and bad. He definitely has the ability to burst through holes and the patience to find them. He didn't put up huge receiving numbers in college but might have more ability in that area, which could make him appealing to Doug Pederson and the Eagles. He could use some work as a blocker, but that's pretty common for guys coming into the league. He's not perfect but could grow into being a three-down NFL back. Jones suffered a hamstring injury at the Combine, but his tape doesn't lie.

Derrius Guice, LSU, 5-11, 212
During his junior season, Guice dealt with injuries that didn't derail his season but definitely affected it. He still put up big numbers, putting up another 1,000-yard season. You can really see the difference between 2016 and 2017 in his yards after contact numbers. According to PFF, he averaged 4.1 yards after contact per attempt in 2016, but just 3.2 in 2017. Still, he's the type of back whose legs never stop churning even when his torso is wrapped up. He's a pretty big, powerful runner, but is surprisingly smooth as a receiver, even though he wasn't called upon too much in that area at LSU.

In the middle
Nick Chubb, Georgia, 5-11, 228

Along with his Georgia teammate Sony Michel, Chubb is in the next group of running backs in this year's draft. At the combine, at 228 pounds, he ran a 4.52, crushed the bench (29 reps) and was impressive in both jumps. What's even more impressive is he did it all with his rehabilitated knee. Michel might still be the first Georgia back off the board, but Chubb shouldn't be too far behind. Chubb will be gone by the time the Eagles pick in the fourth round, but if they move back up, he could be a target.

Nyheim Hines, N.C. State, 5-8, 197
You probably know Hines because of his lighting-fast 4.38 in the 40 at the combine. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with speed and playmaking ability. Hines really has one big season under his belt — as a junior last year he rushed for 1,112 yards and caught 26 passes for 152 more yards. At the NFL level, he's going to need to become a better receiver if he sticks. Maybe the Eagles will avoid another undersized guy who needs to become a better receiver to stick (think Donnel Pumphrey). But a big bonus with Hines is his ability as a return man. He has returned kicks and punts and is dangerous.

Late-round sleeper(s)
Chase Edmonds, Fordham, 5-9, 205

The last time the Eagles drafted a running back from Harrisburg it worked out OK. Of course, Edmonds isn't Shady McCoy; he's a relatively unknown player from a small school. But he's an intriguing prospect and had a good combine. No his 4.55 time in the 40 isn't eye-popping but his 4.07 in the 20-yard shuttle and 19 reps on the bench are note-worthy. At Fordham, he didn't face a ton of top competition so his tape should be taken with a grain of salt. An injury slowed him down as a senior. There's a reason he's a late-round guy, but Edmonds appears to have some explosion and shiftiness, even with his thick frame.

Should the Eagles take a RB at 32?

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Should the Eagles take a RB at 32?

The Eagles on Friday reportedly hosted a formal visit with LSU running back Derrius Guice.

If the Eagles have real interest in Guice, they know he won’t be there beyond pick 32. He might not even be there at pick 32. So would the Eagles seriously consider taking a running back with their first-round pick?

The Eagles’ running back situation is murky going forward. LeGarrette Blount has found a new home. Jay Ajayi will have an enormous role in this offense, but is only signed through 2018. Corey Clement will likely take on a bigger role after he proved himself as a pass catcher and, more importantly, a pass protector. Kenjon Barner’s value is strictly as a returner, a need the Eagles may look to address elsewhere. Then there’s former mid-round picks Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey who I mention in this space simply because they have roster spots as of today. And don’t forget about Darren Sproles, who’s still lingering in free agency.

The free agent market is less than inspiring. Adrian Peterson is out there but he’s not going to play for free. Do you want to bring back former Eagle DeMarco Murray or (almost former Eagle) Frank Gore? Didn’t think so. You could take a chance on an Eddie Lacy or a Matt Jones, guys who showed promise but lost their way. But, again … meh.

Last year’s running back draft class was crazy deep and talented. So much so that the Eagles were able to pick up Clement off the street after he didn’t get selected. This year’s class isn’t far behind it.

There’s an obvious RB1: Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. No, Eagles fans. It’s not happening. You’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, focus on the guys the Eagles have an actual shot at getting. Guice, for one, would be an excellent addition as a lead back. There’s also USC’s Ronald Jones, a Jamaal Charles clone that would fit like a glove in this offense. Then there’s Georgia’s dynamic duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb is more of a bell cow while Michel is more dynamic.

The history of the Eagles drafting running backs high is not illustrious. Since they made one of the worst decisions in franchise history by selecting Michael Haddix No. 8 overall in the loaded 1983 draft, it’s been a somewhat mixed bag. They took Keith Byars No. 10 overall and Anthony Toney in the second round in 1986. Byars was OK, but Toney was a bust. They took Siran Stacy in the second (48th overall) in 1992 who never logged a single NFL carry. They did better in 1994, selecting Charlie Garner in the second round (42nd overall), and hit it out of the park in 2009, selecting their all-time leading rusher LeSean McCoy at pick 53.

The Eagles clearly have running backs on their radar in this draft. Though their history isn’t great with drafting them high, this would be the year to do it.