1. Rashaan Evans Linebacker, Alabama
I talked about Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch last week as a potential fix at the position. While he remains high on most draft boards, another linebacker who might fit the Eagles at 32 is a player you’ve probably already heard of in Rashaan Evans.
Evans figures to fall in with a lineage of Bama linebackers who dominated on National Championship defenses and will smoothly transition to the NFL on day one. If Bradham leaves via free agency he can step in and fill a lot of his role. Questions loom about his ability in coverage but it shouldn’t be enough to deny his outstanding talent in the middle of the field.
2. Maurice Hurst Defensive Tackle, Michigan
Considering yesterday’s trade for Michael Bennet, Howie is proving he isn’t shying away from making improvements to the Super Bowl champion roster. If he’s not afraid to add a pro-bowler to the teams’ biggest strength, he won’t be afraid to use a first round pick to bolster that strength some more. With Beau Allen likely getting more money in free agency a third interior lineman becomes a need, and Mo Hurst fits that need well.
Hurst is quick as hell and does an exceptional job of finding creases to get up field. Despite his perceived lack of size he does a good job of creating leverage to keep himself from being pushed around. He’d be a perfect addition to this dominant line but my fear (like with Harrison last week) is that he won’t be around that late. Behind Da’ron Payne he’s probably the best defensive tackle in this class and I don’t see how that lasts 32 picks. In the event that he’s still on the board the Eagles need to be prepared to grab him.
3. Sonny Michel Running Back, Georgia
I wouldn’t say running back is likely at 32, but with Ajayi entering the final year of his rookie deal and Blount/Sproles potentially on their way out it’s definitely a possibility. More than a few mock drafts have projected running backs to the Birds.
While I originally wanted to go with Derrius Guice I couldn’t get past the versatility of Michel. He offers slightly more home run speed than the other backs here (Guice, Jones) and just as much — if not more — physicality. He’s a more loose-hipped runner than his college teammate Nick Chubb and is incredibly dynamic in the pass game. Georgia used him effectively both out of the backfield and lined up in the slot. He’s the type of chess piece that a guy like Doug would love to have on offense and as a solid pass blocker he can play all three downs.
Even if we’re planning to re-sign Ajayi we know we can find a way to feed both backs and Clement. But if we did chose to use this pick on Michel then we give ourselves the option to let Ajayi walk next offseason.
4. DJ Moore Wide Receiver, Maryland
I wouldn’t peg this position as likely but it’s not outside the realm of possibility with Torrey Smith expected to be a cap casualty. In that case, we’d want to add a receiver who can step in day one and stretch the field. While Christian Kirk is the name everyone knows, Moore is a guy that needs to be on the Birds radar.
He was utilized both outside and in the slot at Maryland and his skillset should fit both roles in the NFL. He has solid straight line speed to compliment exceptional quickness — versatility is valuable and Moore provides that. While he need to continue to polish his route running he definitely has the potential to be a complete sideline receiver and there’s no reason he can’t duplicate Torrey Smith’s production in his rookie season. He was extremely productive in the Big Ten and has the athleticism to match that hype.