We're now just over a month from the NFL Draft, which will take place in Philadelphia from April 27-29.
Two weeks ago, we started with our first version of the Eagles mock draft. Here is our mock draft 2.0.
Round 1, Pick 14, (14): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Eagles defense played better than the offense in 2016, but after the Birds addressed a number of needs on the offensive side of the ball during free agency, the holes on the defensive side of the ball remain.
The Tennessee product plays a lot like Brandon Graham in that he doesn't exactly have an elite trait, but uses his awareness, technique and hustle in order to beat offensive linemen. Still, his ability as a pass-rusher cannot be understated. Barnett finished all three years of college with double-digit sacks and set Tennessee's career sacks record with 33, one more than Reggie White had in his four years at Knoxville.
Jim Schwartz did as much as he could last year, but he needs elite talent on his side of the ball if he's going to construct a top-tier unit. If the Birds can plug Barnett on the line opposite from Graham and get a bounce-back year from Vinny Curry, that's a scary rotation of edge-rushers.
Round 2, Pick 11, (43): Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
The Eagles' need for a top corner gets addressed in the second round with the selection of White, who would arguably be the best player available, should he fall all the way to 43. With such a strong cornerback class, teams may snatch up players at other positions early, dropping the stock of some of the top defensive backs in the draft.
White was a starter for the majority of his four years at LSU and developed into an exceptional cornerback, especially in man coverage. With the Eagles in desperate need for outside corners, White could be the lockdown corner the Birds have been searching for.
So why is he available in the second round? Simply put, he can't tackle. White isn't an overly-physical player and can be bullied by bigger wide receivers at times. He could stand to put on some weight, but that remains true for most of the players in the draft. White has the swagger that Schwartz demands from his corners and could be a starter from day one.
Round 3, Pick 10, (74): Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson is a name many people will recognize from his time at USC, but his lacking of size will hurt his draft stock and the Eagles would happily snap him up in the third round to solidify their secondary. Jackson's lacking of size is a bit of a concern, but he's very athletic, and, at the very least, can contribute as a returner from day one.
On a defense that is short on playmakers, Jackson would be a shot in the arm. He has a knack for making plays that this team hasn't seem since Brandon Boykin was roaming the slot in 2013. Adding Jackson to White and Jalen Mills would give the Birds three quality cornerbacks who could compete with any receiving corps in the in the league.
Round 4, Pick 12, (119): D'Onta Freeman, RB, Texas
Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas has a long history of taking under-valued running backs late in drafts and watching them blossom into above-average starters. Freeman is a physical speciman who ran for over 2000 yards in his final year at Texas, but has yet to scratch the surface of his potential.
Despite weighing over 230 lbs, Freeman was more of a finesse runner in college and will need to learn to use his size to his advantage in the NFL. He also had some ball security issues in 2016, losing six fumbles. Additionally, Freeman is an absolute liability in pass protection. With Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles on the roster, the Eagles could use Freeman as a two-down back and develop him slowly as a receiver and a blocker.
Round 4, Pick 32, (139): Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
The Eagles don't have a huge need for a receiver now that Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are in the fold, but Ford is a huge down-field threat that could add another dimension to the Eagles' offense.
Ford is a bit thin and struggles against physical coverage, but he is able to beat defenses deep with his quickness, height and vertical jump. However, he ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine which will drive his stock down. Still Ford topped 1000 yards in each of his last two seasons in college and can develop into a productive NFL receiver with some coaching. Thanks to Jeffery and Smith, the Eagles can afford to wait.
Round 5, Pick 11, (155): Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State
The Eagles could use a quality linebacker if Mychal Kendricks is moved. Lee is an athletic player who finished as a first-team All-Big-12 player in 2016. He has a few issues in run defense, but he's rangy enough to play on passing downs. With 11 career sack, Lee could fill Kendricks' role as a blitzing linebacker in base defense while playing in coverage during certain sub-packages.
At the very least, Lee can compete with Najee Goode to back up Kendricks if the veteran remains on the team during 2017.
Round 6, Pick 10, (194): Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, DT, USC
With Bennie Logan now playing in Kansas City, the Eagles need more depth at defensive tackle. Stevie-T, (no way in hell I'm spelling that name again), is a big dude, tipping the scales at 331 lbs. If the Eagles think Beau Allen and Fletcher Cox are their two starters for 2017, Stevie could come in on short-yardage situations to plug up the middle and develop his pass-rushing skills.
Round 7, Pick 12, (230): Jerry Ugokwe, OT, William & Mary
There's a lot of speculation about what the Eagles will do after they move on from Jason Peters and Ugokwe could be an answer at right tackle. Coming from a small school, he remains a raw prospect, but unlike most late-round offensive linemen, he has the athleticism to play the tackle position.
Ugokwe didn't start playing football until his junior year of high school and has a lot of issues with technique, but he has shown a knack for playing offensive line. It may be a while before he adapts to the skill-level of the NFL, but he can adjust while learning from Peters and Lane Johnson.