By Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
As is the case every year, there is much speculation surrounding the draft. The Eagles are not exempt from that speculation, with an incredibly important draft on the horizon.
The Eagles have multiple holes on the roster and a delicate salary cap situation to maneuver through. The NFL Draft, specifically the first round, affords the opportunity to add a difference making player at a reasonable cost.
Howie Roseman and company have made a public commitment to building the franchise around sophomore quarterback Carson Wentz, and they have backed up that claim with the additions of Chance Warmack, Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery in free agency.
Now the Eagles have to determine which prospect will accompany Wentz into the next era of Philadelphia football.
Every week we will look at three players who could be targets for The Eagles with their 14th overall pick in the first round. These will be players who could realistically fall to the Eagles and could make sense for the franchise.
Players like Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen, and Jamal Adams will not appear on this list because of their likelihood to be drafted prior to the Eagles first pick. The quarterbacks have also been removed from consideration due to the team's commitment to Wentz as the franchise quarterback.
Without further adieu, let's look at our first three prospects.
CB Tre'Davious White, LSU
5'11", 192lbs, 4.47 40 yard dash, 32" vertical, 16 bench reps
Tre'Davious White has not been as heralded as some of the other cornerbacks in the class, but he is a player who should definitely be in play for the Eagles when they go on the clock at 14th overall.
White comes from LSU, which has been dubbed 'DB U' in recent years. Their penchant for producing quality NFL defensive backs has been clear with players like Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid, Morris Claiborne, and even the Eagles' own Jalen Mills.
White will be in safety and teammate Jamal Adams' shadow entering the draft, but after strong performances at the Reese's Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, he has solidified himself as a first round-caliber prospect.
The problem for White is that he is a part of potentially the deepest cornerback class ever, driving down the value of each cornerback with so many good ones available.
White registered 35 tackles, 14 pass break-ups, and two interceptions, including a 21-yard pick-six in his final season in Baton Rouge. White also returned a punt for a touchdown last season.
He is known for incredible coverage ability and elite ball skills. He possesses the athleticism to run with fast receivers and the technical prowess to avoid losing his man. The only glaring weakness in White's game is his size, which can be a problem against the large receivers in the NFL and defending receivers in the red zone.
In addition to his ability to contribute to the defensive side of the ball, where the Eagles badly need an anchor at cornerback, White can return kicks and relieve the aging Darren Sproles to allow Sproles to be fresh for offensive possessions.
OLB/DE Haason Reddick, Temple
6'1", 237lbs, 4.52 40 yard dash, 36.5" vertical, 24 bench reps
Haason Reddick is one of the best stories of the draft. He walked on at Temple as a cornerback, which at the time was far away from the strong program that they would develop into under Matt Rhule. He was switched to become an edge rusher where he was a better fit.
Reddick posted 65 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up in his final season at Temple, going from walk-on cornerback to stud defensive end.
Despite his eye popping numbers, there were questions about his size and his fit in an NFL defense being in the American Athletic Conference on a Temple program that doesn't draw much attention affected his draft stock. When the season ended he was seen as a late day two to early day three pick.
Then he went to the Senior Bowl and Combine.
Reddick spent the week before the Senior Bowl practicing as an outside linebacker, and he impressed coaches with his raw athleticism and his ability to learn.
Then at the scouting combine Reddick stood out for all of the right reasons. He practiced with the defensive linemen, although he will likely be drafted to play as an outside linebacker. Reddick ran a 4.52 40 yard dash with a 36.5 inch vertical leap and showed off his strength with 24 repetitions on the bench press.
Now many experts have Reddick going in the second half of the first round.
The draft's fastest riser has quickly become one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, and he could fit with the Eagles at 14 if they buy into the hype that he has built over the past month.
The Eagles are not sold on Mychal Kendricks as a long term solution at outside linebacker, evident by reports of the Eagles searching for a trade partner to take Kendricks. The Eagles also have a need at defensive end after the team parted ways with fan favorite Connor Barwin and presumed starter Vinny Curry underwhelmed.
Although Reddick is considered small, so was Eagles' all pro defensive end Brandon Graham when he was drafted, and Graham would be the perfect role model to help acclimate Reddick to life in the NFL.
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
5'11", 202lbs, 4.48 40 yard dash, 37.5" vertical, 10 bench reps
Christian McCaffrey has been one of the most exciting playmakers to watch in college football over the past two seasons.
He has displayed an ability to be as dangerous in the running game as he is in the passing game. McCaffrey is one of, if not the best pass catching back in the draft, and that could be very appealing to Doug Pederson.
Pederson, like his mentor Andy Reid, likes to get the running back involved in the passing game. Darren Sproles was a standout in that role last season, and Jamaal Charles became one of the league's most dangerous running backs under Pederson and Reid in Kansas City largely due to his ability to catch passes out of the backfield.
In the last two seasons at Stanford, McCaffrey ran for 3,622 yards with 21 touchdowns while catching 82 balls for 915 yards and eight touchdowns.
McCaffrey is as dynamic as they come, but if he lacks anything, it is size. the only question with McCaffrey is if he can handle the workload a three-down back in the NFL. There is little doubt that he will be able to make plays in space, but it remains to be seen if he can pound the ball between the tackles on a consistent basis.
In addition to his on-field skill, McCaffrey is known as a fiery leader. If he does become an Eagle, McCaffrey and Wentz will bring a lot of passion to the sideline and be pushing their teammates to be great for the next decade.