Eagles 1st Round Draft Targets: Part VI

By Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

We are less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft, and much still remains up in the air. 

In the case of the Eagles, there is still no consensus on which direction they will go. The Eagles have been projected to take the best player available, draft for need, or draft a weapon for Carson Wentz

The three players that we will look at this week in our draft preview all fit one of those molds, as well as being three of the highest-rated prospects in this year's draft.

TE O.J. Howard, Alabama

6'6", 251lbs, 4.51 40 yard dash, 30" vertical, 22 bench reps

If O.J. Howard is on the board when the Eagles make their first selection, it could easily be argued that he would be the best player available. 

Howard showed the world why he is considered an elite tight end prospect in this years national championship game, leading all receivers with 106 yards on four catches and a touchdown. It is an incredibly high average per catch for Howard, but his combine performance verified that he can accomplish that consistently, by running a 4.51 40 yard dash.

With receiver speed, and the height of an offensive tackle, Howard is everything that you want in a tight end. Linebackers cannot keep up with him, and cornerbacks do not have prayer if they want to battle with him. 

He is also a capable blocker when asked to stay on the line of scrimmage. 

The only question with Howard is how good he will become, because it would be a shock if he does not become a consistent contributor at the least in the NFL. 

The Eagles do not have a need or even a spot available at tight end. Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, and Trey Burton have all entrenched themselves in Doug Pederson's rotation, leaving no space for another tight end. 

While Howard would not make sense for the Eagles, his elite skillset could be too attractive for Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas to pass up. 

WR Mike Williams, Clemson

6'4", 218 lbs, did not participate in 40 yard dash, 32.5" vertical, 15 bench reps

If Roseman decides that the best course of action is to keep providing the franchise quarterback with weapons, then you would be hard pressed to find a better addition than Clemson's Mike Williams. 

With all of the impressive wide receivers to come out of Clemson in recent years that includes Sammy Watkins and Deandre Hopkins, Williams has been called the best of the bunch. 

After coming back from a scary neck fracture, Williams had 84 catches and 1,171 yards with 10 touchdowns to earn All-ACC honors in his senior season.

What Williams is great at is using his body to position himself and make plays in the air on jump balls.

Williams struggled with drops towards the end of last season, but in a loaded wide receiver class, Williams is still the cream of the crop.

The Eagles added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason, but they are both on deals that are not guaranteed past this upcoming season and Jordan Matthews's contract also expires after this season.  

While receiver is no longer an immediate need, it would be surprising if the Eagles did not select at least one in this year's draft. If Williams is available when the Eagles go on the clock, he could spend the next decade pulling in passes from Carson Wentz.

CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

6'0", 193lbs, 4.36 40 yard dash, 38.5" vertical, did not participate in bench press

If the Eagles decide to drat for need, they could still end up with the best player available if they are fortunate enough to land Marshon Lattimore. 

The best player in the cornerback has been disputed throughout the regular season, until the NFL combine, that is.

Lattimore's sub-4.4 40 yard dash strengthened his case as the top corner, and his ability to cover has pushed him past Marlon Humphrey to be considered the best cornerback in this year's ridiculously talented class. 

In Lattimore's final season, and his only healthy season, he caught four interceptions and broke up nine passes playing against the opposition's top receivers.

Lattimore was only targeted 35 times last season, and he was credited with 14 passes defensed, displaying elite ball skills and knack for making plays as a defender. 

Although his sample size is small, all signs point to Lattimore emerging as an elite cornerback at the next level.

The Eagles are clearly intending on adding cornerbacks in the draft, with Patrick Robinson, Jalen Mills, and Ron Brooks as the only cornerbacks with considerable NFL experience.

If the Eagles are lucky enough to see Lattimore's name on the board when they pick, they will waste no time giving him a midnight green jersey in front of the fans on the parkway. 

Go to top button