The 2017 NFL Draft, which will be held in Philadelphia from April 27 to 29, is now only a little over three months away. While this year’s Super Bowl participants have not even been decided yet, it has not stopped various experts and analysts from around the league from putting together their early mock drafts. Since none of the NFC East teams are still alive in the playoffs, this article will focus on the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins.
The NFL website’s Mock Draft 1.0 was used for the main picks, but others may be referenced under each team.
Philadelphia Eagles — Mike Williams: Wide Receiver from Clemson
After trading this year’s first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in order to move up to the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, it appeared as though the Eagles would not be drafting in the opening round this year. A season-ending injury to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater allowed the Eagles to send Sam Bradford to Minnesota in return for a first-round draft pick this year. The Eagles will be selecting 14th or 15th, with a coin flip in February making the final determination, according to Philly Voice.
The Eagles had one of the worst groups of wide receivers in the NFL last year, and they need to address the problem early in this year’s draft. Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL website believes Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams could be the selection.
“Williams would instantly become their top weapon and give Carson Wentz some needed help. He could go much higher than 15, but if he’s there, expect the Eagles to run the card up to the table.”
As Jeremiah notes, there is a chance that Williams could be gone long before the Eagles are on the clock. He is a unique talent, and teams are always looking for star wide receivers in today’s pass-happy NFL. While Jordan Matthews is a solid possession receiver, he is not the kind of playmaker that is going to take Carson Wentz’s game to the next level. Whether or not the Eagles attempt to move up for Williams remains to be seen, but he should be on their radar.
While it is only a cryptic message, Williams tweeted “Trust the process” on his Twitter account last night.
"Trust the process"
— Mike Williams (@darealmike_dub) January 21, 2017
This is in reference to the Philadelphia 76ers, and Williams could be conveying his interest in joining the Eagles.
In addition to Williams, NJ Advance Media also did a roundup of other players that have been connected to the Eagles in mock drafts.
- ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. (January): Florida CB Quincy Wilson
- Daniel Jeremiah (NFL Network): Clemson WR Mike Williams
- Pro Football Focus (January): Clemson CB Cordrea Tankersley
- CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler (January): Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
- NJ Advance Media’s Matt Lombardo (January) : Washington CB Sidney Jones
- NJ Advance Media’s Mark Eckel (January): Florida CB Teez Tabor
- NJ Advance Media’s Eliot Shorr-Parks (December): Washington CB Sidney Jones
- ESPN’s Todd McShay (December): Florida CB Teez Tabor
A lot is going to change over the next few months, but expect the Eagles to target a wide receiver or a cornerback in the first round.
Dallas Cowboys — Takkarist McKinley: Outside Linebacker from UCLA
Instead of jumping up to draft Jared Goff or Carson Wentz last year, the Cowboys took running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first round and grabbed Dak Prescott later. Prescott looked every bit as good as Wentz, and it appears as though the Cowboys have their quarterback of the future. They are talented at a lot of positions, but they need to put more pressure on the quarterback next season.
They will pick 28th in April’s draft, and Jeremiah believes they will take UCLA outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley.
“The Cowboys need pass rushers; they can no longer rely on Randy Gregory. McKinley has double-digit sack potential.”
East West Shrine Game this Sat.
Senior Bowl next Sat.
'Tis the season for mock drafts!
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 19, 2017
New York Giants — Gerald Everett: Tight End from South Alabama
While the New York Giants had a solid season, they were eliminated by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the opening round of the playoffs. Quarterback Eli Manning was adequate this year, but the team struggled to put up points in their only playoff game. Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard are a strong duo, but the Giants need more help if they plan on making a playoff run next season.
They will pick 23rd in April’s draft, and Jeremiah believes they will take South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett.
“Get to know this name. Everett has a lot of similarities to Jordan Reed and he would crush it in the Giants’ offensive system, surrounded by Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) January 19, 2017
Washington Redskins — Solomon Thomas: Defensive End from Stanford
The Redskins had their chances this season, but they finished with a disappointing record of 8-7-1 and failed to qualify for the playoffs. They were extremely inconsistent this year, and they are going to have to have a strong draft if they have any hopes of competing in the tough NFC East next season.
They will pick 17th in April’s draft, and Jeremiah believes they will take Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas.
“Thomas is a very dynamic interior pass rusher who I’d love to see line up next to Ryan Kerrigan in this defense. His motor never stops, and his performance against North Carolina and QB Mitch Trubisky in the Sun Bowl wowed NFL scouts.”
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]