The 2017 NFL Draft, which will be held in Philadelphia from April 27 to 29, is now less than three months away. While the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons have not even played this year’s Super Bowl yet, it has not stopped various experts and analysts from around the league from creating their early mock drafts.
While every team in the NFC East needs help this offseason, this article will focus on the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Each team drafted their franchise quarterback last year in Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz, and the analysts from CBS Sports believe each team could bolster their receiving corps in the first round.
Dallas Cowboys — John Ross: Wide Receiver from Washington
After drafting running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first round of last year’s draft, the Cowboys solidified themselves as a running team. In his first year, Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns on 322 attempts. He also had 32 receptions for 363 yards and a touchdown. In other words, Elliott did not disappoint in his rookie season. He was one of the league’s best running backs, and he is only going to get better.
While the Cowboys are going to run the ball a lot next season, there is still room to improve their wide receivers. Dez Bryant is one of the best in the league, but his production has regressed over the past two years. Injuries are part of the reason for the decline, but he is of no help to Prescott and the Cowboys unless he is on the field. Cole Beasley and Prescott have an undeniable chemistry, but he is more of a possession receiver.
For that reason, CBS Sports thinks the Cowboys could target Washington wide receiver John Ross in the opening round.
“For as dynamic as the offense was in 2016 with Prescott, Elliott and Dez Bryant, the lack of a legitimate deep threat was a relative weak spot with speedsters Terrence Williams and Brice Butler seemingly dropping as many passes as they caught. Ross is a DeSean Jackson clone with the electric elusiveness and acceleration to make an immediate impact as a receiver and returner.”
In addition to opening up the field for the other receivers, Ross could make Elliott’s life even easier. The Cowboys hold the No. 28 overall pick.
Philadelphia Eagles — Corey Davis: Wide Receiver from Western Michigan
Despite drafting numerous wide receivers over the past few years, the Eagles’ only reliable option is Jordan Matthews, and he is more of a possession receiver than anything. Former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly released DeSean Jackson in 2014, and he allowed Jeremy Maclin to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015. The Eagles have not been able to replace Jackson and Maclin’s production, and they have to improve talent at wide receiver in order to continue with Wentz’s development.
While the Eagles busted when they drafted Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff, CBS Sports believe they will attempt to address the position again in this year’s draft.
“Despite plenty of draft picks invested in the position, the Eagles lack a go-to target in the passing game to aid the development of Carson Wentz. Starring in the MAC rather than a Power 5 conference, Davis does not get the attention he deserves but he’s a polished route-runner with an ideal combination of size (6-3, 213) with 4.4 speed.”
While Davis is a more likely option for the Eagles at pick No. 15, some analysts believe Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams could still be available. Viewed as the top wide receiver in the draft, Williams should be ready to produce immediately. As NJ Advance Media reports, some experts think Williams could go as high as No. 5, while NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah thinks he is going to fall to the Eagles.
Regardless of which wide receiver is available, the Eagles must upgrade the position if they have any hope of competing in the NFC East this season.
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