After a busy offseason where the Philadelphia Eagles changed their head coach, traded numerous players, and signed some of the top free agents, rumors are heating up regarding what the organization is going to do in the upcoming 2016 NFL draft. While an offensive lineman is never an exciting position for the fans, numerous mock drafts have the Eagles selecting Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with pick No. 8.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Eagles have been linked to numerous players in the upcoming draft including Jared Goff, Ezekiel Elliott, and Paxton Lynch. While all of those players remain on the Eagles’ radar, it is becoming more and more apparent that the team is going to attempt to solidify their offensive line. After re-signing Sam Bradford and signing Chase Daniel, the Eagles appear to be set at the quarterback position. While Elliott is an exciting name, the Eagles are likely to wait until the later rounds to draft a running back.
According to the latest mock draft from Philly Voice, Stanley would be the perfect fit to solidify the Eagles offensive line.
“With Jason Peters’ career winding down, the Eagles are in need of long-term answer at offensive tackle. Stanley is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. I watched two of his games last year against two completely different types of edge rushers. The first was against Florida State, when he battled Mario Edwards all day. Edwards goes 6’3, 280, and is a powerful defensive end who was selected 35th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Edwards didn’t catch a whiff of Notre Dame’s QB, and he was moved off the line of scrimmage all day in the run game. The other game was against LSU’s Danielle Hunter, who is an athletic freak. Very different type of player, same result. Stanley is a slam dunk Day 1 starter in the NFL. He is extremely athletic, with very quick feet. It would have been highly unlikely for him to fall to the Eagles at 13, but at 8 he could be in play.”
The recent trade that allowed the Eagles to swap first round picks with the Miami Dolphins was huge with regards to the Eagles’ chances of drafting Stanley. While there is still a chance that Stanley is drafted before the Eagles pick at No. 8, the team had no shot to get him when they still had pick No. 13.
After former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly released Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, the Eagles’ offensive line play became a problem. With Jason Peters getting older, the Eagles line is a shell of what it was just a few seasons ago. The drop in play was apparent last season as the team struggled to run the football. Quarterback Sam Bradford was also hit early and often in games, so it is in the team’s best interest to do a better job of protecting him this year.
In their latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated also believes that the Eagles will select Stanley in the opening round.
“It’s easy enough to drop Elliott at this spot—the Eagles likely had someone in mind when they moved up as part of their recent trade with Miami, and Elliott is a top-five talent in this class. But Stanley also won’t slip far behind this. Philadelphia has to make plans for Jason Peters’ eventual departure, whether it comes this year or in the near future.”
Now that Doug Pederson is the new head coach of the Eagles, it makes sense that they would go back to the strategy that they used under Pederson’s mentor, Andy Reid. While Kelly drafted skill positions, such as wide receiver, in the early rounds, Reid always put a lot of care into the offensive and defensive lines. Since NFL games are won in the trenches, Pederson is likely to follow the recipe that made Reid so successful during his tenure in Philadelphia.
If the team is unable to land Stanley, the next best candidate is expected to be Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. While the secondary has been a constant problem for the Eagles in recent years, they are looking stronger than they have in years at the safety position. The cornerback position is still weak, so adding Hargreaves could give the Eagles one of the better secondaries in the NFL.
With the 2016 NFL draft a little over a month away, rumors are going to continue to connect the Philadelphia Eagles to offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley. If Stanley is taken before the Eagles pick at No. 8, expect them to grab Hargreaves.
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