With the 2016 NFL draft only a month away, rumors are picking up steam regarding the Philadelphia Eagles and what they are going to do with the No. 8 overall pick. While some analysts have speculated that the Eagles could trade down in the first round in order to acquire a pick in the second round, it appears as though the team may be standing pat. The Eagles have been linked to numerous college players over the past few weeks, but Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott has emerged as the frontrunner, according to recent mock drafts.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Philadelphia Eagles have been linked to Elliott, Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff, Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch, and North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz. While all of those players still remain possibilities for the Eagles at No. 8, Elliott may be the best player on the board when the team picks.With the Cleveland Browns signing former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, it initially appeared as though they were no longer in the market for a quarterback. Recent reports believe the Browns are still going to draft Wentz or Goff with the No. 2 overall pick. With the No. 7 overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers are also expected to take the quarterback that the Browns do not. While Lynch has potential, selecting him at No. 8 is probably too high for the Eagles.
The biggest competition for Elliott is Stanley. Since new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is a part of the Andy Reid coaching tree, it would make sense that he would want Stanley. During Reid's time in Philadelphia, building a strong offensive line was always his top priority. Chip Kelly failed to replenish the team's offensive line, so it is currently one of the Eagles' biggest needs. While Elliott is a special talent, even the best running backs are going to struggle behind a mediocre offensive line.
Regardless, practically all of the recent mock drafts have the Eagles selecting Elliott over Stanley. In the latest CBS Sports mock draft, all five of the experts believe Elliott will be an Eagle. The latest mock draft from Fox Sports agrees.
"A game-changer. Just what the Eagles' offense needs. I was told by an NFL scout that Elliott is the best blocking back to come into the NFL in "over a decade." Elliott is in the 10-20 range on most mock drafts. Watch. He could go as high as 4."And the Eagles do need elite players on offense. While they had their problems, Kelly gave away DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy for practically nothing. He also failed to re-sign wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the team's most productive offensive player in 2014. While Jordan Matthews has shown flashes of brilliance, he has not proven that he can carry the load as the team's No. 1 wide receiver. With DeMarco Murray gone and Ryan Mathews' health always an uncertainty, the team is once again thin at the running back position. While running back has been devalued in recent years, Elliott is apparently a talent that does not come around often. Regardless, the team has other pressing needs, and it still may be too early for Elliott at No. 8.
As seen in the latest mock draft at SB Nation, Elliott is a player that could potentially carry the Eagles offense for the next decade.
"A number of people will say drafting a running back in the first round isn't a good use of resources, but the truth is Elliott makes a lot of sense for the Eagles. Philadelphia's offense was abysmal in 2015 and it needs all the help it can get. Elliott provides more value than just merely improving the team's rushing attack. He's an excellent blocker. He can also contribute as a receiving weapon. Not to mention that the Eagles have a huge need at running back. It's hard for them to count on the oft-injured Ryan Mathews and the soon to be 33-year-old Darren Sproles as full-time contributors. Both of those players could be gone after this year. Elliott can be a foundational piece for the Birds moving forward. He's only 20 years old so the Eagles can get plenty of good years out of him to justify the high pick on a so-called devalued position."While a lot is going to change over the next month, it appears as though Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most likely candidate to be picked by the Eagles at No. 8. Even with the team having other needs, Elliott appears to be as much as a sure thing as any player in the draft. The Eagles have not drafted well in the first round in recent years, so maybe a sure thing is exactly what the organization needs. Rumors will continue to link the Philadelphia Eagles to Ezekiel Elliott over the next month. While the top quarterbacks and Stanley are still on the team's radar, Elliott could very well be the best fit in Philadelphia.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]