When the draft kicks off Thursday night at 8 p.m., all eye will be on the Eagles, at around 10:40 p.m. when they make their first selection at No. 22.
Though the final decision won’t be made until just minutes before the newest Eagles rookie’s name is called, here are some suggestions on how the Birds should handle their half dozen choices.
First Round (Pick #22)
This pick will set the tone for the rest of the draft. Unless one of the top safeties fall (which is looking increasingly unlikely) expect to see them go wide receiver or corner here. I don’t think there is a scheme-fitting pass rusher whose stock warrants this selection. The actual player depends on whom the Eagles’ war room covets, but I like Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee if they look wide receiver, and Kyle Fuller if the Birds opt for a corner. Darqueze Dennard is a great fit, and a player we discussed in our defensive back preview, but his stock seems to be rising above this pick.
Second Round (Pick #54)
If the Birds don’t go wide receiver in round one, Allen Robinson could be a steal here. This is also a point where the team could start to look pass rusher, and Jeremiah Attaochu would be a great choice. They might also have their pick of remaining safeties, and in that case I like Deone Buchanon.
Third Round (Pick #86)
Now the players available include less finished products and more projects, and one project that might entice the Eagles is Keith McGill. He showed promise after switching from safety to corner last year. This the meat of the pass rush class, and the Birds could look at players like Trent Murphy, Kyle Van Noy, and Kareem Martin.
Fourth Round (Pick #122)
This is a great spot to find players that have slipped. If the Eagles see a player they grade high above this round, they won’t hesitate to grab them, the obvious precedent being Matt Barkley last season.
Fifth Round (Pick #162)
Here I like a pair of versatile linebackers: pass rusher Trevor Reilly and the workhouse Jordan Tripp. Chip Kelly’s former player De’Anthony Thomas is a playmaker and kick returner who could be available.
Seventh Round (Pick #237)
If there is a specific kicker the Eagles like they should take him here, rather than gamble on signing him in free agency.