2017 NFL Draft: 5 pass rushers who make sense for Philadelphia Eagles in early rounds
With the NFL draft set to begin April 27 in Philadelphia, we’re spending this week taking a look at players who make sense for the Eagles in the early rounds. We’ll continue today with five pass rushers.
Derek Barnett (Tennessee)
Barnett, an all-American, racked up 12 sacks last season, which isn’t easy to do while going up against the massive offensive tackles in SEC. The 20-year-old toppled Reggie White’s sack record and Tennessee and showed a skill set that left NFL scouts salivating.
He’s an obvious first-round talent, who figures to entice the Eagles if he falls to their pick in the first round (14th overall). Philadelphia hosted Barnett on a pre-draft visit last week, according to NFL.com, and the Birds will have to decide if they’re willing to take a defensive end in the first round of the draft.
The team has some depth at the position, but their top three pass rushers — Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Chris Long — are 28 or older.
Taco Charlton (Michigan)
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has expressed his interest in tall and lean ends. Perhaps coaching Jevon Kearse, know as “The Freak,” in Tennessee helped turn Schwartz onto the idea.
At 6-foot-6, Charlton is the tallest of the highly-rated defensive end prospects, and he boasts a strong history of production at Michigan to pair with his size: He finished with 9.5 sacks and an all-Big Ten nod as a senior this season.
Jordan Willis (Kansas State)
Willis was one of the NFL combine’s brightest stars, and he enjoyed three strong seasons as a Kansas State pass rusher. Most experts don’t view Willis as a sure-fire first-round talent, but he’d probably pique the Eagles’ interest if he slips into the second round, where the Birds own the No. 43 overall selection.
Charles Harris (Missouri)
Harris has generated buzz late in the draft process as a potential riser, and many experts believe he could play end in a 4-3 defense or outside linebacker in a 3-4.
The Eagles, who need a 4-3 edge rusher, will likely be impressed with Harris’ ability to get to quarterbacks in the SEC. HE totaled 16 sacks his final two seasons at Missouri, making the all-conference first team in 2015 and second team in 2016.
Tanoh Kpassagnon (Villanova)
Kpassagnon stands a potential candidate for the Eagles with their third-round pick (99th overall) if he remains on the board at the point. At 6 feet, 7 inches and 289 pounds, the Villanova star has eye-popping size and he impressed during his time at the NFL combine.
He also piled up gaudy numbers at Villanova, a FCS school. Kpassagnon totaled 11 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in 2016.
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