NFL Draft 2017: 5 RBs who make sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the first 3 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 the running backs.
Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)
Most experts expect the Eagles will cut running back Ryan Mathews once he recovers from neck surgery, which would leave the team searching for a new lead ball-carrier in 2017. Philly might also need to hunt for a shifty pass-catching option out of the backfield, though, because Swiss Army Knife offensive playmaker Darren Sproles has hinted that he’ll retire after this season.
McCaffrey could fill both needs. The Cardinal star piled up 3,922 yards on the ground and 1,206 through the air during his three seasons at Stanford, and several prominent mock drafts project the Eagles to take McCaffrey with their first-round pick (14th overall).
Dalvin Cook (Florida State)
Cook’s stock took a hit in March when he posted uninspiring measurables at the combine, but his eye-popping stats at Florida State (6.5 yards per carry and 48 total touchdowns over three seasons) command attention.
While the Eagles haven’t selected a running back in the first round since 1986, it’s easy to peg the position as a weak spot entering the draft. And perhaps Cook could drop into the second round, where the Eagles might be compelled to use the 43rd overall pick on the former Seminoles ball-carrier.
Alvin Kamara (Tennessee)
Kamara set up a visit with Eagles this month, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, and he stands as a logical fit for the Birds in the second or third round. The 5-foot-10, 215-pound running back has the look of a lead ball-carrier and his skill set has left scouts intrigued.
The only issue with Kamara is his relative inexperience. He played just two seasons with the Volunteers and never topped 20 carries in a game.
Joe Mixon (Oklahoma)
Mixon’s status as a top-tier NFL prospect grew murky in December when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a 2014 video showing Mixon punch a female student in the face must be released to the public. The student, Amanda Molitor, suffered fractured bones in her face. Mixon served a season-long suspension in 2014 and faced a misdemeanor charge.
So, do the Eagles think Mixon’s punch was a reflection of his character or will they chalk the assault up to an isolated — albeit grave — misstep?
If it’s the the latter, Philly might consider drafting Mixon in the second or third round. His 1,812 total yards from scrimmage for the Sooners in 2016 illustrate the type of productivity Mixon can bring to an offense.
Kareem Hunt (Toledo)
Hunt could stand as an option for the Eagles with their third-round pick (99th overall) if they hadn’t nabbed a running back at that point. Though Hunt struggled with injuries and a suspension earlier in his career, his performance in 2016 helped the Toledo star emerge as bona fide NFL prospect.
At 216 pounds, Hunt’s a bruising ball-carrier, who could shoulder a hefty load or complement a more light-footed partner in the backfield.
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