This year's NFL Draft will take place from April 30 to May 2 and there is already a pretty wide variance among football experts as to what the Eagles will do with the 20th overall pick in the first round.
There is still widespread speculation that third-year head coach Chip Kelly will wheel and deal his way into position to draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, but for the purpose of this discussion, I am going to assume Philly stays put at No. 20 for its opening pick. A panel of four experts with NFL.com all have the Birds taking a cornerback at this spot, but there are four different names on that list.
I would not consider myself a top expert when it comes to the NFL Draft, but I am smart enough to know that filling a pressing need with the best available player on the board should always be one of the top priorities especially when it comes to the first round. Cornerback is a pressing need with this team, so I would have to agree that this is the direction that Kelly should go in when his Eagles are finally "on the clock". Some of the names that are on this short list of defensive backs include PJ Williams from Florida State, Jalen Collins from LSU and Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest.
The player I have on my list in my first ever Eagles' mock draft is Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. I am not just saying this because he is also on the ultimate draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.'s board for the Eagles in his current mock draft, I actually think he would be the best fit for the Birds' defensive scheme. There are some off-field character issues that would have to be addressed, but the value is there in Peters' ability to make an impact from Day 1 as a playmaker with excellent ball skills. Given Kelly's obvious affinity for players from the Pac-12 also adds some credibility to this pick.
I have not studied the draft deep enough yet to come up with my official picks for the later rounds, but I would start looking at the outside linebacker, running back and possibly even the quarterback position in the second round. All told, the Eagles should head into this year's draft with eight total picks including two in the fourth round. In the coming weeks, I will be digging deep into the current draft class to come up with a complete list of players for all of the Eagles' picks so stay tuned...