The 2016 NFL Draft is less than 40 days away and speculation over which player the Eagles will select with the eighth overall pick continues to grow. Some of the expert draft gurus have the Birds taking Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott when they are officially on the clock come Thursday, April 28, while Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley's name has also been thrown into the mix. Only time will tell which way general manger Howie Roseman and new head coach Doug Pederson will turn with that first pick, but given the Eagles' improved position through a trade with Miami they now have a golden opportunity to make a major impact on the future course of the team.
Offensive line is an obvious area of need with an aging Jason Peters occupying the crucial left tackle position, but the idea of adding a quality running back like Elliott is an intriguing thought. A third player on the short list of candidates is Florida cornerback Vernon Hardgreaves and that is no big surprise given the issues the Eagles have had over the past few seasons defending against the pass. All three of these players are currently ranked in Scout's Inc Top 10 list so their addition to the team would be an automatic upgrade at that position, but it still begs the question of who else might be out there as a worthy choice at such a lofty spot in the draft?
Going back over the team's last few first round picks you find names such as wide receiver Nelson Agholor in 2015, defensive end Marcus Smith the season before and offensive tackle Lane Johnson in 2013. The team's first overall pick in 2012 was defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and in 2011 the Eagles made offensive guard Danny Watkins their first overall pick. Flash forward to today's roster and you will find that Cox, Johnson, Smith and Agholar remain on the team with mixed results. I am still scratching my head over the Marcus Smith pick and it is still too early to rule out Agholor as being a legitimate No. 2 receiver in the NFL. Johnson has done a respectable job in his first few seasons and he could eventually anchor that crucial left tackle spot on the line. Cox has been a solid performer on the defensive side of the line so all-in-all the Eagles have done a fairly decent job with their top picks.
Time will only tell how this year's No. 1 choice works out and it could very well define the Roseman/Pederson tenure in Philadelphia. As a die-hard fan I will always remain optimistic that any move the team makes will take us one step closer to the promised land of Super Bowl glory, but I also have to remain realistic that there is still quite a bit of work to be done to actually get there.