Here we are, down to the final pick in the 12th Annual SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft.
Of course, the pick is owned by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia is in a strong position to trade back. There will be a lot of good players still on the board, and the Eagles are without a pick on the second day of the draft.
Unfortunately for Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, I don’t allow trades in the SBN mock. Regardless, he’s here with the choice for Philadelphia.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Gowton: This was a tough choice for the defending Super Bowl champions. The pick ultimately came down to Connor Williams, Mike Hughes, Jaire Alexander, or D.J. Moore.
The Eagles don’t have a lot of immediate needs, but they do have some long-term areas they could afford to shore up. Offensive tackle is arguably at the top of the list. Starting left tackle Jason Peters turned 36 in January and he’s coming off an ACL injury. Lane Johnson is arguably the best right tackle in the league but he’s also one PED suspension from being out for two seasons. It’s true that swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai showed some positive signs while filling in for Peters last year. He also struggled at times. Big V finished the 2017 season with one of the worst pressure rates allowed in the league, per Pro Football Focus.
Drafting Williams allows the Eagles to hedge their bet on Vaitai. Plus it really wouldn’t hurt for them to be four-deep at this position when you consider Philadelphia was one snap away from either Taylor Hart (a converted defensive tackle) or Will Beatty starting at offensive tackle once Peters went down.
Williams can potentially take over as a starter in 2019 if/when Peters retires. If it turns out he can’t be a full-time player at tackle in the NFL, the Eagles can kick him inside to guard.
The downside of this pick is it doesn’t offer the Eagles immediate impact. That’s OK, though. Investing in the trenches had a huge part in Philadelphia winning their first Vince Lombardi Trophy. And with NFL teams struggling to find quality offensive linemen these days, the Eagles can take Williams here and worry about finding a slot corner or wide receiver depth elsewhere. It wouldn’t have been as easy finding a quality tackle later on in this year’s draft.
Analysis: There is an absurd number of good players left, and the Eagles could do with any of the players mentioned above. From a position value standpoint, Williams does make sense. It’s much harder to get a starter-quality offensive tackle later in the draft than a cornerback or wide receiver. The explanation on Williams is spot on. He would give Philadelphia a great depth piece, or someone who can push Vaitai. If Williams plays like he did in 2016, he should be able to overtake him for the starting job. Don’t forget, many thought going into last college football season that Williams could have been a top-10 pick. That talent is still there.
Dan Kadar’s top five players remaining
- 23. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
- 26. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
- 30. Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
- 31. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
- 32. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
What grade do you give the pick of Rashaan Evans by the New England Patriots?
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