Draft Buzz: What the Eagles Should Do At No. 8

Several draft analysts expect the Eagles to pick a running back in the first round.

Ezekiel Elliott. (USA Today Sports)

Ezekiel Elliott. (USA Today Sports)

With the Eagles trading away Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to the Dolphins to swap first round picks and select at No. 8 overall, Philadelphia’s draft outlook is very different. Here are some of the Eagles’ options.

The Eagles’ free agency moves means they’re more likely to draft a running back, says NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks.

The Eagles dumped their RB1 (Murray) and have dangled their RB2 (Ryan Mathews) as trade bait. If they’re looking for a feature back to build around in the backfield, Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is an explosive three-down player who seems like a logical fit, based on his versatility, toughness and durability. If the Eagles wait until Day 2, Notre Dame’s C.J. Prosise, UCLA’s Paul Perkins and Alabama’s Kenyan Drake will jump on the radar as solid possibilities.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke agrees, and thinks the Eagles will pick Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott.

When this mock first went live, a few hours before the Eagles-Dolphins trade was confirmed, I had Elliott slotted in at 13 but said it was too low for his talent level. This is better, in terms of the 2016 draft class. The Ohio State star is a legit three-down stud.

If the Eagles sign a running back … there are three other options to be addressed: quarterback, offensive line and the secondary. Any would make sense, especially if Wentz slips a bit.

Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports makes it three for the running back.

The Eagles have been very active with trades, signing their own players, and attacking free agency. Elliott would be a solid piece to this offense, especially if they trade Ryan Matthews.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein is also on the Elliott train.

Elliott is considered the top running back in the draft and some consider him the most complete back to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson (No. 7 pick in the 2007 draft by Minnesota). NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein has him going to Philadelphia in a mock draft that was released on Wednesday.

Of course, a team like the Cowboys could spoil it all by taking Elliott at No. 4. Elliott has already stated publicly that Dallas is his preferred destination. “The Cowboys (are my pick),” he said at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. “I want to go play behind that great offensive line they have down in Dallas.”

The Eagles should target Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, writes Paul Domowitch of the Daily News.

“He’s a helluva player and a helluva kid,” NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger, who spent 11 years as an NFL offensive lineman, said of Stanley. “He has the longest arms (35 5/8 inches), the longest reach in the draft. And he knows how to use it. I think he can play right away.

“He played against a lot of elite pass rushers because of Notre Dame’s schedule. If you watch him against (Clemson’s) Shaq Lawson last year, I thought he wired him up start to finish.

“He’s been durable. He’s played the right and left sides. No game was too big for him. Athletically, when you watch him backpedal, he looks like a linebacker backpedaling. He has great movement.”

The departure of Maxwell means the Eagles should select Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, opines the MMQB’s Robert Klemko.

Hargreaves fits here because Philly just unloaded Byron Maxwell to Miami (moving up from 13 to 8 as part of the deal), and Nolan Carroll is currently a free agent. Plus Hargreaves is arguably the best all-around defensive back available after Ramsey.

Rob Rang of CBS Sports agrees with the Hargreaves pick.

As much as the Eagles might wish it, simply trading away free-agent disappointment Byron Maxwell isn’t likely to be a case of addition by subtraction. This remains a leaky secondary, and in a division with Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham, Jr, that won’t work. Hargreaves is a three-time All-SEC pick with terrific agility, instincts, ball-skills and physicality as a tackler.

Dana Brugler of CBS Sports anticipates Philadelphia choosing UCLA outside linebacker Myles Jack.

With Kiko Alonso traded to Miami and Demeco Ryans released, the Eagles need to rebuild the linebacker depth chart and Jack would be a great place to start. If his surgically-repaired knee checks out, Jack is one of the best players in the draft.

NFL.com’s Chad Reuter published his latest mock draft before free agency began, but he offered ideas for third- and fourth-round picks.

77. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas

79. Philadelphia Eagles: Sebastian Tretola, OG, Arkansas

114. Philadelphia Eagles: Kevon Seymour, CB, USC