Even though free agency stands between now and the NFL Draft, the upcoming NFL Combine at the end of the month is causing draft talk to heat up.
A draft that is very important for all 32 teams, but especially for the Eagles.
The Eagles don't have a ton of cap space, meaning if they want to turn a roster that went 7-9 last season into a playoff team, they are going to need to hit some home runs in the draft -- and not just in the first round.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated recently projected the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Here is what he projected for the Eagles, with an analysis of each pick.
DALVIN COOK, RB, FLORIDA STATE
Burke: The Eagles don't need a running back as badly as they need a receiver, but Cook would be a steal in mid-Round 1. He does not require much room to be able to take on the distance.
My take: The Eagles need a playmaker on offense, and even though he isn't a receiver, Cook easily would become the best player on their offense outside of quarterback Carson Wentz. In 13 games for Florida State last season, Cook gained 1,765 yards on 288 carries, and caught 33 catches for 488 yards, while scoring 20 total touchdowns.
Cook would completely change the Eagles' offense, as it would give them a running back that is a threat to both run and catch the ball, opening up the play calling for head coach Doug Pederson.
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DESMOND KING, CB, IOWA
Burke: During Senior Bowl week, the NFL Network's Mike Mayock compared King's possible NFL role as a safety/corner hybrid to that of Malcolm Jenkins.
My take: The Eagles love players from the Senior Bowl, as only the Baltimore Ravens have drafted more players from the Senior Bowl since 2010. King makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they can get him in the second round. King doesn't have ideal size, standing just 5-foo-11, but with 14 interceptions and 33 passes defended in four seasons, he is one of the top playmaking cornerbacks in the draft.
The Eagles badly need an upgrade at cornerback, and even as a rookie, King would be the second-best cornerback on the roster, behind on Jalen Mills.Carson Wentz at Super Bowl
ZAY JONES, WR, EAST CAROLINA
Burke: (none given)
My take: At this point, the chances of Jones lasting until the third round appear slim, but if he did, it would be a steal for the Eagles.
Jones had an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl, so chances are he is very much on the Eagles' radar. Jones' numbers in college do not stand out -- 399 catches for 4,279 yards and 23 touchdowns in four seasons -- but he was a very consistent player.
The Eagles could certainly use a player that stands 6-foot-1, 197 pounds and can make catches like this:
Oh hello, Zay Jones! Frame by frame suggests this is TD even in NFL. Right toe taps just before the knee pic.twitter.com/CHqLVIcENA-- Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 29, 2017 THE NO-HUDDLE SHOW: Stay or go? Peters, Sproles and others Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Soundcloud or iHeartRadio.
Eliot Shorr-Parks may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EliotShorrParks. Find NJ.com Eagles on Facebook.
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