26 Random Thoughts on the 2016 NFL Draft

With the first round of the NFL draft mere hours away, here are 26 random thoughts:

1. Memphis QB Paxton Lynch will be gone before pick No. 15. Could go as high as No. 7 to San Francisco. I do like Carson Wentz, but I keep getting this nagging feeling that the Eagles would have been better off staying at No. 8, taking Lynch, and keeping their picks.

2. Any team reaching for Michigan State QB Connor Cook or Penn State's Christian Hackenberg in the first round needs to harken back to the 2011 draft that saw teams desperate for QBs reach for Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder despite the fact none of them were truly first round-worthy. They were just the next guys in line after Cam Newton. So instead of waiting for the point in the draft where it made sense to select them, they panicked. Ponder and Locker are currently out of the NFL, and Gabbert is the de facto QB in San Francisco after flaming out in Jacksonville.

3. Oregon DL DeForest Buckner > Ohio State DE Joey Bosa.

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4. Of all the perceived top prospects, Bosa has the best chance of slipping out of the top eight picks. I just don't see that special ability that will make him a star in the NFL.

5. Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott is special. I wouldn't blink if the Cowboys end up taking him at No. 4.

6. Mississippi WR Laquon Treadwell is slipping on mock draft boards, but I still think he'll end up being the best pass catcher in this draft when all is said and done. The guy just makes plays.

7. If Mississippi OT Laremy Tunsil drops to the Baltimore Ravens it's clear Ozzie Newsome has made a deal with the devil.

8. Clemson DE Shaq Lawson will probably go ahead of linemate Kevin Dodd, but I believe Dodd will end up being the bigger star.

9. West Virginia's Karl Joseph is the only safety worth taking a shot at in the first round. This safety class is terrible.

10. The Eagles may have a couple of nice options in the third round if they're looking for a RB. Indiana's Jordan Howard, Arkansas' Alex Collins and Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise could all be strong selections.

11. Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman reminds me of a faster Danny Amendola. Someone is going to get a solid slot receiver in the fourth round.

12. Thank goodness the Eagles don't need a tight end in this draft. After Arkansas TE Hunter Henry goes in the second round, you might not see another off the board until deep into round three.

13. Notre Dame WR Will Fuller is getting way too much love. I smell another Darrius Heyward-Bey here. His deep speed is great but his hands are not. Fuller will certainly get over-drafted.

14. Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins may be the first DT off the board, but Baylor's Andrew Billings will end up being a better player. Man, that guy is strong.

15. I get that QB Kevin Hogan played in a pro system at Stanford and had some success, but the guy just doesn't have an NFL arm. Stop trying to project him going in the third round.

16. Two cornerbacks to watch for in the second round - Baylor's Xavien Howard and Maryland's Sean Davis. Both are big, physical corners who should be solid starters by 2017.

17. West Virginia ILB Nick Kwiatkoski might be a nice grab for the Eagles in the fifth round. There has been some buzz on him leading up to the draft, but hopefully the Birds don't reach for him in the third. Kwiatkoski is a backup/special teams type in my book.

18. If a 3-4 team really wants to roll the dice in the later rounds, Florida DE Alex McCalister may be a gamble worth taking. The rangy pass rusher (6-6/239) had 12½ sacks in limited snaps over the past two years before getting booted off the team for the ever-vague rules violations. When Florida dismisses you, though, you know it's gotta be bad.

19. Players the Eagles could have selected in 2014 instead of trading back from pick No. 22 and selecting DE/LB Marcus Smith at No. 26 - CB Jason Verrett, S Deone Bucannon, WR Kelvin Benjamin and CB Bradley Roby.

20. Best names in the draft:

• Jared Dangerfield, WR, Western Kentucky - First name, of course, is awesome, and I can't help but think about Back to School when I hear his last name.
• Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois - Teams should draft him just so the play-by-play guy can yell his first name when he scores a TD.
• Henry Kreiger Coble, TE, Iowa - Sounds like a law firm.
• Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU - Just fun to say.
• Pearce Slater, OT, San Diego State - If you were writing a bad '80s teen movie, this is the name you'd give the rich, good-looking guy who the protagonist has to deal with when he's the new kid in school.
• Destiny Vaeao, DT, Washington State - Sounds like the main attraction at Double Visions.
• Cassanova McKinzy, LB, Auburn - I think Michael Vick used this as an alias when he checked into hotels.

21. Looking back on the ill-fated 2011 Eagles draft, Howie Roseman got a lot of justifiable grief for taking Danny Watkins (note: I liked him, too) with the No. 23 pick in the first round, but the next three linemen selected - James Carpenter at No. 25, Gabe Carimi at No. 29, and Derrek Sherrod at No. 32 - were all flops, too.

22. I really like Ohio State WR Braxton Miller. You can tell he's taking this conversion from QB seriously and wants to be good (unlike Arkansas' Matt Jones back in 2005). He'll go somewhere in the mid-to-late second round and make an impact quickly.

23. Remember when Baylor DE Shawn Oakman was a thing? The under-achieving physical freak who got kicked out of Penn State and just got arrested for sexual assault in Waco will (or at least should) go undrafted this week.

24. Anyone screaming that the Eagles should have just waited until the middle rounds to grab a QB like NC State's Jacoby Brissett or Mississippi State's Dak Prescott should look at the last five drafts. Between rounds three and seven, 35 QBs have been selected. Of those 35 only one has had consistent success - Russell Wilson - while only one other seems to have a future as a full-time starter - Kirk Cousins. Fourteen of those QBs have never played in an NFL game, while the rest have made a total of 96 starts (includes 35 by Nick Foles). So forget about finding the next Tom Brady late in the draft because there's usually as reason these guys aren't going in the first round.

25. According to Pro-Football Reference, Marcus Smith, the Eagles' 2014 first-round pick (No. 26), has a Weighted Career Approximate Value (CarAV) of one (1) - lower than any first rounder from that year. Even Johnny Manziel, who the Browns selected at at No. 22 with the pick they received from the Eagles, has a higher CarAV (5). To put this in perspective, Aaron Donald (No. 13) has a CarAV of 30 while the Eagles' seventh-round pick that year, Beau Allen, has a CarAV of three (3).

26. After Florida State's Jalen Ramsey, Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander is going to be the best cover corner in this draft. He won't go before Florida's Vernon Hargreaves, but I'd take him ahead of Houston's William Jackson and Ohio State's Eli Apple.

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