The Philadelphia Eagles' brass has gone over about eight scenarios for how the first 13 picks could play out in front of them during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night. According to executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, each results in a celebration when the Eagles get on the clock.
"One thing I know, when we make a pick at 14 with the way our board looks right now, we're gonna all be high-fiving," Roseman said.
There's a whole lot of uncertainty about how this first round is going to unfold. How many quarterbacks will go in the top half? Are the Browns going to go nuts and take a quarterback first overall? How many running backs are going early? Will teams be trading in? For whom? With so many variables, it's difficult to know exactly which players will be available for the Eagles. And honestly, that's part of the fun. They could go in a number of directions depending on how it all shakes out.
Here are some likely targets that could elicit the front-office high-five regardless.
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett finished his career at Tennessee as the school's all-time sacks leader, passing former Eagle and first-ballot Hall of Famer Reggie White. There are some concerns about whether his skill set will fully transfer to the NFL level. He has a number of supporters, however, including former Ravens and Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah, who evoked the name of Terrell Suggs when talking about the production-versus-measurables debate surrounding Barnett. I can see former Baltimore scout Joe Douglas, now Eagles vice president of player personnel, liking what Barnett brings to the table as well.
John Ross, WR, Washington
The lightning-fast receiver has fans inside the building. There are injury concerns, however. He has had surgery on both knees and, more recently, on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum. That's obviously going to factor into a team's thinking when weighing whether to take him in the first round. We changed our selection from Gareon Conley to Ross in the NFL Nation mock draft after reports surfaced that Conley is facing rape accusations. Fresh off an 18-touchdown season and possessing 4.22 speed in the 40, perhaps Ross is an enticing enough prospect to roll the dice on, whether that be at No. 14 or potentially after trading back in the first round.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
We heard Williams' name connected to the Eagles early in the pre-draft process, and then again late. Williams (6-foot-4, 218 pounds) has No. 1-receiver potential and could be a big, reliable target for Carson Wentz for years to come. There are some questions about his ability to separate. It's also worth asking whether having him on the same roster as Alshon Jeffery is somewhat redundant. The counter-argument is that the duo would present unique matchup concerns for the opposition. Bottom line, Williams could be good value at 14, and it wouldn't be a surprise here if he were the pick.
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Our favorite receiver in the class. The NCAA's all-time leader in receiving yards (5,285), Davis caught 97 passes for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns this past season. Ankle surgery prevented him from participating in the scouting combine, so there's some uncertainty about his speed. Perhaps that's enough to knock him down a few slots in the draft. If so, Davis (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) could represent serious value.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
I've gone through much of the pre-draft process with the belief that at least one member of the Eagles' brass wants McCaffrey, and that he will probably be taken before the 14th overall selection. Still feel that way. If the Eagles want to walk away with McCaffrey, they'll probably have to trade up.
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Unless the Conley situation gains clarity in short order, the risk might be too great in the first round. Humphrey's stock is all over the place, but he is being slotted in this area by some. The Eagles need to guard against reaching for need, but if they think Humphrey is legitimate and aren't worried about his ability to play the long ball, this could be a fit.
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
He is widely considered a top-five talent in the draft. There is at least a chance he falls, and if he does, the Eagles will have to be comfortable with the question marks that have popped up around Foster of late.
Kevin King, CB, Washington
The range we heard for King (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) a little while back was 20-35. Assuming that holds true, the Eagles might be able to jump back several spots and still land King, who had two interceptions and 13 passes defensed this past season. Roseman explained that teams are willing to move back when multiple players from their wish list are still on the board. Perhaps it works out that way Thursday night.
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Opinions vary on just how high Harris, a new-to-the-game pass-rusher with a crazy spin move, will go. There could be teams looking to slide into this range for a QB. If so, the Eagles might feel better about moving a few spots back if Harris is a viable option.