PHILADELPHIA -- NFL teams are in the home stretch of preparations for the 2016 draft. Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president Howie Roseman traded up to the No. 8 spot because, he said, the Eagles feel there are 10 elite players available in this year’s draft.
Jalen Ramsey, cornerback, Florida State
Thumbnail: Ramsey is 6-foot-1, 209 pounds. Chip Kelly is gone, but that’s the kind of cornerback size that Kelly coveted. The Eagles may not be as obsessed with prototypes, but everyone in the NFL values corners with size and athletic ability.
Ramsey is also versatile. In its annual draft report, Pro Football Focus described Ramsey as a guy who can play outside corner or move to safety if needed. He was also PFF’s top-rated cornerback against the run, indicating a fearlessness and physical style that could translate into other areas.
How he fits: Byron Maxwell. Nnamdi Asomugha. Cary Williams. Bradley Fletcher. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Eagles’ attempts to find quality cornerbacks in free agency have not exactly been successful over the last five years. In fact, they’ve been disastrous.
A legitimate shutdown corner would be a major asset as Jim Schwartz tries to build an aggressive, pressure defense. The Eagles have Eric Rowe, last year’s second-round pick, who has a chance to be a solid player. They brought back Nolan Carroll, who was decent enough last year before getting injured.
But their additions are guys like Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks, who are familiar with Schwartz’s defense because they played for him in Buffalo. The overall feeling is that the Eagles have better depth at corner. They still need someone who can line up across from elite NFL receivers and take them out of the game.
What are the chances: Not very good. We’re focusing on the very elite players in this draft, which means several guys who are likely to be top-five picks. The Eagles could get Ramsey if they trade up, but they are more likely to do that for a quarterback than any other position.
Other options: One possibility is to hope the current pool of cornerbacks -- Rowe, Carroll, McKelvin, Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd, Denzel Rice, Randall Evans, Jaylen Watkins, former CFL player Aaron Grymes -- produces two starters, a nickel corner and at least two other backups.
The other draft possibilities are to stand pat at No. 8 overall and select Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III or Houston’s William Jackson III, or look for a cornerback later in the draft. Alabama’s Cyrus Jones and Baylor’s Xavien Howard are among the cornerbacks who could be had in the third round, where the Eagles hold two picks.