Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both have the Philadelphia Eagles selecting a cornerback and a hybrid running back/receiver in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL draft, but differ on the approach.
The ESPN NFL draft analysts released a dueling two-round mock draft on Wednesday. Kiper has the Eagles taking Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley with the 14th overall pick, and Conley's collegiate teammate, Curtis Samuel, in Round 2. Samuel (5-foot-11, 196 pounds) did a little bit of everything during his three years with the Buckeyes. He rushed for close to 800 yards last year (7.9 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns and added 74 receptions for 865 yards with seven TDs.
That style of play is in the mold of Stanford's Christian McCaffrey -- McShay's pick for the Eagles in Round 1. McCaffrey (6-foot, 201 pounds) set an NCAA record for all-purpose yards as a sophomore (3,864), running for more than 2,000 yards while catching 45 balls for 645 yards and returning both a punt and a kick back for touchdowns. He was slowed by injury for part of 2016 but still had 1,913 yards from scrimmage in 11 games.
"He's not only a running back, he's also a wide receiver, and I don't say that about many people," McShay explained during an appearance on First Take. "I think you can legitimately put McCaffrey in the slot and have him go run routes like a slot receiver. And then you can move him into the backfield and run him 10, 12, 15 times a game if that's what you decide to do."
McShay has the Eagles selecting Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis with the 43rd overall pick.
The good news for the Eagles and other corner-needy teams is that the depth of this cornerback class should offer quality options throughout the first couple days of the draft. Conley (6-foot, 195 pounds) is an ascending prospect fueled in part by his impressive showing at the scouting combine, where he ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash. He allowed just a 37 percent completion rate and had four interceptions and eight passes defensed for Ohio State last season. Lewis (5-10, 188 pounds) has a smaller frame and might end up as a slot corner. He plays with an edge and could be an asset on special teams, as he handled kick return duties for the Wolverines and averaged 25 yards per return as a junior. The Eagles are in the market for multiple corners after releasing Leodis McKelvin and losing Nolan Carroll to the Dallas Cowboys in free agency.
One thing that's becoming clear is that the Eagles should have several quality options when they get on the clock at No. 14. In Kiper's mock, for example, he has Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Western Michigan receiver Corey Davis still available. McShay has Foster still on the board as well along with Clemson wideout Mike Williams, among others.
This seems like a year where they could really walk away with a difference-maker.