Ezekiel Elliott now in play for Philadelphia Eagles at No. 8?

By Dane Brugler, The Sports Xchange   |   March 9, 2016 at 6:29 PM
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At this time last year, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles led the offseason charge with a myriad of aggressive moves, trading for linebacker Kiko Alonso and signing multiple high-priced free agents, notably cornerback Byron Maxwell and running back Demarco Murray.

Fast forward to the present and all three have been jettisoned from Philadelphia. The Eagles have again be active as free agency opens, although the flurry of activity is centered around vice president of football operations Howie Roseman undoing the daunting deals connected to Kelly's vision of the team.

These deals are about dumping bad contracts and distancing themselves from Kelly's guys more than anything else. But instead of negotiating for players or multiple draft picks, the Eagles looked to move up the draft board. Philadelphia swapped first-round picks with the Miami Dolphins (in exchange for Alonso and Maxwell) and fourth-round picks with the Tennessee Titans (in exchange for Murray).

Originally owning the 13th overall pick, Philadelphia moved up five spots and now owns Miami's eighth selection in the first round. Five spots might not seem to be a substantial jump on the surface, but in this year's first round, it could be the difference from the top-tier of prospects and the second tier.

The Eagles have multiple needs on the roster and with the eighth overall pick, they now have more options. Here are five prospects who could realistically be available for them that might not have been with the 13th pick.

--Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

With Murray now in Tennessee and Ryan Matthews also reportedly on the trade block, the Eagles are in the market for an upgrade in the backfield. As NFL teams vet the top players in this draft class, Elliott continues to rise because his skill-set doesn't have glaring weaknesses. There is no question that he is one of the top talents this year, but the unknown variable to his draft grade from team-to-team is the position he plays and the value it represents. Despite the running back being devalued early in the draft in recent years, there are several teams that believe Elliott is a featured piece of an offense who is worthy of the top-10 and the Eagles might be one of them.

--Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

With Maxwell on his way out of Philly, the Eagles have a hole to fill in the secondary, which ranked near the bottom of the NFL last season in pass defense. The Hargreaves-to-Tampa prediction has been a popular pairing in mock drafts with the ninth pick, but with the Eagles now owning the pick before the Buccaneers, they might have the first crack at the former Florida cornerback. Hargreaves lacks elite size and speed, but his competitive toughness, instincts and intangibles are why he likely comes off the board in the top 12 picks.

--Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Offensive line is arguably the top need on the Eagles' roster and trading up to the eighth pick boosts their chances of landing Stanley, one of this year's most talented linemen. Philadelphia is hoping for at least one more season from 34-year-old Jason Peters at left tackle, but Stanley would give the franchise a long-term option at the position and much needed depth.

--Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Once thought to be a strength of the team, linebacker is now a glaring need with Alonso headed to Miami and Demeco Ryans released a few weeks ago. Regardless of scheme or formation, Jack can play any of the linebacker positions, offering flexibility to handle various responsibilities, including above average cover skills. The strength of his surgically repaired knee is obviously an important part of his evaluation, but if the doctors sign off, Jack is player who might be available at eight, who would have been gone by pick No. 13.

--Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

With Sam Bradford returning and Chase Daniel reportedly signing a multi-year deal, the Eagles are in a position where they don't need to address the quarterback position in the first round. But if a passer like Wentz falls to the eighth pick, Philadelphia would be able to pounce and address the position for the long-term. A rookie quarterback would be able to sit behind Bradford for a season or two and with Daniel in the fold, Wentz wouldn't be pressed into immediate action if Bradford goes down with injury.

--Dane Brugler is a Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed in partnership with The Sports Xchange and CBSSports.com.

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