Eagles Will Likely Target CB on Day 2

The Eagles have many needs to fill and corernback could be on the docket in Day 2 of the draft
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PHILADELPHIA - While most of the hype surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles and the upcoming NFL Draft centers on the No. 6 overall pick, in many ways Day 2 of the process will be just as important for a roster that needs an influx of talent, and also has to get younger and less expensive.

The Eagles are scheduled to have three picks on Day 2, choosing once in the second round (No. 37 overall) and two more times in the third round (Nos. 70 and 84).

General manager Howie Roseman and vice president of personnel Andy Weidl are almost sure to target cornerback somewhere on Day 2 to improve a group with only one real constant in veteran Darius Slay, who could be on the trading block because of his age, 30, and contract.

Second-year man Avonte Maddox struggled in a move outside the numbers last season while veteran slot CBs Nickell Robey-Coleman and Cre'Von LeBlanc are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 17.

The rest of the incumbent talent is largely unproven, names like Craig James, Mike Jacquet, Jameson Houston, Shakial Taylor, Lavert Hill, and perhaps Grayland Arnold, who could figure in at safety or CB.

The Eagles have this cornerback dilemma due in large part to 2017 draft picks, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas, who arrived as back-to-back selections in the second and third rounds, respectively, never panning out.

New defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has a history coaching defensive backs and he will cobble together a group with secondary coach Dennard Wilson, who has been with the New York Jets.

Earlier this week ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said "there’s a lot of cornerbacks that are going to go into the second or third round," and mentioned a number of players who could be in the mix specifically for Philadelphia, a group headlined by Asante Samuel Jr., the son of the former Eagles ballhawk, and Washington slot option Elijah Molden.

The younger Samuel, who went to school at Florida State, and perhaps Molden would likely have to be in the mix at 37 overall.

Samuel plays a lot like his father with top-tier reaction and ball skills. The knocks are a lack of size for the outside and run support.

Molden, meanwhile, is a natural slot CB, meaning you'd have to feel comfortable on the outside before taking the leap there. Something like selecting Molden would also have to encompass projecting perhaps the lengthy Jacquet as a potential answer on the outside.

Other prospects mentioned by Kiper included Central Florida's Aaron Robinson, Northwestern's Greg Newsome, SMU's Brandon Stephens, Georgia's Eric Stokes, and Oklahoma's Tre Brown, a list of players who would in the mix with those two third-round picks.

Of that group Robinson and Brown project as slot CBs while Newsome, Stephens, and Stokes would likely be earmarked to the outside.

My recent three-round mock draft also projected Stokes, a speedy and lengthy option who played in college football's toughest conference, the SEC, to the Eagles at No. 70 overall.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.