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Who'd You Draft: Barnett Or Harris?
April 19, 2017 08:44 PM | Chris McPherson
Brandon Graham told reporters on Tuesday that he would not be surprised to see the Eagles use the No. 14 overall pick on a defensive end in the first round of next week's NFL Draft.

"I want them to bring in whoever is going to help us win," Graham said. "I've been here eight years. I want to be a part of something great, and that's bringing a championship here to Philly. Whoever they feel is fit at that position, I'm just excited to bring them in and welcome them."

Defensive end is not the biggest need for this football team. Graham was a second-team All-Pro with 5.5 sacks last season, good for second best on the team behind defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The team bid farewell to Connor Barwin in the offseason which opened the door for Vinny Curry to have a bigger role in 2017. Veteran Chris Long was signed in free agency to join Marcus Smith, Alex McCalister, and Steven Means.

Still, the Eagles finished with 34 total sacks last season, tied for 16th in the league. And the old adage is that you can never have too many pass rushers, especially in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's scheme which emphasizes strong play up front.

Myles Garrett is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. At 6-4, 272 pounds, Garrett had 32.5 sacks and 48.5 tackles for loss in three years at Texas A&M. He posted ridiculous numbers in the timing and testing drills at the NFL Combine. Solomon Thomas played both inside and outside in Stanford's 3-4 scheme and is also expected to be long gone by the time the Eagles are on the clock.

If the Eagles were to choose an edge rusher with their first-round pick, two potential options are Derek Barnett and Charles Harris. On our Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast as well as the Journey to the Draft podcast presented by AAA this week, analysts made the case for both players.

Josh Norris from Rotoworld and NBC Sports cast a vote for Harris first dispelling the notion that the defensive end would be a reach at No. 14.

"Who is to say that NFL teams do not consider him a top-10 selection? A top-12 selection? I bet many do," Norris said on the Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast with Fran Duffy. "Charles Harris would not be a reach at No. 14."

Harris was a starter in his last two seasons at Missouri. He played in two different defensive systems, but still posted 30.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in his last 24 contests. Norris thinks Harris would be a better fit based on the Eagles' defensive scheme.

"In the wider alignment, Charles Harris is one of the most explosive edge rushers in this class," Norris said. "He has a primary move. He has a power punch. In terms of getting up the field, winning within three steps and turning the corner with flexibility and bend. And then once the offensive tackle compensates for that, he has an outstanding counter move which is the inside spin move. You really only need two pass rusher moves to be consistent."

Even though he's explosive, Harris had a poor workout at the Combine, but he improved upon those numbers at this Pro Day.

"After Charles Harris improved on his horrible Combine with a solid Pro Day, I became much more comfortable with the evaluation and I think you can never have too many pass rushers," Norris said. "I think the fit at No. 14 would be outstanding."

Meanwhile, Tony Pauline from DraftAnalyst.com would tab Barnett of the two pass rushers, even though he doesn't "think the Eagles are going to go in that direction." Barnett broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee with 33 in three seasons. The 6-3, 259-pound end started all but three games as a Volunteer and also had 52 tackles for loss.

"Barnett's a little bit bigger, he's a little bit stouter at the point of attack," Pauline said on the Journey to the Draft podcast presented by AAA. "I do think Harris can play standing up in a 3-4 where Barnett is solely a defensive end in a 4-3. I like Barnett's game. I like Harris' game. He's a bit too one-dimensional for me."

It's just one of the many fun scenarios to debate as the NFL Draft comes to Philadelphia a week from Thursday.

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