It’s NFL Draft night, a night that I personally wish did not exit since I was a large fan of draft weekend… but who cares what I want, it is what you want. This still is one of my favorite parts of the year; I read all the scouting reports, mock drafts, and waste many hours of my work day reading about people I have never heard of and may never hear of again. One fun part about drafts is that the fans sometimes (and by sometimes I mean all the time) fall in love with some guy they never heard of 3 weeks ago, and then when the Eagles don’t take that guy they are blasted on the radio by the fans. Another fun part is reading 45 mock drafts with 45 different orders of where everyone gets drafted, I personally think mock drafts are fun but are too hard to predict; so what I am going to do is tell you what I think the Eagles will do with each pick. I will most likely be wrong, probably really wrong… but o well.
My Thinking: MANY people have the Eagles going OL first round, I don’t see as glaring as a need as everyone else does, when healthy they have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. In a draft deep with offensive lineman, it seems silly for me to address that first. I believe they need a playmaker on the defense more than anything; they have solid pieces on defense, but no playmakers. They do need OL depth, but I think they can wait until round 3 or 4 to add a solid piece to the OL. Another popular thought is that they will trade down… Stop, you can’t give a new head coach who is trying to retool a roster the 4th pick overall and expect them to trade down? I could be wrong, but unless they are blown away by an offer (which I don’t think the star talent is in this draft to warrant a crazy offer) they are staying put.
Round 1 (4th Pick overall): I will start by saying up until Monday, I was all aboard the Geno Smith bandwagon, and honesty I still am. However his stock is falling for no real reason, I personally don’t see him falling out of the first round, but if he is there a pick 35… he will be an Eagle. I think the Star Lotulelei heart issue will probably hurt his stock sadly (even though no one will admit it), without that I think he would be the Eagles pick or a top 3 pick, Dion Jordan (no relation to Montell Jordan) has a shoulder issue, but should be ready for camp… he is an Oregon guy, and a large (6’6 250) quick (4.85 40) linebacker. If Jordan is not there Ezekiel Ansah is a raw, freakish talent that is something special; he has played 19 games of football in his life and needed help putting on his pads early on but showed elite talent in those 19 games. Part of me just wants the Eagles to draft a guy naked “zeke” Selection 1: Dion Jordan. Backup Plan: Ezekiel Ansah
Round 2 (35th pick overall): I personally don’t see Geno Smith falling this far, but if he does I don’t think the Eagles pass him up. If he is not there I expect them to take E.J. Manuel instead; Manuel is big (6’6 237), ran a 4.65 40, he will need work… with Michael Vick penciled in as the starter, they have time to work on him. Selection 2: Geno Smith. Backup Plan: EJ Manuel
Round 3 (67th pick overall): I think the Eagles need some OL depth, and this is a draft deep in OL talent and while both guys I am about to mention could certainly be off the board, but guys fall… it happens every year. Justin Pugh is a name that may not make it out of the 2nd round, but then again he may. He has “short arms” which would make him a bad candidate to play the blind side however the Eagles don’t need a left tackle (I know Michael Vick is left handed, but he probably won’t be here next year), he could play right tackle, and play it well and would be a steal in the 3rd round. If he is not on the board, look for them to possibly look at guy playing at a small school in Terron Armstead. Armstead played at Arkansas Pine Bluff, even though he had a boat load of D1 scholarships… why you ask? Because he wanted to participate in track and field, he is a 6’4 306 pound track “star” and would be a great back up plan. Selection 3: Justin Pugh. Backup Plan (or in this case may be the main plan): Terron Armstead
Break Time / Recap: If the Eagles go out and get Dion Jordan, Geno Smith, and either OL I talk about in round 3, Chip Kelly will have 3 great players to build with. This draft is not deep with star power at all, but there is a lot of talent in this draft and many talented guys will make it into the 3rd and 4th rounds that would typically not escape round 2. I hope that by now I at least have 1 pick right… just 1; if I get 3 players right overall that is a huge success, saying 2 names each round ups my odds.
Round 4 (101st pick overall): The secondary was addressed in free agency, but I don’t know for sure if there are any long term solutions with the guys they signed. They would do themselves some good by getting deep in the secondary. Phillip Thomas is a guy I think will be there in the 4th round, he is a guy with great ball skills, and is not a liability in coverage. I think he will be a solid NFL starter and would be well worth a 4th round pick. I also think that they want to get some play makers on the offensive side of the ball, at least one or 2… 1 guy I think they will like is Da’rick Rogers. Rogers ran a 4.52 40, is 6’2 is a fast, big talent, that can return punts and kicks… buuuutttt is a “little lacking” between the ears… he takes plays off, and has off the field issues; if they can get him and get his head in the game, he could be an absolute steal. Selection 4: Phillip Thomas. Backup Plan: Da’rick Rogers
Round 5 (136th pick overall): This is where you either pick a guy you never hear of again, or strike it rich and find gold. I think people are scared and for good reason of the “Honey Badger” Tyrann Mathieu, he has talent, on the field leadership and can play football. The bad news is he could potentially be a PR and locker room nightmare, but the good certainly outweigh the bad in round 5. If he is here, he will be on many teams radar, including the Eagles. They could reach for him in the 4th depending how deep their interest is and what is on the board, but he seems a little more safe in round 5. Another guy I like here is Daxton Swanson, who is neither a Private investigator, nor is he related to Mary Swanson from dumb and dumber. Swanson is a good cover corner with good ball skills, he played for Sam Houston st in the Football heavy Southland conference, but he is a decent player that could be a good 2nd or 3rd corner in the NFL. Selection 5: Tyrann Mathieu. Backup Plan: Daxton Swanson
Rounds 7 (Picks 210, 212, 218, 239): I honestly can’t pretend that I know about anyone that will be around in the 7th round. I bet I made you think that I knew something about Daxton Swanson, I never heard of him until this past weekend. The Eagles have no 6th round pick (but they do have David Sims), and 4 7th round picks… let’s just look at what positions I think they’ll address here. An obvious need would be 1 offensive lineman, and 1 defensive lineman; they could also probably add a tight end or running back here and another secondary guy. Maybe if I name every position, I will get 1 of the 6 rounds they pick in correct. I will run off some other candidates that I hope they take solely based off of their name.
Garrett Gilkey (I can only hope he is somehow related to Bernard Gilkey)
Zeke Motta (chance for 2 Zeke’s? Sign me up.)Tags: Chip Kelly, Da'rick Rogers, Daxton Swanson, Dion Jordan, EJ Manuel, Ezekiel Ansah, Geno Smith, Justin Pugh, NFL Draft, Philadelphia Eagles, Phillip Thomas, Terron Armstead, Tyrann Mathieu