Eagles Wake-Up Call: Five Draft Prospects To Watch

If the season ended today, the Eagles would have the fifth pick in the NFL draft.

So while positioning could change quite a bit in the next five weeks, I’m guessing many of you have at least started to take a peek at some of the top college prospects. Today is the final full slate of games until Bowl season. Keeping that in mind, here are five prospects you might want to check out if you’re in front of a TV.

1. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia - In past years, I wouldn’t even bother including him. Jones (6-3, 241) projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker. The Eagles currently run a 4-3, but we have no clue what kind of defense they’ll run in 2013. Jones has 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. He’s forced six fumbles and even come up with an interception. Last year, Jones finished with 13.5 sacks. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Jones as his top-rated player. Georgia takes on Alabama in the SEC title game at 4 p.m. on CBS.

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Draft analysts have him slated as the first or second QB prospect. Smith (6-3, 220) has completed 70.1 percent of his passes and has 37 touchdowns and five interceptions. You won’t see Smith at the top of many overall prospect lists, but remember, quarterbacks generally rise in February and March. For needy teams in the first round, it’s not about value. If you like Smith and think he can be a franchise QB, you take him. West Virginia faces Kansas at 2:30, but the game’s not on a major network. Check your local listings to see if it’s available.

3. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama – As you might have guessed, that Georgia-Alabama game features quite a few players who figure to suit up on Sundays. Milliner (6-1, 199) is the draft’s top cornerback prospect, according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com. As I wrote earlier this week, the Eagles figure to overhaul their secondary this offseason and very well could be in the market for a cornerback come draft time.

4. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas – The Eagles could enter 2013 with two starting safeties who are not currently on the roster. Vaccaro (6-1, 218) is considered by many analysts to be the top safety prospect in the draft. Writes Kiper:

A do-it-all-safety, Vaccaro has managed to shine even as Texas has struggled. Adept in coverage and against the run, he has the size to attack the line of scrimmage like an extra linebacker but can line up in coverage inside or out wide and hold his own. Makes good reads and big plays.

Texas takes on Kansas State at 8 p.m. on ABC.

5. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - He’s got 13 sacks on the season, tied for tops in the nation. Werner, a German exchange student, who played just two years of high school football in America, is considered one of the best pass-rushing prospects in the draft. The 6-4, 255-pound defensive end takes the field when the Seminoles face Georgia Tech in the ACC title game (8 p.m., ESPN).

WHAT YOU MISSED

There were a couple different Michael Vick theories floating around yesterday. Tim clears up what to believe. The quarterback, meanwhile, released a statement of his own Friday.

T-Mac explains why it’s unlikely that Jon Gruden is the Eagles’ next head coach.

Brandon Graham now gets a chance to replace Jason Babin. Here’s an overall look at pass-rushing production.

Babin arrived in Jacksonville and took some parting shots at Philadelphia.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Ashley Fox of ESPN.com examines whether the Eagles will be able to attract a big-name coach:

This is going to take time in a city where the fans aren’t exactly patient or happy. Why would a hot, top coaching candidate choose Philadelphia when there might be other, more attractive openings in Carolina, Dallas, Cleveland, San Diego and Arizona? The simple answer is, he wouldn’t. This job probably will be filled by someone Eagles fans have never heard of, just like it was 14 years ago.

SI.com’s Peter King predicts a 24-16 Cowboys victory:

I’d be stunned if Dallas rallied to make the playoffs, and if the Cowboys don’t, they can look at the trading deadline as a primary reason. The Cowboys could have had Steve Jackson from the Rams for either a third- or fourth-round pick (I believe a fourth- would have done it), and Jackson’s gladiatorial spirit and thrill at joining a contender would have given Tony Romo a real threat in the running game that he hasn’t had all year. Dallas is last in the league at 78 rushing yards a game. That’s one of the reasons you heard that frustration in Romo’s voice on Thanksgiving night after the loss to Washington.

COMING UP

The Eagles will fly to Dallas for Sunday night’s matchup. We’ll have some fresh content to get you through the day.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

  • trixman

    I moved from Philly to Charlotte in May. The move has given me perspective. With due respect, Ashley Fox is flat-out wrong. Philly’s combination of market size, facilites, hands-off ownership, and stable of young talent would make it more attractive than any of the other cities mentioned. Yes, the media and fan base is more rabid than in other markets, but a coach who would turn down the Philly job because of that isn’t a coach worth having, anyway.

    • borntosuffer

      Really? Charlotte, Arizona and Cleveland are more appealing? San Diego has the weather and what appears to be a lot of talent. But, even with Dallas, is everybody sold that you can win with Romo?

      • TurdFerguson

        And anyone coaching in Dallas has to deal with Jerry Jones. Why would a “hot, top coaching prospect’ elect to work for him if there are other options out there?

        • Tyler Phillips

          Parcells- retread (did fine b/c jerry let him get his guys)
          Phillips- retread (has never been a good HC)
          Garrett- reminder of glory days long in the past (marginal OC turned below avg HC)
          Also, Romo is about to be on his 4th HC if they make a change. does anyone think HC candidates don’t see that? Romo is a coach killer.

          • Brian

            correlation vs. causation

            I don’t think the problem with the Boys is Romo.

    • TXEaglesFan

      Ashley Fox and flat out wrong are commonly seen in the same sentence. I have never understood why she continues to climb the sports reporting ladder.

      • GoBirds1

        Unbelievable!

  • Tyler Phillips

    Anyone who say Philly isn’t a top destination is being a prisoner of the moment. True we are not set a QB, but to say Carolina, AZ and Cleveland are more desirable is just a piece that is trying to get hits/comments. This OL will be fine when the starters are back in 2013, depth was/is the primary issue and Kelly has shown himself to be a solid swing tackle at the least. Watkins will get til at least next year to prove he shouldn’t be cut. Jake Scott if he stays, which is a complete unknown, would be at least solid.

    LeSean and Bryce will attract any HC because they will provide a ground game to lean on for the new/young QB. DeSean needs a better complement at WR, so that does need to be addressed, but that will depend on what the new HC is looking for. TE is a toss up, Celek needs to be more consistent, but he always gives 100% and is a solid starter.

    The D has pieces, however none of those seem to be in the 2ndary. Ryans, Kendricks, Graham, Curry, Cox, Thornton, Patterson provide some really good pieces for the front 7. Boykin has been up and down, but has been improving. Marsh is a total unknown, but he will get a shot next year. Allen needs to be able to maximize his skill set, which is as a CF type FS, and we need a serious upgrade over Coleman,who has no business starting, to complement Allen.

    There are plenty of pieces to attract top HC candidates, and anyone who says otherwise is just blowing smoke to get website hits.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      You might be giving Allen a little too much credit. I don’t believe he is an NFL starter either.

      • Tyler Phillips

        I can understand that people feel that way, but he’s not a box S and has been hindered by the Scheme of being “Interchangeable” not to mention Coleman’s play subtracts from everyone around him.

        • Cranky Caucasian

          Completely agree with you. I think Allen at least deserves a final chance next season. I’d like to see him within a scheme that the entire secondary understands and can remember (painfully obvious that no one does right now) where he has less run responsibilities, and another safety that deserves to start in this league to compliment him.

          • Johngiam

            Allen has got to go just like Coleman. Wouldn’t mind the as backups….somewhere we got lost and fooled to believe that we can either have a safety that covers, or a safety that can hit and play against the run. Problem with that is I look around the league and see plenty of safeties that can COVER and PLAY THE RUN! Yes this current coverage scheme is retarded and Allen mite do better in a better scheme, but no scheme in the world will keep him from getting TRUCKED, carried and dragged on a constant basis. I have watched enough of my defense get trucked, play like wimps who can’t hit. I will live with a sissy corner, but I can no longer watch that from my safeties! I don’t care if Allen is the second coming of deon sanders in coverage…he still soft in the run, and will always b soft…so he has to either go, or be relegat to a back up!!!!!!

        • Brian

          Yup, Allen’s a free safety. It makes no sense using him in any other way, which they are.

          • @CoachMikebc

            Allan is soft. If we are going to better this team. ANYONE not willing to sacrifice their body goes. Name the 3 soft 49ers, Ravens or any other team who strikes fear. I’m tired of watching athletes cower. I want Stanford, Bama, Georgia, 49er, Raven HARBAUGH family football.I find this Eagle team hard to watch not because they stink but because 80% of them play soft. you can always use a couple athletes but when nobody strikes fear, you not only get beat, you get laughed at. That’s where we are now.

    • @CoachMikebc

      I agree with you. First history has proven it is not hard to flip an organization around in a year or 2. Especially a under achiever who has a draft pick. A willingness to spend money & cap room. Need room, bye bye babin, vick & trade or cut another 20mil. We need hitters, not athletes.

      • FMWarner

        “We need hitters, not athletes.” We had that. His name was Jaiquan Jarrett. You want more like that? We need to put aside the macho BS “Philly attitude” and just get good players.

  • dp03

    If Kiper’s scouting of Vaccaro is accurate, he would be a welcome addition As seen in Sheil’s all 22 columns, decision making at S has been a huge weakness for the D this year.

    • Myke Lowery

      as someone that’s seen every Texas game of Kennys career..he’s not great in coverage. adequate in run support. and draws plenty of bonehead penalties. and I’m a UT alum.he’s pretty much a smarter Coleman. taking him at five would be too high imo.

  • Mothra

    Cleveland’s QB situation isn’t much better than Philly’s. Weedon is 28 and not proven, McCoy is a backup. Neither are much better than Foles. Philly has better offensive playmakers around than does Cle. SD has an aging offense with 2 starters that can’t stay healthy (Gates and Matthews). Rivers is regressing. AZ’s qb situation is worse than all of them. but the D is solid and they have Fitz, but no RB’s worth getting excited about. The Cowboys have JJ . . nuff said.

  • dislikedisqus

    Based on What I am reading about the draft, it seems pretty weak, not too many studs at any position, although there is depth at OL and DL. It seems the Eagles may want to trade down, for example they might be able to get the Ala CB and/or the Texas S later in Round 1.

    • Mothra

      the fans would mutiny up there in ny if they did that, unless and until they figured out why.

      • JohnGiam

        Get manti teo and change the damn culture of this defense. From the moment we draft him, we would instant,y no longer be soft

        • @CoachMikebc

          Agree 100% on the change the culture part but we can’t afford to use that pick on TEO as much as I like him. Too many hard hitting & good LBs in this draft. We need to get tougher where we are softest. O.L., W.R. , T.E., D.B.. Make sense?

  • aub32

    I love how the national media seem to base so much on how Philly fans react. Philly fans aren’t that bad if you win. Players and coaches who perform are loved by fans and protected. Look at Trent Cole. He is having a down year, but is seldom ripped due to the equity he has built with this fan base. The problem with Reid is he blew all his equity by failing to win with a “talented” team and hiring an O line coach as his DC.

  • djack10

    Ashley was roasted online in the comments of most of her stories when she wrote in Philly and you can see that she harbors some ill-will towards Philly. Outside of possibly New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh, Philly might be the #1 NFL destination for a head coach.

    Lurie is an excellent owner from a coach’s perspective. Look at how he has handled this year. Other than one somewhat lose comment about Castillo’s hiring, he has steered clear of throwing his coach under the bus in the media. Even his 8-8 “unacceptable” speech was more than reasonable.

    The fan base? Are you kidding me? Have you been to training camp? Did you not see the support for Andy after the horrible news about his son. Andy said so himself. He was *touched* by the overwhelming level of support. Even at the Carolina game this week, the fans demonstrated that all we want is a winning team. We’re not out to create a spectacle.

    Was Ashley not here on Oct. 31, 2008 for the Phillies parade? What do you think it would be like if the Eagles ever manage to have that parade? You could see 5 million people there. That’s more than the population of Seattle, Kansas City, San Diego, Detroit, Cleveland, Denver, Miami and Buffalo combined.

    Philadelphia are unlike any fans really in the world. There isn’t a coach in the game that would not want to be lead this team, have this fan base and be part of this organization. Next year will be exciting. New coach, new staff, clean out the riff-raff (bye bye Babin!) and heck maybe a run-oriented system ala Houston Texans.

    • @CoachMikebc

      Fan base is allowed to be ticked off. I’m 52 & have never seen my team win SB. I don’t want to be wearing a diaper and eating rice pudding when it happens.

  • 1977

    ss, fs, OT dont draft anymore d linemen high. lets get the back end fixed with some guys that can cover and hit.

  • @CoachMikebc

    Tim & Sheil

    I enjoy your stuff. I would like to give you an alternate name @ each position. Mike Glennon QB NC St. will climb from 100 to top 15. IMO best QB in draft. If not I’ll take whoever 49ers discard. I’m going off the board a little with Rutgers C.B. Logan Ryan. Sleeper we can get in rnd #3. II like your safety, also like TJ Mcdonald USC. At LB I believe Alec Ogletree is a much better pro prospect & a bigger hitter. Just raw . But after that we need O.L . I’ll drop a few names, no surprises. Joekle from A&M, Fluker from Bama @ RT. Herimans back inside.. At Guard Uzzi from Georgia Tech or Warmack from Bama. Take like to higher level & grab Dion Simms from Michigan, who is a beast as a blocker and pretty good receiver. EVERY ONE a football player not a track star. Lets get back to football.