Earlier this week, we rounded up a bunch of mock drafts.
Yes, it’s still relatively early in the process, but there is little consensus at the No. 4 pick, with seven different players being projected to the Birds at that spot: Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Texas A&M outside linebacker Damontre Moore.
The importance of nailing the pick cannot be overstated. Over 200 players will be selected in April. Only three will be off the board when it’s the Eagles’ turn to pick.
Jeffrey Lurie said he streamlined the process last offseason, and it’ll once again be Howie Roseman leading the charge. A miss very well could set the franchise back. A hit will get them going in the right direction.
So what kind of player can the Eagles expect? Here’s a look at the fourth overall picks in the last 10 drafts:
2003 Jets Dewayne Robertson DT Kentucky
2004 Giants Philip Rivers QB N.C. State
2005 Bears Cedric Benson RB Texas
2006 Jets D'Brickashaw Ferguson OT Virginia
2007 Bucs Gaines Adams DE Clemson
2008 Raiders Darren McFadden RB Oklahoma
2009 Seahawks Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
2010 Redskins Trent Williams OT Oklahoma
2011 Bengals A.J. Green WR Georgia
2012 Vikings Matt Kalil OT USC
Four of the 10 have made a Pro Bowl: Green, Williams, Ferguson and Rivers. Green is among the top receivers in the league; Williams has come on strong; Ferguson has started 112 straight games; and while Rivers has been a bit up-and-down lately, he’s turned in some outstanding seasons.
By most accounts, Kalil was very good as a rookie too.
But there have been misses. Benson has averaged just 3.8 YPC in his career and didn’t have a 1,000-yard season until he was on his second team. Curry was released last season by the Raiders, his second team. And McFadden has had more than 750 yards rushing just once in his first five seasons.
As you can see, they’re not all slam dunks.
Lurie has parted ways with Andy Reid and Joe Banner in the past eight months. He’s given Roseman a giant vote of confidence.
The 2012 draft looks like it could end up being a really good one. But the Eagles’ GM now faces one of the biggest decisions of his career with the No. 4 pick.
WHAT YOU MISSED
For the first time in four years, the Eagles have raised ticket prices.
McManus talks Dennis Dixon, Alex Smith and the potential 3-4 switch in his weekly mailbag.
Roseman has admitted it’s difficult evaluating safeties. But he’ll try again in this year’s draft.
Florida State’s E.J. Manuel wants to be Kelly’s first NFL quarterback.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
This is from earlier in the week, but an intriguing story about how the Saints monitored Tweets by Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune in an effort to stop leaks:
While on deadline that night, Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel summoned me to an impromptu meeting with Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis in the hallway leading to the Saints’ draft war room. There, Payton accused me of breaking the news of Saints draft selections before the staff had even made the calls in the war room. He launched into a convoluted explanation of how the club had assigned a staff member to monitor my tweets and how they had undermined Williams’ plot by using a different process in the war room to select cornerback Johnny Patrick in the third round.
The whole thing was crazy and I said so at the time. I wished it were true. I wish I had a mole, Williams or otherwise, who agreed to leak me the picks beforehand. Alas, as everyone who’s covered the Saints for any extended period of time knows, Payton keeps a vise-like lid on proprietary information like draft selections. No one – local or national – breaks Saints draft picks and it will stay that way, at least until Fox scores the broadcast rights to the NFL draft.
Been meaning to include this one for awhile – Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com calls Pat Shurmur (believed to be the new Eagles offensive coordinator) the worst coach of 2012:
If Shurmur had developed his young talent into successful players, you would excuse his play-calling blunders. Instead, Shurmur failed to develop either Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden into anything resembling an NFL-caliber starter, ran an injured Trent Richardson into the line for no gain for most of the season, and left the Cleveland organization with a lot of young players who have failed to reach anything resembling their potential. Bizarrely, he was hired by Chip Kelly to serve as Philadelphia’s new offensive coordinator, a role that thankfully is unlikely to include play-calling duties. You have to assume that the Eagles are hoping whatever skills Shurmur showed in St. Louis coaching Sam Bradford come out again with Nick Foles in Philadelphia. It’s possible that Shurmur could be a better offensive coordinator than a head coach, but only because it’s hard to imagine anybody being a worse head coach.