Now that the Combine is in the rear-view mirror, we thought we would take a look at some fresh mock drafts to see how experts’ opinions have shifted. Boy, have they shifted. Some of that can be attributed to improved intel. Part of it is overreaction to what happened in Indianapolis. Mostly, this is just a difficult draft to handicap. With few true standouts, there is little consensus as to who should go where.
Who will be gone when the Eagles are on the clock? You will get a different answer almost everywhere you go.
In his first mock draft, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated had the Eagles selecting Geno Smith. That was before the Eagles restructured Michael Vick‘s deal. Now he has offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland reuniting with Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
The Michael Vick re-signing fairly well convinced me that Chip Kelly is going to make do with what’s already on hand in Philly this year on the quarterback front. But getting a better foundation built in front of an Eagles quarterback is the most pressing issue Kelly faces. Warmack is the best guard prospect to hit the NFL in many years, but Philadelphia could easily turn in the card for Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher as well.
Banks has made quite a few tweaks to his projections. He has Alabama CB Dee Milliner (originally sixth overall) being selected with the second pick in the draft by Jacksonville. Clearly, Banks was impressed by the 4.37 40-time that Milliner posted in Indy. He also moved Florida defensive lineman Shariff Floyd from 24th all the way up to third. He pushed linebacker Manti Te’o out of the first round following his 4.82 40.
Mel Kiper‘s big board is totally different. He once had Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore ranked second overall, and now he’s nowhere to be found in the top 25. Floyd currently owns that No. 2 slot, climbing six spots after impressing at the Combine. Kiper now has offensive tackle Eric Fisher ahead of Luke Joeckel. In the Eagles’ spot at fourth overall is Oregon defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan, who was ninth before the Combine.
There had been questions about his ultimate position, but in Indy he showed why he should be considered a potentially dynamic 3-4 OLB. He showed elite speed for his size, and alleviated questions about whether he can cover, even as he profiles as a very good pass-rusher. He went to Oregon with the possibility of playing either offense (tight end) or defense but has emerged as an athletic, long-armed pass-rusher ready to make a difference.
Gil Brandt had Fisher going 18th last month. Now, he has him going to the Eagles at No. 4.
Fisher (6-7 1/4, 306) ran real well and was strong; in short, he looked to be every bit what I thought he was. He’ll be one of those guys who starts at left tackle for a long time. The Eagles could use the offensive line help.
No consensus. Don’t expect that to change much between now and April 25.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Some thoughts on what the Alex Smith trade means for Nick Foles, Chip Kelly and the Eagles.
Sheil takes an in-depth look at DE/OLB Dion Jordan.
Kelly is a big fan of speed. Who showed off their wheels in Indy?
Kapadia explains why Kelly prefers science over tradition.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Geoff Mosher believes it’s all over for Nnamdi Asomugha in Philadelphia:
One thing’s almost 100 percent certain: Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie aren’t coming back. Asomugha’s agent, Ben Dogra, had said the Eagles are asking Asomugha to take a massive pay cut, but the buzz in Indy was that the Eagles had already made up their minds to move on.
Les Bowen gives his thoughts on Foles’ future now that Smith is in KC.
Reid is the only NFL decision-maker who definitely sees Foles as a viable starting QB, and Reid now has a QB. So what’s the remaining market for Foles, if he is available? In Jacksonville, as we’ve noted, Gus Bradley hired Frank Scelfo, Foles’ University of Arizona quarterbacks coach and closest advisor, to coach the Jags’ QBs. But the immediate goal there is to develop Blaine Gabbert, whom Jacksonville took 10th overall two years ago. The Jags might be interested in Foles next year, if Gabbert flunks what looks to be his final chance to establish himself as a starter, but for now, there is no indication anyone else will quarterback Jacksonville in 2013.
Last day of February! Time to amp up our free agency coverage.