Here’s a roundup of mock draft projections for the Eagles at No. 4.
Note that not all of these were released after the Birds made the free agency moves, but as we mentioned recently, those moves really shouldn’t have a huge effect on who they take with their first selection.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has the Birds grabbing Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher:
Perennial Pro Bowl OT Jason Peters is scheduled to return from injury, but that won’t prevent the Eagles from adding an athletic edge blocker with tremendous potential.
Russ Lande of the National Football Post has the Eagles going with Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan:
Many assume the Eagles are content with Trent Cole and Brandon Graham as the outside linebackers in their 34 defense. However, Cole is 30, Graham is unproven and Coach Kelly saw Dion Jordan’s dynamic athleticism and pass rush ability first hand when he coached him at Oregon.
Josh Norris of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner:
After releasing Nnamdi Asomugha, the Eagles signed Bradley Fletcher, who is solid when healthy. Still, the team needs another outside cover man. (Brandon Boykin is solid, but in a slot corner role.)
Will Brinson of CBSSports.com also thinks it’ll be Milliner.
And same with Rob Rang of CBSSports.com:
The physical, long-armed Milliner would be an immediate upgrade at a position new head coach Chip Kelly valued highly while at Oregon. Milliner revealed at the combine that he will need to undergo surgery to repair a partially torn labrum but the tough, long-armed cornerback is expected to be fine in time for training camp and so the injury shouldn’t impact his stock.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com says Milliner too:
Milliner is the best corner in the draft and the Eagles get an instant starter and a chance to get out from under some high-priced defensive backs.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com thinks the Eagles will have a shot at Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel:
Just like other positions on the Eagles’ depth chart, offensive tackle looked to be a strength, but injuries have really taken a toll on this team. Although Jason Peters’ injury situation will be a factor in Philadelphia choosing a tackle – as will the type of offensive linemen new head coach Chip Kelly seeks – Joeckel has the chance to grow into one of the NFL’s most consistent blockers.
Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com goes with Fisher. He provides his reason to love and hate each pick. Here’s his “love” reasoning for Fisher:
Chip Kelly opted out of this year’s unimpressive quarterback class so he can rebuild the Eagles offensive infrastructure. Fisher can replace Jason Peters eventually (or immediately, if Peters’ injury problems persist), and he can start on the right side as a rookie, allowing Todd Herremans to move back inside and quell an emergency at guard. Fisher can help Kelly take the Eagles’ signature play of 2011-12 out of the playbook: Michael Vick dropping back, sprinting away from a rush straight up the middle, throwing an errant pass and getting injured.
Chris Steuber of OurLads.com has the Eagles taking West Virginia QB Geno Smith:
At first, I viewed the Eagles’ interest in Smith as a smokescreen. But, after their moves in free agency, it appears they are setting themselves up for a new franchise quarterback to fit Chip Kelly’s offensive philosophy.
Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting thinks it’ll be Fisher:
With Jason Peters likely to return at 100% next year, tackle isn’t a huge need. However, the Eagles offensive line needs to get better and Fisher can play RT and at OG. Don’t rule out Star Lotulelei or Dee Milliner here.
ESPN.com’s Todd McShay says it’ll be Milliner:
Milliner is the only top-tier cornerback in this class. He also answered questions about his speed with an official 40 time of 4.37 at the combine.
ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. agrees:
Nnamdi Asomugha won’t be wearing an Eagles uniform in 2013, and in a division with Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III, the Eagles can’t simply attempt to piece together the secondary. They need talent, and Milliner offers the best cornerback talent in the draft. Not a tough pick.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com says Milliner too.
Clark Judge of CBSSports.com thinks it’ll be Jordan:
Yeah, it’s a reach, but A) he played for Chip Kelly at Oregon and B) the Eagles need an outside pass rush to help a needy secondary.
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News predicts Joeckel:
If the Chiefs take Joeckel at No. 1, the Eagles would need to consider Eric Fisher for their new franchise left tackle, as there is little, if any, dropoff between the offensive line prospects. Chip Kelly’s offense is built on playmakers, but it won’t work without rocks as blockers.
Charles Davis of NFL.com goes with Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson:
Johnson’s athleticism wowed at the combine. He’s an excellent fit in Philly, with the expected tempo change on offense under Chip Kelly.