Eagles Draft Nuggets From Mel Kiper Jr.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be on the conference call with ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. yesterday because it was at the same time as the Eagles’ media availability.

But the fine folks at the world-wide leader provided a transcript of Kiper’s Q&A with reporters. Below are some noteworthy nuggets, as they pertain to the Eagles, along with my take.

Kiper on who the Eagles might take in the first two rounds: “Well, it’s going to be the Geno Smith discussion.  Obviously a new coach, do you bring in your new quarterback with the new coach and go that route when you’re in a division with [Tony] Romo and Eli [Manning] and RG3? Do you go the offensive line route?  You’ve got some outstanding left tackles. [Luke] Joeckel if he goes No. 1 is out of the loop, but then obviously Eric Fisher from Central Michigan and Lane Johnson from Oklahoma. You want the cornerback Dee Milliner from Alabama, you could go there. Then you can look quarterback second round, whether it’s an EJ Manuel, you hear his name for the Eagles in the early second round some.”

“So the Eagles, it depends on the first-round pick. That dictates what they do in Round 2.  You take Geno Smith, you’re not taking an EJ Manuel.  You take Geno Smith, then you’re probably looking at maybe a [Menelik] Watson, the offensive tackle from Florida State in the second round.  Third round maybe a corner like B.W. Webb from William & Mary.  So that’s some of the ways the Eagles could go.”

My take: As I mentioned earlier today, I don’t think Smith is going to be the pick at No. 4. My best guess right now is that they go with Joeckel or Fisher if one of the two is available. Lane Johnson (Oklahoma OT) is an interesting name. If the Eagles trade down, he’s someone I could see them targeting. And of course, EJ Manuel (Florida State QB) is an option in the second round.

Kiper on West Virginia’s Tavon Austin: “This kid is going to be drafted in the top 16.  I think the furthest I could see him getting down to, well, the furthest I could see him is 23 to Minnesota; 16 to St. Louis is where I have him going.  You could see him in the mix for Carolina, Tampa. A lot of teams could be in the mix for him, but I think St. Louis will be a good fit at 16.”

My take: Can’t you just see Chip Kelly begging Howie Roseman, Tom Gamble and company to take Austin? It’s probably unlikely, but if the Eagles trade down, I’m not ready to rule out the possibility of them targeting the most dynamic offensive playmaker in the draft. Austin might be the biggest wild card in the first round. Several teams could be interested in trading up to the middle of the first round to take him.

Kiper on the safety class: “There’s an elite group that are all going to go high. You’re going to have a run on safeties in the second round. If Jonathan Cyprien is not a first-round pick, out of Florida International, he will be a second. Matt Elam, if he’s not a 1, he’ll be a 2 out of Florida.  Shamarko Thomas out of Syracuse will be a 2. J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern.  Shawn Williams from Georgia could be a 3. D.J. Swearinger from South Carolina probably a 2. Eric Reid, LSU, probably more of a 3. Duke Williams is an interesting guy out of Nevada. I think Don Jones from Arkansas State is an underrated fifth-to-seventh round pick. Same thing with Ray Polk from Colorado. Rontez Miles from Cal PA has moved into that fifth-round mix. Zeke Motta would have been a third-round pick had he run better. He didn’t. Now he’s a late-round or priority free agent out of Notre Dame. Melvin White is a versatile kid out of Louisiana Lafayette.”

My take: The Eagles have not had good luck with safeties in the second round (Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett), but they could end up taking one there again. They signed Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips in the offseason, but Chung is coming off a down year, and Phillips has to prove he’s healthy. Don’t be surprised to see the Birds take a safety on Day 2.

Kiper on Matt Scott: “He’s probably in that four-to-five, four-to-six round area, and he’s probably going to go to a team that doesn’t have as critical a need, but wants to look at a young quarterback that maybe feels like, okay, let’s see if we can develop him, put him off the radar for a couple years and develop him the old-school way and see what happens there.”

My take: Scott should be a name to watch in the later rounds. The Eagles have shown pre-draft interest in the Arizona quarterback, and Kelly has a familiarity with him from his days in the Pac-12. If the Eagles don’t take Manuel in the second, Scott on Day 3 could be an option.

Kiper on San Diego State TE Gavin Escobar: “Yeah, Escobar is an interesting guy. I’ve liked him. You look at his skill set and how it translates to the NFL, I think ideally at 6-5 1/2, 6-6, 250 to 255 pounds, he runs well, he plays fast too many times, he’s got the hands, he’s got the natural receiving skills.  I think he’s in that late-second, early-to-mid third round discussion. The 49ers could look at him at 61. There’s a couple teams, Tampa Bay could look at him in the third-round mix. There are some teams that could be looking at tight ends. Seattle even in the third round.”

My take: Tight end is a bit of a mystery. It’s not a pressing need for the Eagles. They have Brent Celek and James Casey in the fold, but we don’t know exactly how Kelly plans on featuring the position. We know he likes versatility and length. Escobar, who is one of the Eagles’ official visits, could be a third-round option. They could choose to wait on tight end and pick a lesser known prospect later in the draft.

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  • GGeagle21

    it baffles me how Mel Kiper has a job, and actually make money…Wanna hear a man who keeps it real? mr. jay Glazier, spoke today to Iike Reese and Barkan…”anyone who tells you that they know today who a team is going to draft is full of crap. it’s so early in the process that no team, has any idea who they will draft. you won’t believe how much board SHATTERING info, GM’s get during the week leading up to the draft, and everyone’s board changes drastically. right now,mthe teams aren’t even close to setting their draft boards”…I paraphrased because I don’t feel like looking it up

    • Kristopher Cebula

      kiper and mcshay get a little crazy with the predictions and mock drafts but the guy does know college football players. it’ll be the seventh round and someone will selects some unknown kicker from a junior college and kiper will talk about him for 10 minutes

      • GGeagle21

        a few days before the national championship game, Kiper was pounding he table for Manti being the first overall pick in the draft…how can we respect that? it’s ok for fans, to make these types of crazy judgmental mistakes, but Thats unacceptable for a guy who is supposed to be an expert…Kiper started the line “dee Millner is the next in the long line of great Alabama corners”…who the F are these great Alabama corners? NONE!! They don’t exist! Saban hasn’t sent a single Alabama corner to the probowl…..Kiper and mCShay are a joke…I can list 10 fans on this site that can do just as good of a job as Kiper…Kiper is a clown compared to guys like Mayock. If anyone can find me odds on mIlnner not being drafted in the top 8, I would bet he doesn’t. I know this with absolute certainty, so how can I respect an expert that is still telling fans that Millner could go as high as 2? he may not even be the first CB drafted…just watch

        • Phils Goodman

          it’s ok for fans, to make these types of crazy judgmental mistakes

          It’s wonderful that you have such a forgiving attitude towards yourself, because you were going berserk for Manti at the time (much like you are for Jordan now).

        • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

          I agree with you to a certain extent. These guys are getting paid to make guesses to which they won’t be held accountable for. They may watch some film but get most of their information from their “inside” scouts who are fluffing players they don’t like to give them “more value” and downplaying guys they do like. However I do disagree with your thought on teams not knowing who they are going to draft. As the workouts finish up teams have a general idea of who should be available and have more than likely narrowed their choices down to a few guys. It is us the fans who have no idea.

          • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

            However that doesn’t keep me from looking at some tape and coming up with a few guys I would prefer the Birds to take. First round I like Fisher, Joekel, Jordan, or Flloyd. I wouldn’t mind trading back a bit either and targeting Lotulelei or Lane Johnson. I’m not a professional just like what I see on the tape.

          • GGeagle21

            exactly…why take someones word for it, when you can see for yourself…got any better football to watch this time of year? lol…..Im a freak, I also like to download seasons and watch them in its entirety…I watched last season like twice(wanted to go back and watch it more recently, but its unbearable). Watched all of Peyton Mannings rookle season(I then want to go watch his 2nd year, so we can see what kind of Quality leap, a GREAT QB took from his bad rookie year, to his good sophmore season)… now Im halfway thru the Texans 2012 season(figured it be a good idea with Casey and Conor coming over(I want to see his “Bad” year for myself)….

          • DutchEagle

            Of course the draft is a huge gamble and no one (paid or unpaid) will ever get close to getting it right. But what do you want then? Media silence from the end of the Super Bowl till after the draft? The fans want want content, so don’t blame those guys for trying to address these needs..

          • GGeagle21

            what do you mean? is it too much to ask that a guy who is being paid ALOT of money to watch film all year round, know wtf he is actually looking at?…I dont start watching Film til Febuary, because I know who you hear about in december, will be thought of as a bum by the time the draft rolls around…but Kiper watches film all year round, and he is stil worthless?you cant give Kiper a pass, when Mayock is soooooooo much better

          • Someone get Dez a Belt

            “I don’t start watching film til February” lol

          • GGeagle21

            whats funny? do you have a problem with my sunday morning hobby? Is it that crazy that I get a kick out of watching the next wave of nfl players? Sorry, but I like to be able to form my own oppinions, instead of just taking the word of some geek that NEVER played the game before, who gets paid to be an expert, yet wont even factor in the fact that a CB hasnt BACKPEDDLED in 4years…or Geeks, dumb enough to actually think Geno, a guy who has no pocket presence, crumbles everytime the pocket gets a little muddy, Rarely delivers the ball on time, is terrible at going through the progressions is worth talking about as the 4th pick in the draft, or a player that Chip kelly would “Actuall” cxonsider………….I find it impossible to believe that Chip is intersted in such flawed prospects such as EJ and Geno, who are no safer of a bet than guys you can get in the 3rd-5th rounds like Scott and Drysert…. Im no expert, but since This is a time of year I really enjoy, and I really enjoy talking about it, why wouldnt I want to watch prospects, so that I can make arguments for myself instead of just regurggitating and parroting whatever I hear………I mean, when I came out and pointed out that Star is so much MORE than just a NT, and that he could be used as DE in a 3-4 as well, about a month before Kiper and McShay ever realized it(who at the time were only talking baout him as a NT), How can I respect them? That wasnt some groundbreaking discovery that I should be praised for, ITS FRIGGIN OBVIOUS< and nw its talked about liuke its a given….but check the archives, at the time when I said it, NO ONE TALKED ABOUT STAR as anything other than a NT….If our EXPERTS care to overlook crucial things like alabama CB's crabwalking as opposed to backpeddling, why wouldnt I want to watch tape so that I can come up with my own projections of the kid? I dont expect ANYTHING I ever say to be more valuable, than ANYONE else who actually watches with his own eyes, the topic we are discussing…but yes, I prefer to judge for myself, instead of just passing along another mans oppinion…sorry

          • Fink

            GG, Mel and McShays jobs are not to perfectly predict the NFL Draft selections. We all know that one decision can destroy every mock out there.

            All they are doing is the same thing we are doing, but they are much better at talking on camera than you, me, or anyone on this site. They are informing us with a combination of facts and opinions.

            Serious football fans like us take what we hear and see and think for ourselves to formulate our own opinions. The casual Sportscenter-watcher wants Mel and Todd to tell them exactly what will happen. Don’t stoop to their level..

          • GGeagle21

            I dont, my brother in green…I just dont understand how they can make so much money, and be so worthless…They dont have to be so worthless. There are some good guys like Mike Mayock out there…Even Greg Cossel is significantly better than Tweedle D and tweedle dumb

          • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

            Not at all, I love it actually. I love reading the mocks and predictions.

          • Warhound

            Allow me to expand!
            “These guys are getting paid to (entertain and, maybe, educate the draft viewers, many of whom do not watch the college game. While they) “make guesses (for) which they won’t be held accountable.”

          • GGeagle21

            its more than that! these guys have a responsibility…Their oppinions screw with the minds of prospects…when a Junior Hears Kiper pounding the table for him, to become a top 10 pick,. and the entire world starts believing it, it can get to a prospects head, leave school early, and then find his ass drafted in the 5th round. Hopefully they have a good agent, or someone that cares about them that can really find out their true value. This is a very serious issue.

  • GW.Fisher

    Agreed. This is all fun but until maybe 2-3 days before the draft the board at Novacare will be changing every day.
    My preference, in order of availability, would be Fisher, Jockel, Floyd, Jordan. Or trade down, but not out of the top 10 and grab the dreaded “best available” guy.

    • GGeagle21

      Why not use the 4th pick on something you can’t get later in the draft. Oline is one of the strengths of this class. With the offense being light years ahead of the defense at the present moment, I just don’t understand how anyone can want to go offense in rd1…but all the guys you listed will be good players. if we draft any of them, I will stand up and clap

      • Mr. Magee

        Don’t know that the offense is “light years” ahead of the defense…. Although there will clearly be more stability in terms of retutning players on the offensive side

        I say no thanks to tavon Austin, btw… we already have a fragile, speedy receiver type. And I see that type of offensive game plan as only being useful in the regular season…

        • GGeagle21

          you realize the defense doesnt even have 11 starters yet? You realize Chung,Bradley,Philips (guys who fans are counting on right now to make an impact) have huge injury concerns? We dont have a 5tec…we dont have a LB that you can ask to drop back in coverage….The offense wil use a draft pick on a RB, and a TE…how many m,ore picks do you want to give to the offense? They need a backup center, a guard to compete with Watkins for the starting spot, who can also backup Herm at RT…Kyle Long, come on down to the price is right……….This offensive roster, can line up and score points…yet this defense isnt close to being able to shut teams down…light years…I say Tomato, you say Tomatoe lol

          • nicksaenz1

            I think the offensive help required, mainly at O-line (we don’t need RBs, and really don’t need TEs, either), is why he said the offense isn’t “light years” ahead. I don’t think he was trying to disagree.

          • GGeagle21

            offense isnt set for the next 3 years…It still needs pieces…but that doesnt mean that it isnt significantly further along then where the defense is at this current moment. Im so damn tired of watching soft, gutless defense in this town. We are a defensive City, and I cant wait any longer to see a defense that Philadelphia can be proud of….I wouldnt give a damn if we never scored another touchdown again! I would gladly watch the Eagles win games 9-3, 6-0, 3-0…….I can no longer, watch teams come into the linc and basically molest and abuse our defenders. ENOUGH!!!

          • nicksaenz1

            iI agree, but you made the point. The offense needing work doesn’t make it light years ahead. That’s all he was getting at.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          Andy set the offense for big plays with speed to stretch the defenses, he’s gone now. He left receivers who were fly and out route receivers. If the Eagles have any intentions on a sustained passing attack it’s going to require more than Bombs. Currently, if they had to depend on receivers who catch in traffic over the middle, their Offense is doomed. The Eagles are not going to have much success depending on Avant, Maclin and Celek working the middle of a defense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

      I agree with your order. I really like Fisher. Jordan would be solid too. I definitely don’t see us going back to back offense like fisher in first and Manuel in the second but it wouldn’t shock me either.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Fisher, Lane or Joeckle in the first solidifies the aging tackle position and moves Herreman inside where his talents are best utilized. Manuel in the second stocks the shelf with a credible talent at QB to bring along without haste. With Herremans back inside, this give Watkins more chance to come up to speed and develop something useful, as it has been, Watkins isn’t of any use and a weak link in the chain.

        The Eagles on defense need verified sack masters. Not someone with potential, but an immediate contributor, with loads of upside. In this draft there are Hunters and Gatherers, The Eagles are in need of Hunters to get after the Quarterback. There is a need to improve the pass rush because you have a bunch of castaways playing in the defensive backfield. There isn’t time to sufficiently man the defensive backfield in just one draft.

        • GGeagle21

          iF YOU KNEW anything about Oline blocking technique, you wouldnt parrot that stupid line about Herremans being a better guard than Tackle! Sillly People say that because they have no concept of just how near impossible it is to play OT, when you are playing next to an incompetant Guard. Herremans is much better suited to defend the edge against DE’s, than he is for bocking the interior of the line from DT’s….Get some Quality RG play, and the TOddFather is all the tackle you need!….In a dream fairytale world, I would love to take Fisher 4th, Kyle Long in the 2nd, Barrett in the 3rd and Jake Mathews in the 1st round next year…but you have to alocate your resources. There are so many better ways to improve your line in this draft than spending the 4th pick on a OT
          Guards are Cheaper! They dont require as high of a draft pick to get a good one…and there are plenty of Guard prospects, who were OT’s in college. On a team, that might already have a good starting Oline in place, who’s depth is the real concern, why wouldnt we be targeting Lineman that can play more than one position? Why would we not take advantage of the depth in this draft…and use the 4th pick, on something THAT YOU CANT FIND :LATER in the draft?

        • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

          Yeah because our league leading 50 sacks in 2011 did us so well.

        • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

          You are preaching to the chior! I love it. I think the QB class next year is where we should look for a QB and find that “Hunter” in the second round.

    • igglesfanfromportland

      Jordan is the next Ricky Sapp. He will play because of his high selection but he is not a game changer

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Pick 4 needs to be a game changing addition on offense or defense, you don’t waste a pick in the top 10 who isn’t going to come in and have an immediate impact on your ball club.

        • GGeagle21

          caring about what a prospect does his rookie year, is seriously one of the dumbest things I have heard. You want the player that will have the BEST CAREER…what they provide in their rookie year, shouldnt even factor into the equation..

  • Finkel

    Great job Sheil. Have any notable vets been missing from this first OTA?

    • Warhound

      Sheil, you have one writing crutch: “interesting name”. Fullminster Buckersley would be an interesting name or Zoltan Q Zobrinska-Hoch or…. you get the point.

      • Richard Colton

        I haven’t noticed Sheil-dog using that term as a crutch. The 2013 draft buzzword is “skill set,” replacing “high-motor” of 2011 and “he’s a weapon” of 2009.

  • chloroformdreams

    There’s exactly a 0% chance that the birds know who they’re taking without seeing everyone on the field yet, but if they take Milliner at 4 I’ll f*****g cry. Has Mel Kiper even watched the kid play? No thank you, if he’s the #1 option then we can wait on a CB.

    We need DEPTH at Oline, not a stud who’s going to sit behind our 5 other studs. Howard Mudd is gone, Danny Watkins IS a good run blocker and Stoutland is an amazing O line coach. We went from as unconventional of an Oline coach as we could’ve had to a pure old school “repetition is key, but so is inflicting pain” kind of guy. If (there’s always an if) the line looks healthy in the first mini camp you can bet that we’ll be taking a defensive player or Geno (I know, I know, I’m no happier about it) at #4.

    • GGeagle21

      well said….kiper is a joke who doesnt even know that Millner hasnt back peddled in a game in 4 years, if ever(dont feel like researching the technique he used in highschool)…Millner isnt better than Trufant, and he probably isnt even better than Rhodes or Jamar Taylor….no worries, Geno is not a good QB..Chip isnt dumb. No shot in hell that chip actually “Likes”Geno…Lurie overplayed his hand…it was just a smokesceen

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Watkins is not a good run blocker, Shady didn’t run behind Watkins to 17 rushing touchdowns in his most productive season as a professional, he ran behind Peters and Mathis.

      When Peters was out, Watkins and Herremans weren’t able to take up the slack. Shady production fell to 5 rushing touchdowns.

      • GGeagle21


      • chloroformdreams

        It’s pretty clear that you completely skipped the second paragraph of what I wrote. Watch the tape bro, when Watkins doesn’t look unsure of himself he’s actually somewhat of a road grader. Yes he did struggle under Mudd, but you don’t draft 2 1st round offensive linemen in 3 years without finding out if a different coach can pump new life into the kid (whether he be 6 years old than me or not).

        The blocking scheme we ran last year is DRASTICALLY different from what we are running this year. There will be plenty of smoke and mirror shows before the season starts but we didn’t pick up Stoutland to run anything but the inside/outside zone. That blocking scheme plays to the kid’s strengths. The old coaching staff advertised themselves as teachers when they were nothing close.

        Furthermore, you don’t waste 1st round picks on your offensive line when 3/5 of them (many people argue for Kelce being this good, I love him but I won’t) are Pro Bowlers. Learn the game before you start spouting off at the mouth, and yes I will be responding to all your inane comments.