With the draft just 15 days away, here’s a roundup of the latest buzz.
Josh Norris of Rotoworld/NFL.com has a new mock out that includes a twist – projected trades. While he has the Eagles staying put at No. 4 and taking Utah DT Star Lotulelei, Norris predicts that the Cardinals trade up to No. 3 to take Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher:
The Cardinals can’t afford to wait until pick No. 7, just in case the Eagles, Lions, or another team trade up to target the remaining two tackles. Fisher and Johnson are more proven commodities than many prospects in this class, so they should go off the board early.
If Fisher or Luke Joeckel makes it to No. 4, the Eagles could definitely get a call or two. Of course, if the offers aren’t good enough, it makes perfect sense for the Birds to just draft the offensive tackle and move on.
In an ESPN Insider piece, Ron Jaworski ranks his top-eight quarterbacks. Jaws has Geno Smith first, followed by Ryan Nassib and EJ Manuel. He has an interesting comp for the Florida State QB:
I’ll be honest, when I first started watching Manuel on film, I didn’t really like him. Then, last week, when I broke him down a little more, he reminded me of another notable recent prospect: Colin Kaepernick.
With Kaepernick, I went back and forth a lot. Same thing here. I don’t like a lot of the negatives I see with Manuel — too many misreads, too many throws into coverage — but if you speak to NFL scouts and coaches, they’ll tell you that when it comes to projecting prospects, it’s more important to see the high end of the talent spectrum than to focus on mistakes. Once you know a QB is capable of making the great plays, you can spend time on eliminating the mistakes. It’s easier to erase flaws than to teach greatness.
Jaws doesn’t see Manuel getting out of the first round, but some mocks have the Eagles grabbing him with their second-round pick.
Chris Burke of SI.com offers a safe pick and a surprise pick for each team. He’s got Fisher as the Eagles’ safe pick and Tavon Austin as their surprise selection:
May as well go all out here, eh? Geno Smith is the obvious “surprise pick” candidate for the Eagles — it’s hard to tell if Chip Kelly is sold on Michael Vick and Nick Foles does not seem to be a very good fit for Kelly’s new offense.
Austin, on the other hand, feels like a natural for the Kelly spread. Just imagine him in the slot, flanked by DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, with LeSean McCoy coming out of the backfield. Good luck defending that.
WHAT YOU MISSED
An All-22 look at how DeMeco Ryans fits in a 3-4.
Many analysts are projecting Geno Smith to the Eagles. Here’s the latest mock draft roundup.
Chip Kelly talks Michael Vick, draft strategy and roster-shaping.
Jon Gruden offers his thoughts on this year’s QB class.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Brian Solomon of McNabbOrKolb.com wonders whether Trent Cole could play 5-technique defensive end in the Eagles’ new scheme:
He’s no prototypical 5-technique defensive end, but Cole works there if you think more about the player and less about a rigid scheme. First, he’s still great against the run, which is that player’s primary job. Second, it allows him to keep his hand on the ground, rather than convert to a stand-up linebacker in his ninth season. Third, it keeps the team’s best personnel in the game, and actually aids scheme flexibility.
Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com isn’t sure Jason Avant will have a spot:
Jason has been a good Eagle since he was drafted in 2006, but he’s not fast, he’s not a huge guy, he doesn’t have RAC ability. There’s just nothing compelling about him, besides having good hands and being a very polished receiver. Is that good enough in the Kelly offense?
Plenty to get to today.