Here’s a roundup of some draft-related links to check out this weekend.
The crew at Sports On Earth put together a three-in-one mock draft. Mike Tanier thinks Texas A&M WR Mike Evans could be a fit for the Birds:
A replacement for Riley Cooper, who is likely to depart as a free agent. Evans is Cooper-like: tall, fluid, able to stretch for the ball and a little temperamental. He’s raw, but he will win matchups against exhausted, confused defenders on Chip Kelly’s non-stop elliptical runner. The Eagles have a greater need at safety, but Kelly grooves to his own beat.
Russ Lande goes to the defensive side of the ball with Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix:
The back-end of the Eagles defense was not up to par in 2013 and while Clinton-Dix is not an elite prospect, he is a long, versatile safety who will help them in coverage. He has the instincts, quickness and speed to get out to the sideline to help with over-the-top coverage and can cover tight ends in man coverage. He will need to become a more consistent open-field tackler in the NFL.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner projects Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt to the Eagles at No. 22:
I know the locals are screaming for a safety, and the highly touted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix remains on the board here. But my gut says they’ll land one safety starter via free agency and wait a little in the draft to add another one. Instead, we’ll go back to Chip Kelly’s often-quoted “bigger people beat up little people” quote from almost a year ago and project Tuitt here. Why? He’s long, strong, able to anchor against the run and also generate a solid pass rush inside. This is a good fit.
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com has released his top-10 prospects at each position. At safety, he’s got Louisville’s Calvin Pryor at No. 1. Rounding out the top-five are Clinton-Dix, Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward, Washington State’s Deone Bucannon and USC’s Dion Bailey.
There's a change at the top, with Pryor now ahead of Clinton-Dix. My guess is there will be split opinions on those two depending on which GM you ask, with some preferring Pryor's instincts and downhill style and others preferring the range Clinton-Dix offers in coverage. Who goes first could come down to scheme. The riser for me is Ward, who isn't a big player but is a very good one and looks as if he can start early. Likely a second-rounder.