Now that draft day is here, below is one man’s guess at how things could play out for the Eagles.
1 (22) – Marqise Lee, WR, USC
If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a big fan of Lee. The 6-foot, 192-pounder has the tools to be a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver in the NFL. I don’t believe the Eagles go into this draft thinking they have to get a pass-catcher in the first round. But the guess here is that defensive standouts like OLB Anthony Barr, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and CB Kyle Fuller will be off the board. When the Eagles look at who’s left at No. 22, Lee will be the top value, and they’ll pull the trigger.
2 (54) – Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea if he’ll make it this far. But ESPN.com’s mock with Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay did not have Smith among the top-100 players. And Bucky Brooks of NFL.com had him lasting until the third round. I think he goes higher than they project, but there’s certainly a chance Smith lasts until 54. The 6-foot-3, 251-pounder had 14.5 sacks last year and has shown on tape that he can set the edge and drop in coverage. Smith could get into the rotation right away and eventually develop into a starter.
3 (86) – Trai Turner, OL, LSU
In a Rotoworld article, Lance Zierlein named Turner one of four offensive line prospects with elite feet. The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder will be a 21-year-old rookie and showed off great athleticism at the combine. The Eagles could very well wait on offensive line depth, and you can always question the decision to invest valuable resources at guard, but Turner is a nice developmental piece with high upside.
4 (122) – Taylor Hart, DL, Oregon
I’m interested to see how long the Eagles can wait to grab Hart. Not a lot of teams play two-gap 3-4s anymore, which is why I think Hart re-uniting with Chip Kelly and defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro makes a lot of sense. The 6-foot-6, 281-pounder could step into the rotation right away and add some much-needed depth on the defensive line. Hart suffered a foot injury in January, which could affect his stock. The Eagles could wait on him until the fifth round, but the guess here is Hart’s a player they’ll target.
5 (162) – Dontae Johnson, S, N.C. State
This is a measurables pick. Johnson (6-2, 200) ran a 4.45 at the combine. A former teammate of Earl Wolff, he has experience playing both corner and safety. In his four-round mock for NFL.com, Brooks didn’t have Johnson going off the board. But Mike Mayock has Johnson as his No. 94 overall player. I know Howie Roseman said he doesn’t like the third-day talent at safety, but if Johnson falls to the fifth, he could be a nice upside pick.
7 (237) – Josh Mauro, DL, Stanford
The Eagles went for a “big person” in the seventh round last year with Joe Kruger, and they do so again here. Mauro (6-6, 280) played in the Pac-12, and his measurables fit what the Eagles want on the defensive line. He’s considered a third-day pick, although Mauro might not make it this far.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Dan Baker will no longer serve as the Eagles’ PA announcer, the team announced.
What are the chances of a first-round trade? T-Mac and I discuss.
Running down some inside LB targets for the Eagles.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com provides some dream draft trades. One includes the Eagles moving up to Oakland’s spot for Clemson WR Sammy Watkins:
We’ve read about the Eagles potentially looking to move up for Odell Beckham. But perhaps Philadelphia will aim higher to round out Chip Kelly’s offense. If Watkins slips to No. 5, Oakland becomes a logical team to move down. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie needs to rebuild his roster with a ton of picks, and he could acquire a franchise-altering collection by going all the way down to No. 22.
It’s rare to see a team move up this far, but the Falcons pulled off a bigger move for Julio Jones. That’s paid off, and Watkins is the best receiver to enter the league since Jones. If Watkins was in last year’s draft, he would have easily gone No. 1.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz lays out his ideal scenario for the Eagles, which includes Indiana WR Cody Latimer at No. 22:
I’ve written about how Cody Latimer could be Chip Kelly’s ideal WR. While he isn’t great value at pick 22, if you move back 10 to 12 picks, Latimer would make a lot more sense. It is possible he could get taken by someone before falling that far, but I don’t think it is out of the question for him to get to the mid-30′s.
Hmm… if only we had something to do today. We’ll have plenty of coverage leading up to tonight and then will use an open thread for discussion during the first round. Tim and I don’t expect to sleep much in the next three days, so make sure Birds 24/7 is your headquarters for Eagles draft coverage.