Louis Riddick spent five years with the Eagles, including three as the team’s director of pro personnel.
He now works as an analyst for ESPN, but has been keeping a close eye on his former employer and likes what he’s seeing.
Louis Riddick spent five years with the Eagles, including three as the team’s director of pro personnel.
He now works as an analyst for ESPN, but has been keeping a close eye on his former employer and likes what he’s seeing.
A year after jumping one spot ahead of the Eagles to draft Dion Jordan, the Miami Dolphins are now looking to trade the outside linebacker, according to a report. Read more »
Indianapolis — Just getting settled in here at the combine. It feels like the NFL has just taken over the city. There were several Eagles assistant coaches on my flight; sat across the way from a couple Philly scouts while grabbing a bite to eat downtown; even had a conversation with Juan Castillo at baggage claim. Coaches, agents and personnel men everywhere. It’s all happening.
We’ll have plenty of notes and nuggets to pass along in the coming days. Meanwhile, wanted to touch on a series of tweets from former Eagles director of pro personnel Louis Riddick that caught my attention while waiting for the plane to take off. Read more »
It’s time for the first annual Birds 24/7 Draft Predictions, where Sheil and I lay it all on the line in a fight for bragging rights. Kapadia is still stinging from his sound defeat in our 53-man projections battle back in training camp. Let’s see if he can get on the scoreboard.
Q: Will they draft a quarterback? If so, who?
Sheil: It just feels like they have to. I don’t think Geno Smith is going to get out of the top-15, and I don’t think EJ Manuel is going to be available at No. 35. So where does that leave the Eagles?
Two names to watch: Zac Dysert (6-3, 231) out of Miami (Ohio) and Matt Scott (6-2, 213) out of Arizona. I’ll flip a coin and go with Scott. At the very least, he can replace Dennis Dixon on the roster and give you someone who can run the spread option.
By the way, McManus, I don’t think we can have Manuel continue his diary entries as a member of the Jets, Bills or Jaguars. That just won’t fly with our audience. You probably want to get on the phone with Scott or Dysert and set up something new.
Tim: Who needs a Dysert diary when we have Nicky Foles?
I think the Eagles would pick either Smith or Manuel if the price is right, but the draft will likely fall in such a way where they’ll end up taking a quarterback in the latter rounds instead. My guess is they grab Scott, especially if he’s available in the fourth round. He needs some work, but he has a skill set that Kelly may be drawn to, and he can hang in the background while Foles and Mike Vick run the show for now.
Sadly, we agree.
Q: What will they do at No. 4?
Sheil: I’m going to pull a bit of a surprise here and say they draft Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd. My guess is that the top of their board looks like this: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Dion Jordan. The problem? I think all of those players are going to be gone by the time the Eagles are on the clock.
The Eagles will be deciding between guys like Floyd, Lane Johnson, Ziggy Ansah and Star Lotulelei. If they really are committed to taking the best player available, I think it’s Floyd. He brings versatility to the defensive line, is only 20 years old and can team up with Fletcher Cox to form the core of your defense for years to come.
I can’t wait to re-read this around 8:30 tonight and realize what a dope I am.
Tim: You don’t have to wait until tonight to figure that out. (Rimshot.)
My pick is Jordan. I agree Fisher and Joeckel are gone. Then the Raiders are on the clock (assuming they stick at three) and will likely do something insane. I’m betting on Jordan being there, and the Eagles pulling the trigger.
Here is what I find interesting, though, Sheil: There is a chance that both Jordan and Johnson are there at 4, and one of them is guaranteed to be available. There have been serious rumblings about the Birds trading back. So out of Jordan and Johnson, they must not like one enough to grab at 4, right? Which one is it?
If they do move back, I change my pick to Star.
Q: Should Tavon Austin be a consideration?
Sheil: Well, I know you believe the Eagles’ receiving corps is the worst unit assembled in the past 25 years. But I also know you’ll probably slam your head against your desk if they add another target who is under 6 feet. Man, tonight is going to be fun.
I think we are probably over-thinking things with Austin. He’s fast (4.34 40), can line up anywhere (out wide, slot, backfield) and was ridiculously productive in college. In other words, of course Kelly is going to want to consider him!
And the truth is, he makes sense on many levels. Jeremy Maclin is in the final year of his contract, and Jason Avant (who is 30) doesn’t seem to possess the skill set Kelly covets.
If the Eagles think Austin can hold up (and he has said he’s never been injured in the last eight years), they’ll absolutely consider him in the first round. Size is the issue. Austin is 5-8, 174. Wes Welker was 21 pounds heavier when he came out of college. Percy Harvin was 18 pounds heavier. I don’t think the Eagles will take him at No. 4, but if they trade down, he should be near the top of the list of possibilities.
Tim: How about all the late Eagles-Austin buzz?
Probably just due diligence, and move doesn’t make a lot of sense, but interesting that Eagles had a half-hour video call with Tavon Austin.
— Sam Farmer(@LATimesfarmer) April 25, 2013
Loving it. Yes, Austin should be a consideration. He is the automatic front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year, yes? This crop of talent lacks sure-fire studs, right? I think Kelly would have a ball with him. One connected person I talked to thinks the receiver goes in the 8-12 range. Would I be shocked if the Eagles trade back, and the Commish calls out Austin’s name when they are on the clock? Nope.
Q: Name one Day 3 prospect who will be an Eagle.
Sheil: Ready for this one, T-Mac? Joe Kruger, DE, Utah. Philadelphia continues its tradition of getting the lesser-known brother! Sure, the Browns signed Paul, but the Eagles were just waiting to pounce on Joe. The 6-6, 269-pounder has long arms (34 3/8-inches) and ran a 4.83 40. He’s projected to go somewhere between Rounds 4 and 6.
Tim: Look at you going with the Kruger. I’ll throw you two tight ends. I could see them taking Florida’s Jordan Reed in the third round. A late-round name to watch is Pittsburgh’s Mike Shanahan. He is a wide receiver converting to tight end. The Eagles have apparently shown a little interest.
Q: What’s one bold Eagles prediction?
Sheil: The Birds will draft a wide receiver or tight end in the first three rounds.
Free agency was spent building up the defense (aside from James Casey), but it’s time for Kelly to start adding his kind of guys on offense. I mentioned the team’s wide receiver situation above. Chances are they don’t take Austin in the first, but the team could certainly address the position in the second or third rounds.
Tight end is also an option. It seems like the Eagles have worked out every tight end prospect in the draft. There are plenty of versatile options who can line up in different spots and stretch the field. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles grab one on Friday evening.
Tim: I am not so sure the experiment of moving Trent Cole and Brandon Graham to linebacker (particularly Cole) is going to work all that well. They are going to need some ‘backers that can play in space. That’s part of my thinking in picking Jordan. If not him, they’ll try to address outside linebacker somewhere along the line.
Also, I think they grab two corners.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.
If you missed part one on the offense, click here.
Now, for the defense. Here are 23 potential first-round prospects to round out the top-40. With each name, you’ll find a short description on how he might fit with the Eagles, along with the likelihood of the player ending up in Philadelphia.
Sharrif Floyd, Florida – I’ve really struggled with determining whether he could be an option for the Eagles. On one hand, pretty much everyone agrees that Floyd is best suited as a 3-technique (lining up between the guard and tackle) defensive tackle in a 4-3. Floyd’s strengths are his quickness and ability to burst into the backfield and be disruptive. That’s negated in a classic 3-4. Then again, not all 3-4s are created the same, and we don’t know exactly what the Eagles plan on running. Floyd (6-3, 297) is only 20-years-old, from Philadelphia and could quite possibly be the “best player available” at No. 4 when the Eagles are on the clock. My sense is that the Eagles won’t want to spend a high pick on a player who might not be a perfect scheme fit, especially since they’re essentially building from the ground up. But I won’t rule Floyd out completely. Teaming him up with Fletcher Cox on the interior in pass-rushing situations would give opposing offensive lines fits.
** Note: I changed my mind a bit on Floyd. Details here.
Sheldon Richardson, Missouri – The write-up for Richardson (6-2, 294) is similar. He seems best suited as a 4-3 DT, but does bring some versatility to the table. In a 3-4, he would be a 5-tech defensive end. I watched one game where he lined up all over the place, often standing up in a two-point stance across from the guard and center before rushing the quarterback. Richardson is not tall, but he has long arms (34 1/2-inches). Don’t think he’s on the Eagles’ radar at No. 4, but can’t rule him out if they trade down.
Star Lotulelei, Utah – There are no scheme questions with Lotulelei (6-2, 311). He can play the nose or 5-technique in a 3-4 and can be an interior pass-rusher in sub packages. Lotulelei was diagnosed with a heart issue at the Combine, but Howie Roseman said he’s been cleared by the Eagles. Still, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, at least three teams have taken him off their boards. If Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Dion Jordan are all off the board at No. 4, Lotulelei could be an option. He could also be a candidate if the Eagles trade down.
Sylvester Williams, North Carolina – You can see why evaluators and analysts really like this group of defensive linemen. Lots of first-round talent. Williams (6-3, 313) can play in multiple spots on the defensive line, including nose tackle. I don’t think he’s a first-round target, but he could be an option at No. 35 in the second round.
Jesse Williams, Alabama – Absolutely a name to watch at No. 35, as I mentioned yesterday. Greg Cosell of NFL Films said recently that he doesn’t see a huge difference between Lotulelei and Williams (6-3, 323). It’s no secret that the Eagles are in need of bodies on the defensive line, and Williams can play either the nose or 5-technique.
Bjoern Werner, Florida State – Everything I’ve read projects the 6-3, 266-pounder as a 4-3 defensive end. Nothing I’ve heard suggests he’s a scheme-flexible player who could play outside linebacker in a 3-4. In other words, don’t think he’s an option for the Eagles.
Datone Jones, UCLA – Another potential second-round target. Jones (6-4, 283) can play 5-technique in a 3-4 and move inside in four-man fronts.
Margus Hunt, SMU – And one more second-round target. We wrote about him yesterday too. You won’t find too many humans who are 6-8, 277 and can run a 4.60 40. Hunt would play the 5-technique defensive end spot, although I’m not sure how versatile he would be.
Dion Jordan, Oregon – I think there’s a pretty good chance we might be over-thinking things with Jordan. He has length (6-6, 248), versatility, upside, and Kelly loves his make-up. If Fisher and Joeckel go off the board in the top three, and the Eagles stay put, I’d label him the favorite to be the pick. At the very least, you get a movable piece on defense, who can rush the passer and cover at a high level. And his ceiling is a double-digit sack guy off the edge.
Ziggy Ansah, BYU – Let’s start with numbers: 6-5, 271, 4.63 40, 35 1/8-inch arms. If Ansah, a native of Ghana, had started playing football two or three years earlier, he might be the consensus top pick in the draft. But he only started playing the game after years of soccer, basketball and track. And he ended up with only one year of real playing time at the D-1 level. In other words, he’s incredibly raw (and will turn 24 in May).
Ansah seems best-suited to play defensive end in a 4-3, but I included him in the outside linebackers category here. Given his size and athleticism, he could probably rush the passer from multiple spots in a four-man front. It’s easy to label him a Combine creation, but the truth is Ansah is just new to the game. Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com put up a good post about Ansah, and I agree with him. If I had to pick a side right now, I’d say he’s more likely to have a really good career than be a bust. And with his length and versatility, I’m not ready to rule him out as a surprise pick for the Eagles at No. 4.
Tank Carradine, Florida State – Ansah is my sleeper if the Eagles stay at No. 4. Carradine is my sleeper if they trade down. At 6-4, 276 with 33 3/4-inch arms, he has the size and athleticism to play in a variety of spots – DE or DT in a four-man front, rush linebacker in a 3-4. The question with Carradine has been medical. He tore his ACL in November, and the Eagles reportedly had him in for one of their 30 official visits. If healthy, many analysts believe he could end up being the best pass-rusher in the draft. You might not see him up high in a lot of mocks, but don’t be surprised if Carradine goes in the top half of the first round Thursday night.
Barkevious Mingo, LSU – Another pass-rushing outside linebacker. I have a difficult time seeing the Eagles going with Mingo (6-4, 241) over Jordan, but I’ve been wrong before. If the Birds trade down, though, he could be an option.
Jarvis Jones, Georgia – He was the most productive defensive player in college football last year. Playing in the SEC, Jones led the nation with 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. He has the spinal stenosis issue and did not test well at the Combine. Jones (6-2, 245) doesn’t have the measurables Kelly seems to find appealing. But he falls in the “just a football player” category. It’ll be fascinating to see how his career plays out, but I don’t see the Eagles using their first-round pick on Jones.
Alex Ogletree, Georgia – If I’m being honest here, I have no clue how many inside linebackers are going to go off the board in the first 40 picks, but I only included Ogletree. He’s had several “character” issues, including a DUI arrest in February, but Ogletree (6-2, 242) will likely be one of the first inside linebackers off the board. I don’t expect the Eagles to take an inside linebacker early, but a couple other names to know are Kansas State’s Arthur Brown (6-0, 241, brother of Bryce) and LSU’s Kevin Minter (6-0, 246).
Dee Milliner, Alabama – Has a cornerback body (6-0, 201) and ran a 4.37 at the Combine. The only thing I’ve seen people question about his game is his backpedal. Milliner also required shoulder surgery this offseason, but remember that he played through the injury in the final four games last year and participated in the Combine. Only two corners in the last 10 drafts have been taken in the first five picks, and they both had return ability. Milliner could be an option for the Eagles if they trade down.
D.J. Hayden, Houston – Mike Mayock and Cosell both have him as the top corner in the draft. Hayden (5-11, 191) nearly lost his life after a collision in practice last November, but seems to now be in the clear (I know, easy for me to say). He has good size, good athleticism and is expected to be a first-round pick. As for the Eagles, same line as above. If they trade back, corner could be an option.
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State - If the Eagles prefer bigger corners, Rhodes (6-1, 210) could be a fit. The three-year starter for the Seminoles ran a 4.43 at the Combine. Again, expected to go in the first round, so I’m not sure the Eagles will be in a position to draft him.
Desmond Trufant, Washington – Kelly should be familiar with Trufant from his time in the Pac-12. The four-year starter clocked a 4.38 at the Combine, and Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports recently compared him to Asante Samuel. Trufant could land in the back end of the first round, but if he slips to 35, the Eagles could take a look at him.
Jamar Taylor, Boise State – The draft projection for Taylor (5-11, 192) is similar. He ran a 4.39 at the Combine and should get a look from CB-needy teams at the bottom of the first round. But if Taylor is still on the board Friday night, the Eagles could take him.
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas – One of these years, the Eagles have to hit on a safety, right? Vaccaro (6-0, 214) has the versatility to come up and play the slot or hang back and play center-field. He’s expected to be a first-round pick and could be an option if the Eagles trade back (I know, I sound like a broken record). The guess here is that they address safety later in the draft.
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International - Some believe he could be a better prospect than Vaccaro. Cyprien (6-0, 217) has similar measurables to Vaccaro and will likely go in the second half of the first round. He’d be a fit with the Eagles, but they probably won’t be in position to take him.
Eric Reid, LSU – Safety rankings likely vary quite a bit, depending on the team, but Roseman has said there are a lot of starting-caliber players at the position this year. Reid (6-1, 213) ran a 4.53 at the Combine, but there are some questions about his versatility (specifically in coverage). Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said teams are split on Reid. It’s difficult to guess how the Eagles have their safeties ranked, but Reid could be an option at No. 35.
Chip Kelly’s response drew laughter, but there was actually probably some truth behind his words.
“Yeah, and I get bored,” Kelly said last week, when asked about the process of working through different draft scenarios with Howie Roseman and the Eagles’ personnel team.
“To be honest with you, when they give you a million different scenarios, I think the same thing in the back of my mind. What if one team will trade 17 picks for us? You would say that would never happen. But the New Orleans Saints did it for Ricky Williams, so you have to talk about it. So we talk about it.”
Kelly is only three months into his tenure, but the sense here is that he’s at his happiest when he’s on the field coaching, or in the meeting room with his staff working on offensive concepts and X’s and O’s.
April in the NFL, however, is draft season. And that means teams are making sure they’re ready for any and all scenarios – specifically in the first round.
So while there continues to be uncertainty at the top, even though we’re only one day away, let’s go over three potential scenarios and try to sort out what each could mean for the Eagles.
1. Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M)
2. Dion Jordan (OLB, Oregon)
3. Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
What do the Eagles do? This is probably the most appealing scenario for the Birds. The simple solution is to pick Central Michigan Eric Fisher and call it a day. And my guess is that’s probably what the Eagles would do.
But if Fisher is still on the board at No. 4, Roseman’s phone is going to be ringing. If he gets offers from a team like the Cardinals (No. 7), the Chargers (No. 11) or the Dolphins (No. 12), he will at least listen. If the Eagles have Fisher rated much higher than other prospects on their board, they probably won’t make a deal. If they have him lumped in a tier with several other guys, they’ll think about it, if the compensation is right.
Note that this scenario is basically the same if the Chiefs take Fisher. The decision would then just come down to whether to draft Joeckel or trade the pick.
What do the Eagles do? As I’ve said before, this scenario comes down to what the team thinks Jordan is capable of as a pass-rusher. I’m not saying that’s all he would do in their scheme, but that’s the determining factor in whether you think he’s worthy of the No. 4 pick. We know he has traits that Kelly values: He’s long and he’s versatile. We also know Kelly loves him from a character/make-up standpoint (unless he has just been blatantly lying).
With Joeckel and Fisher off the board, my guess in this scenario is that the Eagles go with Jordan over guys like Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson and Utah DT Star Lotulelei. And while it’s less likely that Roseman gets calls from other teams under this scenario, it’s possible that someone wants to sneak up to grab Johnson.
It’s even possible that a team sees Jordan as one of the few prospects in the class with elite upside as a pass-rusher and wants to move up to take him.
What do the Eagles do? This is the trickiest situation for the Birds. Note that even if the Raiders don’t take Fisher at No. 3, they could trade the pick to a team that does want him.
We wrote yesterday about how Roseman will talk to different GMs before Thursday and get trades in place should the board fall a certain way. My guess is that this was the primary scenario he called about. If the Eagles were to stay put, they could go with Johnson or Lotulelei.
But there certainly are wild cards. Remember, we know very little about the team’s exact defensive scheme. Perhaps someone like Floyd or even Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson would actually fit better than we think. Maybe they see BYU DE Ziggy Ansah as a movable chess piece. Perhaps they see upside in LSU OLB Barkevious Mingo. Or maybe they stun everyone and just take West Virginia WR Tavon Austin.
Again, my sense is the Eagles would like to trade down if Joeckel, Jordan and Fisher are off the board. But if they can’t find a partner and stay put, my guess is they go with Johnson and solidify the offensive line.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Are the trade winds blowing? Here are some thoughts on the latest Eagles-related draft buzz.
Enough about the first round. What about Day 2? Here are 15 potential Eagles targets.
The latest mock draft roundup shows there’s still no consensus on the Eagles’ pick.
Greg Cosell offered up some high praise for Jordan.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Albert Breer of NFL Network writes about Kelly’s approach:
“It’s high energy and high efficiency in everything you do,” said Bellotti, who became Oregon’s athletic director in 2009, when Kelly was elevated to succeed him. “In meetings, it’s not just looking at the play. It’s, ‘Here’s what happened, here’s why,’ and it’s coming rapid fire. And there’s competition in everything you do. He did it on the field, but with everything else, too, it’s, ‘How can get I better? Did I learn something watching that other guy get coached?’ It starts with the players. He empowers the players to be the best.”
The three words you hear most: Win the day.
Fullback Leonard Weaver retired as an Eagle yesterday. From the Daily News’ Les Bowen:
“It’s just been a great honor to be here. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed,” he said.
He said he felt he was embraced here because he understood the fans, and played with heart.
“They work hard. They’re going to talk bad about you. They’re gritty. They’re going to tell you to your face what time it is, but at the same time, they’re going to get it done,” he said.
Liz Spikol over on the Property blog takes a look at DeSean Jackson’s new pad and notices an ex-Eagle selling his Old City condo.
And finally, Janine White introduces the new Eagles cheerleading squad over on The Philly Post.
We’ll be churning out draft content, with pieces on Tavon Austin and a complete first-round cheat sheet. A reminder too that we’ll be hosting live chats for all three days of the draft as we report from the NovaCare Complex.
And T-Mac will be representing the Eagles in ESPN’s mock draft today so be sure to tune in. I’m offering him 20 bucks to go with “Sheil Kapadia, little-used slot receiver out of Ball-So-Hard U.”
A roundup of Eagles-related draft buzz from today…
In what should come as no surprise, the Birds are one of the front-end teams making calls about potentially moving down in the first round. ESPN’s Adam Schefter identifies the Eagles (No. 4), Lions (No. 5), Browns (No. 6), Bills (No. 8) and Dolphins (No. 12) as teams looking to make a move.
Roseman admitted last week that the Eagles were open to making a deal, and the team has been very active in recent years, having pulled off a first-round trade in five of the past six drafts. As we’ve been saying for awhile, the sense from the team is that there are 12 to 15 prospects that stand out above the rest. Assuming that’s the case, it’s unlikely that the Eagles would be willing to drop down all the way into the 20s or 30s.
The key, as always, is the market. Right now, it seems several teams in the top-10 would be more than willing to move down. The players to watch continue to be the offensive tackles: Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson.
The Jaguars, at No. 2, are a bit of a wild card. The guess here is still that they take Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan, but there’s been buzz (to drive up the market?) that Jacksonville will go offensive tackle.
The way I see it, there are two scenarios that would create a favorable market for the Eagles in terms of finding a trade partner:
1. The Chiefs take Joeckel, the Jaguars take Jordan, and the Raiders take Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. If Fisher is still on the board at No. 4, I think the Eagles will field a lot of interest. Then again, if they don’t get a favorable offer, they might just take Fisher and move on.
2. Fisher and Joeckel go off the board in the top three picks, but the Eagles find a team that really likes Johnson. According to Albert Breer, teams’ opinions of Johnson vary:
I’ve talked to a number of teams that are baffled by the rise of Lane Johnson. One college director termed him “not ready for primetime”.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 23, 2013
Of course, it only takes one team to make a deal.
In case you missed it, a couple weeks ago, we went over teams that could be interested in moving up and guessed at potential compensation.
The Dolphins continue to be a team to watch. They’ve got the No. 12 pick, 11 picks overall and five in the first three rounds. They’ve also got a dire situation at tackle and a franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill to protect.
Meanwhile, the Jets, Rams and Vikings all have two first-rounders, making them potential partners. The Falcons, too, have been rumored to be interested in moving up.
One more things on trades: It’s not unusual for teams to have a deal in place before the draft that hinges on a specific scenario. In fact, that’s what happened last year with Fletcher Cox.
“I think there are teams that are very comfortable giving you scenarios they’ll stick to in that situation,” Roseman said last week. “With us and Seattle last year with [Seahawks GM] John [Schneider], it was very easy to get to an agreement on the compensation if the player we were interested in was there and they felt comfortable moving back.
“I think what that does, it takes the negotiating out of being on the clock, because when you’re on the clock, there’s a lot of things going on. You’re getting a lot of phone calls and when you’re starting something new or from scratch and you’re going through that process, time runs out fairly quickly.”
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is continuing his draft preview series with a look at the linebackers. Here’s part of the passage on Jordan:
“He’s very athletic, fast, rangy, explosive with a keen ability to bend and accelerate around the corner,” Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff said. “He can be both a drop guy and a pass-rush threat. It makes him a consideration in the top five (picks).” Suffered third-degree burns over 40% of his body in 2007 when a vacuum cleaner he and his friends were using to siphon gas exploded. “The only negative is his body,” one scout said. “He got burned. He went to Oregon because that was the only school that stuck with him. He’s the whole package. All he has to do as a rusher is develop an inside move. It’s all up the field now.”
With the draft just two days away, here’s one final mock draft roundup.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com has the Eagles landing Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson and Florida State QB EJ Manuel with their first two picks:
The offensive tackles are going to fly off the board fast and even if both Joeckel and Fisher are still available at the fourth pick, Johnson might be the best fit for Chip Kelly and his offense. Johnson is just scratching the surface of his potential at tackle.
Charley Casserly of NFL.com also goes with Johnson:
Both of the Eagles’ starting offensive tackles are coming off surgery.
ESPN.com’s Todd McShay thinks it’ll be Johnson too.
Josh Norris of Rotoworld has the Birds taking Utah DL Star Lotulelei:
Don’t pigeonhole Star as a nose tackle, since he can help the entire three man front in a variety of different ways. Sure, he wasn’t effective on every one of his snaps, but he was on the field for 91.2 percent of the team’s defense plays in 2012.
Will Brinson of CBSSports.com also thinks it’ll be Lotulelei:
This feels like a spot ripe for trade (if the Raiders don’t move out ahead of Philly anyway) given the presence of Luke Joeckel on the board. Someone could hop up ahead of Detroit and nab the big left tackle. But for right now we’re going to give the Eagles the talented Utah defensive tackle.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com goes with Lotulelei too:
Chip Kelly is known for the fast pace of his offense, but if the Eagles are to improve in the NFC East it is their defense that will need to improve the most. With Philadelphia expected to make the transition to a 3-4 scheme, it needs help up front, which the powerful Lotulelei can provide. The Eagles are one of three teams currently picking in the top 10 who have both worked out Lotulelei and invited him to visit their facility, NFLDraftScout.com has learned.
SI.com’s Don Banks has Lotulelei:
The Eagles would seem to be in prime position to trade down here, with teams just behind them coveting either Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel or Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. If the Eagles are content with the notion of winding up with Lotulelei in a lower slot, why not try to get the tackle-needy Lions, Cardinals, Chargers and Dolphins bidding on Joeckel? By next week’s final mock, Philly’s No. 4 slot might be almost slam-dunk trade territory.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has Lotulelei at No. 4.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com goes with Oregon OLB Dion Jordan:
The Eagles are building a 3-4 defense and need an OLB with pass rush skills. Jordan played for Chip Kelly. If they take Jordan I would expect them to re-enter the first round late and grab a QB. Either Geno Smith or EJ Manuel could be the choice.
Greg Cosell of NFL Films/Yahoo Sports goes with Jordan:
At Oregon this past season, he primarily played in space, which he did exceptionally well. I had to study a lot of games to get a feel for his pass rush skills. They were impressive, and I believe he will become a very good edge rusher in the NFL. He showed the ability to get low and bend the edge with the needed flexibility to succeed against quality NFL offensive tackles.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times put together a mock with beat writers from across the country. Les Bowen picked for the Eagles at No. 4 and went with Jordan:
“The Eagles don’t have anybody who was drafted as a 3-4 linebacker. They’d like someone who can both rush the passer and drop back in coverage.”
Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting put together a “need-based” fantasy draft and gave the Eagles Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien:
A bit of a reach (both in real life and on my board), the Eagles have done a fantastic job adding pieces to their defense in free agency to the point where they really only have a need at safety. Cyprien gets the nod over a 5-technique (Sharrif Floyd) and an offensive tackle (Luke Joeckel).
Clark Judge of CBSSports.com goes with West Virginia QB Geno Smith:
Chip Kelly knows he can’t win with Michael Vick. So who’s next? You’re looking at him.
ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. goes with Smith too:
More inclined to believe they’ll trade up from their Round 2 pick to get him later in Round 1, but can’t reflect that here.
Russ Lande of the National Football Post says Smith:
The Eagles have a number of quarterbacks on their roster, but none is a proven starter and new head coach Chip Kelly needs an athletic quarterback to run his offense. Although Smith’s mechanics need work, his ability to make big plays with his feet and strong arm could be a perfect fit for the new Eagles’ offense.
Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com has the Eagles trading back into the first round (No. 17) and taking Smith. He awards them Jordan with the No. 4 pick:
It’s my mock draft and I’ll make trades if I want to. Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman get aggressive and pounce on the opportunity to grab Smith when he slips all the way to 17. The trade would likely be for 2014’s first-round pick and the Eagles’ second-round pick this year. Geno goes to Philly, where he backs up Michael Vick and Nick Foles for a year, learns Kelly’s offense, and is the ideal system QB. He could go as high as No. 4 to Philly. I think Philly ends up with him if he slips out of the top 10.
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News also thinks it’ll be Smith:
We’re sticking with the stance that Chip Kelly isn’t really sold on any of his current Eagles quarterbacks, whether it’s Michael Vick, Nick Foles or old Oregon pupil Dennis Dixon. Kelly can go in many directions with his first Philly draft, but he should want to start with a hand-picked passing prospect.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution thinks it’ll be BYU’s Ziggy Ansah:
He is very raw. He didn’t start playing football until 2010. Some have compared him with Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants.
Matt Smith of NFL.com also goes with Ansah:
There isn’t a lot of tape out there, but you can’t deny what you see when you watch him play. He’s an impact player, and if the Jags can take Jordan at No. 2, the Birds certainly can take Ansah at No. 4. Eric Fisher will get a long look, but ultimately Ansah is a player who can change the game.
Eric Fisher has visited five NFL teams during the pre-draft process, including the Eagles. The 6-7, 306-pound Central Michigan product told PFT that he made trips to Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Detroit, Cleveland and Carolina.
Some believe he will be the Eagles’ pick at 4. Others don’t think he will last that long. What does Fisher think?
“It’s kind of hard to tell where I’m going,” said Fisher. “From what I hear this is a different draft this year — there is not that solid first pick or first couple picks. I have no idea where I’m going to end up, but wherever I get an opportunity to go play some football I’ll be truly blessed. I’m just really looking forward to Thursday night, hearing my name.”
More and more analysts now consider Fisher the top tackle in the draft. Still, most regard Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel as the safer pick, largely because he played against better competition.
“I know I played in a MAC school and I understand where people are coming from, but I think I answered all the questions at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine — especially at the Senior Bowl,” said Fisher. “I was going up against the top competition in the country. I have to say I answered all the questions.”
If Fisher isn’t the pick at 4, Dion Jordan very well may be. Greg Cosell predicts as much in his recently-released mock draft.
I was fortunate to be on the field at the Scouting Combine, and to watch this 6-foot-6, 250-pounder move was a revelation. He looked like a wide receiver. On film, he was naturally athletic, very smooth and fluid, and surprisingly explosive given his length. At Oregon this past season, he primarily played in space, which he did exceptionally well. I had to study a lot of games to get a feel for his pass rush skills. They were impressive, and I believe he will become a very good edge rusher in the NFL. He showed the ability to get low and bend the edge with the needed flexibility to succeed against quality NFL offensive tackles. There’s much to like about Jordan, and he’s just scratching the surface. Want a comparison? How about Jason Taylor.
I think the Eagles would live with a Taylor clone.
Many names have been tied to the fourth pick over recent weeks. Fisher and Jordan’s are two that seem to stick.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Kapadia gives us three (draft) numbers that matter.
What have we learned about the Eagles’ plans?
Oddsmakers weigh in on who will be taken fourth overall.
How far might Geno Smith fall?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Todd McShay thinks that the Eagles, out of the teams picking in the top 5, have the best chance of contending next season. Dan Graziano isn’t convinced.
Personally, I think the Eagles could go either way. I agree with Todd about the good pieces in place, especially if the offensive linemen can all recover from their injuries and play the way they played in 2011. But I have major concerns about Vick and about the ability of all of the defensive players to learn a whole new defense in time for the start of the season. A major shift in defensive schemes can take two years to fully implement, and it might be that the Eagles need more than just the next several months to be as good as they can be in Kelly’s and Bill Davis’ system.
Jeff McLane writes that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner may not be ready for training camp.
Milliner would likely start right away. He had shoulder surgery in March and may not be ready by training camp.
“We haven’t been able to do the rehab like I want to because I’ve been going to different teams,” Milliner said. “But once the draft is over, I’ll be able to start to rehab it and try to get back on track.”
Fullback Leonard Weaver will sign a one-day contract and retire as an Eagle. He will hold a press conference today at 1 p.m. Plenty more draft coverage from us.
Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson is the favorite to be selected fourth overall, according to Bovada. The odds are 3/2 that he will be the pick. Star Lotulelei (7/4), Dion Jordan (2/1) and Chance Warmack (9/1) are the next best bets.
Vegas anticipates that Luke Joeckel will go first to the Chiefs. Eric Fisher (1/2) is the clear favorite to be taken at No. 2. For the third pick, Bovada pits Sharrif Floyd (1/10) against the field (11/2).
Some other odds of note:
Will the Eagles trade the 4th pick overall?
Yes +170 (17/10)
No -250 (2/5)
Draft Position – Geno Smith
Draft Position – Matt Barkley
2013 NFL Draft – Draft Position – Tavon Austin
Draft Position – Tyrann Mathieu
2013 NFL Draft – How many QB’s will be selected in the 1st Rd?
Over 1 (EVEN)
Under 1 (-140)