Draft Buzz: Secondary Help Still A Priority?
With the first wave of free agency signings behind us, let’s look at the latest draft buzz surrounding the Eagles.
Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles taking LSU CB Jalen Collins with the 20th pick:
Skipping over Marcus Peters because Chip Kelly’s brief NFL history indicates that Peters’s Washington dismissal might be a deal-breaker. Collins deserves top-20 consideration either way, and his physical, 6’1” frame meshes with what Kelly (and most coaches) like outside at CB. Nolan Carroll has zero guaranteed money left on his deal, and both Brandon Boykin and recent signee Walter Thurmond are better in the slot.
Former Eagle and current NFL.com analyst Brian Baldinger thinks the Eagles will shore up the safety position with Alabama’s Landon Collins:
The Eagles have a glaring hole at safety. Collins is the best player at his position in this draft.
Charley Casserly of NFL.com also has the Eagles selecting Collins:
The Eagles gave up too many big plays last year. Collins should cut that down.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports believes that Kelly could settle on Oregon DE Arik Armstead in the first round:
Chip Kelly loves his Ducks. If unable to swing a big move for [Marcus] Mariota or unwilling to gamble on the similarly athletic Brett Hundley, Kelly and the Eagles may see Armstead as an ideal complement to Fletcher Cox and a developing Philadelphia defensive line.
Rang also notes that with a stellar pro day, UCLA QB Brett Hundley has become the clear favorite to be the third QB selected in the draft:
A few years ago, a dubious Pete Carroll expressed doubt that his then-young quarterback Mark Sanchez was ready to make the NFL jump. That didn’t stop Sanchez from becoming the No. 5 overall pick of the 2009 draft. After a stellar performance at his on-campus workout Tuesday, Hundley showed the combination of size, athleticism and arm talent to also climb up draft boards, though Jim Mora questioned whether his former pupil could be walk into the NFL and start immediately.
With Hundley’s experience coming from a spread scheme that took full advantage of his graceful running, perhaps he isn’t yet ready to start in a traditional pro-style attack. Given Hundley’s production (11,718 total yards and 105 touchdowns over three seasons), upside and high character grades, however, he’s distancing himself from the other quarterbacks in this class in the race to follow Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota off the board.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports thinks the Eagles will target Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson at number 20:
Even with the additions of Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond at cornerback for Philadelphia, Johnson is a player who should be on the radar regardless. He has natural cover instincts and skills that make him worthy of consideration this early.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. took a look at this year’s wide receiver class, including a big-time playmaker who should be available when the Eagles are on the clock in the first round, Ohio State’s Devin Smith:
He didn’t measure as big as he plays, at 6-foot and under 200 pounds, but Smith is plenty fast (4.42) and has down-the-field credentials, where he flat dominated at the catch point last season. If you ran a reel for Smith’s best catches, you’d assume he was 6-3.
It looks like fellow wideout Jaelen Strong recently visited NovaCare. From BGN:
2015 NFL Draft prospect Jaelen Strong posted an interesting picture on his Instagram on Monday: click here to see it. As you can see, Strong is standing in front of the Eagles’ NovaCare Complex facility. The post is captioned with “Today was a good day.” No official reports have confirmed Strong was at the Eagles headquarters for a pre-draft visit, but I think it’s fair to assume that was the case here.
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice mocked all seven of the Eagles picks and has them taking Oregon offensive lineman Jake Fisher in the first round:
This is as unsexy as a first round pick can get for the Eagles after the offseason they’ve had so far, but it just fits. Fisher is listed as a tackle, but many see him as a guard. For the Eagles, he could be their “RGOTP, RTOTF,” or “right guard of the present, right tackle of the future.” Fisher could replace [Todd] Herremans at RG in the short term, and then eventually take over for Lane Johnson at RT long term whenever Johnson takes over for Jason Peters at LT.
Fisher would be a perfect fit in the Eagles’ zone blocking scheme, and would give them sorely needed youth on an aging offensive line with no depth.
Oh, and Oregon.