Eagles Draft Buzz: Mock Roundup
It’s April 1, meaning we’re officially in draft month. Here is the latest regarding the Eagles’ options.
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Todd McShay of ESPN released his latest mock draft and has the Eagles selecting Alabama safety Landon Collins in the first round:
The Eagles have been very active in free agency and via trades so far this offseason, adding QB Sam Bradford, RB DeMarco Murray, LB Kiko Alonso and CBs Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, among others. Receiver and outside linebacker are need areas, but I’ll have them address the safety position with Collins, who is an athletic strong safety prospect built like a weakside linebacker who can hold up in coverage and be a force for Philly in run support.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports thinks the Eagles will pick CB Eric Rowe out of Utah:
Few saw the Eagles drafting Marcus Smith in the first round last year and coach Chip Kelly could surprise again this year with Rowe. Philadelphia needs help in the secondary and Rowe offers versatility at both corner and safety.
Shaun King of Yahoo Sports believes the Eagles will take Oregon DL Arik Armstead with their first-round pick:
He’s a big and imposing talent. He flashes dominant skills but not consistently. Chip Kelly has shown a propensity to acquire Ducks and Armstead fits the bill.
Evan Silva and Josh Norris of Rotoworld identified the Eagles’ top needs heading into the draft, including wide receiver:
Some Eagles fans would undoubtedly argue that quarterback is the team’s biggest need, even after the trade for Sam Bradford. And I wouldn’t put it past Chip Kelly to flip Bradford in a move up for Marcus Mariota. But as it stands currently, wideout is a more glaring hole. Jordan Matthews flashed the ability to handle a lot of volume as a rookie, but is primarily a slot receiver. Riley Cooper is one of the least effective starting wideouts in the game. 2014 third-round pick Josh Huff is intriguing but unproven. Kelly values size and agility in his wide receiver corps. Kelly’s wideouts also must be able to block.
And Norris put together a seven-round mock draft, giving the Eagles Oregon offensive lineman Jake Fisher at number 20:
I know OL was not among Evan’s listed three needs, but it was mentioned. Moving beyond the Oregon connection, Fisher fits the Eagles’ profile for offensive linemen – athletic. Fisher has experience at guard and both tackle spots. Visit reports are still coming in, but as Jimmy Kempski previously noted, 6 of the 7 Eagles picks last year visited Philadelphia prior to the draft. And the 7th, Josh Huff, played under Chip Kelly at Oregon. Something to watch.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com is a fan of Fisher’s:
The more I study Oregon OT Jake Fisher, the more I like him. Quick feet, recover ability and can create movement in run game.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 30, 2015
Peter King of MMQB thinks the Eagles may be in a bad spot at number 20 in the first round, citing only nine elite prospects in this year’s draft class:
Here’s what a few football people who were at the league meetings are thinking about the breakdown of this draft: Nine prime picks, then eight or 10 really good prospects, then maybe 30 or so of the same-level player. The top nine: quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, defensive tackle Leonard Williams, wideouts Kevin White and Amari Cooper, pass-rushers Dante Fowler and Vic Beasley, offensive tackle Brandon Scherff and cornerback Trae Waynes. After that, beauty starts to be in the eye of the beholder. I had one GM tell me: “The 17th pick on our board might be the 53rd pick on another team’s board—and that could be a team we really respect.”
He mocked Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong to the Birds at No. 20:
Jordan Matthews: 6-3, 212. Jaelen Strong: 6-2 ½, 219. Chip Kelly then fills in the receiver slots with some Riley Coopers and Miles Austins.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports that the Eagles were represented at Tusculum’s pro day and worked out an intriguing defensive lineman:
The standout player from this pro day was Caushaud Lyons (6-foot-4 1/2, 284 pounds), a defensive lineman. He ran a 4.86 and 4.87 in the 40. He had a 30 1/2-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump. He had a 4.55 short shuttle and 7.51 3-cone drill. He has 34 1/8-inch arms and 24 strength lifts.
The Eagles worked Lyons out for about 15 minutes, and he has very good quickness for a player his size. Lyons has visits with six teams lined up.
Interesting note here from Norris on Oregon DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu:
Many expect IEO to move to free safety in the NFL, and his skills match the conversion. He was too aggressive and bit on underneath routes, which allowed receivers to successfully win downfield. He was also lost in trash when working from the slot.
Greg Cosell breaks down Mariota’s game, via Yahoo Sports:
Mariota’s poise in the pocket is a question. He is not a naturally comfortable pocket quarterback. He must develop more comfortable and composed pocket movement, to slow down his feet and keep his eyes focused downfield as opposed to seeing and reading the rush. Mariota had a tendency to come off primary read too quickly if he did not see it as clearly defined, and there was also a tendency at times to leave the pocket early and play to his legs. Again, that might be a function of the Oregon pass game. What Mariota is used to is a precisely timed pass game with the ball out quickly to schemed open receivers. In the NFL, he’ll need to work on his progression reading and be patient in the pocket.
He’s not a late-in-the-down pocket quarterback at this point. Can that be taught at the NFL level or will he leave the pocket and rely on his legs? Does Mariota need throws to be defined to turn it loose? These are questions you need to have an answer for.
Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting shares some Eagles buzz:
Long-term player personnel-wise, no one has a good feel for what the Eagles are building towards. However, I’ve heard they view Jalen Collins highly and still have a need at cornerback. Also, with Todd Hermanns gone and Evan Mathis on the trade block, Jake Fisher of Oregon makes a lot of sense, regardless of the Oregon connection. Until further notice, I’ll be mocking one of those two in the first-round for the Eagles.
Charles Davis of NFL.com has the Eagles taking LSU CB Jalen Collins:
A safety to patrol the middle of the field might be preferable, but with Landon Collins off the board, Eagles take willowy CB to deal with Dallas WR Dez Bryant.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com also has the Eagles taking Collins:
The Eagles want to upgrade the secondary to better handle the explosive offenses that reside in the NFC. Collins is a long, rangy press corner with the potential to blossom into a premier player at the position.
Brooks has Mariota falling all the way to the Chargers at No. 17.
Tucker Bagley is a Temple student and a Birds 24/7 intern.
Sheil Kapadia contributed to this article.