In the run up to the draft I thought that I would put forward my ideas to what I think the Eagles
will could do in the first round with part of it depending on whether the CBA issue has been resolved or not.
At the minute the obvious pick seems to be Jimmy Smith after it was Gabe Carimi for a long time. But, when has Andy Reid ever gone with the "obvious" pick? Not very often would be the answer to that. Last year everyone expected the Eagles to draft a cornerback, with the popular choice being Kyle Wilson and some even thinking that they would draft Maurkice Pouncey, Mike's twin brother. But Andy Reid ended up moving all the way up to the 13th overal pick to select defensive end Brandon Graham. Also, who saw the Jeremy Maclin pick coming in the 09 draft? Because, I take my hat off to you if you did.
Now, as I have just shown, Andy Reid has a tendency to move around in the draft, especially in the first round. So let me start by saying that I do not see the Eagles staying put at 23 in this year's draft. So, for my first possible scenario let's just pretend that the CBA issue has been resolved and that the Eagles have traded Kevin Kolb, who on his own I think is worth a mid first round pick.
Teams that I have listed in an around what Kolb's value is worth are Miami (15th overall pick) Possibly Jacksonville (16th overall pick) even though I couldn't personally see it happening and Minnesota (12th overall pick) Now, I don't think the Eagles would be able to get the 12th overall pick for Kolb alone so they may have to throw in a pick from the lower rounds as well. But, for the purposes of this partial mock draft let's say that the Vikings say yes to this deal and the Eagles get the 12th pick overall and still have their own pick at 23. I only mention this because if you remember in the 2009 Draft the Eagles had two first round picks, one of which they used to acquire Jason Peters from Buffalo and the other to draft Jeremy Maclin. I think that the Eagles could go down the same route here and use the 23rd pick in the draft in a trade for an impact player on defence. I'll let you guys speculate in the comments about who that could be. That would still leave them with the 12th pick overall which is high enough to acquire a player in the Draft with top end talent and day one starter capability. With the 12th overall pick the Eagles would be able to get the top OT prospect in the draft, Tyron Smith. He didn't start out as the top tackle prospect but after a good showing at his combine and pro day he has moved himself up on draft boards with him being the first OT off the board in almost all mock drafts on NFL.com going between 9 and 13 if we take out Brian Baldingers rouge pick of him going at 19. He has ideal height and length combined with good speed and mobility for an offensive tackle which would be good for the Eagles screen game. He has great footwork in pass protection along with showing good power in the running game. With his mobility and ability to sustain blocks at the second level he could start on the right side of the line and eventually develop into a left tackle down the road. Along with being rated as the best OT prospect in the draft on NFL.com CBSSports also ranks him as their number one OT prospect and Adam Caplan has him as the first lineman off the board in his mock draft.
Now, if by any chance he was gone by the 12th pick the Eagles could take Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo. Although I think it would be a little high for Castonzo to come off the board at 12 we could still take him and kick him inside to right gaurd. Castonzo has all the assets to potentially develop into a top right or left tackle. Like Smith he has good mobility although he doesn't show the same level of strength in the run game. I wouldn't complain about taking Castonzo at 12 however, he isn't going in most mock drafts on NFL.com until around 15 - 17 which would put us in prime position to acquire him if we traded Kolb and a later pick to Miami which would mean we would keep the later pick that we would have been giving up to move up those extra 3 - 5 picks.
One more player that I think the Eagles could get if they get the 12th overall pick is Prince Amukamara. Most mock drafts have him going at seven to the San Francisco 49ers but the ones that don't have him slipping all the way down to 13 and even 15 in one mock draft. I don't think I need to try to justify why Amukamara would be a good pick for the Eagles. He's got size, speed, athleteicism, elite ball skills and is a good return man. Although I doubt the Eagles will use him as a return man as he would be expected to win the RCB spot. However, Amukamara only drops this far because they also have Patrick Peterson going at 7. This unfortunately means that if Peterson goes before San Francisco, most likely to Cincinnati the Eagles will not be able to get Prince Amukamara. However, on the off chance that a new CBA has been signed and the Eagles have shipped Kolb off to Minnesota for the 12th overall pick look out for this.
Now for the more likely scenario that the CBA isn't resolved and the Eagles can't trade Kolb. There have been speculations that the Eagles could do an NBA style deal with the Cardinals or someone else in the top ten where the Eagles would ask a team to draft a player and then once a new CBA is signed the teams would complete the deal but I think the chances of this are next to none. I think the most likely scenario from here is that the Eagles either trade up to get a player they like or trade out of the first round completely. I think that if they trade up it will be because Mike Pouncey has slipped to within their grasp and they can do a similar deal to the 09 deal in which they drafted Jeremy Maclin. This would be a great pick for the Eagles as Pouncey is the best interior lineman in the draft and has the versatility to play Center and Gaurd at the NFL level. It's no secret that Andy Reid likes lineman who can play multiple positions but Pouncey is also a smart kid with a high football IQ, recognising blitzes well (something the Eagles linemen didn't do this season) He also has great footwork combined with the use of his hands making him solid in pass protection which is a must for Andy Reid offensive linemen.
On a side note, as you may have noticed I mentioned Adam Caplan a few times in this article. He gives a great insight on the NFL draft and always gives you his own opinion. For those of you that tweet if you aren't already follow him at @caplannfl
Who would you want in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft (Left Amukamara out because otherwise he would be the obvious choice)
Anthony Castonzo (10 votes)
Tyron Smith (22 votes)
Mike Pouncey (23 votes)
55 total votes