With all or most of us smitten over what Andy and Co. just did with a 4th round pick and a 3rd round flip flop, it's time to reflect on what this move does for our draft positioning and our needs...and more importantly how successful this trade was from a standpoint of keeping key draft picks. Between the Jackson and Mathis resignings and the Ryans trade, the Eagles have completely changed their needs headed into the draft and have established a sense of continuity and new sense of leadership to this team.
I am not going to do this by pick numbers but by round and tackle what we could or should do in those rounds, whether it be trades up, down, or for players.
For the majority of 2011 and so far in 2012, Eagles fans (myself included) have been begging for a MIKE linebacker. Well that was all and good, but we now have a 2x Pro Bowler in the middle that's only 27 years old...so we move on. At 15, we are literally in the middle of the draft where value is kind of in a grey area. While drafting Luke Kuechly to play SAM for a few years before moving in the middle is enticing, I still don't believe he'll be there at 15. Luckily, there will be other talented guys that we don't need at 15, that I am sure other teams will be willing to trade up to. There are three teams I look at to trade down with the goal of getting an extra number one (to potentially pair with ours to draft the QB of the future or to draft a new corner if DRC is underwhelming in 2012): Baltimore (29), New England (27 & 31) and St. Louis (33).
The key is to get value in this draft and continue to stockpile for the future (that is, if Andy has one after this season). So for argument's sake we trade 15 and a 6th (NE's second to last in the round) for Baltimore's 29th pick (they may target Dontari Poe or Kendall Wright) and a first next year. At 29, a few valuable options could still exist: South Carolina's Stephen Gilmore, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy, Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, and possibly but doubtful Marshall's Vinny Curry and Alabama's Mark Barron.
I am not a huge believer in that we need a ton of help on offense, so I think WR can wait. Defensive end seems as strong as it has in years with Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp, Jason Babin, Brandon Graham (if he can return to form), and the very intriguing Phillip Hunt, so Curry can wait. The real positions that have semi-short term question marks are cornerback, safety, linebacker, and defensive tackle. The Eagles believe in building in the trenches so I think they go defensive tackle and select Jerel Worthy out of Michigan State.
First Round: 29th overall pick (BAL) Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
For some reason, this has been the Eagles money round as of late (despite Jaiquan Jarrett) with Lesean McCoy, Nate Allen, and Desean Jackson all coming in round number two. Luckily for us, even with the Ryans trade, we still have two second round picks. I mentioned before that cornerback, safety, and linebacker are still of need. We need to nail at least one these with the two second rounders. With our first second round pick (46), we fix our SAM linebacker position with a guy we all know I love, Bobby Wagner of Utah State. He has good size and speed and can set the edge as a SAM in our system.
I know I mentioned the whole QB of the future thing with our NOW two first rounder but does it make sense to grab a guy like Brock Osweiler or Kirk Cousins? In my opinion, no. I think the 51st pick in the draft is about building depth and with King Dunlap's future with the team in jeopardy and Winston Justice headed to the Elephant Graveyard of the NFL (think Lion King), a swing tackle is just what the doctor ordered. Mississippi's Bobby Massie can play both tackle spots and has an athletic frame that Howard Mudd will love. Jason Peters has missed at least a game every season he's been here so it's worth having a good backup handy.
Second Round: 46th overall pick: Bobby Wagner, OLB, Utah State
51st over pick (ARI): Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
You want a kick returner? So do I, but you're going to have to wait. If the Eagles cut ties with Asante Samuel, they may need a guy as DRC insurance (and we know Joselio Hanson can't play outside and I don't know how much I trust my twitter friend Curtis March). Jamell Fleming is corner out of Oklahoma who has decent size (5'10", 206) for a corner and has the ability to play inside and out. He could learn behind Nnamdi and potentially be the upgrade over Hanson in the short term if the Eagles feel Marsh isn't ready. So our 89th overall pick, we take Fleming.
Third Round: 89th overall pick (HOU): Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
The Bucs 4th round pick now (happily) belongs to our buddies in Texas, but we still have our's to play with. I told you to be patient on the whole kick returner thing, so since you've been good for a round: TY. Yes, the Florida International speedster, T.Y. Hilton is here to rid us of the likes of Chad Hall and Dion Lewis (as a returner). With the 115th in the draft we go for the returner.
Fourth Round: 115th overall pick: T.Y. Hilton, WR/KR, FIU
While this is not a round for your usual starter (unless you like starting scrub linebackers, Howie) there is still going to be value here. We still have needs at safety, running back, and some defensive end competition could go a long way. I happen to think running back and safety are free agent veterans because we need some experience at those positions. My ideal choices would be Joseph Addai at backup running back as he's a tremendous blocker and can catch (yes, that's the sound of Andy's boner) and Yeremiah Bell at safety as he can tackle and could provide leadership to the secondary (led Fins in tackles last year).
Anyway, we have two picks here and I think the Eagles go for some fliers. With the first 6th they go defensive end. Two guys intrigue me: Jacquies Smith of Missouri and Olivier Vernon of Miami. They are both 6'2" and ran in the very low 4.8s. I'll go with Smith who has proven to have better hips (the making of a good DE) as he ran a faster three cone. He also has the Aldon Smith luster behind him. Smith is pick 185.
Sixth Round : 185th overall pick: Jacquies Smith, DE, Missouri
No thank you.
That's my draft and I'm probably not going to stick to it. Like I said, I think safety and running back need to be addressed as veteran free agents, but I think this draft takes care of most if not all our needs, while still creating competition as well.