Every year at this time we like to analyze the top prospects in the draft and project which ones the Eagles will draft due to their team needs and the slot they are selecting. Last year the consensus pick was Jimmy Smith. Corner back was our biggest need and it only made sense to draft a guy with his size and potential to replace the travesty that was Dmitri Patterson. Guys like Muhammad Wilkerson and Gabe Carimi were also projected to be selected with the Eagles pick. However, much to the dismay of Eagles fans the front office decided that they would draft a 27 year old Offensive Guard with their top pick.
The truth is that the Eagles use a combination of the best player available and need to make their pick. In 2010 they were enamored by Brandon Graham’s potential and aggressively traded up to get him. In 2009 they took Jeremy Maclin when they already had two decent receivers in Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson along with another emerging receiver in Jason Avant and a tight end in Brent Celek. (Kevin Curtis had 122 yards receiving in the NFCCG, I thought he had recovered) . The Eagles could have settled for a safety like Luis Delmas or Patrick Chung in the 1st round after Dawkins left in free agency but they didn’t. In 2008 they could have drafted Jeff Otah to replace an aging Jon Runyan and in 2007 they drafted Kevin Kolb at a time when McNabb was only 30 years old and 2 years removed from his Super Bowl season.
So who do you think the “surprise pick” may be this year? We have the ammunition to trade up to the #3 overall pick this year (2-2nds, a 3rd and a 4th), we’re also set at every position to the point that we can trade down and stockpile picks for next year.
So who could the Eagles possibly draft?
Trent Richardson- Some people say he might be the next Adrian Peterson. However he might fall in the draft due to the declined role running backd have had over the years. If the Eagles have the opportunity to trade up for him they would have to consider, right? I know we are a passing team, but would it be crazy for the Eagles to change their philosophy and run an offense that features two great RBs?
Justin Blackmon/Michael Floyd- We gave DeSean a $51 million contract to DeSean Jackson. Maclin needs to be extended and Avant is paid decently for a slot receiver. It wouldn't make sense to draft another WR early but it's hard to skip on this talent. Last year we had to start Steve Smith due to injuries, so nothing is ever certain.
Matt Kalil- Minnesota may be reluctant to take an OT this early. The Eagles have the draft picks necessary to trade up for him. Peters and Herremans are good OTs but they are older than 30. The Eagles could start Kalil and Peters at OT and move Herremans to RG or LG. It would go against the idea of the contract extension they handed out to Herremans but it's too hard to overlook the potential.
David DeCastro- Mathis played well last year but he is 30 years old. Our 1st round draft pick was inconsistent and is already 28 years old. DeCastro has the potential to be one of the best guards in the NFL.
Ryan Tannehill- He has potential but he is very raw at the QB position. Vick is 31. Andy drafted Kolb when McNabb was 30, I wouldn't be surprised if Andy decides to draft Tannehill
Kitpatrick/Gilmore/Jenkins- Nnamdi is one of the best CBs in the NFL. DRC is still young and has shown his potential in the league. The problem is that Nnamdi is 31 and DRC is very inconsistent. The Eagles may need a new CB if they decide not to extend DRC or feel uncomfortable at that position.
Melvin Ingram-Build a good DE combo with Graham for the future. Cole and Babin are 30+
Mark Barron- The Eagles have invested high picks at the S position and have been very disappointed. Andy mentioned goofing on the S position last year.
Coby Fleener- The Eagles might be enamored with his size, speed and potential. Brent Celek is a good player but is someone you could easily upgrade.
Right now the consensus picks are Fletcher Cox and Luke Kuechly. If you could think outside the box and not base your pick on team need and instead base it on Andy's draft trends and you gut feeling, who would it be?