With the main focus of this year's NFL Draft being on the first round, and all the potential talent that could come out of it, more and more fans are beginning to lose sight of just how deep this draft class is. There are projected steals at quarterback, runningback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, defensive end, defensive tackle and even cornerback. It's always good to snag a steal in the later rounds, to draft a possible starter or someone who can seriously contribute to the well being of the team. But how many of these "steals" would fit well into Philadelphia's system? Let's find out.
Tank Carder, ILB, TCU - Despite the fact that he's an inside linebacker, rather than an outside which the Eagles would prefer, Carder would be a solid fit in Juan Castillo's defense. Carder is an excellent block shredder, which is something that many of the Eagles' linebackers struggled with last season. Using refined technique and strategic moves, Carder is an above average pass rusher. His greatest asset, most believe, is his ability to attack the ball carrier, no matter where he is on the field. Good on his feet, Carder is also an underrated coverage backer. He's projected to be taken in the fourth or fifth round, and that would be a major steal for a linebacker-needy team like the Eagles.
Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State - Many draft junkies know Vontaze's story very well, and for those who don't it basically goes like this. He's got first round talent to go along with a 7th round attitude. Burfict's stock dropped even lower after an awful combine, and even lower after a horrendous pro day. To focus on positves, Burfict is an incredible talent. He's huge, but he's extremely nimble and quick for his size. He's got all the physical intangibles you could ever want from a linebacker, and his demeanor on the field (when he's not getting stupid penalties) is smashmouth football. Vontaze is a good pass rusher, a good form tackler, and just needs a little more work in coverage. If he drops lower than Round 4, the Eagles should seriously consider drafting him based on sheer talent.
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona - If the Eagles want a backup quarterback as badly as sources say the do, I believe the man they should go with is Nick Foles. It's puzzling to me as to why he's not ranked higher on big boards. He can make all the NFL throws and possesses very, very good footwork in the pocket. He's mobile, but chooses not to run more often than not. Foles is also a smart quarterback, makes good decisions and won't turn the ball over continuously. He'd be a solid fit to be Michael Vick's new backup, especially if they can snag him in the 5th or 6th round, which is where CBS Sports has him projected. And who knows? Perhaps he'll end up being the Eagles next franchise quarterback. I can only imagine what Foles could do if Andy Reid got his hands on him.
Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State - Much like the quarterback situation, the runningback situation isn't a huge concern, but it'd be nice to have a reliable backup. Edwin Baker is extremely comparable to Ray Rice. He's small at just 5'8, but he has elusive, sharp cuts and packs quite a pop for a little guy. Despite his size, it typically takes more than one defender to bring him down and it takes many more to actually catch him. He lacks elite speed but is very good in short spurts. He may not be exactly what the Eagles have in mind as their new backup, and might prefer to go with a bigger, bulkier back. But if Baker is available in the fourth or fifth round, the Eagles shouldn't hesitate to consider him.
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M - The Eagles need a big, red-zone receiver. Jeff Fuller would be perfect for this team, and better yet, he could be available in the fifth or sixth round. At 6'4/223, Fuller has the size the Eagles are looking for. He has average hands, but above-averaging leaping ability. He's used primarily for intermediate, non-vertical routes, and he runs them well. Fuller isn't the most physical guy, especially when you consider the frame he has. Another negative is that he's had communication problems with his quarterbacks in the past. However, should he still be available, it could be the steal of the Eagles' draft, simply because he possesses everything the Eagles need in the red zone and at a reasonable price.