Thursday is the big day. Hopefully this year I get even more right than I did the year prior (two..I called Henery and Watkins). I'm gonna keep the pick that we have (trades are just too hard to predict).
*** With the 15th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, The Philadelphia Eagles select Whitney Mercilus, DE from Illinois. ***
The Eagles don't have many needs and there have been several articles cited on BGN stating the Eagles intentions of taking the best player available. Mercilus is drawing favorable comparisons to Aldon Smith. He led the nation in sacks and forced fumbles last year (16 sacks, 9 forced fumbles). His pass rushing ability seemed to be unparalleled by anyone else last year as he was rated as the top pass rusher based on sacks, hurries, and knockdowns. This guy is an absolute stud. The only reason he isn't going in the top ten is because he was much less productive in his first two years at Illinois. I think the Eagles take the risk and reap the rewards like the Giants did with Jason Pierre-Paul a few short years ago. Mercilus will join the rotation early with the Birds and help them continue to bring pressure to every quarterback they face.
According to NFL.com Mercilus' strengths and weaknesses are:
"STRENGTHS Mercilus is a fast, athletic defensive end who is quick off the snap and has a good burst to close on the quarterback. He is a situational rusher who excels against the run and brings the versatility to run to the flats at his size. Whitney is able to quickly get off the snap and engage into his man's frame. He excels in pursuit down the line of scrimmage and is a high motor player. He can win at the next level with his speed rush."
"WEAKNESSES His feet are slowed by his instincts as he oftentimes gets caught looking into the backfield and hesitates when diagnosing the run. He can get occupied by bigger, stronger blockers and tends to shut it down completely in these looks. He is more quick than explosive. He is a drag-down tackler who relies on his weight and is inconsistent in his wrap-up form."
*** With the 46th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Bobby Wagner, LB from Utah State. ***
The Eagles certainly have a need for an outside linebacker after the Eagles received poor performance after poor performance from their linebackers in 2011. Demeco Ryans should and will shore up the middle of the field. Bobby Wagner will help the linebacking crew become a reliable and strong unit. Wagner has no problem laying the lumber and was named MVP of the Senior Bowl this year. HIs tackling has steadily improved every year and will be ready to start in year one in the NFL. If this pick happens you can expect Wagner to take over the SAM responsiblities, Ryans to be the MLB, and Rolle to more than likely will the position battle at WILL against Casey Matthews. Wagner is also a high character guy as he was a two year captain in college.
According to KFFL, Wagner's strengths and weaknesses are:
Versatile - can play inside and out
Consistent performer - great production (nine of 13 games with at least 10 tackles, including 18 against Colorado State and 20 versus Louisiana Tech in 2011)
Two-year team captain
Instinctual in pass coverage and an excellent run defender
Intelligent and hard worker
Wrap-up tackler with immediate stopping power
Patient, read-and-react defender
Lacks ideal size (6-foot 1/4, 241 pounds)
Quicker rather than being fast
Limited experience as a blitzer
Teams didn't get to see him work out at the Scouting Combine, as he was hospitalized with pneumonia at the time
Struggles shedding blocks from larger blockers"
*** With the 51st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Alshon Jeffery, WR from South Carolina. ***
Jeffery is a tall receiver who's strength is going up and grabbing jump balls. He uses his body well but lacks the burst to run the greatest of routes. However, Jeffery stands at 6'3 and runs a 4.47 forty yard dash. Instead of focusing on what he lacks, the Eagles are going to focus on what he brings to the table. Jeffery is a legitimate deep threat and a force to be reckoned with in the red zone. While he doesn't get consistent separation, he relies well on his elite strength and body control. His weight seemed to be a problem earlier in the year but he showed up to the combine in phenomenal shape and looked like an "NFL receiver". Jeffery comes in and starts as the Eagles number four wide receiver but makes a significant impact in the red zone and other packages.
According to nepatriotsdraft.com Jeffery's strengths and weaknesses are:
"Strengths: Phenomenal size and length – Accelerates to top-speed quickly, but will be hard pressed to run under a 4.5 – Makes some incredible catches, unreal hands – Adept at bringing hands up late and making the catch – Uses his body very well to box out defenders – Very tough to bring down after the catch – Very productive in 2010 – Incredibly high ceiling.
Weaknesses: Lacks a 2nd gear – Loses speed out of his breaks, doesn’t always gain true separation from college corners – Could sharpen up his routes – Makes some drops when fighting for extra yards before making the catch – Legitimate effort concerns arose after horrendous QB situation junior year – Should block much better with his size, inconsistent with his effort – Some off-season conditioning commitment concerns – Can have trouble going up and fighting for the ball over defenders – Doesn’t explode off the line of scrimmage to get separation."
*** With the 88th pick in the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Ladarius Green, TE from Louisiana-Lafayette ***
While many will argue that the Eagles don't have an immediate need for a TE whatsoever, Ladarius Green is such an immense talent that the Birds just can't pass up. The Patriots were able to bully people in the red zone with their multiple tight end sets. Green has such impressive and unmatched athletic ability that he could easily split out wide throughout the game and especially in the red zone. His ball skills are that of a wide receiver and Green can certainly be a difference maker for this team. He is very similar to Jermichael Finley (except less injury prone..yay). This pick will help the Eagles out tremendously.
Green's strengths according to NFL.com are:
"Green is a big tight end who understands how to get open and use his frame to be a good option for the quarterback in the short passing game. He has good foot quickness and uses this and his frame to work against zone and box out against smaller defenders to secure the easy first-down catch. Green has body control that allows him to leap, torque, and reach both high and low for poorly thrown balls, making him the type of red zone option, at his height, where an NFL QB can just throw it up to him."
His weaknesses are:
"Green is a raw player and would likely be a project at the position. He can struggle getting off the line of scrimmage and can give away his routes quickly when running them. He has a lot of negative aspects to his game currently but they are all skills that could be developed through time and coaching."
*** With the 114th pick in the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select David Molk, C from Michigan. ***
You all may have heard of him because of his arrogant comments at the combine. Molk is a very confident guy and claims to be the best center in the draft this year. The coaches in the NCAA didn't agree as he was edged out as an All-American by Peter Konz. Molk is a very good center and is only falling this far because of his size. He stands at 6'1 and barely eclipses 300 pounds. He makes up for his size with impressive technique, strength, and passion. In fact, Molk put up 41 reps in the bench press this year (good for second in the Combine in 2011).Expect Molk to at the very least compete for the starting Center spot in his first year in green.
*** With the 153rd pick in the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Akiem Nicks, DT from Canada ***
Nicks was a top recruit for LSU but lost his eligibility there because of a scandal which involved him getting illegal benefits from the college. They weren't ludicrous things, mainly transportation so Nicks is still a relatively good guy in my books. No more illegal benefits once he is in the league. After losing NCAA eligibility, Nicks travelled to Canada to play in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport where he was a candidate for the JP Metras Trophy which is awarded to the best down lineman in the league. Nicks was very productive as he had 6.5 sacks and was respected by his teammates for his rabid play. His performance has been very impressive over the years and I think he enters into the Eagles rotation at DT right away and the Birds add quality depth to the position.
*** With the 172nd pick in the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Andrew Datko, OT from Florida State ***
If not for injuries, Datko would probably be picked in the first three rounds. He missed much of 2011 with a torn
labia labrum. He got surgery on it and should be okay now. Once again, the Eagles swoop in and take a potential steal. The Eagles starters are set right now. Datko should provide great depth this year and provide them with a quality option to start and/or provide great depth at the RT position two years from now when the Birds more than likely drop or trade Bell and go back to Peters at LT.
*** With the 194th pick in the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select TJ Graham, WR from NC State. ***
TJ Graham is a speed demon.
He will return punts and kicks for whatever team drafts him. Son of famous track coach, Trevor Graham. This guy can just flat out fly. Maybe he can help us out and take one or two to the house this year.
*** With the 200th pick in the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Dan Herron, RB from Ohio State. ***
Dan Herron will be a great fit for the birds. He is a between the tackle runner who has soft hands. He is more quick than fast and I really think he would be a nice complement and compete with Dion Lewis for the 2RB duties. I do however think that Lewis would get much more carries but with Herron getting a few goal line opportunities when McCoy needs a spell. (Note: I think McCoy continues to get nearly all the carries in the Red Zone as he shows us time and time again that he can find the painted grass).
Just wanted to mention that Herron was the team captain this year and is constantly acknowledged for his great character.