Eagles Draft 2012 Preview
This article will evaluate each position, both on offense and defense, to help determine where the Eagles might go with their first round pick in Thursday night’s draft. If you’re an Eagles fan, then you’ll know it’s almost impossible to know what they’ll do, but here goes my best guess.
Many Eagles fans believe Thomas Edison’s quote "I have not failed 1000 times. I have successfully discovered 1000 ways to NOT make a light bulb," can apply to Andy Reid and his first and second round picks on defensive linemen. From 1999 to 2011, Andy Reid has drafted Corey Simon (2002 – pick 6), Jerome McDougle (2003 – pick 15), Mike Patterson (2005 – pick 31), Brodrick Bunkley (2006 – pick 14), Victor Abiamiri (2007 – pick 57), Trevor Laws (2008 – pick 47), and Brandon Graham (2010 – pick 13). Two of those picks, Mike Patterson and Corey Simon, were good picks. Brodrick Bunkley was a serviceable starter, but too often did not stand out during games. Most importantly, only one of those draft picks ever made the Pro Bowl; Corey Simon in 2003. While the Eagles defensive line was excellent last year, number one in the NFL with 50 sacks, the above should make it clear that Andy Reid loves drafting defensive linemen. Every fan has heard Big Red say "it begins with the two lines," countless times since he has begun his tenure with the Eagles. Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins are 31. Trent Cole is 29. Antonio Dixon is 26 but is coming off an injury depleted season. Former first-round pick, Brandon Graham is only 24 but coming off a torn ACL and microfracture surgery. Phillip Hunt is 26 but is a rotation player at best; same goes for Derek Landri, 28, and Darryl Tapp, 27. Analysis: A deep defensive linemen class, Big Red’s past draft history and the fact that his D-Line is not getting any younger, leads one to believe that Andy Reid will most likely draft a defensive lineman with his first-round pick. DTs Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers or Dontari Poe could be the pick. Or the Eagles could go with edge rushers Quinton Coples, Chandler Jones or Whitney Mercilus.
The Eagles found their middle linebacker with their trade for Texans’ DeMeco Ryans. They’re also confident, at least publically, in Brian Rolle and Jamar Chaney, even though Chaney is coming off off-season neck surgery. They seemed to also find their nickel LBs in the second half of the season, with Keenan Clayton and Casey Matthews. Analysis: Unles the Eagles trade up or Boston College’s Luke Kuechly falls into their laps, they won’t draft a LB in the first round. As Eagles fans know, Andy Reid has never drafted a LB in the first round.
The Eagles just traded Asante Samuel to the Atlanta Falcons for a 7th round pick. DRC is signed only for this upcoming year. Joselio Hanson was cut before last year, but then resigned. Nnamdi Asomugha and DRC will be the two outside cornerbacks next year. Analysis: Look for the Eagles to try to improve their nickel cornerback early with someone who can eventually replace DRC if the Eagles don’t resign him. If South Carolina’s, 6’0 190lb, Stephon Gilmore falls, he could be the pick. Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick would also fit well in Eagles’ midnight green. If Gilmore or Kirkpatrick are not the pick, look for Georgia’s, 5’10 182 lb, Brandon Boykin to potentially go in the second round. He is athletic, can play the slot, the outside and returns kicks.
The Eagles have invested two second-round picks on safeties in the past two years. Nate Allen was the pick in 2010 and Jaiquawn Jarrett was the pick in 2011. The Eagles like Allen and he seemed to play better late in 2011 after finally recovering from off-season knee surgery. Jarrett, on the other hand, barely sniffed the field in his rookie year. He was labeled a hard hitter coming out of Temple, but because the NFL was too fast for him last year we weren’t able to see his hard hitting ability. The Eagles also have Kurt Coleman. He has played both safety positions and is an excellent backup safety, not starting safety.
Analysis: The only way the Eagles pick a safety in the first round is if they admit they made a mistake on Jaiquawn Jarrett and select Alabama’s Mark Barron. If that doesn’t happen, look for Eagles to possibly sign FA Yeremiah Bell. Last year he played with the Dolphins under current Eagles secondary coach, Todd Bowles.
The Eagles have recently signed, Demetress Bell signed for five years, although only the first year is guaranteed. They have LT Jason Peters signed through 2014 and RT Todd Herremans through 2016. They recently signed G Evan Mathis to a five year deal this offseason and used last year’s first-round pick on G Danny Watkins. At C they have last year’s sixth-round pick Jason Kelce, who they believe is the perfect C for Howard Mudd’s system. Analysis: Andy Reid would salivate if Matt Kalil somehow slipped past picks six or seven. Assuming he doesn’t, it’s not likely they’ll select the 2ndbest OT in the draft, Riley Reiff.
The Eagles have first-team All-Pro Shady McCoy, after he receives his contract extension, for the foreseeable future. They drafted Deion Lewis in the fifth round to be the change of pace back. However, he did not do all that well when given the chance.
Analysis: No way the Eagles will draft a running back in the first round when they’re on the verge of signing McCoy to a monster extension.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
The Eagles are set on speedy WRs with Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. They have sure-handed Jason Avant in the slot, but that position could be upgraded. Tight end Brent Celek had a great year, especially in the second half. The Eagles played a lot more two tight end sets and could upgrade over Clay Harbor. He didn’t have a terrible year as a second TE, but drafting a TE in the first round could only give Michael Vick more weapons. Analysis: The Eagles could go after Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd if he slips because of his hands, size and leaping ability. That would also allow them to upgrade the slot position by possibly putting Maclin there. They could also trade back and go after Stanford’s 6’6 tight end, Coby Fleener and give themselves an excellent one-two punch at TE.
The Eagles are positioned well with the 15th pick and two second-round picks. The Eagles could select any position, but with Reid on ‘the hot seat’ look for him to draft a position that could help right away, particularly a middle-of-the-pack defense. Alabama’s Mark Barron would step in right away and upgrade the safety position. Dre Kirkpatrick or Stephon Gilmore would play right away at nickel CB and potentially take over the cornerback position opposite of Asomugha. DT Fletcher Cox would step in and upgrade the interior pass rush. DT Michael Brockers would do the same, but for the run. DEs Quinton Coples or Chandler Jones would make an already deep defensive end rotation, even deeper. Kuechly would help turn a glaring weakness into an absolute strength and would be the MLB of the future for years to come. Prediction: Eagles trade up with Jacksonville to #7 and draft DT Fletcher Cox.
Do you agree? Did I miss any potential draft picks?
If you like this article please check out our site at http://philly4seasons.wordpress.com/