I'll make this intro quick. This is just a few pre-draft notes heading into the big weekend. Enjoy this weekend. It's the only time where every fan has a reason to be optimistic. It won't last for everyone.
My instinct tells me the Eagles make a trade with Jacksonville for the #7 pick. We know that the two quarterbacks will be gone. Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne and Trent Richardson should be gone too. That should leave us either Stephon Gilmore or Fletcher Cox at #7, maybe both. The Eagles could wait at #15 but who knows what they would be left with. It could be a matter of choosing between Dre Kirkpatrick, Quinton Coples, Dontari Poe or ?. I believe Luke Kuechly, Melvin Ingram, Cox and Gilmore will be gone before 15.
The question will be what will the price be to move up 8 spots? Is Fletcher Cox or Stephon Gilmore worth a 1st and second round pick? I would like the Eagles to have three picks in the first 51 overall selections in this year's draft. The class is too deep to miss out on this opportunity. If we can make the move up to #7 and give up our 1st, 3rd and maybe a couple 6th round picks, then it would be worth it. Maybe even a 2nd round pick in next year's draft instead.
Another reason to to move up to #7 is Ryan Tannehill. We aren't drafting him, but Miami doesn't know that. We worked him out. They have to believe we could be moving up to draft him. Maybe we give their front office a call after we move up and try and get an extra pick from them by swapping picks. Maybe this is the whole reason we worked Tannehill out.
In my last mock, I had the Eagles selecting Dontari Poe at #15. This only makes sense if the price to trade up is too high and if Jim Washburn believes in Poe. If he isn't impressed by him, I wouldn't draft him in any round. It all depends on Wash.
The biggest areas that we need to address in the draft are a dangerous kick return man, a strong side linebacker who can compete with Jamar Chaney for a starting job. We also need a red zone target, an offensive lineman who can play guard and tackle. Last but not leave, we need another inside rusher. Maybe it's a defensive end who can play defensive tackle or it's an athletic defensive tackle. Either way we a youthful inside pass rusher.
Kickoffs were dull at best last season. Getting past the 20 was a major accomplishment in 2011. It would be nice to have a long return after giving up a score once in a while. It's a big momentum killer for the opposing team when you get a nice kickoff return man. I hope the Eagles draft two capable returners. Chris Rainey and Brandon Boykin come to mind. T.Y. Hilson and T.J. Graham as well.
There are plenty of good SAMs available throughout the draft. Bobby Wagner in the second round, Keenan Robinson in the third, Miles Burris in the fourth or Travis Lewis in the fifth. All players are outstanding tacklers. All have potential to be 3-down linebackers. Zach Brown is a poor tackler with average coverage skills. Speed doesn't equal elite cover skills. Watch him on tape. When he makes a tackle he seems to always manage to be pushed forward by the ball carrier. That's in college. Imagine him trying to take down NFL running backs and wide receivers for 16 games.
Red zone target is an obvious need for everyone. It has been every single season Andy Reid has been the coach minus 2004 with a happy Terrell Owens. Let's go out and get a red zone monster. Brian Quick, Mohamed Sanu, Michael Floyd, Justin Blackmon, Juron Criner, Dale Moss, whoever. Make it happen Howie.
Having an offensive lineman who can play both tackle and guard is huge. It allows a team to keep one less reserve lineman. Ryan Miller of Colorado would be a good choice in the fifth round.
Inside pass rusher is obvious as well. We have been talking about Fletcher Cox since January. We could use another Cullen Jenkins type in our rotation. This draft is loaded with athletic, pass rushing DTs. Derek Wolfe, Jerel Worthy are good second round targets as well.
I'll be rooting hard for Stephon Gilmore for our pick. He is the #1 CB in my mind. Greg Cossell eats, sleeps and breathes film. He also believes Gilmore is the #1 CB as well. He can play slot right away and also return kicks. Very physical corner who loves to make plays in run support. Think of him as the anti-Asante, but in a very good way.