We started our big board series yesterday taking a look at the top 5 prospects at two of the Eagles biggest need positions in the 2013 NFL draft. Safeties were up first and then we looked at offensive tackles. Today, we look at Mel Kiper's top 5 offensive guards.
The Eagles should be set at guard. They've got one Pro Bowl level player at the position in Evan Mathis and a first round pick in Danny Watkins. Only Watkins hasn't played like a first round pick and finished last season on the bench in favor of journeyman Jake Scott.
Watkins may or may not be a lost cause. I suspect the new regime here in Philadelphia will want to take a shot at developing him into the kind of player many thought he could be coming out of Baylor. Plus, he's legitimately shown some good things in the run game, which will become much more important in Chip Kelly's run first system than in Andy Reid's pass first scheme.
Still, fixing the offensive line has to be where everything starts for Chip Kelly this offseason. So whether he thinks he can fix Watkins or not, he and Roseman will likely focus on building the depth and competition in the trenches.
Here are Kiper's top 5.
|2||Jonathan Cooper||North Carolina||6-3||310|
|3||Brian Winters||Kent State||6-6||294|
Chance Warmack scouting report (ESPN)
Very good football intelligence. Knows opponents' tendencies. Film work transfers to the field. Keeps head on a swivel in pass pro. Very good awareness versus stunts, twists and blitzes. Does a nice job of locating assignments on pulls and second-level blocks.
Classic OG tough guy - both physically and mentally. Keeps chopping away at defenders every play. Fights hard to regain leverage if he loses it initially. Not satisfied until he buries the defender. Plays hard for four quarters. Takes pride in his craft.
As much press as Warmack gets, Jonathan Cooper could be considered a 1a in the OG rankings.
Picks up vast majority of line stunts and blitzes in pass protection. Makes sound adjustments when linebackers walk up into B-gap and/or C-gap. Shows better awareness in pass protection than does as a run blocker. Relies on pre-snap read as zone blocker and can occasionally get out of position when defensive front shifts at the snap of the ball.
Feisty, scrappy interior OL. Doesn't have massive frame to maul but he's a finisher who plays with an edge. Flashes a mean streak and blocks through the whistle on most downs.
Brian Winters (NFP)
He started out as a sleeper but has been a fast riser this season as scouts have descended on Mount Pleasant. He has the frame, flexibility, athleticism, feet and reach to play left tackle in the NFL. Fisher is a solid pass protector and a pretty good run blocker. If he has a solid Senior Bowl, he can cement his spot as the top offensive lineman in the draft and a mid first round pick.
Experienced, savvy OG prospect. Outstanding awareness in pass pro. Does a very good job of providing help while maintaining solid positioning to pick any delayed pressure. Occasionally overruns his target and can appear a bit lost as a run blocker in space.
Flashes a mean streak. Overall effort is good. Mentally tough. Clearly wears down late in games but effort does not drop off. Almost always plays through the whistle and frequently looks for more contact as he's working down the field as a run blocker.
Dallas Thomas (ESPN)
Knows his assignments. Shows good feet/timing on combo blocks. Awareness versus blitz is adequate-to-good. Keeps eyes up and locates delayed blitzers off the edge and late developing twits/stunts. Occasionally will be a quarter-count late to react on fast developing blitzes. Does a consistently good job of locating assignment as a second-level run blocker.
Not a mauler but flashes a noticeable mean streak. Delivers punch with purpose. Effort is adequate for the most part but occasionally will fail to work through the whistle. Content at times to wall off in run game. Also will stop moving feet once he thinks he's ridden edge rushers out of the play, and it has led to a few unnecessary sacks, hurries and hits on the QB.