Before the season started I was expecting the Eagles to again have an extremely high draft pick. Hoping for one of the top QB's or pass rushers to be waiting for us. Even though the Eagles have not gotten off to a great start, if the draft order stayed the way it is the Eagles would be picking in the mid-first round.
So what would that get us?
Here is a list of the players that, in my opinion, are pretty much guaranteed to be picked in the first round if they declare for the draft. (Not ranked in order)
QB: Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Tajh Boyd
WR: Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr
OL: Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, Cyrus Kouandjio
DT: Louis Nix III, Ra'Shede Hageman
DE: Jadeveon Clowney, Stephon Tuitt
OLB: Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Kyle Van Noy
ILB: CJ Mosley
CB: Jason Verrett, Bradley Roby
S: Ha Ha Clinton Dix
I'm sure many of you may disagree with some of the players I left off this list. Mainly Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel. I have watched every draftbreakdown video there is for Hundley and he is going to get picked apart once the NFL community really digs into the draft process. He has horrible accuracy on deep balls, sees ghosts and gets happy feet in the pocket, and isn't as elusive a runner as many believe. I have no idea what to think about Johnny Manziel. His situation leading up to the draft will be similar to Tim Tebow's. Some analysts will claim he belongs in the 1st round and others will say 3rd or even undraftable. Hopefully Howie let's some other GM risk his job on the Justin Bieber of quarterbacks.
Other players that I really like, but left off the list. Lache Seastrunk and Ka' deem Carey are likely the top two RB's but it's hard for a RB to get drafted in the 1st nowadays. Donte Moncrief, Brandon Coleman, and my favorite of the trio, Allen Robinson are all WR's that could be taken between the late 1st and 2nd round. There are several good guard prospects (David Yankey, Cyril Richardson, and Gabe Jackson) but none are on the level of Jonathan Cooper from last year. At TE Colt Lyerla has damaged his draft grade for now, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is overrated in my opinion, and Eric Ebron has hands like LJ Smith. In the secondary I would love for a player like Craig Loston to fall to us in the 2nd round. Aaron Colvin is a longer CB with speed to run with the most athletic WR's, he also is great in the run game, but has had many mental lapses resulting in him getting beat often.
Let's look at who will likely be available when the Eagles pick:
I used reverse order of super bowl odds to create the draft order. In this scenario the Eagles would be picking 15th.
1. Jaguars: Marcus Mariota- Bridgewater is most people's favorite to be the top QB drafted. If it were up to me I think I would have to go with the Duck. Both Mariota and Bridgewater are 6'3'' but Mariota (who is not a thick guy) is 16 lbs heavier than Bridgewater. Add that to the fact that Mariota is a far superior runner of the football and has faced a much stronger schedule while putting up comparable stats.
4. Raiders: Sammy Watkins- Terrell Pryor has been a great surprise for Raiders fans. Sammy Watkins may end up running the fastest 40 time for WR's just like Heyward-Bey, but that is where all comparison end.
6. Steelers: Jake Matthews- According to Pro Football Focus the Steelers have actually had one of the better offensive lines in the NFL this year, despite a rating worse than -10 from Marcus Gilbert their tackle.
7. Giants: Anthony Barr- While Barr is not a typical 4-3 pass rusher he is too good for the Giants to pass on. What was once the premier pass rush in football is now one of the many weaknesses on a pathetic Giants squad.
8. Vikings: Marqise Lee- Christian Ponder has proven that he is not the quarterback of the future in Minnesota. The Vikings would love to end up with one of the top 3 QB's in the draft. This time around the front office doesn't reach for a quarterback and waste another 3 years realizing he's not the answer. They go with Josh Freeman for 2014. it is just as likely they do go with Brett Hundley or even Johnny Manziel here.
9. Panthers: Mike Evans- The Panthers defense looks legit this year. Mike Evans might be the perfect compliment opposite Steve Smith for Cam Newton.
11. Chargers: Taylor Lewan- We all know that King Dunlap is not a starting LT in this league. DJ Fluker doesn't have the feet to play the left side and the Chargers need to protect the resurgent Phillip Rivers.
12. Cardinals: Cyrus Kouandjio- It's possible that Bruce Arian's falls in love with a strong armed QB like Zach Mettenberger but the offensive line is still a huge area of need for the Cardinals. If this were to come to fruition, the Cardinals would have one of the most improved offensive lines in 2014, getting Kouandjio and the best guard I've ever seen in college, Jonathan Cooper, back.
14. Redskins: Ha Ha Clinton Dix- I know we all think that our secondary is bad, well the Redskins is even worse.
15. Eagles: Khalil Mack- This would be a no brainer pick for me here. Khalil Mack showed against Ohio St that he has the talent to dominate better competition. For someone with his speed and athleticism he has a pretty impressive bull rush.
Other top players that would be available in this scenario:
Louis Nix III- I almost mocked Nix to several different teams. There is no doubt he is one of the better DT's to come out of the draft in a while but DT's have been dropping in recent drafts and usually take longer to develop. He would be a great addition to the defensive line though.
Kyle Van Noy- He always seems to be around the ball but this seems a bit too high for a player like Van Noy. Mack to me is clearly the better option at OLB.
Jason Verrett/Bradley Roby- Odds are one of the top CB's in the draft will be available when the Eagles select but I have a feeling that Howie will pass.
CJ Mosely- Mosely would provide an upgrade at either ILB position and has experience in a 3-4. Hopefully Ryans can start to play like he did last year and ILB will not need to be addressed early in the draft.
One last tidbit. Two players to keep an eye on later in the draft.
Sean Parker (S, Washington)- He reminds me of a quicker Jaiquawn Jarrett. Before you go crazy let say that Jaiqawn was a good safety at Temple and many of us were happy with the selection. He was one of the best tacklers I have seen at the safety position in college. Currently Parker is not even ranked on Mocking the Draft even though he is my third favorite safety behind Clinton-Dix and Loston.
Chris Whaley (DT, Texas)- I had never heard of this kid before this weekend after he had a pick 6 against Oklahoma. Whaley was a 4 star recruit at RB coming out of highschool (8th ranked RB in the country). Now he's pushing 295 lbs and will likely impress at the combine.
Would you be satisfied if the Eagles left the 2014 Draft with Khalil Mack? I sure as hell would. For those who have been saying they want to go after Orakpo in FA (which he likely won't get to), I think that Mack is clearly a better option.