Like the title suggests, this post is strictly about who we should take at fourth overall. I don't expect us to ever have to pick this high again (in the near future) so hopefully we make this one time count. I will go over who I think are the top eight options at four (in the order I believe they should be in) and then you can all comment as to who you think we should pick in a perfect world.
1. Jarvis Jones 3-4 LB from Georgia
Jarvis Jones is an absolutely incredible playmaker on defense. He stands at 6'3 and weighs 241 pounds. Jones originally committed and played for USC but transferred to Georgia after Carroll left for the NFL. According to NFL.com Jones lacks an "ideal frame" and "doesn't have the potential to bulk [up]". Jones only started for one year; however, that one year was an absolutely incredible year and he doesn't look like a one-year-wonder at all. In his one year starting as a redshirt junior, Jones led the nation in sacks (14.5 which is a Georgia school record), forced fumbles (7), and tackles for loss (24.5 which was also a school record).
According to NFL.com, Jones' greatest asset is his quick first step that consistently pressures tackles' upfield shoulder. He is a "strong tackler" with "excellent length" which he complements with outstanding "short-area quickness to keep contain outside and crash down on inside runs". Although he is small, he was able to "hold his ground" against pulling guards and fullbacks in the mini-NFL which is the SEC. It should also be mentioned that Jones can lock up tight ends in coverage and would be an absolute great fit for a big-time position of need for our Eagles.
Rob Rang made a comment about Jones that I absolutely love: "far from just a pass rusher, Jones proved capable of playing the run as well as dropping back into coverage, demonstrating the combination of instincts, passion, and physicality to catch the attention of scouts". What's not to love about those characteristics?!
Besides his small frame, his lack of experience seems to be hurting his draft stock a bit. Not because people believe he is a one year wonder, but because he has inconsistent hands and "could use a spin or another power move to keep tackles guessing" (NFL.com). These skills will undoubtedly grow with time and I expect Jones to develop these skills with ease.
NFL.com provided Bruce Irvin as an NFL comparison which is understandable because of their size similarities as well as their uncanny ability to rush the passer. I, however, think there is a better comparison out there in the Broncos' Von Miller
2. Star Lotulelei NT from Utah
He stands at 6'3 320 pounds. His arm length is unknown but are described as "shorter than ideal" according to CBS. It should also be mentioned that he will be turning 23 in December because he sat out the 2009 season and he actually played at more than 350 pounds at Snow Junior College in 2008.
According to Rob Rang of CBS, Lotulelei "boasts all of the physical traits to ultimately rank as one of the better, more versatile defensive linemen in the NFL". He seems to still be adapting to the game adding a new move every year. His potential is absolutely off the charts because of his incredible reaction time that you will be able to see in the video I post below and his rare athletic ability for a big man. Rob Rang claims that Lotulelei's biggest weakness is that he is inconsistent. He accredits his short arms for causing difficulties shedding blocks and batting down passes. Lastly, Rang compares Lotulelei to Minnesota Viking, Kevin Williams because of his "similarly dominant combination of quickness and power".
NFL.com also stresses the agility and power of Star Lotulelei but hit on certain topics that I find a bit concerning. These next few things are the only reasons I don't have Lotulelei as our number one guy. As I mentioned before, Star struggled with his weight for a while which is something to keep an eye on. Almost all of the time, weight issues can be attributed to lack of motivation. And that connection certainly works in this case as he "struggled with his passion for the game". Some strengths that NFL.com points out are Star's ability to move down the line and make plays while still engaged. That would be a tremendous skillset addition for the Eagles and would greatly help our linebackers in run defense. Another thing that I liked reading was that Star was inconsistent keeping his eyes in the backfield to find the ball and be violent his hands to shed blocks, BUT he has improved. I'd be really excited if we got this guy because he is already a stud and he is still nowhere near his ceiling. I personally love the NFL comparison that NFL.com predicts, Haloti Ngata. He is the perfect comparison in my eyes.
Lastly, the Eagles would be ecstatic and so should we as nose tackle is a huge position of need and Star could step in and hold down that spot for a solid decade. I wouldn't be surprised if he was the top at his position for most of his career. The
kid married 23 year old with two daughters would be an absolutely great selection. Chip Kelly sounds like he'd be all for it too...check the first video below if you want to hear some PAC-12 coaches speak on Star and also hear his unique story.
3. Luke Joeckel OT from Texas A&M
Joeckel has solid size at 6'6 and 310 pounds. To be the stud that everyone expects Joeckel to be in the pros he must add weight/strength. This is absolutely essential. Joeckel started every game for Texas A&M as a true freshman in 2010 blocking for Ryan Tannehill. This year, Joeckel earned 1st team All American honors as he led Texas A&M with Johnny Manziel to an outstanding season.
Like our own Jason Peters, Joeckel has great feet. Joeckel complements his feet with a strong, consistent punch and technically sound hand placement. He is an absolute stud as an athlete allowing him to recover quickly if he misses his initial punch and maintains a very wide base in pass protection which allows him to have good bend.
In my opinion, Joeckel's only weakness is his build. I'll reiterate this again, he absolutely positively has to add more bulk to his frame so he doesn't get "pushed back by better defensive ends" in the pros. Adding more size should be easy as his frame certainly looks like he can allow it.
With the addition of Joeckel, our line would certainly be back to a very strong, possibly dominant status. I'd imagine our line would look something like this (from left to right): Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, Joeckel. NFL.com compares Joeckel to Ryan Clady of the Denver Broncos. Clady is another athletic stud with great feet so I really like this comparison. Joeckel would certainly be a great pick at #4 as our offense turns itself around instantly because of the brains of our own Chip Kelly.
4. Dee Milliner CB from Alabama
Another experienced player. Milliner started every game as a true freshman for Alabama. This past year, Milliner was attributed with 22 passes defended as well as an impressive 54 tackles as he made his way to becoming a unanimous selection to the first-team All-American squad. Milliner has great size standing at 6'1 and 200 pounds.
There is a lot to like about Milliner. I could easily have placed him at the 1 slot because he fits a position of need and has unbelievable ability and size. He isn't in my one slot, however, and that is because there are other corners that will still be available in the second round that we can scoop up and make a big-time impact as well (my favorite being Jordan Poyer from Oregon State).
Besides his size, Milliner is also special because of his football IQ. Playing under Saban, Milliner learned a whole lot about "advanced pattern-reading principles" (NFL.com) and was consistently directing linebackers on combination coverages outside. Milliner has fluid hips and a rare ability of being able to jump and knock away jump balls against larger receivers. My favorite attribute of Milliner is his willingness and ability to make tackles. Watching Asante Samuel play all of these years has left me begging and pleading for a corner that can actually bring a guy down.
Milliner is a very sound player and the only weakness I can attribute to him is a very temporary one. "Like all Saban cornerbacks, he was not taught or asked to backpedal in college, and will need to develop new technique and footwork". This is not an imminent concern of mine at all. Milliner is a technician and this change should be easy.
CBS makes their comparison to Charles Tillman of the Bears. I think this is a great comparison because of their similar size and ability to tackle. NFL.com compares Milliner to 49ers corner, Carlos Rogers. This is another solid comparison. Milliner is NFL ready and I think he would also be an awesome selection for our Birds at pick #4.
5. Dion Jordan 3-4 LB from Oregon
Jordan has rare size standing at 6'7 and 241 pounds. He is a tremendous athlete who was initially recruited as a top ten tight end recruit in the nation. An interesting story to note: Jordan didn't play in his senior year in high school because of a home fire that left him with second or third degree burns over almost half of his body. Jordan is currently recovering from a torn labrum which he recently had surgery on.
Jordan obviously has tremendous length and should translate well to the 3-4 linebacker position in the NFL after playing a hybrid role at Oregon. Like Mingo, Jordan is not afraid to pop somebody. Has solid speed which he complements with impressive short-area quickness (especially for a 6'7 guy like himself). He has solid moves as a pass rusher but my favorite attribute that he possesses is his willingness to stick his shoulder into a lead blocker to free up other defenders. This attribute is very, very important and has been preached by great linebacker coaches like Mike Singletary for years. This attribute right here is very much responsible for the great linebacker that Ray Lewis has become, a trait that was passed down from his LB coach, Singletary.
NFL.com believes that Jordan needs to add more upper body strength which I am sure that he will develop as the years go by. They also state that he is susceptible to cut blocks (probably due to his height) but that's an expense that you're willing to take because his length is bringing back some big-time revenue (accounting major...had to do it).
Another thing that I love about Jordan is his covering ability. At Oregon, he would often line up against slot receivers and tight ends. That's a special dude. Jordan should turn out to be a stud in the NFL. NFL.com compares him to Julian Peterson. I like the comparison. There aren't many players that have succeeded at linebacker with Jordan's size;but I don't see that being a reason to not take Jordan. His size is elite when complemented by his athleticism.
6. Eric Fisher OT from Central Michigan
Fisher is a very intriguing prospect and I would be very happy if we took him at #4 as well. He stands at 6'8 and weights 305 pounds. He has solid strength but should continue to add weight and strength as his playing career continues. He gained 55 pounds in his college career and looks like he can still pack on some more pounds without hindering his agility.
Fisher has some nastiness to him, something that I've been missing since the Runyan days. As expected because of his height, his arms are long as hell which helps him get a solid punch (although his hand speed can certainly be improved). He consistently finished his blocks with a shove which is a characteristic I absolutely adore. Combo blocks effectively and makes impressive blocks at the second and third levels similar to our own, Jason Peters.
As I already mentioned Fisher definitely needs to improve his hand speed as well as add some more weight. NFL.com compares Fisher to Joe Staley which an awesome comparison but I see him more as a more talented Jon Jansen. Jansen played for the Redskins and Lions from 1999 to 2009. I really, really like Fisher if Joeckel is off the board and we are seriously considering an offensive tackle in the first round. Like I said for Joeckel, Fisher would definitely step in right away and start at right tackle helping us get back to having a stellar offensive line.
7. Chance Warmack OG from Alabama
Warmack stands at 6'3 320 pounds. He has started every game for Alabama in the past three seasons. He was a consensus All-American this past season during Alabama's run to the national title.
Warmack has now started and won two National Championships during his college career. Warmack is very strong and thick. His legs are incredibly strong and he has the ability to block at the second and third level despite his stout frame. He has very light feet, a strong punch, and very good length (especially for his short stature).
I honestly do not see any weaknesses in Warmack's game. He isn't great at everything. But he is at the very least solid in every aspect. NFL.com compares him to Carl Nicks. Nicks is one of the top guards in the league. CBS compares Warmack to Will Shields, who was a first ballot finalist for the Hall of Fame this year. This is very high praise and I think it is well-warranted. Chance Warmack will be an absolute stud in this league for years to come. I don't see him lasting outside of the top ten picks. Who's gonna step up and snag an elite guard this early? I certainly wouldn't mind if it were the Eagles. If this were to happen, Herremans would stay at RT and Warmack would slide into the starting RG spot from day 1 and never let it go.
8. Barkevious Mingo 3-4 LB from LSU
Mingo has great height (6'5) and a long frame that provides a very high ceiling for the raw 3-4 LB. He weighs 242 pounds and will more than likely add a couple of more before the NFL season begins. NFL.com has him labeled as a "proverbial boom or bust candidate" but this guy's boom is big enough for me to place him as our 8th best option at pick #4.
Mingo has great feet and straight-line speed. Most importantly, he uses his length to his advantage by keeping impressive separation from blockers as he works through blocks. Mingo loves contact and covers very effectively. His first step is very explosive and he should provide a very solid pass rush from the weak side in a 3-4 scheme.
NFL.com points out that he will "often get too focused on scrapping with his blocker instead of getting his eyes in the backfield to find the ball". This, along with Mingo's lack of moves to disengage, can be accredited to his lack of experience (Mingo started playing football in his junior year of high school). With time, I can't see Mingo not being an absolute stud.
Mingo has consistently been drawing comparisons to Cowboys' Demarcus Ware. I love this comparison but I think he could also turn out to be free-agent, Vernon Gholston. Mingo, like all boom or bust candidates, is scary. BUT his ceiling is so high that I would not be disappointed in the least bit if the Eagles swooped in and took Mingo at #4.