Hard to believe the 1st round of the NFL draft is in 2 days(!) Obviously, everyone more than understands how important this draft is for the Birds. It's highly imperative that with the #4 pick of the draft, they use it as a huge stepping stone for hopefully years of Super Bowl contention (and maybe even a parade, if it's not too much to ask. :-) ) So, with this all-important decision to make, who do i think they should take? So glad you ask! I think it should be Lane Johnson, the OT from Oklahoma.
Truth be told, I actually prefer Eric Fisher, but recent news indicate that he'll probably be gone by the time the Eagles pick. Luckily, Johnson isn't too far behind Fisher in terms of talent and skill. He's very big (6' 6" and 303 LBs), very athletic (runs a 4.72 40 time and has arms that are 35" long), versatile (has played left and right tackle at OU), and has great intangibles (was Academic All-Big 12 1st Team in 2011 and 2012). Not to mention, tackle represents a need for the Eagles, both short-term and long-term. Sure, Jason Peters looks like he'll back at left tackle in September, but there are no guarantees he will still be his previously dominant self, and he'll be 31 when the season starts. Drafting Johnson will give the line a long-term replacement for Peters, at the least. Meantime, he could play at right tackle, allowing Todd Herremans to move back inside at right guard, strengthening the o-line that much more.
If this isn't enough, I found out, thanks to pro-football-reference.com, that they have been 14 OTs that were drafted within the 1st five overall picks since 1994, the first year of the current 7-round format. All but 4 wound up making at least one Pro Bowl. Obviously, this by no means proves that Lane Johnson will be a Pro Bowl tackle, but at least the recent track record of players at his position taken that high has been solid.
Now, just because Johnson is my first choice, this doesn't mean that I will definitely be upset if they took someone else. I also believe Star Lotulelei and Dion Jordan would be good choices to draft at #4. I just like the chances of Johnson being a tad better at his position than Jordan and Lotulelei will be at theirs, that's all (Although, the track record for outside linebackers taken that high since '94 is also good: 6 players, 4 Pro Bowlers. Not so much for defensive tackles , though: 8 players, 3 Pro Bowlers.) Also, I wouldn't mind if they traded down from the #4 pick (as long as they're still in the top 15), considering the depth of good players in this year's draft. No matter what they do, the Eagles will need - repeat, NEED - to decide wisely. All that's at stake is the future of Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman's careers and the next era of Eagles football. So, I just want to tell them both, good luck, we're all counting on you.