There is no way we can really predict how it's all going to turn out, even the teams can't predict who they're gonna end up selecting and where, so trying to do a mock draft is like an exercise in futility. So we won't go there right now. What we can do is target some players at each part of the draft and see how it all unfolds. I think that is the best way to look at it.
So we can have a few players that we might like throughout the draft, we can list a few players for each round for the Eagles and try to predict what the Eagles might do. One thing I want to say to you all is that I know nothing about college football, all that I have learned is from all the draft stuff here and elsewhere. So my knowledge is limited when it comes to players /schemes /best fits etc.
But what I did do the other day was try to put together a 53 man roster to see how some of the players that I like in the draft would fit into our roster, and what I realized is some problems in depth at a couple of positions. Especially the offensive line, I didn't realize how bare the cupboard is after the projected starters from last year, there is no depth at all, and who knows if the new coaching staff likes some of the backup O-linemen leftover from the previous coaching staff. There is still a possibility that they might sign an Eric Winston to fill the RT position, but we don't know right now, and so we're not gonna assume that the Eagles are gonna snatch him up at some point before the draft.
So going into the draft, we have
- Peters (LT)
- Mathis (LG)
- Kelce (C)
- Herremans (RG/RT)
- Watkins (G) and some other backups
Assuming that we at least carry 9 OL into the season, we will probably be adding at least one or two lineman via the draft.
Okay, so let's get on with it, we're at 4, and we have some options for a Tackle, and some good ones. Everyone knows the Top 3 players: Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson. Depending on how the Eagles feel about OT depth in the draft, they might just pull the trigger on one of them at # 4, depending on who's left over. Lane Johnson, although ranked 3rd, has only played OL for 2 years but is said to have the most upside of all 3 and had a really good senior bowl and a great combine. He has played both RT and LT and can be an instant plug-in player at the right side of our line, protecting Vick's blind side, or can move to LT in an emergency or permanent role, if needed.
So selecting an OT with our 4th pick seems to be the safest and most obvious selections. But that doesn't mean things are necessarily going to go that way. Maybe the Eagles like the OT depth later in the draft or they value another position at the top of the draft more than the offensive line, then we can go in a totally different direction.
The other obvious need for this team is on the defensive line. Sopoaga is not a 3-down player and we don't know if Antonio Dixon or newly signed Clifton Geathers will fill in to replace him at NT if we go with a 3-4 defense. Also, we have Fletcher Cox as one of the DE's in the 3-4 but we're not sure if Thornton can play or is fit for the other side as of yet. If that is the issue, then the Eagles of course have some options again at the top of the draft with players like Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotuleilei, or Sheldon Richardson. At least 2 out of those 3 should be available when we select. Our defensive line definitely needs a boost, and maybe one of these players might be that "special" player that provides it. Or maybe like the offensive line, the Eagles think that they can get a player later in the draft that might fill the void, but I would think the value is best right here at the top of the draft, be it OL or DL.
So, I have become more open to them selecting either an offensive or defensive lineman with that 4th pick, although not the sexiest of picks, it's a good combination of need and bpa. But as we all know, we don't have the full game plan in hand, so we have no idea what the Eagles draft board looks like. But I wanted to put the most obvious options first, as I realize after putting the 53 man roster together, how badly we need to address both lines. But maybe the Eagles don't think so, and who are we to question them if they think otherwise.
Maybe they were really impressed with Geno Smith to select him as the 4th overall pick, only their inner circle knows. Or maybe Chip Kelly loves the versatility of a Tavon Austin and the different looks Austin can provide in that offense, maybe Kelly thinks he's too good of a player to let go and (pleasantly) surprises a lot of us with that pick, who knows ??? Or better yet, maybe this is all a smokescreen, and they're just trying to get a team to trade up to the # 4 spot so they can get out of there and gather more picks later on. We all know that the talent in the top 5 is not the upper echelon talent that is always there, in a different year, we could have gotten a Patrick Peterson at 4. So maybe the wisest thing is to keep trading down to a spot where they like the value that they're getting for the pick and are able to gather more picks for rounds 2, 3, or 4. I wouldn't be against that either.
If you can somehow parlay that # 4 pick into a lot more picks then I think that would be a wise move as well, as I've heard Howie Roseman and others say that this draft has a lot of depth in the middle rounds. Ideally we'd all like to be the 49ers with the team that they have now and the dearth of picks (one 1st and two picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds, one 5th, two 6th and three 7th rounders), but we can do still do a lot of damage if we trade down from that 4th and gather addt'l picks.
So there you have it, there are a lot of options for us with that 4th pick. Same thing with all the other rounds. The wild card in all this is Chip Kelly and his vision, and preferences to fit that vision into the NFL. I'll be perfectly fine with an OL or DL, will be pleasantly surprised if they do something else, and will just take it all in for this 1st year under a new and hopefully a successful coaching staff and their outlook.
Of course I also have some players I'd like for them to get for my personal enjoyment, I've listed a few, and will be happy to have any of these players here.
- Tavon Austin
- Jonathan Cyprien
- Desmond Trufant
- Alec Ogletree
- Margus Hunt
- Robert Woods
- Travis Kelce
- Josh Boyce
- Knile Davis
- Rontez Miles
- Ryan Swope
- Markus Wheaton
- E. J. Manuel
- etc, etc, etc....
The fun part for me in all this is learning about all these talented players and watching their highlights. I am so excited that we finally have a coach (at least on the offensive side), that can maximize the talents of his players. Would love to see how a real coach does it, had to put up with imitation for so long, don't know what the real thing feels like. I think that is the most exciting part of it all, other than seeing Desean Jackson having to actually sweat it out in these off-season conditioning programs and not just chill up in Cali -- nothing can beat that feeling. And for all this, I thank you city of Philadelphia, whose passion for the team has brought about this perfect storm that got Reid fired and inspired our awesome owner Mr Lurie to go and get the best coach out there... where we go from here is anyone's guess...
P.S. An Early Congrats to Desean Jackson for his lead in the greatest play ever finals over Steve Young.
A Note to the Reader: If you don't mind, please share your list of favorite players in this Draft that you would enjoy seeing on this team.