The draft is roughly four weeks away and while we have been keeping busy on BGN with piles of draft profiles, it is time to add some more fun before the big day. I have offered my opinion on the draft in comment sections and on Twitter and have obviously done my evaluation on the several players that we have spotlighted. That said, I get emails and Twitter questions all the time about my opinion on certain areas of the draft and I figured a new Saturday series over the next four weeks would be a good way to explain my outlook. I want to start a discussion, so I will address a few topics per weekend and we can go from there. The following is strictly my opinion. Here we go:
Trading for Dion Jordan: Leading up to last year's draft, I was not a huge proponent of taking Jordan with the third overall pick. While his athleticism is hard to rival and his coverage ability is fantastic for a man of his size, Jordan's tape did not show me enough quality pass rushing or an understanding of the game to trust him there. That said, if the Eagles were picking at No. 15, I would have had no issue with him as the pick. Jordan is a crazy talent and I would jump for joy if the Eagles traded Brandon Graham and second round pick for him.
I have seen some suggest trading the No. 22 overall pick for Jordan, but I am not a fan of that idea for a few reasons. For one, prospects are like a cars, they lose value once they are selected and very rarely do first round picks retain their value, especially after a year (unless the deal involves Ryan Grigson). It does not matter that the player was selected by a different general manager or that he is not a scheme fit, as that is not the Eagles problem. If the Dolphins are willing to get rid of Jordan (I am not saying that they do), then that is their issue.
Another reason that you don't deal No. 22 is that a first round pick equals power in a draft like this. Most teams would like to trade down because of the depth. With six picks in this draft, the Eagles only real means for adding more prominent picks is with their first selection. If Philadelphia traded down to No. 29 or 30, they could likely still add a likely starter along with one middle and one late round pick. That is adding three players (two possible starters or heavy role players) for the price of Jordan, who until proven otherwise, is still a project player with high upside.
I have also been asked about who I would prefer between UCLA's Anthony Barr and Jordan. The answer is definitely Jordan due to his contract, his familiarity with Chip Kelly and his coverage ability. That said, the follow up is always something like "Well then why wouldn't you trade No. 22 for him then?" That is a great question. For one, Barr is a nice player, but I am not particularly sold on him the way the masses are right now. He is going to need work and I am a big believe in trading down in this draft regardless. There will be teams that want the Eagles pick if a guy like Barr or even Teddy Bridgewater falls. That is when Roseman can do his work. I know some of you will not like my view of Barr but I don't appreciate his coverage ability and question his pass rushing prowess as well. The guy may struggle to get off blocks at the next level.
Trading up: This week there have been inklings that Eagles could trade up for Texas A&M's Mike Evans. Some believe Evans is a Top 10 guy, others put him in the Top 15. With that in consideration, the Eagles would have to trade up for the 6-foot-5 pass catcher. This would likely require either a future first or No. 54. That would be dealing two premium picks for a wide receiver after just releasing DeSean Jackson. That is probably a pretty tough sell to the fanbase, despite Evans' talent. On top of that, it is not very practical.
If the Eagles deal a future first to get into the Top 10, they will not be covered in the case that Nick Foles regresses to the point that they don't want to lock him up long term. That's a bit far fetched but not out of the realm of possibility. If they were to deal No. 54, they would be giving up a major pick in a round that features the best Day 2 we may have ever seen. That doesn't seem like a smart move in a draft that everyone wants to trade back in.
I subscribe to the thinking that the Eagles will likely trade back instead of dealing to get in the top 10 or 15. That said, if Evans were to fall to 18 and it would only cost the Eagles a fourth round pick, I could see them making the move.
Big people beat up little people: I appreciate this theory greatly. That said, I believe this mostly pertains to defense. The addition of Darren Sproles highlights that in my opinion. For defense, I believe size is a beautiful thing for Kelly and Billy Davis. It is part of the reason I have highlighted folks on offense like Jalen Saunders and Brandin Cooks and have refrained from undersized guys like Lamarcus Joyner on defense (for the most part). While I do believe the Eagles endless visits with large wide receivers is genuine, the Eagles likely have interest in pass catchers of all sizes.
On defense, the Eagles seem to be checking out large bodies. They have even had some 4-3 defensive ends test in outside linebacker drills, when it seems that most of the draft community believes those transitions aren't likely. I know it is easy to rely purely on stereotypes and common threads, but remember, the Eagles have drafted Matt Barkley, signed Mark Sanchez and started Nick Foles in the 12 months, when everyone has been convinced that Kelly needs or wants a mobile guy.
NFL Draft Profiles Series: Well, this has probably been my favorite project in the 14 months that I have worked at BGN. We are looking at 63 profiles by the conclusion of the run and its likely that of those players, at least three are selected by the Eagles. I have been asked about certain players being spotlighted on the series and I appreciate the interest. However, I have already done the remainder of the posts, so here is a list of the remaining players and when they will publish:
Sleeper Week (4/14-4/18)
M 4/14: Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse
T 4/15: Jonathan Newsome, OLB, Ball State
W 4/16: A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
R 4/17: Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota
F 4/18: Marcus Williams, CB, North Dakota State
Wide Receiver Week (4/21-4/25)
M 4/21: Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh
T 4/22: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
W 4/23: Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
R 4/24: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
F 4/25: Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska
Variety Week (4/28-5/2)
M 4/28: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
T 4/29: Yawin Smallwood, ILB, Connecticut
W 4/30: Trai Turner, G, LSU
R 5/1: Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia
F 5/2: Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
The Final Two and Position Ratings (5/6-5/8)
M 5/6: Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
T 5/7: Will Sutton, NT, Arizona State
W 5/8: Kaye Position Ratings
I have done tape work on around 140 players this year and will hopefully be up to 180 by May 8th, which is the reason these profiles have been done in advance. I typically don't put together my big board until I feel I have watched enough players that would qualify for a Top 150. I have been somewhat all over the place with prospects this year due to the extended amount of time. That said, over the next few weeks we will be discussing several topics and your input is always welcomed by the staff. We are in the home stretch now, boys and girls!