I preface this draft by acknowledging that this team is 2 strong drafts away. This would be the first of them. The Desean trade threw a kink in my initial mock, so I decided this would be a good opportunity to scrap it and take another pass. This includes trading their #22 pick (which I believe is in their best interest, exception given to a few certain players below being available at 22). Say the partner is Denver, a desperate win-now team who wants to grab a receiver and offer their late 1 and an extra 3 & 6. The trade value math may not be perfect, but it’s close (it actually favors Denver per a quick look at the chart, so it's at least plausible). A similar opportunity could be someone coming up for Derek Carr. But let’s just say they take Denver’s 31, late 3rd pick (95) and a 6th; in exchange for #22.
I put this in "Who I’d want them to take" vs. "who I suspect they’ll take" format. Enjoy!
1. SHOULD take: TRADE BACK for value targeting BENJAMIN or NIX. If by some miracle Pryor is still there (doubt it, see below) - you take him.
If they keep 22, there are only a small handful of players that are worth selecting there in my opinion. That is; players who actually have a chance of being there. They are: PRYOR, BARR, DENNARD, and GILBERT. I’ve been strongly on the Calvin Pryor bandwagon every since the season ended. I believe he will be a star, a leader and show better coverage ability than everyone thinks he is capable. Unfortunately, I don’t believe he is very high on the eagles list. I imagine they view him as a good in-the-box safety who is limited in coverage and that lack of versatility (along with the #1 receiver gap they created by releasing Jackson a year too early) will keep Pryor out of an Eagles uni. No, I’m not high on Dee Ford…I don’t think he’s a value at 22 (more a late first, traceback target if anything) and I absolutely HATE the thought of M. Lee from USC.
WILL take: I think they will take the highest rated remaining receiver, be it Lee, Beckham, etc. While I think Cooks can play, I believe this "2nd tier" group (those 1st rounders outside of Watkins, Evans) are only marginally better than many of the others projected to go in rounds: 2-3 (Robinson, Matthews, Lattimore, Bryant, etc). Also, I just hate the idea of adding another 6’ receiver in this spot. No thanks.
2. SHOULD take: I think KVN will be here for this pick, if it stands (wouldn’t mind him - good insurance for Demeco leaving or Kendricks not being resigned). I don’t think Trent Murphy will last until this spot. Both would be good options for a 2nd rounder, but if they traded back in the first (like I hope) - my plan would be to package the extra 3 from Denver and trade up targeting CB Fuller (VT) or WR Robinson from PSU (if they went with Nix in rd 1). If they stay put, I think they have a shot at S Buchanon (Wash St) with their original pick and they would then have an extra 3rd to gamble with.
WILL take: I believe this is where they replace Trent Cole. They’ll take the best available pass rusher. Attaochu is widely mocked and I believe he would be the guy if hers on the board. I’m just not as high on him as most. I’ll save Merrill Reese the trouble ;)
3. SHOULD take: Shayne Skov. Immediate special teamer and first backer off the bench. Love the guy’s attitude and toughness. Becomes Demeco’s successor should he refuse a restructure next year (which I believe he will). If not Skov, then I also really like Christian Jones, if he is still available at this point. If they successfully execute the aforementioned trade, they have another 3rd who becomes: Jaylen Watkins (CB depth) or Ahmad Dixon (S with upside).
WILL take: I think they take their first DB here, with Dion Bailey (who drops). I suspect they’ll go best available DB, be it corner or safety.
4. SHOULD take: Aaron Colvin. May go earlier for the same reason I’m selecting him here - this is a guy with good size and was widely projected to be an early 2nd day pick prior to the ACL. Much like I loved the idea of getting Boykin in 2012 (I actually was screaming at the TV when they passed on him with the second 2nd pick). When they got him in the 4rth, I looked at my buddy and said they just totally stole this guy. I should also say that this team is several years away (and was BEFORE dumping Jackson). Colvin will be one of your 2015 starters when they cut Williams and/or Fletcher. To get that in the 4rth round would be a steal once again, and I think there’s a chance some team may have the same idea in the 3rd / early 4th.
WILL take: I believe if Taj Boyd is still on the board - he could be the pick. If not, they continue to add with best available DB/S.
5. SHOULD take: De’Anthony Thomas I love the idea of adding a versatile home-run hitter like DAT here. He becomes immediate starter on returns and functions as a change-of-pace slot / rb / offensive weapon. However, I thought this was a possibility before Sproles came aboard. While I like Sproles - he probably only has 2-3 quality years left and I would have much rather preferred to build through youth.
WILL take: I think they will draft their 2nd WR here. I also think they would consider the Jordan Tripp (whom they’ve already had in for a visit).
6. In my scenario, they got a 6th rounder from Denver. They take Colt Lyerla. They pal him up with Ertz, Celek’s (very near-term) replacement. I love the value here and would consider moving a future pick just to secure him. I don’t care about what they say - this guy is WAYYY more talented than his draft projection estimates. Not only will he make the team - he will play. Some think he could be an undrafted FA - I don’t believe that. In fact, I could easily see a scenario where a team takes a chance on that talent earlier.
7. SHOULD take: Aaron Lynch I think a guy that would be worth taking a shot on would be Aaron Lynch - in fact, he would be one of my top undrafted free agents if he’s not picked. Provides OLB depth and they cross their fingers that he shines with good coaching. This guy had a down year, but has great size, athleticism. Overall, a player with quality potential who slides based on an off year.
WILL take: An unknown G/T or RB (please no more RBs! We’ve got quality depth there).
I didn’t draft any lineman, as I believe last year’s rookie Matt Tobin is going to be an in-house solution at G/T. I like our DE depth (expecting Joe Kruger to flash in camp) and have a good feeling about OLB Travis Long, from a depth perspective. For those counting at home, my haul includes: Nix/Benjamin, Fuller/Robinson, Skov, Colvin, DAT, Lylera and Lynch. They get 2 (near-term future) starters at CB, defensive improvements across the board and several (high ceiling) toys for Chip - - - priming up for a ’15 run!!!).