Some hack who used to write for this blog by the name of Jimmy Kempski tweeted out an interesting chart on Wednesday morning:
If Mel Kiper's initial mock drafts over the last 5 years were 100% accurate, here's who your team would have drafted: pic.twitter.com/riGs2f4yVH— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) February 18, 2015
Update: Read our NFL Draft scouting reports 2015 for the top prospects.
What Jimmy's highlighting here is the inaccuracy of Kiper's first mock drafts. But I can't help look at this chart and wonder... would the Eagles have been better off drafting the players Kiper had them picking instead of the players they actually took? Let's compare.
Kiper's picks instead of Eagles picks
2010) Navorro Bowman over Brandon Graham
The Eagles infamously traded up to draft Graham instead of taking safety Earl Thomas. Here, imagine the Eagles stay put and take Bowman instead. The Penn State alumnus has had a successful career in San Francisco; he's been named first-team All Pro in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Graham is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason and could realistically sign with a different team due to high demands. The Eagles would have been better off keeping the picks and taking Bowman, though in reality the linebacker wasn't drafted until the third round at pick No. 91.
2011) Gabe Carimi over Danny Watkins
Yikes. Both of these offensive linemen were big busts. The difference, however, is that Carimi actually has interest in playing football. He's still in the league. Carimi over Watkins wouldn't have been that much better of a pick by any means, but a fringe backup is slightly more valuable than literally nothing.
2012) Luke Kuechly over Fletcher Cox
This is the first tough one. A linebacking corps that features Kuechly and Bowman would be too good to pass up. Then again, Fletcher Cox is an absolute beast. It's really hard to go wrong here. Plus Kuechly was off the board when the Eagles picked anyway, so it's not like they can kick themselves for passing over him.
2013) Dee Milliner over Lane Johnson
Easy to see the Eagles made the better pick here. Johnson is a stud. The same can't be said for Milliner in his time with the Jets so far.
2014) Kelvin Benjamin over Marcus Smith II
Smith only played 105 snaps in 2014 while Benjamin made highlight plays for Carolina. The Birds could have used Benjamin over Riley Cooper. But Benjamin might not be good as his big numbers appear. His garbage time statistics were historically great. Five of his touchdowns came when the Panthers were trailing by 21 or more points in the 4th quarter. Remember when Cary Williams completely shut him down when the Eagles-Panthers game was actually competitive?
Benjamin’s not a great route runner, drops a lot of passes (tied for second most), commits a lot of penalties by pushing off (tied for first), not a great blocker, and near the bottom of league in YAC ability (101 out of 110 WRs). He's not exactly "young" in terms of prospect age either at 24 already. By comparison, Smith is 22.
There's no denying Benjamin has been the more productive player in the short-term. But there's still a lot of time for that to change. That said, Smith has a lot of ground to make up.
Who would you rather have?
Kiper's first round picks: Navorro Bowman, Gabe Carimi, Luke Kuechly, Dee Milliner, Kelvin Benjamin
Eagles first round picks: Brandon Graham, Danny Watkins, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Marcus Smith II
The 2015 Draft
This year, Kiper's first mock has the Eagles taking Washington cornerback Marcus Peters at No. 20. Considering the culture concerns, this pick doesn't seem to be realistic right now. Kiper may have gotten the position right, however, considering Philadelphia's need for a cornerback.