Over the last week I have really taken some time out of my day to research what the Eagles could do in this draft within the first 4 rounds. Today I am just focusing on them strictly taking players at their given picks, but considering the Eagles have been one of the most active teams involving trades on draft day, we all know it is unlikely they stay where they are at in each round. For each pick in the first four rounds I am going to list 4 or 5 players that the Eagles might consider. I’ll also comment on who I PERSONALLY would pick at each spot and say what you want about my picks, but ALL of my picks will be on the board when we pick so there is no wishful thinking with my picks.
First Round, 4th overall pick
Dion Jordan– A fierce, dynamic OLB who fits the 3-4 scheme perfectly. Long, quick pass rusher who might cause have in the same way Aldon Smith has for the 49ers the past few seasons. A true game changer that our defense needs. Big issue with him would be his lack of experience on defense.
Star Lotulelei– A massive NT who could really help the Eagles transition into a hybrid 3-4 defense. He is being compared to Haloti Ngata, but Star is about 30 lbs. lighter and 2 inches shorter than Ngata so the comparison is a bit off. My problem with Star is that he might not be a 3 down lineman and with the 4th overall pick, you can’t draft a guy who has to come off the field on 3rd downs.
Sharrif Floyd– Another important position in constructing a 3-4 defense is to find a 5 technique DE. Chances are that Floyd won’t be there at the 4th pick has he seems to be the best defensive player in the draft and I just can’t see the Raiders passing on him. If he is there for the Eagles I think Howie runs to the podium to make the pick.
Eric Fisher– At 6’7″, Eric Fischer is a mountain of a man. He will probably end up being a Pro Bowler for years to come, but a starting RT is not a need for the Eagles. Depth however is and might be something the Eagles look for in the later rounds. If Fisher is there for the Eagles at 4, the phone will be ringing off the hook to make a deal. Watch the Eagles move back 5 or 6 picks and pick up a second round pick if Fisher is there.
Who I’d Pick: Geno Smith– Everyone and their mother says that Geno Smith is not the 4th best player in this draft and I agree with that. However, I want to build for the future. There is plenty of depth along the offensive line and on defense to find suitable player in the 2nd and 3rd round to help build this team. Right now, I’d want to build around a QB for the future and also upgrade our back-up QB position at the same time. We need a good back-up because Vick IS NOT going to make it through 16 games.
Second Round, 25th overall pick
E.J. Manuel- This is probably the more realistic QB that the Eagles take to develop. Big QB at almost 6’5″, 240 lbs. To me, he looks like a Jamarcus Russell clone as he might eat himself out of the league, but he is mobile and tough with an NFL arm. His accuracy needs a little work, but a year on the bench could help mold him. I’d be okay with Manuel if the Eagles get Dion Jordan round 1. The QB position HAS TO be addressed considering we have a 33-year-old brittle QB on a one year deal and Nick Foles as the most likely starter next season. Ew.
Eric Reid– Reading the tea leaves with the contract they gave Kenny Phillips tells me that the Birds are going to hedge their bet on Phillips and address the depth with a pick of a safety at some point in this draft. Maybe they have a sleeper in the later rounds, but Reid is a Free Safety who can cover deep down field, but also wrap and tackle, a problem we have seen in the past with our safeties.
Jonathan Banks- Big CBs are going to become the rage in the NFL. Banks is 6’2″ and played in the SEC so you know he has seen the best. I personally, like, don’t love, our current CB’s, but in this passing league you can never have too many CBs. Banks has been slipping down draft boards as of late so he could be a nice steal in the second round.
Who I’d Take: Justin Pugh- Addressing the interior offensive line position is a big need right now for the Eagles. He may be able to start his career out at RG then could kick over to RT in a year or two. He is a very underrated tackle, but could be plugged in on the right side of the line to fix the Danny Watkins mistake. Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Pugh and Herremans sounds like a solid starting offensive line to me. Depth can be found later.
Third Round, 67th overall pick
Travis Kelce- Yes, that is the younger brother of Jason Kelce. He is a big TE who might help with the red zone issues the Eagles have had the past 3 seasons. Celek is coming off of a poor year and Clay Harbor hasn’t been very impressive. This pick is unlikely, but is an area of need.
Johnathan Hankins– Nose Tackle has been a big topic of conversation the past couple weeks and Hankins is a good option at the NT position. At 6’3″, 320 lbs, he is a little small for a NT, but I’m sure he could add about 10 lbs without losing a step. Having multiple NTs will go along way in this defense as those guys get beat up. Hankins was a beast for Ohio State and can be contributor for the Eagles.
Tyrann Mathieu– I simply love this guy. If it wasn’t for his off the field problems and small size , he’d be an easy top 40 pick. The draft is about “risk/reward” and this guy is the definition of high risk/high return. All he did in college was cause turnovers and make plays. Heisman finalist who can be dangerous returning punts and also cover in the slot amongst the quick WRs. I have no problem with the Eagles taking Tyrann with the 3rd round pick.
Who I’d Pick: Johnathan Jenkins- Now this guy is a NT! 6’4″, 358 lbs. He will clog that middle and keep those ILBs free on running downs. Jenkins was the dominant NT for Georgia that allowed Alec Ogletree to use his great athleticism and make plays. I strongly believe in ANY sport, you need to be strong up the middle.
4th Round, 101st overall pick
Sam Montgomery– If the Eagles decide to wait on a pass rusher, Sam might be the type of pass rusher they target late. He had 1st round written all over him before his dumb comments at the combine about taking plays off and make bets with teammates has caused some teams to question his motives. If the Eagles pass on Jordan early, Montgomery could be a nice situational pass rusher the team needs for this hybrid defense.
Barrett Jones– Here is a nice pick for the Eagles if they decide to wait on the offensive line position. Barrett Jones has played at all three positions for Alabama while winning 3 national championship and opening holes for running backs like Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. He is falling in the draft due to a Lisfranc injury sustained at the end of the season so many teams are strictly going off of his game film and don’t know when he will be able to contribute. I’ll take a 4 year starter on the Crimson Tide o-line any day of the week. Scouts will nitpick, but I’d say look at the production.
T.J. McDonald– A tough free safety that might be slipping down the board due to his poor 40 yard dash. He might be more of a strong safety in the NFL, but if the Eagles miss out on the top-tier safeties in the early rounds, getting a guy like this from USC could be great for this defense. He hits like a Mack truck, but might have some trouble in coverage. Probably a big upgrade over Kurt Coleman from day one.
Who I’d Pick: Nico Johnson– The reason DeMeco Ryans was traded from Houston to Philly was mainly due to his inability to be as effective in a 3-4 scheme. For that reason, the Eagles need to prepare in case Ryans has similar problems OR in case Mychal Kendricks doesn’t work well in the middle. Nico is a tough ILB that Philly would love. Very underrated ILB.
If the Eagles were to end up with Geno Smith, Justin Pugh, Jonathan Jenkins and Nico Johnson we would be able to address our short-term and long-term needs. There is no sure-fire thing in this draft so if we are going to take a gamble with our 4th pick, I’d rather gamble with Geno Smith at 4 rather than a right tackle, a position that could be acquired in the second round. With that said, I think we can all agree that if the Eagles do not get a QB with one of the first two picks in the draft, we will all be very disappointed.