The draft is just a week and 4 hours from now and team's are making their final preperations. With it being the first draft under Chip Kelly, I sense more excitment and hope from the Eagles fan base. While Howie is still at the reigns, there is atleast a different ind in the draft room and hopefully the overall philopsphy of the organization can change for the better. It may be Howie's final call, but Kelly should have a major influence on what type of players ultimently join the nest.
Kevin Kolb to NYJ for 72nd overall pick (3rd) and 2014 conditional draft pick
Round 1 4th overall
OT Eric Fisher Central Michigan 6'7" 306
The Eagles find themselves in a very good spot at 4 (Either Fisher or Joeckel will be there). They could trade back to 6 or 7, get an extra pick and draft someone like Lane Johnson. Another option would be drafting Utah DT Star Lotulelei. I think he will be a very good player and he fits an area of need. But I think they could get him in the 7-10 range, so taking him hear is a reach in my opinion (draft value not necessarily ability).
Why Tackle- Anyone who watched the Eagles last year would know that they had problems on the offensive line. They were playing without 3 starters for the majority of the season but they are now coming off major injuries. Then you add in the facts that 3 projected starters are over 30 and OT is a position of strength at the top of the draft. Drafting a tackle makes a lot of sense.
Why Fisher- Looking at the top 3 tackles, I think I’m most comfortable with Fisher. Joeckel is the most polished but may have the lowest ceiling. While Johnson as the highest ceiling but has higher bust potential. I think Fisher is right in the middle, higher ceiling than Joeckel but smaller bust potential than Johnson. It’s obvious that OT is a position of need for the Birds. They could put Fisher at RT with the possibility at taking over at LT for Peters down the road and slide Herremans inside to guard. Fisher didn’t face elite competition at Central Michigan but he did look great at at Senior Bowl and when he played against Michigan State.
Round 2 35th overall
Jesse Williams NT Alabama 6'3" 323
Why Nose Tackle: Chip likes to give the offense several different looks but all of the signs in the off-season are pointing to the Birds transitioning to more of a 3-4 defense. For any defense to be successful in the 3-4, a beast at the middle is a must. Sopoaga was signed for that reason, but he is just a short term fix. This is a big need for the Birds come next week.
Why Williams: Anyone who watched Alabama over the last 2 years can’t really argue with drafting one of their starting defensive players. At 323 Jesse can anchor the center of any defense and his 4.99 40 time is impressive for a man of his size. Williams played Nose Tackle for the Tide in his senior season but played the 5 technique during his junior season. This would kill 2 birds with one stone allowing Williams to start this season at the 5 technique, Sopoaga at the NT and Cox at the 3 technique, while also giving the Eagles their Nose Tackle of the future.
3rd Round 68th overall
DJ Swearinger S South Carolina 5'10" 208
Why Safety: The Eagles addressed the safety position in FA by signing Chung and Phillips but that doesn’t mean they can ignore the position in the draft. Chung has shown flashes but has been inconsistent and Phillips has been injury prone and is signed for just one year. They haven’t had success with drafting safeties in the 2nd round, so drafting one in the 3rd sounds better. The theme that I keep hearing from Chip is competition at every position and this would give the Birds 4 safeties who have the talent to be a starter in this league.
Why Swearinger: The fact that he was a 4 year starter in the SEC proves he can play with NFL talent on a consistent basis. DJ is one of the most physical and hardest hitting players in the draft. He is more of an in the box safety but he did have some experience filling in at corner due to injuries. Swearinger would give the Eagles D the toughness and attitude that they have desperately missed since #20 left the nest.
3rd Round 72nd Overall (from NYJ)
Robert Alford CB South East Louisiana 5'10" 188
Why Cornerback: The Eagles have completely revamped their secondary over the offseason but I still think both safety and corner need help. Adding a corner to the trio of Williams, Fletcher and Boykins will make for a lot of competition in camp and that is something Chip loves!
Why Alford: The Eagles have not had a lot of success drafting players from small schools in the early rounds. But I think Alford could a sleeper in this year’s draft. He is has great speed (4.39 40) and despite his smaller size, he isn’t afraid to get physical. Alford would immediately challenge Williams and Fletcher for one of the starting corner jobs.
4th Round 101 Overall
Matt Scott QB ARizona 6'2" 213
Why QB: I don’t believe the QB of the future is on the Eagles roster, so it’s time to take a chance on one in the 4th round. The combination of a weak QB draft class and other more pressing needs slide the QB selection to the 4th round. Maybe if the Eagles move around with their picks, but I just don’t think there is good value picking Smith (4th) or Manuel (35th). Drafting a QB here allows Chip to have a chance at getting his future QB, while still having the option to draft a QB next year.
Why Scott: Yes, I know that Scott took over for Foles last year at Arizona and was his backup during the previous season. But I think that Scott’s skill set is a better fit for what Chip likes to do. He has great straight line speed (4.69 40) and excellent arm strength. Scott is more of a project than Smith or Manuel but his tools aren’t that different. Chip could watch his progress during year one and draft a QB in next year’s stocked draft class if he doesn’t see him as the future.
5th Round 136 Overall
Jake Stoneburner TE Ohio State 6'3" 252
Why TE: The Eagles added James Casey during free agency to a roster with Brent Celek and Clay Harbor. I don’t think Harbor has developed during the last few seasons and adding some competition should push him.
Why Stoneburner: He seems to fit the mold that Chip wants as he is a versatile athlete that can lineup almost anywhere. Stoneburner had the fastest shuttle time of any TE and was near the top in 40 times. He may not have the bulk to hold up blocking but should be able to create mismatches on the outside.
7th Round 210 overall
Eagles select Boise State RB D.J. Harper 5'9" 211
Why RB: With McCoy, Brown and Polk, RB isn’t really a big need. But taking someone hear can’t really hurt.
Why Harper: He is a high character player who has great speed. Haper also played a little bit of QB in the wild cat formation while at Boise. He could be of a change of pace back in the future.
7th round 218 overall
Eagles Select Virgina Tech OT Vinston Painter 6'4" 306
Why OT: A little Depth at Tackle can’t hurt
Why Painter: He is a great athlete (4.95 40 time) at the position and I think that’s the direction Chip would like to go with his offensive line.
7th Round 239 Overall
Eagles select Michigan DE Craig Roh 6'5" 281
Why DE: While transitioning to the 3-4, the Birds need some DE with size.
Why Roh: He simply gives the Birds some depth at the 5 technique.