Philadelphia Eagles 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 4: 7 Rounds
Philadelphia Eagles Seven Round Mock Draft
NFL Free agency is winding down at this point, while talks turn more towards the draft set for late April. The Philadelphia Eagles at this point still have nine draft picks to use on varying draft prospects. Four of the nine picks are seventh-round picks, which may require more scouting than higher picks to unmask hidden or overlooked talent. The Eagles possess the fourth overall pick and early picks in every round except for the sixth round, in which they have no pick after trading it to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for WR Arrelious Benn and their seventh round pick.
The Eagles FA has been superb to this point and it seems as though they are still active, adding WR Ifeanyi Momah two days ago. They also acquired DE Clifton Geathers in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts and signed P Donnie Jones in the past few days.
Matt Williamson, ESPN.com, graded the NFC teams and their FA moves to this point, giving the Eagles the highest grade of all with an A. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, general manager Howie Roseman and crew formulated a plan and have executed it to perfection. The next step for them, aside from continuing their FA brilliance, is to have a great draft.
With all the acquisitions through FA and trades, the Eagles have filled a number of holes and appear to have plenty of competition for roster spots. This changes their draft strategy from filling needs to taking the best available player with their picks.
First Round: Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah
Versatility and size are two traits that Kelly has mentioned he likes in his players. DT Star Lotulelei from Utah possesses both of those traits and a lot more. Unable to participate in the NFL Combine due to a diagnosed heart condition, Lotulelei has since been cleared for physical activity and worked out at his pro day. He dominated his performance and has a private workout scheduled with the Eagles.
The date of this workout is still unknown at this time, possibly due to pending tests from doctors to further diagnose Lotulelei. Aside from his heart condition, which may be less burdensome as originally feared, he is widely considered the top or second best DT in this class. A three year starter that possesses an excellent combination of height and bulk that is considered elite versus the run.
While Eagles new NT Isaac Sopoaga was brought in to man the defensive middle, Lotulelei may be the NT of the future for the Eagles. His versatility will allow him to also play other positions along the defensive line. This is the main reason I drafted him here instead of Philadelphia native DT Sharrif Floyd from Florida.
Second Round: EJ Manuel, Quarterback, Florida State
Eagles QB Michael Vick is the incumbent starter and is the front-runner to secure the position again for the 2013 season. However, according to Kelly, that is not set in stone as he has announced an open competition at the QB position.
WVU QB Geno Smith would be a nice addition to the Eagles but he comes at a first-round cost. DT Lotulelei has more value for the Eagles in the first round as Smith’s sometimes frantic feet and reluctance to take off running at times can be detrimental.
Florida State QB EJ Manuel can be had with a little less cost as a second-rounder (no way Smith lasts this long). Saddled with a mild injury history, Manuel has a prototypical height, weight and top-end speed combination for an NFL QB. He is a natural leader that produced in his time with the Seminoles.
If Kelly does plan on running an offense remotely close to the one that he ran in Oregon, then Manuel is a great fit. He excels in pocket mobility and has a good release and arm strength. If Kelly and Eagles QB coach Bill Lazor can help slow down the game for Manuel, then they may have just landed their QB of the future.
Third Round: Jordan Mills, Offensive Tackle, Louisiana Tech
Injury was the key word when describing the Eagles offensive line last season, losing three of their five starters to season-ending injuries at some point. The lack of depth along the offensive line came back to bite the Eagles in a horrendous way. Head coach Kelly would be wise to bring in competition for backup spots as all starters are expected at full strength for next season.
OT Jordan Mills from Louisiana Tech is an above-average offensive lineman that can either provide valuable depth or replace RT Todd Herremans and move him back to RG. He is a durable, wide-body RT with adequate speed and mobility for his size. This pick would give the Eagles flexibility in what they want to do along the offensive line. Mills could spell the end of what is turning out to be a failed attempt with RG Danny Watkins.
Fourth Round: Phillip Thomas, Safety, Fresno State
With all of the acquisitions in the secondary, the Eagles may have already found their starters at both safety positions. However, S Kenny Phillips has a lengthy injury history while S Patrick Chung has consistency issues. Either of the two S positions may become available much sooner than expected.
Enter the First player in Fresno State history to be an unanimous All-American, S Phillip Thomas. He has an injury history himself with average height and weight for the position. Thomas is more of a FS than a SS with above average instincts, play recognition and ball skills. His run support needs work but he does not shy away from contact. He also is considered a hard worker in both the film and weight rooms. Thomas was coached by former San Francisco 49ers great Tim McDonald, who helped win a Super Bowl for the team.
Fifth Round: Lavar Edwards, Defensive End, LSU
The Eagles are transitioning from a 4-3 defense to either a traditional 3-4 or a hybrid 4-3 (which more closely relates to a 3-4 front). Either way, this changes what the teams needs at certain positions. The Eagles have a plethora of pass rushers; however, most of them were DEs in a 4-3 where they can get away with being smaller. In a 3-4 defense the DEs need to be a little bigger and more run-focused than their 4-3 counterparts.
Lavar Edwards from LSU is a durable DE that is tall with a well-proportioned and sturdy frame. His size and versatility make him an ideal fit for Kelly. An effective speed-to-power rusher that does not take plays off would be a great addition to the current DE stable.
Seventh Round (1): Keith Pough, Outside Linebacker, Howard
With four picks in the seventh-round, the Eagles can afford to take a few gambles. Maybe that means players who flashed but were injured too often or a standout from a smaller school; who knows.
OLB Keith Pough, Howard, was very productive while playing in the MEAC. His production landed him an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl. The MEAC Defensive Player of the Year finished his career at Howard as the all-time career leader in tackles for losses for in the FCS. He will provide good competition for one of the OLB positions with the Eagles.
Seventh Round (2): A.J. Klein, Inside Linebacker, Iowa State
In the spirit of adding competition for depth at ILB, the Eagles pick Iowa State ILB A.J. Klein. In 2011 he was named named Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Big 12 first team honors. In his senior season, he recorded 117 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack, three pass deflections, two pass breakups and an interception, while earning All-Big 12 first team honors once again.
Seventh Round (3): Micah Hyde, Cornerback, Iowa
Iowa CB Micah Hyde is a durable player that appeared in every game throughout his career while making 38 consecutive starts over his final three seasons. With average instincts and cover skills, Hyde excels in ball skills. He shows playmaking instincts and has had a knack for making plays at critical points in games throughout career. He also flashes leaping ability and has the size and strength to contest in jump ball situations.
Seventh Round (4): Travis Bond, Offensive Guard, North Carolina
North Carolina OG Travis Bond possesses an excellent blend of height, weight and top-end speed. He also has above average arm length for an offensive guard prospect. He is also durable, being a two-year starter that appeared in every game of collegiate career. Bond has good but not elite recognition in pass protection and picks up most line stunts and blitzes. With injury concerns at the forefront for the Eagles offensive line, the more the competition for backup spots the better.