Philadelphia Eagles 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 5: 7 Rounds
Philadelphia Eagles Seven Round Mock Draft
In a mere 17 days, one of the most anticipated, discussed and heralded sporting events in this country will commence...the NFL Draft.
The Philadelphia Eagles have nine total draft picks in this upcoming draft. With their recent acquisitions through free agency and trades, the Eagles appear to have fewer holes to fill. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has said that he believes the Eagles are now in a position to draft the best player available, instead of drafting to fit needs.
In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN analyst, has the Eagles taking West Virginia QB Geno Smith with the fourth pick in the first round. I like Smith but not that high in the draft. Personally, as a WVU fan, I’d love to see him in midnight green next season, but not if we have to reach for him. If the Eagles trade back, which I think they will do, then this becomes a much more realistic pick for me. However, I will not be including trades in my mock draft(s) so the Eagles will stay put with the fourth pick.
This is my fifth 2013 Eagles mock draft and I have had three different picks in the first round. Alabama CB Dee Milliner, Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher and most recently Utah DT Star Lotulelei. As I’ve mentioned before there are other draft prospects being linked to the Eagles in other mock drafts like Smith and Florida DT Sharrif Floyd. A lot of teams have obvious, glaring needs that they can try to fill with young talent. Other teams have many holes and will use the best player available to address any/all of their needs. Then come the Eagles...who seemingly plugged most/all of their holes through other offseason transactions and are good shape to easily take the best player available.
However, coming off a two season 12-20 record does not bode well for confidence in the plug and play system. Also, the Eagles are not an old team but do have some positions occupied by veterans that either disappointed recently, suffered major injuries or are beginning to “get up there” in age. So bringing in solid, best player available rookies to groom behind or replace some of these veterans is a solid plan.
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.
Aside from his heart condition scare, which he has been fully cleared from, he is widely considered the top or second best DT in this class. Lotulelei is a three year starter that possesses an excellent combination of height and bulk, and is considered elite versus the run.
While 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 also the main reason I drafted him here instead of Philadelphia native DT Sharrif Floyd from Florida. A defensive line of Fletcher Cox, Sopoaga and Lotulelei would be very tough to run against. This will also open up plenty of opportunities for the LB group to make plays.
Second Round: EJ Manuel, Quarterback, Florida State
Eagles QB Michael Vick is the incumbent starter and is the frontrunner 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.
As I mentioned earlier, QB Smith would be a nice addition to the Eagles but he comes at a very high first-round cost. DT Lotulelei has more value for the Eagles in the first round. 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: Terron Armstead, Offensive Tackle, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
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 Terron Armstead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a well above-average offensive lineman that can either provide valuable depth or replace RT Todd Herremans and move him back to RG. Armstead is graded out to fall in the mid-to-late second round; however, I think that his lack of elite competition during the season will allow him to slide into the very early third round (which isn’t very far off his grade). He is being compared to Houston Texans starting OT Duane Brown. Armstead 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): Terry Hawthorne, Cornerback, Illinois
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.
Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne excels in run support and has above-average instincts. He possesses an above average blend of height, weight and top-end speed for his position which is something that Kelly is looking for. Hawthorne has a questionable injury history, being moved from WR to CB after breaking his hand during his freshman season. He is tall, long and athletic enough to compete for jump balls but catches ball with his body more often than not.
Seventh Round (2): Keith Pough, Outside Linebacker, Howard
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 (3): 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.
Seventh Round (4): Quinton Dial, Defensive End, Alabama
Alabama DE Quinton Dial is a versatile athletic defensive lineman who plays on the nose, three-technique and five-technique spots on either side of a 3-4 defensive front. However, he did not start many times during his time at Alabama, leading to a lack of production, especially against better offensive lines. This is the reason that the Eagles can grab the JUCO transfer in the seventh round. Dial has versatility and great size which is a welcome addition to the DE competition in Philadelphia.