Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft: Draft Day Trades Edition
With less than two weeks until the start of the 2013 NFL Draft, now is a good time to start exploring some major draft day trades for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles took care of all their major needs in free agency and can now approach the draft just about any way they want to. The Eagles come into the draft with nine total draft picks. One in each of the first five rounds, none in the sixth round and four in the final round.
I fully expect the Eagles to make several trades during the draft. Whenever you have a new coaching staff and a new scheme in place, it’s crucial to make sure the coach gets his type of players in year one. Year one is always the transition year for a new coach, especially if he changes the defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3(or vice-versa). The transition period should be done by year one and mainly done by the end of the draft. The longer it takes for the new coach to bring in the right players, the less likely that coach will have success.
In my latest mock draft, I have the Eagles making several draft day trades, including two in the first round. I have the Eagles trading their fourth overall pick to the San Diego Chargers for their 11th and 45th overall pick. The Chargers are in need of a left tackle and can’t wait for the 11th pick if they want to get one of the top three left tackles (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson). All three left tackles should be gone by the 7th or 8th overall pick.
From there, I have the Eagles trading their 11th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for their 31st, 34th and 74th overall pick. I believe Tavon Austin will be available at pick number 11. Austin is someone the 49ers have shown interest in and could really add a special element to their offense. The Eagles get a late first, early second and early third round pick in exchange.
I also have the Eagles trading their first two 7th round picks to Oakland for their 6th round pick. Overall, the Eagles would have one first round pick, three second round picks, two third round picks, one pick in the next three rounds and two in the seventh round, giving the Eagles 11 total draft picks. So without further ado, here is how the Eagles draft could shake out after these draft day trades.
DeAndre Hopkins WR/Clemson
With the 31st overall pick, I have the Eagles taking DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson. Hopkins is a physical wide receiver from Clemson who catches everything in his path. He isn’t a perfect comparison to Anquan Boldin, but he is a similar player. Boldin, like Hopkins, isn’t a great deep threat, but will has outstanding hands, route running skills and the ability to catch the football over a defender. If either player is even remotely open, they will come down with the football.
Hopkins isn’t a replacement for Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles can thrive with three very capable outside wide outs because DeSean Jackson is a player that will be moved all over Chip Kelly’s offense in 2013. He can also use Jackson as a return man without the fear of losing him to injury. Now if he goes down, the Eagles still have two really solid outside receives to go along with Jason Avant and Riley Cooper in their own roles.
This pick also forces Maclin to take that next step this season. Maclin is in a contract year and will be playing for a contract with either the Eagles or some other team in free agency. If he is only in Philadelphia for one more season, the Eagles already have his replacement on the outside. This pick really makes the Eagles wide outs one of the deepest and most versatile in the NFL.
Jesse Williams NT/Alabama
The nose tackle position is not the most glamorous position in a 3-4 defense, but it is the most important. The nose tackle sets the tone for the rest of the defense. A nose tackle, who can’t command double teams, will make life so much easier for the offensive line and will lead to a really bad run defense. The Eagles signed on nose tackle in free agency, Isaac Sopoaga, but the Eagles still need one more nose tackle for depth, line rotation and to develop for the future.
Jesse Williams of Alabama is the best pure nose tackle in the draft. He isn’t an every down lineman and he doesn’t offer much in terms of a pass rush. What he does is anchor the middle of the defensive line and stuffs the run on a very consistent basis. He is an elite run defender with outstanding power. He won’t be a star in the NFL, but should develop into a top 5 nose tackle at the next level.
Margus Hunt DE/SMU
This year’s draft class is full of outstanding athletes who are still really raw as football players. Some will become elite players in the NFL, while others won’t pan out. Margus Hunt out of SMU is the most intriguing defensive end in the draft.
Hunt is an impressive athlete at 6’8, 277 pounds. He ran a 4.53 40, a 7,07 3-cone drill and racked up 38 reps on the bench press at the combine. Hunt used his rare combination of length, power and athleticism to block an NCAA record 17 kicks in college.
Hunt is a boom or bust prospect because his production in college never quite matched his physical gifts. He is a risky pick, but his payoff is well worth the game in the second round, especially for a team with three second round picks.
Johnthan Banks CB/Mississippi State
Johnthan Banks has had an interesting run since the start of the 2012 college football season. He saw his draft stock sky-rocket and then fall back down because of concerns about his speed. Banks won’t be a top 15 pick like many thought he would a few months ago, but his potential as a really good press corner should get him selected in the 30-50 range.
Banks doesn’t great straight line speed, but he is long(6’2 with 34 inch arms) and has natural cover skills. He isn’t an ideal corner to cover speedy wide outs on an island by himself, but he can excel in every other aspect of the position.
Travis Kelce TE/Cincinnati
Tyler Eifert is the cream of the tight end crop in this year’s draft class, but Travis Kelce is the most underrated prospect of the group. Kelce is physical, has good hands and really surprises you with his ability to get open down the field. You put him on the Eagles roster with several weapons already in place and you have something special in the works.
The Eagles may already have Brent Celek, James Casey and Clay Harbor on the roster, but Chip Kelly loves to utilize his tight ends, especially ones who can block as well as they can get open. Kelce is a natural fit in Kelly’s fast paced, aggressive offense. Plus his brother is already on the Eagles roster so there’s that.
Bacarri Rambo FS/Georgia
Bacarri Rambo is the ideal free safety for any 3-4 defense. He plays at his best in center field, closes in on the football in a hurry and is an aggressive hitter. Sure, the Eagles already signed Kenny Phillips, but he didn’t sign for a cheap one year deal because he loves cheese steaks that much. His knee is a major issue and is no guarantee to be healthy in 2013.
Rambo is a really good free safety, but he plays a little over aggressive at times, which can hurt the defense. He has to learn to play with the right amount of aggression and discipline at the next level. No defense can afford for their defense to have an overly aggressive deep safety.
Jordan Mills RT/Louisiana Tech
The ideal situation for the Eagles offensive line is to find a starting caliber right tackle, move Todd Herremans back to guard where he belongs and develop Danny Watkins while he is a backup. Watkins isn’t starter at this point in his career and Herremans is better suited as a guard. He just doesn’t have the quickness to handle some of the faster edge rushers on his own.
The Eagles could go the free agency route at right tackle with Andre Smith and Eric Winston still out there, but they would have to overpay and you never know how they will fit in. Jordan Mills is my favorite right tackle prospect out there. His footwork needs a lot of work, but there is no denying his power and nasty streak. He has the potential to be a dominant run blocker on the right side.
Chase Thomas OLB/Stanford
Chase Thomas is one of the more physical players in the draft, but he doesn’t athletically grade well. The question remains with Thomas, is he too slow to make it in the NFL despite being a highly polished edge rusher? Thomas is a good risk in the fifth round. Even if he doesn’t pan out as a pass rusher, he still has the potential to be a really good special teams player.
Duke Williams SS/Nevada
Duke Williams is a good project in the sixth round. At times on film, he looks like he can be a play maker at strong safety, while other times he plays himself way out of position. He is athletic enough to be a really good safety in the NFL, but his instincts and field awareness are definitely lacking.
Aaron Hester CB/UCLA
Aaron Hester is a great project in the seventh round. Physically, he is a great prospect at 6’2, 198 pounds. He ran a 4.47 40 and reached 32 ½ inches in the vertical jump. Mentally and technique wise, he is all over the place. Sometimes, it’s like he has been training for football his whole life, but just started playing. The seventh round is the best time to take a chance on a really raw prospect and there may not be a more raw prospect with this much upside in the seventh round.
Chris Barker OG/Nevada
The Eagles final draft pick is a compensatory pick they received from losing Steve Smith to free agency. At this point, the draft teams are just looking for players who have a shot at making their 53 man roster in September. Chris Barker is a player I admit I like more than most. He dominated his man in the New Mexico Bowl against Arizona. His technique is raw, but his potential is undeniable.