Philadelphia Eagles 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 7: 7 Rounds
Philadelphia Eagles Seven Round Mock Draft
With only two days left until the kickoff of the 2013 NFL Draft, the sports world is in a frenzy. New and updated mock drafts are coming out a mile-a-minute. Rumors and sources are supplying all types of new, not solid, information about the intentions of some teams...especially those in the top ten. Basketball, baseball and even hockey analysts are giving input on the draft.
One thing remains consistent through all of this mayhem. Not one person is 100% confident in their analysis of what the Philadelphia Eagles will do with the fourth pick overall. There are a few avenues that the Eagles can take, and all of them seem like viable options. Will they select one of the premier OT prospects? Can DL be their consideration? QB? LB? Will they surprise everyone and go with a DB?
This draft is absent any guaranteed marquee players at the top. There's no QB that makes you salivate or RB that will rival some of the greatest in history. There are no WRs that can and will catch anything and everything over anybody. However, the best part about this draft is the depth at certain positions.
The OT class is deep and seems to have created the most buzz at the top end of the draft. The DL is deep as well with two significant standouts waiting to be selected early. The CB class is deep as well as the S class. Until recently, many thought this was a subpar QB class, but even they have gained some momentum. The anticipation builds as we inch closer to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walking halfway across that stage at the Radio City Music Hall and announcing that first pick.
The Eagles will be on the clock shortly after that, and like everyone else, I have an idea of their direction but I’m still not 100% (seven mock drafts later).
First Round: Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah
Versatility and size are two traits that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has mentioned he likes in his players. DT Star Lotulelei, 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 had a private workout with the Eagles, in which the Eagles staff also cleared him.
Aside from his heart condition, which is much less burdensome than originally feared, he is widely considered the top, or second best DT in this class. He's a three year starter that possesses an excellent combination of height and bulk, that 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: Terron Armstead, Offensive Tackle, AR-Pine Bluff
The Eagles should be healthy along the OL this upcoming season, and this is the same OL that completely dominated in 2011. However, injuries in 2012 proved a severe lack of quality depth. These injuries also may have pointed out a weakness at RG, a position currently manned by Danny Watkins who was the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Watkins may turn out to be a valuable backup, but he has not consistently shown the talent worthy of being a first round pick. An upgrade may be necessary.
The Eagles' selection of OT Terron Armstead, AR-Pine Bluff, may allow him to try out at RT which may allow current RT Todd Herremans to slide back into his original position at RG. This would even further solidify the OL, while adding depth in the form of a former starter.
Armstead possesses a rare blend of height, weight and top-end speed, which may make him a perfect fit in the new uptempo offense with his athleticism. Please do not dismiss him because he went to a small school; he had multiple Division I offers but chose Pine Bluff because they were the only school that would allow him to also participate in track-and-field. He also was very impressive against elite competition at Senior Bowl practices and game.
Third Round: EJ Manuel, Quarterback, Florida State
Eagles QB Michael Vick is the incumbent starter at QB 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.
As I mentioned earlier, WVU QB Geno 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.
Florida State QB EJ Manuel can be had with a lot less cost as a third 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 was 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 without "selling the farm".
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 had 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 resembles a 3-4 front). Either way, this changes what the team's 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.
DE Lavar Edwards from LSU is a durable draft prospect 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. You can never have too many good pass rushers.
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): 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.
Seventh Round (3): Keith Pough, Outside Linebacker, Howard
Howard OLB Keith Pough 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 loss for in the FCS. He will provide good competition for one of the OLB positions with the Eagles.
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.