The Philadelphia Eagles hold the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NFL draft. This is our reward for suffering through such a crappy season in 2012. It also makes the draft that much more exciting and fun to discuss their options with a pick that high.
This is the highest they have drafted since 1999, when they selected Donovan McNabb at the No. 2 spot. Unfortunately, there are no quarterbacks coming out in this draft that scream “franchise player” and are legitimately worthy of the No. 4 pick.
However, that doesn’t mean Chip Kelly won’t take one at that spot because quarterbacks are almost always over-drafted in the NFL due to the simple rules of supply and demand. Very little supply, very much demand.
In general, this draft doesn’t have the buzz about it that some other drafts have had. That’s mostly because of the lack of skill players being projected to go in the top 10. As of right now, most draftniks do not have any players at QB, RB or WR ranked in their top 10 in terms of overall best player.
The top 10 is filled with offensive and defensive lineman (including OLB edge-rushers) and maybe a lone cornerback. While finding blue-chip players along the lines is extremely important, they aren’t particularly “exciting” picks to the general public.
However, I am all for getting a stud lineman. If Andy Reid ever taught you anything besides bad play calling and use of timeouts, he always maintained that the games are won and lost in the trenches.
Though he was never especially adept at drafting linemen, his theory was correct.
Linemen and quarterbacks are not the only positions worthy of a high draft pick though. A stud defensive back is certainly worthy if they’re good enough. I don’t think anyone would argue with drafting someone like Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis or a stud safety at pick No. 4, right?
The Eagles have numerous needs, most notably at safety, cornerback and offensive line. We could also argue that a nose tackle — or someone capable of playing that position if and when needed – is now a need considering the switch to a 3-4 or a “4-3 under” alignment.
Heading into free agency and the draft, I would rank the Eagles’ top five needs in this order: S, OL, CB, NT, QB
Even though I have QB ranked as fifth on the “need list”, if there was one worthy of pick No. 4 and it came down to selecting that position or someone at one of the other positions, the QB would trump all others just because of how difficult it is to find a franchise quarterback.
It’s all about value to me. If the value is the same, then I’d use position to break the tie.
So, what should the Eagles do with their pick?
Take the best available player? Take the best guy there at a position of need? Trade back to acquire more picks to fill holes?
That’s a tough question and one that will be debated from now until April. I have the mindset that you don’t get to pick this high too often (or at least you shouldn’t), so use it to grab someone who appears to be a surefire stud for the next decade.
However, we have a new regime in place with new schemes and plenty of holes to fill so if the right deal came along, trading back could be a good move.
**Quick note – I have not extensively researched players yet so the following is merely based on things I’ve “picked up” just in routine reading. As we move along, I will be researching individual players to get a better idea of what we either should or will do.
The players that the Eagles will most likely will be looking at, based on needs and projected “worthiness” of a top five pick are OT Luke Joeckel, OT Eric Fisher, DT Star Lotulelei, CB Dee Milliner, OG Chance Warmack, DE Damontre Moore, OLB Jarvis Jones, DE Bjoern Werner and QB Geno Smith.
Since No. 4 is simply way too early for me to consider a guard, Warmack is scratched off the list first. Next off the list is Smith, at this point I just don’t see it. After researching him some, he reminds me of Jason Campbell a little bit.
Milliner seems like a good, solid player and would fill a huge need, but everything I’ve read about him so far doesn’t make him seem as if he’s talented enough to warrant the No. 4 pick. He’s close, for sure, and I don’t think anybody would look at the Eagles cross-eyed if they chose him there.
However, there are several other good corners in the draft that we could get in the second round and beyond.
I see Fisher somewhat the same way. His stock was raised after a good week at the Senior Bowl and now he’s being mentioned in the same breath as Joeckel. Fisher seems good, but not necessarily No. 4 good.
If we assume that Kelly and new DC Bill Davis plan to use Brandon Graham, Trent Cole and Vinny Curry, I don’t think we’ll be looking at Jones, Werner or Moore at the No. 4 spot.
That leaves me with Joeckel and Lotulelei. Both guys are the highest rated at their respective position and are legitimately considered top five in the talent department. Both would also fill big needs.
My only problem with taking an offensive tackle is that, when you use a pick that high on one, you want him to play the premier position along the line…left tackle. Perhaps the biggest question the Eagles will need an answer to prior to the draft is what they think of Jason Peters’ recovery.
Will Peters return to normal? He’s a phenomenal left tackle, but that was two Achilles ruptures ago. Tough, tough question in regards to how he projects in 2013.
It’s possible the Eagles could put Joeckel at right tackle and move Herremans back to guard, but we’ll be playing guys out of their position. Sometimes that doesn’t work so well.
The Eagles currently do not have anyone on the roster that I’m overly confident about playing a NT position. Mike Patterson and Antonio Dixon are the candidates, but I think we need to find someone to fill this role…an important role at that.
Therefore, right now, this is what I would do…
If Luke Joeckel is there at No. 4, take him and don’t look back. He’s probably as close to a sure thing you’ll ever get. You just take a franchise tackle and let him be a cornerstone of your line for at least the next 10 years.
If Joeckel isn’t there, but Lotulelei is, then take him. I don’t think he’s as big of a sure thing as Joeckel, but he has tremendous potential to be a huge cog in the defensive line…ala, Haloti Ngata…for the next 10 years as well.
If neither Lotulelei or Joeckel are there, then we trade back and pick up an extra second round pick (at least). If we traded back, our list of targets would significantly increase, depending on what slot we traded back to.
However, my top two players I think would be most interesting in a trade back scenario are QB Ryan Nassib and safety Kenny Vaccaro. Both players could be had between 10 and 15…as of projections right now.
My thoughts and opinions will certainly change as I start researching players more and, of course, the combine results come in. This was the quick and dirty of my thoughts at this time and I’m certainly looking forward to some good discussion and debate about what to do.
What do you think we should do with the No. 4 pick?