It’s time for Version 2.0 of my 2013 Philadelphia Eagles mock draft. Well, actually, I’ll call this versions 2.0 and 2.1. To get different ideas on how the draft could go, I’ve decided to do two mock drafts: one as a “who they should pick” and the other as a “who they could pick.”
Or, more to my underlying point, is “how” they should or could draft.
What I mean by “how” is mostly based on what positions they could or should consider at a particular slot in the draft. Therefore, it’s not necessarily about the specific players I mention below, but rather the position.
Who/how they “should” pick is based on my evaluation of their needs and player value at the time of their pick. Who/how they “could” pick is based on things like what the Eagles’ philosophy could be, which could be vastly different than how you or I see it, as well as purported interest in a player and building for the future.
These will only be a five-round mocks with no trades while taking into consideration the free agent signings to date…
The should mock draft:
1. OLB/DE Dion Jordan, 6′ 6″ 248 lbs, Oregon
After considering Geno Smith, Dee Milliner, Joeckel/Fisher and Lotulelei/Floyd, Jordan is the guy that makes the most sense at this point. He is arguably the best combination of need, talent, value and scheme fit.
The Eagles currently do not have anyone on the roster who would fill the role Jordan will. Connor Barwin is the closest thing, but he would ultimately play the opposite side (Barwin on the “open side” and Jordan on the strong side).
Jordan is a rare combination of size and athleticism. He can drop back in coverage and rush the passer. It just seems that he and the Eagles would be the perfect fit, and that’s not even considering the fact that he’s familiar with how Chip Kelly runs things.
Jordan’s talent, potential, and versatility will make him a cornerstone of the defense during the Chip Kelly era.
2. QB Ryan Nassib, 6′ 2″ 227 lbs, Syracuse
My thinking about the QB position has changed some since my last mock draft. Previously, I didn’t feel there were any quarterbacks worth taking in this draft, period. Plus, Vick is staying and for right now, it doesn’t appear Foles is going anywhere.
We have other needs to fill so why waste a high pick on a QB who can’t seem to separate himself from a muddied mess of players at his position in a weak overall class?
That’s because the QB position is so important that you absolutely have to have a good one. Or, at least one that is “good enough” and can thrive in your system. I had previously felt that the Eagles should wait until next year to take a better prospect in a draft that should have much better overall talent and depth.
However, the Eagles look like they’re gearing up to make a run at winning in 2013. There is no guarantee that they will be in position next year to grab a guy that, in the end, only appears to be better right now.
Nassib seems to have the basic tools that Kelly prefers in a quarterback. He’s smart, makes quick decisions, has good mobility and Greg Cosell thinks he’s the best QB in this draft. Plus, he would be in a position to sit and learn for a year before being thrust into the starting lineup.
No QB on the current roster, including Foles, is the long term answer. And with no guarantees that they can get a better prospect next year, they should grab one here so their hand isn’t forced next year.
Plus, like Vinny Curry last year, Nassib grew up an Eagles fan and is from West Chester. He said it would be a “dream come true” to come home and play for Philly.
3. S T.J. McDonald, 6′ 3″ 219 lbs, Southern Cal
This pick could just as easily be D.J. Swearinger and I’d be just fine with that as well. However, I chose McDonald between the two simply because he’s bigger (“longer”) and might be the guy who Chip Kelly would prefer because of that.
Either way, the Eagles need to take a safety here because they cannot trust that Patrick Chung and/or Kenny Phillips will remain healthy. Both guys have an extensive injury history, plus, I’m still not sold completely sold on Chung.
Prior to free agency, the secondary was easily the biggest area of need on this team. And after the recent additions, I’m more comfortable with the corners than I am the safeties. Both McDonald and Swearinger are aggressive, physical players who like to bring the wood and would fit in well with our new defensive philosophy.
4. OT David Quessenberry, 6′ 5″ 302 lbs, San Jose State
The Eagles’ offensive line should return to full health in 2013, but they are getting older and still have a question at the RG position. If not a starter, they certainly need good, young depth.
Quessenberry is versatile and could start at RT or RG, or be the top backup at most positions along the line (except center). In any case, the Eagles need to add to the OL by this point in the draft.
5. DE Willam Gholston, 6′ 6″ 281 lbs, Michigan State
The cousin of former first-round bust Vernon Gholston, William is a risk/reward pick. The scouting on him says he has tremendous physical tools and looks dominant at times, but is inconsistent possibly due to lapses in focus and/or work ethic.
However, his potential is worth the risk in the fifth round. Though he apparently thinks of himself as an edge rusher, his best fit appears to be as a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense. Coincidentally, we’re in need of one of those…
Hopefully, a structured environment like Chip Kelly’s will keep him focused and thereby allow him to reach his full potential.
The Eagles’ thinking could be similar or completely different. That’s the thing with anticipating what they might do come draft day, we have no prior history to go on with Kelly’s habits or trends.
Therefore, this is equally a wild shot in the dark. However, I could certainly see the draft going something like this, so, here is the could mock draft…
1. QB Geno Smith, 6′ 3″ 218 lbs, West Virginia
All of the attention paid to Smith recently was most likely due diligence, but still could have been something of a smokescreen. However, if he truly did impress Chip Kelly to make him think he’s the guy to run Chip’s offense, Smith could very well be the pick.
And, though it willl be a highly scrutinized pick, I can’t blame them for taking the shot.
Smith, after all, does have talent. Honestly, I’m very back-and-forth on him as our first round pick. I still don’t believe his talent level is “worthy” of the No. 4 pick. However, at the end of the day, if Kelly thinks he will flourish in his offense, and he does, it’s completely worth the pick here.
Think of it this way: If the Eagles were sitting somewhere between picks 12 and 15 and Smith was still on the board, would you take him there? If that answer is yes, then you really shouldn’t care if they take him at 4.
I couldn’t blame the Eagles for taking a chance on him, given their need and the importance of this position. Plus, we have a new head coach who is offensive minded…new coach = new franchise QB in most cases.
2. DT Jesse Williams, 6′ 4″ 323 lbs, Alabama
This might be a slight stretch that he’s actually still on the board at pick 35, but most scouts and analysts have him rated as a late first-round pick (some in the high second range). Therefore, he’d really only have to “fall” between three – six spots, which isn’t unreasonable.
Williams would be excellent value here and could fill two needs: NT and 5-tech DE. He played some 5-technique in college but is also big and strong enough to clog the middle at the nose. Therefore, again, he fits a key element for Chip Kelly: versatility.
3. WR Ryan Swope, 6′ 205 lbs, Texas A&M
Wide receiver? Whaaaat? Yes, I could see the Eagles taking a WR here. Jeremy Maclin’s contract runs out after next season and there is no guarantees he’ll remain an Eagle. Heck, Maclin has even been the subject of some trade rumors recently so there is even a possibility that he might not be an Eagle in 2013.
Eagles’ WR coach Bob Bicknell was paying lots of attention to Swope at his pro day. Swope would be looked at as a slot receiver and “utility guy”…one of those guys you line up all over the place.
Swope impressed at the NFL combine when he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash. He’s also considered smart, agile, fearless and has good run-after-the-catch ability. Sounds perfect for Kelly’s offense.
4. S Josh Evans, 6′ 1″ 207 lbs, Florida
The Eagles signed Chung and Phillips but neither can be counted on 100%. Nate Allen will be lucky to make the team and Coleman is as good as gone. They need another option at this position so they certainly should be looking at safeties, at least by this point in the draft.
Evans has the range to play either free or strong safety. Observations by scouts say he’s aggressive, physical, is a good tackler and is able to defend the pass and run equally well.
In fact, he’s possibly overlooked a little bit because of Florida’s other safety…Matt Elam.
5. OT/G Garret Gilkey, 6′ 6″ 318 lbs, Chadron State
The Eagles could still pick up a lineman in free agency, but unless it’s Eric Winston, it doesn’t appear to be happening. They certainly need to add depth and youth to the OL and probably should address it before now.
Gilkey played LT in college but projects as a guard in the NFL. He had a decent showing at the Senior Bowl, which may have helped his cause a little bit since he comes from low-level college competition.
He has good size and athleticism and has the potential to eventually become a solid starter in the NFL.
Okay, now that you’ve read this far, which draft do you like better (player and/or position at that round)? Rather see a mix of the two? Hate them both? Let me know your thoughts!
If you’re interested, here is a link to my first mock draft prior to free agency.