I’ve talked a lot recently about forms pre-draft interest the Philadelphia Eagles have shown in prospects and what it may mean as far as who they may select, particularly in Round 1.
This time of year everyone is looking for a good nugget of information regarding what players the Eagles have been linked to in one way or another. Combine/Senior Bowl/Shrine Game interviews, Pro Day attendances by a coach, private workouts and official visits to the NovaCare Center are all taken as a form of pre-draft interest.
However, just because the Eagles have reportedly interviewed, worked out, or brought someone in for a visit doesn’t necessarily mean they’re eying-up that prospect and have intentions on drafting him.
All of these forms of “interest” in prospects are mainly information gathering because they’re “interested” in finding out as much information about a certain prospect as possible so they can make an ultimate decision on where they will rank that player on their draft board (or remove him completely).
With that said, the Eagles have drafted players they’ve been linked to in some form of pre-draft interest. Sometimes it was that they just interviewed the prospect at the Senior Bowl while others were a private workout or official visit.
And, sometimes it was a combination of two or three of those things.
In my last piece, I talked about the Eagles showing the most interest in Anthony Barr, Mike Evans and Deone Bucannon because those are the only three prospects so far where they’ve shown multiple forms of interest (private workout and official visit).
Dion Jordan, whom the Eagles likely would have picked last year, and Lane Johnson both fit that description of having multiple forms of pre-draft interest shown.
Zach Ertz, their second round pick, was privately worked out. The Eagles were at Bennie Logan’s Pro Day. They interviewed Matt Barkley at the Combine and they brought seventh-round pick Joe Kruger in for an official visit.
So, while the list is pretty long when it comes to all forms of pre-draft interest, there’s no way of knowing exactly who the Eagles like the most and therefore actually pull the trigger on come draft day.
The only thing we may be able to think is that, for first round players, the more forms of interest they show, the better the chances are of that player being higher on their draft board. After the first round, it could be any form of interest or none at all.
Going by pre-draft interest is dicey because, like I said, there’s no way of knowing how interested they actually are. And for two, a player they could be hoping to get in a certain round could be picked before them.
With all that said, I still thought it would be fun to do a mock draft while selecting only from the pool of players they’ve been linked to in some way. For good lists of these players, you can check Birds 24/7 Pre-Draft Prospect Tracker or NJ.com’s list of players who have drawn interest from the Eagles.
Just for clarification, I’m basing these picks on a combination of the following: level of pre-draft interest, how I perceive the player as being a fit and/or need at the position and whether or not I think that player will actually be there at that given draft slot (since I’m doing a straight mock with no trades).
1. S Deone Bucannon, 6′ 1″ 211 lbs, Washington State
Bucannon is the highest rated player that the Eagles have both privately worked out and are bringing in for an official visit. Of the other top-rated prospects, they have either brought in or worked out, not both (at least not that was reported anyway).
Most draftniks have Bucannon slated as a second or third round pick. However, the more I’ve studied on him, the more I think there is no way he’ll be there for the Eagles in the second round at pick 54.
Would he be a reach at 22? Some will say yes, but I have no problem with it.
2. OLB Marcus Smith, 6′ 3″ 251 lbs, Louisville
Smith has shot up draft boards over the past few weeks. The buzz about the Eagles’ interest in him is strong. Previously he was thought to be a third rounder at best, but now some say he could go early second round.
The Eagles are bringing him in for a visit and showed interest at his Pro Day. He’s a versatile defender that I think would be a good fit for what Kelly and Bill Davis are looking for.
3. LB Jordan Tripp, 6′ 3″ 234 lbs, Montana
The Eagles have reportedly shown “strong interest” in Tripp as they met with him twice at the Combine, attended his Pro Day and are bringing him in for a visit.
He would most likely be viewed as the heir apparent to DeMeco Ryans.
4. WR Brandon Coleman, 6′ 6″ 225 lbs, Rutgers
Opinions vary on how Coleman will translate to the NFL. He had a shaky season last year but that could have been due to his recovery from a knee injury he sustained prior to the season.
The Eagles sent WR coach Bob Bicknell to privately work him out and he has the size and athleticism to make him an upside pick here. They want to get bigger on the outside and I don’t think Coleman lasts until the Eagles pick in the 5th.
5. DE Taylor Hart, 6′ 6″ 281 lbs, Oregon
The Eagles need depth along the DL and Hart fits the bill as a versatile lineman who has played multiple positions across the line (DE, DT, NT) and even spent time as a stand-up OLB. Chip is familiar with him (obviously) and they have or will bring him in for a visit.
7. CB Aaron Colvin, 6′ 180 lbs, Oklahoma
It’s questionable if he’ll still be on the board here but given his ACL injury at the Senior Bowl, he certainly could be. If so, the Eagles take a flier here as he was viewed as a second round talent prior to his injury.
The Eagles were also said to be showing interest in him during the Senior Bowl week of practices and also had him in for a visit. With having four Cornerbacks on the roster who are capable of starting, the Eagles can afford to give Colvin a red-shirt season in hopes he gets back to pre-injury form in 2015.
*One caveat to this mock: Lately, word has been that Anthony Barr’s stock is slipping some and that he could still be on the board at pick 22. If so, he is absolutely the pick over Bucannon.