Since Dave just did it, I may as well too. With the NFL Draft only 18 days away, think it’s time for me to write up my final mock draft. It’s a mixture of what I think the Eagles will do and what I think the Eagles should do. I cross reference visits, work-outs, pro day attendances and scheme fits with each prospect and then pick accordingly.
So, what are the Eagles biggest needs heading into the draft? Not placing them in any order, but I would have to go with Safety, Quarterback, OG depth, Wide Receiver depth, Cornerback depth, Outside Linebacker depth, and think the team could use competition at Punter as well.
Round 1 – Byron Jones – UConn – S/CB – The Eagles desperately need a starter at Safety. Jones projects to be either a Safety or a Corner in the NFL, giving the Eagles the versatility they like in the Safety position.
Being able to stay deep, come up to the box, and cover to man to man, while being completely interchangeable with the other safety so there is no true FS/SS in their scheme. Jones is perfect for this. At 6’1 200lbs, Jones has the size the Eagles covet at both the corner position and safety, so if all else fails, he can play either position.
Byron Jones has seemingly come out of nowhere this draft process, some heavy film watchers have viewed him as a corner prospect in rounds 2-4 from the beginning based on his film, but during the combine and his pro day, he proved to be an athletic freak.
The kind you don’t want to pass on, especially with solid film like Jones. Also, a four year starter for the Huskies, team leader, and inspired team mates while playing injured for a terrible team, there is a lot to look at as a locker room leader with all the intangibles Chip covets in a player.
The most promising part about this pick, Chip Kelly passed on going to the FSU pro day that is LOADED with NFL caliber players to go to UConn pro day personally, with his hand picked GM, as well as Bill Davis the defensive coordinator.
It’s not like UConn is filled to the brim with draftable players, the only other player there with a draftable grade is Geremy Davis a late-round WR with limited upside. I see zero chance the Eagles take a risk in trading back to still get Jones. They will jump on him at 20.
Round 2 – Bryce Petty – QB – Baylor – Bryce Petty is a fiery leader on the field with a very high football IQ. Extremely accurate on mid range balls and has improved his deep ball. Most of his flaws are mechanical from being in a quick paced one read offense, but it’s very similar to what the Eagles do.
Also, we all know how much Chip loves speed, Petty happened to run the fastest offense in BCS last year at the Baylor Bears. If you doubt Petty, just turn on the Cottonbowl or the 2014 game against TCU and watch him either systematically pick apart a defense who has the top rated corner in this years draft and a very promising safety in Kurtis Drummond or make a 21 point comeback in the fourth quarter against a rival who has the 8th ranked overall defense in BCS.
This pick is more about filling a need and a bit of a reach. I hate reach picks, but Chip Kelly really needs to add some talent to the QB position. Mark Sanchez will be a career back up who can win a game or two, but not somebody you want to play more than 4 games in a season.
Sam Bradford, who I am VERY high on in the Eagles system, isn’t the most reliable QB in the world. Bradford has only played in 49 out of a possible 80 games for the Rams. Chip really needs to find a round 2-3 prospect at QB to develop and take the QB3 spot away from Barkley this year.
All of Petty’s issues seem to be coachable other than his arm strength, which is more than good enough for the NFL. This is a pick I don’t think will happen, but really should. As far as I know, the Eagles haven’t done much to show interest in Petty.
Round 3 – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – CB – Oregon – This feels like a pretty obvious one to me. Ifo was considered a top prospect at the position pre-injury and Chip has an affinity for both Ducks and torn ACL’s it seems.
This pick is more about the future than Week 1 for the Eagles. Brandon Boykin and Thurmond are both essentially on one-year prove it deals and they have very little behind them. Ifo could essentially be “redshirted” and start the season on the PUP list then mid-season compete for the starting nickel corner job.
Round 4 – Jeremiah Poutasi – OG – Utah – Jeremiah is a great run blocking tackle who projects to be a guard in the NFL. Struggles in pass protection and is a bit of a project, but with very high upside. Eagles have brought him into the facility on official pre-draft visit, so the interest is 100% there.
I think the Eagles don’t need to worry about guard as much as most fans do. I’m very high on Matt Tobin who played with an ankle injury all season and the team seems high on Allen Barbre who should be an upgrade from Todd Herremans Week 1 this year.
They do need depth, and somebody with high upside to replace Evan Mathis next year though. I expect next years draft to be very OLine heavy, but they can wait another year for more pressing needs. Like the secondary.
Round 5 – Terry Poole – OG/OT – San Diego St – Poole is another prospect the Eagles have brought in for a pre-draft visit. Played both right tackle and left tackle for San Diego St but projects to be a guard in the NFL.
Poole is a serious project because of his bad footwork and poor hand placement. Has all the athletic ability in the world for the position though ranking in 97th percentile at broad jump, 89th in the 40 yard dash and 83rd percentile in vertical jump, so that shows some explosive ability.
Solid project for the OLine to develop along with Poutasi to give the Eagles a pair of long term starters at the Guard position. All the Eagles need now is a RT next year to develop until Jason Peters retire and they have a youthful long term plan across the line.
Round 5 – Obum Gwacham – 3-4 OLB – Oregon State – Similar to Jeremiah above, he has come in for a pre-draft visit to the teams facilities. Obum is a very solid speed pass rusher, but that’s about all he offers. No real technique and struggled against good competition.
The Eagles have virtually nothing behind it’s starters though. Travis Long is coming back from IR, Marcus Smith looked terrible when he was on the field last year, Braman is nothing more than a special teamer. Eagles need to add a situational pass rusher with upside to give Graham a rest.
Round 6 – Austin Hill – WR – Arizona – I know … I know. Your nuts for waiting until round 6 to address receiver. While your right. The Eagles have shown serious interest in a round 2 receiving prospects like Jaelen Strong and Nelson Agholor. I think the Eagles scheme allows them to not have to overspend at the position and give Huff a real shot at starting this year.
This is more about Chip being able to make more with less at this position and the upside I see in Josh Huff is as a starter. Huff reminds me of Steve Smith Sr in the aggressive style he plays at his size.
Austin Hill specifically though has the potential and the upside to be a legit WR1, especially with Chip Kelly. Before Hill tore his ACL in 2013 he legitimately was a top 15 prospect who terrorized the Pac-12.
I’m sure Kelly remembers Hill going off his sophomore year and being a finalist for the Belitnikoff award for most outstanding college receiver. Austin Hill didn’t return to form in 2014, but did show some serious glimpses of it as the season went on.
Round 7 – RJ Harris – WR – New Hampshire – RJ Harris is EVERYTHING Chip Kelly covets in a receiver. Shattered records for the FCS school which happens to be where Chip Kelly got his first coaching gig and his alma mater.
RJ racked up 4,328 yards over 4 years and 36 touchdowns. That’s insane numbers for a college receiver. Eagles also attended the versatile play-maker’s pro-day.
Let me know what you think?