Welcome to my initial 2014 Philadelphia Eagles mock draft! Early mock drafts by me and everyone else are usually just an exercise in futility, but at the least they’re fun for discussion during the slow times of the NFL offseason.
Last year, I went a big 0-fer in my initial predictions on who the Eagles would take. Of course that was also prior to the start of free agency, just as this one is. However, I’m aiming to improve upon that this time around even though we’ll have a much better idea on things by May.
This year, I put out a mock free agency so I’m basing this draft on those acquisitions. At this point, I’m focusing on the positions I think they’ll address in each round and sliding the player in that I think fits most with the team and whom is currently projected as being selected around that point in the draft.
Lastly, I’ll give you a brief explanation as to my thinking for the pick.
1. OLB Kyle Van Noy, 6′ 3″ 244 lbs, BYU – At this point, Van Noy is predominantly projected to be a high second rounder with a chance to climb into the late first round. My bet is that after the combine and interviews, he will be a first rounder on some, if not most teams’ boards.
Said former NFL GM Phil Savage of Van Noy about his showing during the Senior Bowl week:
Kyle was the most complete outside linebacker on the North and South rosters because of his combination of athleticism in space, his ability to stack the run at the point-of-attack and his overall pass rushing skills. He can play on or off the line of scrimmage and appeared equally secure in defending the run or pass. In reality, he is versatile enough to fit the 3-4 or 4-3 systems and play in Sub as a rusher or coverage defender. Kyle should become a starter early on and enjoy a productive NFL career.
It’s exactly that versatility that will draw the Eagles to this player. He could play both Trent Cole’s and Conner Barwin’s position if needed and will be groomed to take over one of them.
Plus, he was a respected team leader at BYU and met with the Eagles at the Senior Bowl. The Eagles have a habit of drafting guys they were impressed with at past Senior Bowls and if he’s still on the board at 22, I think this is their man.
2. WR Davante Adams, 6′ 2″ 216 lbs, Fresno State – I have the Eagles re-signing either Maclin or Cooper, but not both. Either way, I see Chip Kelly wanting to keep adding to his offensive firepower.
At this point, Adams is projected mostly as a second round player by most analysts with a few having him as a third rounder. Adams put up crazy numbers in 2013 with 131 receptions for 1,719 yards and a whopping 24 touchdowns.
However, some wonder if he’s “that talented” or more of a product of playing in a wide open attack with highly touted Derek Carr throwing him the football. Here’s a blurb about him from Greg Gabriel of National Football Post:
Watching tape, Adams is not asked to run a large variety of routes. He runs mostly bubble screens, go’s and comebacks. He will occasionally run a slant. He is not a precise route runner and can get sloppy. While he can make sharp cuts, he doesn’t do it consistently. He has a burst to get separation.
What he does do, is use his size and body very well. He has great length and a huge receiving radius. He has the strength to shield defenders and the jumping ability to go up and get it. While he will double-catch some balls, he shows the ability to snatch the ball. I would grade his hands as very good.
He also is excellent at adjusting to the ball and has made numerous “circus” catches. After the catch, Adams is a strong runner. He has both power and a burst and can make the first man miss. As a blocker, he is willing, but the results are inconsistent.
In other words, Adams appears to be a player with a great amount of natural talent but just needs some coaching for the NFL level. He wouldn’t be asked to play a major role right away so he would have time to learn.
With his physicality and ability to run after the catch, Adams seems like he would fit well into Kelly’s offense with the potential to be a future star.
3. ILB Christian Jones, 6′ 4″ 234 lbs, Florida State – The heir apparent for DeMeco Ryans. There was a lot of buzz about Jones during Senior Bowl week and the Eagles were mentioned as giving him “plenty of attention” at the practices.
Here are some Senior Bowl notes about him from Lance Zierlein of thesidelineview.com:
Has played ILB, OLB and DE over last two seasons
- As a pass rusher, features outstanding first step off the snap
- Drops fluidly into coverage and transitions forward smoothly
- Good closing speed
- Agressive hand use and often gets “hands on” first
- Shows ability to stack and shed in space
Jones was way too much to handle in pass rush drills against skill position players and he showed fluid, quick-twitch explosion in coverage. He was impressive this week and will catch the eye of defenses looking for scheme versatility.
Again, there’s that key word: versatility. Though he played multiple positions on the defense, he is mostly projected to be an inside player in the NFL (even though some list him as an “OLB”). However, he is the type of player that can move around a little bit and allow Bill Davis some flexibility.
Right now, he’s mostly projected as a third round player.
4. S Ahmad Dixon, 6′ 205 lbs, Baylor – What? We’re waiting until the fourth round to address safety and we only signed Mike Mitchell in free agency? Yeah, I know. I’d rather we invest a higher amount of resources in this position, but this is just how I think the Eagles will do it…not necessarily what I want.
With that said, between Mitchell, Earl Wolff and Dixon I think we can find two good players. Here is a brief scouting report from Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com:
Strengths: Extremely fast downhill and loves to get his hands dirty in the run game, striking through his target with strong hands to finish. Dixon has an accurate first step with the quickness and range to play both sidelines with an alert, active mentality. Displays the feet and overall body coordination to hold up on an island if needed. Excellent size/speed athlete with the fluidity and natural speed to cover the entire field, making plays behind the line of scrimmage and in the deep half of the fieldWorks hard to shed blocks to make open-field stops and is a physical tackler. He is confident in coverage to jump routes and aggressively go after the ball.
Weaknesses: He still needs some technique and recognition work when it comes to coverage. Needs to consistently wrap up and not just hit his target with body shots
Dixon is another versatile player who played safety and spent time as a hybrid linebacker/defensive back. Scouts say he has good speed, can cover and is a hard hitter. He could player either strong or free safety in the NFL.
At this point, he’s mostly projected as a fourth round player but could be seen as a riser after the combine.
5. OG Austin Wentworth, 6′ 5″ 305 lbs, Fresno State - The Eagles need to add some talent and depth to the offensive line. Eagles QBs were sacked 48 times in 2013, which is probably middle of the road as far as offensive line protection goes.
While this isn’t a dire need, I’m actually debating whether or not it should be seen as more of a need than generally thought. In particular, Herremans is coming off a so-so season and isn’t getting any younger.
Wentworth has played the LT, RT and RG positions along the line in college but is projected to play guard in the NFL. And if playing multiple positions isn’t versatile enough for Chip Kelly, this “hook and ladder” play by Wentworth should seal the deal as a Kelly kinda guy…
5. CB Andre Hal, 6′ 186 lbs, Vanderbilt – Even as I create this mock, I feel like I’m neglecting the cornerback position. I don’t have the Eagles signing a corner in free agency and I’m waiting until the 5th round to address it.
But, the Eagles can only realistically do so much and I’m fine with another season of Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin.
Hal might be viewed as somewhat of a sleeper right now with his draft projection mainly in the 5th round range. His stock could very well rise a little bit given his 15 pass break-ups and three INTs this past season.
Here is a quick blurb about him from nepatriotsdraft.com:
Successful corners need to be good athletes with the flexibility and coordination to change directions quickly. They also need to be fast in order to keep up with receivers down field. Andre Hal has all those qualities. A smooth athlete with quick feet, speed and decent height he has the ability to play man or zone at the next level.
Another possibility to look for here is Aaron Colvin. He was projected as a second or third round talent before tearing his ACL at the Senior Bowl. The Eagles could afford to “red shirt” him in his rookie season in hopes he gets back to full strength in 2015.
7. QB Tajh Boyd, 6′ 1″ 225 lbs, Clemson – Yes, I have Chip Kelly taking a flier here if Boyd is still on the board…which he very well could be if you saw the negative buzz surrounding him during the Senior Bowl week.
If Boyd would have declared last year, he probably would have been a second or third round pick and there certainly would have been tons of speculation that Kelly would be interested in him.
At the Senior Bowl, Boyd was noted as being all over the place with his throwing accuracy and decision making, which led some draft analysts wondering if he’s even “draftable.”
However, most draft sites still have him projected anywhere from a 5th – 7th rounder.
There will be lots of changes over the course of the next few months, especially after we see what happens during free agency. But as of right now, I’d be pleased if the offseason went the way I have it going so far (in my free agency and draft mocks).
With that said, I’d be even happier if they signed if they were able to address the safety position more aggressively than I have them doing it.