On Star Lotulelei
If the Eagles plan on playing a 3-4, they need a dominating force at nose tackle that can be disruptive and create opportunities for the linebackers to make plays.
There were some concerns about his health, but he’s recently been given a clean bill. With the lack of 3-4 defensive lineman on the Eagles roster, Lotulelei could be for the Eagles what Haloti Ngata is for the Ravens.
On Eric Fisher
Fisher is athletic, and plays with a mean streak. He can still get bigger and stronger, and might have the best upside of any of the offensive tackles in the draft.
With the offensive line possibly being the team’s most pressing need, Fisher would make just as much sense as anyone if he is infact available by the time the Eagles get on the clock.
Cooper is an athletic guard that would fit well within the fast-paced style of offense that Chip Kelly wants to run.
As a guard, he’s certainly not someone to consider with the fourth overall pick, but if a scenario plays out in which the Eagles were to trade down between 10-15, Cooper would be a fine selection that would provide some instant stability at the right guard position.
Top Prospects I Don’t Like
On Dee Milliner
Milliner is considered the best cornerback in the draft, but I don’t think he’s a good for Philadelphia.
Milliner has been described as a “system cornerback” who may only flourish in the NFL if he plays for the right defense. He’s also not a physical corner, and has issues with tackling. Over the last few years, I’ve seen enough of cornerbacks and safeties that play soft and don’t want to hit anybody (Nnamdi, Asante, DRC, Nate Allen, etc) that I’ll happily pass on Milliner and look to address cornerback later in the draft.
On Geno Smith
I can’t remember seeing a player’s draft stock go up and down as wildly as Smith’s has.
One week he’s a top 15 pick. Then after some excellent workouts, there’s talk that he could go in the top five, possibly as high as Jacksonville at number two. Now not only has he fallen out of the top five, but some believe there’s even a chance he could fall out of the first round altogether.
When you draft a quarterback in the first round, it’s either going to put your franchise on the map (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco) or set you back at least three years or more (Blaine Gabbert, Brady Quinn, Mark Sanchez, JaMarcus Russell).
There’s just too much uncertainty about Smith to deem him worthy of the fourth overall pick, and all of the buzz surrounding him seems to have died off.
On Dion Jordan
I don’t think it makes a lot of sense for the Eagles to take Jordan.
Jordan’s stock has soared ever since the Combine, and teams are in love with his size and speed. What concerns me about Jordan is that for all of his physical skills, he only recorded 5.5 sacks against weaker competition.
The Eagles have already invested a lot into a pass-rushing linebacker when they signed Connor Barwin, they have greater needs, and I think Jordan is a higher risk than some of the other candidates that might or might not be available. Jordan is an interesting prospect, but the Eagles need to spend their top pick on a safer option.
What I Want To See Happen
When you look at this year’s NFL Draft, it’s a draft with a great deal of depth, but at the top of the draft it’s missing the usual handful of top-of-the-line potential cornerstone prospects that are usually available within the first five picks of the draft.
Given the absence of a true elite prospects, and given the number of needs that the Eagles need to address, I think it’s in the Eagles’ best interest to trade down from fourth overall and stock up on extra picks this year and next year. I like some of the guys that are available at the top of the draft, but I’m not in love with any of them. I believe the Eagles could get a prospect in the middle of the first round that could make as strong an impact as any of the players that they could take fourth overall.
A lot of teams are going to be interested in the top offensive tackles, and the Eagles will have the opportunity to trade down. They will need to make a decision whether or not they believe Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson can be one of their bookend tackles for the next 10 years or whether or not they’re better off accepting the package that another team offers them. Gaining an extra second round pick this year and possibly another third or fourth round pick next year could go a long way towards filling this team’s numerous holes.
What I Think Will Happen
Most of the Eagles moves this offseason have been geared towards improving the defense and acquiring new defensive coordinator Billy Davis some better players to work with. But the only real offensive weapon that Chip Kelly, an offensive-minded coach, has added to the roster to this point has been versatile tight end/fullback James Casey.
I think that Kelly is going to use this draft to add pieces to his side of the ball now, and he’s going to start with his offensive line. He knows the Eagles offensive line, even when completely healthy, needs improvement from what it was a year ago. He’s going to have an opportunity to take either Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson with that fourth overall pick, and I think it’s going to be hard for him to pass on the chance to inject a top prospect into his offensive line.