2012 NFL Mock Draft: Philadelphia Eagles Full 7-Round Predictions
The Philadelphia Eagles are in prime position to be a serious contender in 2012. Next April's NFL draft will be a major step in the Eagles getting back in the playoffs. Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagles front office have always been able load up on young talent in the draft, and thus, been able to be a consistent contender during Reid's 13 seasons as Eagles head coach.
After a very tumultuous 2011 season, Reid and the Eagles are at a crossroads. This season saw the Eagles fall to 4-8 at one point and nearly cost Reid his job. Now, the Eagles need to find some players through free agency, and the draft that can help in both run support and in red zone zone efficiency.
Reid has been known for his outstanding draft classes in the past, but with some questionable selections from 2011 such as Jaiquawn Jarrett and Casey Matthews, it's imperative that the Eagles front office bounces back and reloads with more young talent that has helped Reid and the Eagles reach the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons in Philadelphia.
Round 1: Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College
Luke Kuechly fills a major need for the Eagles defense, a run-stuffing middle linebacker. Kuechly is what a lot of people expect Casey Matthews to be last season coming out of the draft. He has a high football IQ who rarely misses tackles and is always around the football.
Kuechly is a lot stronger than Matthews and sheds blocks with more ease than Matthews. He should be an immediate starter at the Eagles starting middle linebacker in 4-3 defenses. Keenan Clayton and Matthews could still keep their jobs as nickel linebackers, but Kuechly should earn the starting job as the Eagles middle linebacker in base formations from day one.
Round 2 (Via Arizona): Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
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Whenever you are trying to reach the Super Bowl in the same conference as the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons, you can never have too many talented cornerbacks. Nnamdi Asomugha is on the wrong side of 30, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a bit inconsistent in his first year in Philadelphia and we still don't know if Curtis Marsh or Brandon Hughes will make decent starters or not.
In comes Chase Minnifield with the first of two Eagles draft picks in the second round. Minnifleld is a very balanced cornerback. He excels in both press man coverage and in zone defense. He also is an outstanding tackler.
Minnifield gives the Eagles immediate depth at the cornerback position, which has become crucial in a pass-happy NFL.
Round 2: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
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The New England Patriots have taught the rest of the league a valuable lesson: You can never have too many athletic tight ends. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for over 2,200 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns this season.
Despite the fact that the Patriots don't have a true deep threat on their roster or a defense that can stop anybody, they have emerged as the premiere team in the AFC mainly because of Tom Brady and his two tight ends that no defense has been able to match up against.
The Eagles already have one solid tight end in Brent Celek, but their No. 2 guy in Clay Harbor hasn't proven to be much more than a decent backup. In comes Georgia's Orson Charles to give the Eagles an extra punch to there already explosive offense.
At 6'3", 242, Charles has good size and speed to make him versatile enough to line up as either a tight end or on the outside as a wide receiver. Having two dangerous tight ends should greatly improve the Eagles' ability to score more touchdowns in the red zone.
Round 3: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
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Let's face it, Eagles fans, Michael Vick isn't going to last forever. Actually, we should expect his body to really start breaking down due to all the ferocious hits he takes in about two or three years. The Eagles need a quarterback of the future. Mike Kafka is a nice back-up, but he lacks the arm strength to be a quality NFL starter on a team loaded with deep threats.
Kirk Cousins might be the steal of the 2012 draft. He is a gamer. He has a knack for leading his team from behind and always makes good decisions. He doesn't have great arm strength, but he can make all the throws against any defense. He compares a lot like Tom Brady did coming out of Michigan. Both quarterbacks don't wow you athletically or physically, but they have great intangibles and just flat out know how to win.
We have seen Andy Reid have success with more athletically gifted quarterbacks, but we havn't seen what he can do with a truly smart quarterback with an accurate arm. Cousins could turn into Vick's eventual replacement in a couple years similar to the Patriots plan with Ryan Mallet.
Round 4 (Via Tampa Bay): Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
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The Eagles backfield appears to be pretty set with touchdown machine LeSean McCoy and also with Dion Lewis emerging as his backup. The Eagles still need a third running back that can add a great deal of speed to the backfield and possibly compete as a kick returner as well.
No other player in the draft fits that mold better than Florida's Jeff Demps. Unfortunately, Demps has decided to focus his attention on track and field rather than football, so the Eagles will have to settle for his teammate at Florida, Chris Rainey.
Rainey is not only a speed demon who can makes play on the ground and in the air, but he is also a special teams ace. Rainey finished his career with six blocked punts and had over 1,400 all-purpose yards to finish out his senior season.
Rainey has a knack for making plays on offense, but also on special teams both as a punt-blocking specialist and as a return man. He has already expressed his interest in contributing special teams right away. Imagine what a special teams guru like Bobby April could do with a special talent like Chris Rainey.
Round 4: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
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Until the Eagles front office and DeSean Jackson can workout a long-term deal, the Eagles need to add some speed at the wide receiver position in this year's draft. Regardless of what happens to Jackson, Joe Adams can make his life much easier down the road.
Adams excelled as a dangerous return man who can free up Jackson to just concentrate on being a wide receiver. Adams had four punts returned for touchdowns this season. He also had 54 receptions for 652 yards and three touchdowns.
Adams gives the Eagles another speedster to play with on offense. Lining him up with Jackson and Jeremy Maclin gives opposing defenses another speedy receiver to worry about.
Round 5: Moe Petrus, Center, UCONN
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With the likely departure of center Jamaal Jackson, the Eagles will need to find a back-up for Jason Kelce either in free agency or the draft. Moe Petrus looks like the best fit for Howard Mudd's blocking scheme late in the draft for the Eagles.
Petrus is projected to have one of the best 40 times at the combine and is more athletic than bulky at 6'2", 300 pounds. Petrus has made 39 career starts at center while at UCONN, so he will come in with plenty of experience at the center position.
The Eagles could still elect to sign a center in free agency to compete with Petrus in training camp. Either way, the Eagles just need a capable back-up behind Kelce just in case he gets hurt.
Round 6: Jeff Adams, OT, Columbia
The Eagles will, at some point late in the draft, select a depth player at offensive tackle. The Eagles are set with starters Todd Herremans and All-Pro Jason Peters, but don't have a Howard Mudd-type back-up at tackle.
Jeff Adams is a prototypical Mudd lineman. He is a high-motor offensive tackle with a bit of a mean streak. He is also a more athletic linemen at just over 300 pounds and a 40 time right around 5.00. He can sit behind Peters and Herremans for a few years while he learns the blocking schemes and the speed of the game.
Round 6 (Via Denver): Kelcie McCray, SS, Arkansas State
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The Eagles will need to add some depth at the safety position this offseason. They are set at free safety with Nate Allen and either Kurt Coleman or Jaiquawn Jarrett at strong safety but need a special teams player and a second backup to add depth.
Kelcie McCray should be available for the Eagles in the later part of the sixth round. McCray was a three year starter at strong safety for Arkansas State and has good size at 6'2" and speed at around a 4.45 40.
McCray has a knack for always being around the football and should be able to contribute on special teams right away.
Round 6 (Via New England): Logan Harrell, DT, Fresno State
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With their final pick in the draft, the Eagles will take the player who has the best chance to earn either a roster spot or a spot on the practice squad. Logan Harrell of Fresno State is an ideal fit for Jim Washburn's aggressive defensive line scheme.
Harrell is a player that compares to current Eagle Derek Landri. He is a bit undersized, but he has a motor that doesn't stop and has a serious knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage. Harrell had 17 tackles for a loss this season. His size, at just 275 pounds, will push him back in the draft, but his energy and work ethic will make him a good fit for Washburn.
With all the depth the Eagles have at defensive tackle, it will be difficult to earn a roster spot right away, but he should provide great competition in training camp and could earn a spot on the practice squad as well.