2012 NFL Draft: 5 Players Philadelphia Eagles Should Target in Round One

Vaughn JohnsonCorrespondent IIFebruary 20, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Players Philadelphia Eagles Should Target in Round One

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    These are five guys the Philadelphia Eagles should definitely consider in the first round of this year's NFL Draft.

    With the 15th pick in the draft, the Eagles are fortunate enough to have a good amount options at their disposal.

    Depending on how teams ahead of them in the draft order select, the list has the potential to grow.

    Despite this list of options, head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman still must choose wisely.

Dont'a Hightower (ILB/Alabama)

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    Although the Eagles have a good amount of options with the 15th selection, most—if not all—come from the defensive side of the ball, where they definitely need some help.

    The defense may have improved during the last four games, but it still allowed teams to rush for more than 100 yards in 10 of their 16 games.

    In seven of those games, the Eagles allowed a 100-yard rusher.

    Dont'a Hightower from Alabama can help sure that up for the Birds.

    At 6'4" and 260 pounds, Hightower would bring some muscle to the undersized linebacker corps of the Eagles.

    He also brings athleticism and is a sure tackler—something the Eagles sorely lacked in 2011.

Luke Kuechly (ILB, Boston College)

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    The Eagles need a sure tackler and a guy in the middle with a high motor.

    Luke Kuechly from Boston College would bring them both at the 15th pick.

    Kuechly's success last season is well-documented and was well-rewarded.

    He was the nation's leading tackler with more than 100 and earned the Dick Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.

    In the Eagles' wide nine scheme up front, they need linebackers who are going to fill the A and B gaps quickly and aggressively. Since the defensive lineman take extremely wide splits, it is more essential than other defensive schemes.

    Kuechly brings the ability to do both.

Vontaze Burfict (ILB, Arizona State)

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    Another thing the Eagles need in the linebacker corps is a guy with a bit of a mean streak.

    For better or for worse, Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State possesses that, along with the capability to be a very good inside linebacker for the Eagles.

    The Eagles haven't had a guy in the middle of the defense that brought a bit of a swagger and mean streak since Jeremiah Trotter back in the day.

    Burfict may have the reputation as a bit of a dirty player, but if he cuts down on the penalties, his mean streak could become advantageous for the Eagles.

    Burfict's physical tools are not mind-blowing, but the intangibles he could bring to the Eagles could make him the No. 15 pick.

Devon Still (DT, Penn State)

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    Maybe the reason opponents ran the ball down the Eagles' throats had nothing to do with the linebackers.

    Maybe it had something to do with the fact that current defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins aren't run-stuffers. Jenkins in particular is known for his pass rushing.

    If the Eagles agree with that sentiment, then they should look no further than Devon Still from Penn State.

    Still isn't going to just use his 310-pound frame to suck up blockers and let the linebackers get all of the glory, however. He will also make tackles himself in the backfield.

    Last season alone he recorded 17 tackles for loss, which is a very high number for a defensive tackle.

    Still is the disruptive force that the Eagles need to compliment Jenkins and Patterson up front.

Mark Barron (SS, Alabama)

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    The Eagles have solid, young strong safeties on their roster already, but having depth is never a bad thing.

    Mark Barron from Alabama will immediately bring, at the very least, more depth to the strong safety spot.

    According to one of the mock drafts on CBSSports.com, Barron could be simply the best player available for the Eagles at No. 15.

    If that's the case, the Eagles have to consider a guy with the talent of Barron.