2012 NFL Draft: 7 Prospects the Philadelphia Eagles Could Trade Up For
With the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine wrapping up, now is as good a time as any to take a look at some prospects who might entice the Philadelphia Eagles to trade up in the draft.
The Eagles are not short on ammunition to pull off a trade, either, as they have 10 picks at their disposal. And if recent drafts are any indication, the team will not hesitate to make moves up and down the board.
The combine showed there are plenty of athletic players with raw talent that can be turned into quality NFL players with time and proper coaching. Hopefully the Eagles took plenty of notes on those players, as they may be the determining factor on whether the team can reach the playoffs in 2012.
That being said, it is going to take some wheelin' and dealin' for the Eagles to nab some of the following prospects.
Luke Kuechly, Linebacker
It seems almost a forgone conclusion among draft analysts that the Philadelphia Eagles will draft Luke Kuechly with their first-round pick. After an impressive showing at the combine, however, it may end up that Kuechly doesn't make it to the 15th pick in the first round.
At the combine, Kuechly displayed far more athleticism than many predicted, often outperforming many other linebackers who were supposedly faster and stronger. This performance, coupled with his insane production while at Boston College, will make it very hard for teams like the Seattle Seahawks or Dallas Cowboys to pass on him.
In order for the Eagles to move up a few picks, it is possible they could offer a team one of their fourth-round picks in addition to their first-rounder. That would be a very reasonable price in order to secure the draft's best inside linebacker.
Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle
Dontari Poe wasn't a much-hyped name coming into the combine, but that quickly changed. The defensive tackle out of Memphis clocked a 4.87 in the 40-yard dash.
Doesn't sound very impressive, does it? What makes that time special, however, is that he made that time weighing 346 pounds. That is simply sensational. Poe further added to his strong performance by completing 44 bench-press reps, which was the best of any 2012 prospect.
Poe proved himself to be full of talent and athleticism, and he has now piqued the interest of many teams.
The Eagles may already have quality starters on the interior of their defensive line, but Poe may simply be too good to pass up. He would make an ideal fit in the wide-nine scheme implemented by the team, as he his big enough to fill up a whole lot of running lanes. That puts less pressure on the linebackers, who were consistently burned in the run game last season.
In order to nab Poe, the Eagles may have to move in front of or trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are in desperate need of a quality defensive tackle.
Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver
Much like Dontari Poe, wide receiver Stephen Hill also made a name for himself at the combine.
The receiver from Georgia Tech posted a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, good for best among wide receivers. Add to that his prototypical 6'4", 215-pound frame, and Hill has the makings of a productive receiver in the NFL.
Fortunately, the Eagles may not have to spend their first-round pick on him. With other receivers projected to go ahead of him, Hill may fall into the beginning of the second round. If that happens, the Eagles would be wise to trade up and nab the speedster. They could probably do so by coupling one of their second-round picks with a fourth-rounder.
If DeSean Jackson is traded, Hill could immediately step in and fill the role of deep threat. He also has the proper frame to become a reliable red-zone option for quarterback Michael Vick.
He may not have produced at an exceptionally high level in college, but Hill's athleticism and skills could make him a steal of the draft if he falls into the second round.
Mychal Kendricks, Linebacker
If history tells us anything, it is that head coach Andy Reid is reluctant to use a first-round pick on a linebacker. That means there is a good chance that the Philadelphia Eagles pass on drafting Luke Kuechly.
However, that does not necessarily spell doom for the season. There are actually quite a few linebackers in this year's draft class who could potentially come in an provide an upgrade at middle linebacker. One of those prospects is California linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
At the combine, Kendricks led all linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.47), vertical jump (39.5") and broad jump (10'7 "). This proves his athleticism, and shows he his capable of playing sideline-to-sideline as either a two- or three-down linebacker.
He also has the production to go along with the physical talent. At Cal, Kendricks finished his senior season with 106 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Those numbers were good enough to earn him Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
With the versatility to play either on the outside or inside, Kendricks seems like a player the Eagles could trade up for in the second round.
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback
Starting Eagles quarterback Michael Vick isn't getting any younger. At the very most, he has perhaps two or three more productive years.
That means that it is time for the organization to start searching for its quarterback of the future.
While it seems unlikely the team will make a move for the top three quarterbacks in this year's draft, it wouldn't be surprising if it drafted one in the early rounds. One that could come in and ride the pine for a year or two while learning the ropes on his way to being a starting quarterback down the line.
Enter Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins.
With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III electing not to throw at the combine, Cousins was able to shine as the best passer in Indianapolis. Many analysts cited him as being extremely accurate on all of his throws, and he made the three- to five-step drops look easy.
With his dominant performance, however, Cousins has likely secured himself a spot within the top 40 picks. This again means that the Eagles would have to surrender a second-rounder and some other form of compensation to move up and draft him. However, considering his talents and the fact that coach Andy Reid knows how to groom a quarterback, it would be smart of the team to make this move.
Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle
Considering how much head coach Andy Reid loves drafting linemen, it would not be at all surprising to see the team use a high pick on one. Some prospects like Matt Kalil may be out of reach for the team, but the Eagles have a reasonable shot at landing Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin.
When measuring in at the combine, Martin looked every bit the part of a potential starter. His 34" arms and 9.88" hands are impressive, and he knows how to move his 312-pound body effectively.
Obviously, the team is not in dire need of a left tackle. Jason Peters has become a force at the position and should continue to dominate there for at least a few more years. Still, it never hurts to have a handful of quality offensive linemen.
Martin projects in the bottom portion of the first round, which means that the Eagles would likely have to surrender both of their second-rounders to nab him.
Mark Barron, Strong Safety
There is no question that the Eagles need help at the safety position. While Nate Allen improved as the 2011 season wore on, the same cannot be said of Kurt Coleman. Adding insult to injury, rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett was not able to seize the strong safety position as many expected he would.
The team needs to infuse the position with talent, and Alabama's Mark Barron just might be the answer. As the draft's most talented safety prospect, Barron would be able to come in and make an instant impact for the team.
He has very good instincts for the position, and he has ideal size and strength for stuffing the run. The one drawback on him is that he lacks elite speed, but his instincts often put him in position to make a play regardless.
One thing fans are bound to fall in love with is his ability to make big hits. While roaming the secondary in Alabama's No. 1-ranked defense, Barron developed a reputation as a hitter.
Like many of the other prospects on this list, Barron is projected to go near the end of the first round. Many analysts project him to go to the New England Patriots, who have two first-round picks and a need at safety. It seems entirely possible the Eagles could use some of their draft picks as ammunition for a trade with the Patriots, who are notorious for collecting picks in the later rounds.