6 Red-Zone Threats the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target in 2012 Draft

Cody Swartz@cbswartz5Senior Writer IMarch 18, 2012

6 Red-Zone Threats the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target in 2012 Draft

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    The 2012 NFL Draft features a slew of promising red-zone threats the Philadelphia Eagles should target, whether in the form of a running back, wide receiver or tight end.

    The team recently locked up DeSean Jackson for the next five years, and that gives quarterback Michael Vick a handful of playmakers in Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek.

    Drafting another red-zone threat might be a good idea, though, considering Jackson is at his best on the deep ball and lacks the strength to go across the middle effectively. The team needs a bruiser or an all-around player who can go across the middle and score touchdowns inside the 20-yard line.

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    It’s unlikely the Philadelphia Eagles pick Michael Floyd in the draft, since the team just locked up DeSean Jackson with a five-year deal and Floyd would have to be taken in the first round.

    But if he’s still around at the 15th overall pick, the Eagles will definitely consider the Notre Dame standout receiver.

    He’s arguably the most complete receiver in the draft and has a terrific combination of size and power. Floyd has great height and great size, and his 4.47 speed means he can outrun most cornerbacks. Floyd would give the Eagles an incredible group of receivers for quarterback Michael Vick to work with and Floyd could emerge as the biggest red-zone threat of the group.

Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

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    Due to the lack of promising tight ends coming out of college football, Coby Fleener could be taken in the first round of the 2012 draft.

    If he is still around by the Philadelphia Eagles’ first of their two second-round picks, though, he would be an excellent complement to Brent Celek.

    The tight end position is revolutionizing the NFL, and Fleener and Celek would give the Eagles an excellent two-tight-end set in the mold of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez or Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

    Fleener isn’t a speedster, but he has terrific size and totaled 10 touchdowns in just 32 receptions in 2011.

    Clay Harbor is by no means a poor second tight end, but he isn’t a tight end that the Eagles can really use in a two-tight-end set.

    Fleener would be that guy.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

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    Dwayne Allen isn’t the fastest tight end, having posted just a 4.89 40-yard dash time, so the Philadelphia Eagles might be better off picking a tight end with more speed who would complement Brent Celek better.

    But if they decide Allen would be a good fit for their offense, it would give the Eagles two big tight ends who can get open in the red zone and catch touchdowns. Allen had eight scores among his 50 receptions in 2011 and he’s an excellent third-down receiver who excels at going up and getting jump balls.

    Defenses would have their hands full trying to contain DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Celek and Allen, with a quarterback like Michael Vick capable of bursting off a 30-yard run at any time.

Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette

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    Ladarius Green would be an excellent complement to Brent Celek, as he’s a faster tight end who can’t block as well. Green runs a 4.53 40, which would make him one of the league’s quickest tight ends, and he’s a dangerous receiver in the sense that he’s too fast for linebackers and too big for safeties.

    Green would be better off adding 15 pounds or so to his frame to give him more muscle and the ability to block better and run through defenders, but he is a good fit with Celek, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in the Philadelphia Eagles offense.

    He could also likely be picked in the third or fourth round, so the Eagles wouldn’t have to reach too far for Green.

Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa

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    The 6’4” receiver is a big physical player who can make plays downfield because of his exceptional size and speed. Marvin McNutt pulled in 12 touchdowns among his 82 catches for 1,315 yards in 2011, establishing himself as a top red-zone threat.

    McNutt is likely to go in the second-to-third round, and if he is still around when the Philadelphia Eagles select in the third round, the team should strongly consider him. McNutt, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin gives the Eagles a strong group of receivers—especially with Jason Avant in the slot, Brent Celek at tight end and LeSean McCoy in the backfield.

Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina

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    He’s raw and unpolished, so the Philadelphia Eagles would probably be able to get the North Carolina wide receiver in the middle-to-late rounds of the NFL draft.

    Dwight Jones caught 12 touchdowns in 2011, using his 6’3” frame to pick up tough yards and get physical after the catch. He’s said to be a terrible route-runner and he had a poor Senior Bowl, but with proper coaching, Jones could be an effective receiver in the Eagles offense.