The Eagles traded for a linebacker, but they still may use their first-round pick on Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
The Philadelphia Eagles were a lot closer last year than their middling draft slot and record would indicate. A few monumental collapses undone and they would have made the playoffs. How will they use their first-round pick this year to right the wrongs of 2011? (Note: Thanks to Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com for his consultation and excellent visit/workout tracker.)
20% Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - Amazing that the murderers' row of corners from 2011 has turned into a need in 2012. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a disappointment, and Asante Samuel might not be an Eagle by the end of the draft. Kirkpatrick's aggressive, hard-nosed game fits well, and he's more likely to be available to Philly than Stephon Gilmore.
20% Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College - The Eagles addressed their need at MLB with the DeMeco Ryans trade, but Kuechly would be an ideal WLB to line up next to him and could be the best player available on the Eagles board. He's an easy player to go to bat for in a war room. Eagles LB coach Mike Caldwell worked Kuechly out at his pro day.
20% Michael Brockers, DT, LSU - Brockers has tremendous potential, and the Eagles do have a track record of taking trench players in the first. Brockers is one of a few players that DL coach Jim Washburn would be excited to coach up. The team used one of its official visits on Brockers.
10% Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina - Gilmore is probably a better fit than Kirkpatrick tools-wise, but he is also very likely to be the second corner off of the board. He should be higher on Philly's board than Kirkpatrick, but he's also much less likely to be available.
10% Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - Poe, like Brockers, oozes physical potential that could be unlocked by the coaching of Jim Washburn. His lack of production is harder to justify because of the lower level of competition he faced. The team used one of its official visits on Poe.
7.5% - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - The Eagles lack size in their WR corps, making Floyd an intriguing best player available option at No. 15. If he isn't a top 10 pick, it's very likely that he'll be there for them. The Eagles had an off-site workout with Floyd.
2.5% - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina - A long shot, but one that the Eagles might surprise by taking if he doesn't go in the top 10. Coples' talent and ability are unquestioned, but his motivation is an issue. Under Washburn, he could become elite.
2.5% - Trade Down - I believe the Eagles' desire to trade down is much higher than this number reflects. I also believe at least the Jaguars, Panthers, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Cowboys will be entertaining offers to trade down. If a team covets someone so much that they will pay valuable draft capital to do it, chances are it will already have been done by the time the Eagles are on the clock. Events still could transpire to make this the top choice on the Eagles list by the time they are up.
2.5% - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M - The Eagles have been looking at other QBs, and Tannehill would have to appeal to Andy Reid. He might even be higher on the team's board than anyone else on this list and the only potential trade up target. It remains a remote possibility that he lasts until the 15th pick. The Eagles had an off-site workout with Tannehill.
2.5% - Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State - Here's your dark horse pick. Worthy is maybe the best gap shooter of the DT class after Fletcher Cox, but his game beyond that is thin. That strength may prove to be enough to merit a pick at 15 if there's a DT run before the Eagles pick. They have had Worthy in for an official visit.
2.5% - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State - The Eagles would love to take Cox. I think they would even take him ahead of Tannehill. If he is available, the chances of them taking him are 100 percent. I've become increasingly convinced that he won't be there by pick 15, probably not even by pick 10. They have worked Cox out off-site.