Every coach’s dream is to find a player in the NFL draft that turns out to be a steal given the round he went in—a first rounder that fell to the second round or a third round talent that was snatched up in the sixth round.
Andy Reid has struggled historically with picking first rounders (see Freddie Mitchell, Jerome McDougle, or Brandon Graham), but he has selected some quality players in the later rounds. Trent Cole was a fifth rounder that went on to become an All-Pro end. Todd Herremans was found in the fourth round, Brent Celek was the fifth, and even LeSean McCoy didn’t go until after the first 50 picks of the draft.
Here are five draft picks that could prove to be steals for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Texas A&M quarterback is the top quarterback in this year’s draft class outside of the other-worldly Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Ryan Tannehill has been rumored to go as high as the third pick in the draft, which would require a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
If Tannehill doesn’t go to the Cleveland Browns at four, he could0 probably go to either the Miami Dolphins at eight, the Buffalo Bills at 10, and the Kansas City Chiefs at 11. But if Tannehill slips past those teams, the Philadelphia Eagles could snatch him up with the 15th overall pick, and I think Andy Reid would definitely do that.
Reid was on the hot seat for most of last season and he survived because of a four-game winning streak down the stretch. If Reid picks Tannehill, it will give Reid job security for the future. Michael Vick isn’t going to last forever at quarterback, especially since he’s 31 years old and extremely injury-prone. Tannehill could be seen as the successor for Vick, and he would be a steal with the 15th overall pick.
Quinton Coples has been widely seen as going as high as eighth overall to the Miami Dolphins in this upcoming NFL draft. He is a known boom-or-bust player, in the sense that a team could get a bona-fide stud pass rusher out of him or they could get the next Courtney Brown, a player who never fulfills his potential as an upper first round pick.
Andy Reid absolutely loves defensive linemen, and he’s going to be looking heavily at the linemen in this upcoming draft. Fletcher Cox probably won’t be there when the Philadelphia Eagles select at 15th overall, but Coples could be one of the best options for the Eagles. Trent Cole is an All-World player off the edge, and Jason Babin is a terrific pass rusher opposite him, although his run stopping skills are extremely limited.
Brandon Graham has yet to reach his full potential, and there’s a chance Graham may never amount to the player the Eagles thought he would be when they selected him 13th overall in the 2010 draft. Coples could be a steal if he is still there at 15. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn knows how to get the most out of his players, and he won’t tolerate Coples’ seemingly lackadaisical playing style.
Michael Floyd is arguably the most complete wide receiver in this year’s draft. He has been rumored to go as high as fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns, and there’s a lot to like about him as a player.
Floyd could go to the Jacksonville Jaguars at seven, the Miami Dolphins at eight, the Carolina Panthers at nine, the Buffalo Bills at 10, or the Arizona Cardinals at 13. If he falls past those teams because of his character issues, the Philadelphia Eagles should think hard before passing on Floyd.
He is a big, physical receiver who runs a good time in the 40-yard dash. DeSean Jackson is a one-trick pony who runs a good deep route, and Jeremy Maclin may be best utilized in the slot. That would mean Floyd would be a great fit for Michael Vick and the Eagles.
In terms of pure talent, Janoris Jenkins should go near the top 10 in the draft. He is an elite cover corner and he did well against top receivers in college football last season. But Jenkins has arguably the most extremely character issues of any player in the draft.
He was kicked out of the University of Florida and spent a year at Northern Alabama. Jenkins has multiple drug issues and he has three children, which could definitely scare teams off. If the Philadelphia Eagles select Jenkins in the first round, it’s too much of a stretch. But if he falls to the second round and the Eagles snatch him up with one of their two picks in the second round, I think it’s a good deal.
Asante Samuel will likely be traded soon. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is entering the final year of his contract, and Nnamdi Asomugha needs help opposite him.
If the Philadelphia Eagles spend a first round pick on a defensive lineman—very likely to happen—there are several cornerbacks the team should look at with their second pick in the second round. Brandon Boykin from the University of Georgia would be an excellent addition to the Eagles.
Asante Samuel will probably be traded today or tomorrow and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is best suited on the outside, where his excellent size makes him a good, aggressive cover corner. Boykin wasn’t blessed with ideal size, but he should be a solid enough fit inside in the slot. So many teams run three-wide receiver sets in today’s offense that Boykin will assuredly see the field for 30, 40, or even 50 defensive snaps per game.