NFL Mock Draft 2012: 4 Possible Selections for the Eagles' 1st Round Pick
With the first round of the draft coming up just later this afternoon, it is still not entirely clear what direction the Eagles will go in with their 15th overall.
The Eagles were fairly active in free agency, re-signing many key players and signing Demetress Bell and trading for DeMeco Ryans to fill in large holes on the roster.
At this point, the question remains whether the Eagles should add depth or attempt to reach for a starter, such as at the safety or outside linebacker position. Here are 4 prospects who the Eagles may be interested in.
1. Mark Barron- S
Mark Barron could go anywhere from the mid-first round to the early second round. But Andy Reid is on the hot seat, in danger of losing his job if the Eagles do not make the postseason in 2012.
With that in mind, Reid may attempt to fill more holes by selecting Barron and adding much-needed help to a position that struggled mightily in 2011.
Barron is a great all-around safety, being a great tackler and possessing fine coverage skills and hands. This would be a reach, but to take Barron this high would ensure the Eagles have a good starter at Strong Safety.
2. Zach Brown- OLB
Selecting Zach Brown would also be a reach. But the linebacker position was a tremendous liability in 2011. Reid may go against his tendencies to not select linebackers early in the draft and select Brown here.
Brown is a very talented player with great instincts, but the biggest concern with him is potential character issues. With a good defensive leader on the roster in DeMeco Ryans, however, Brown may be able to better reach his full potential.
In either case, Brown could be expected to immediately replace Brian Rolle or Casey Matthews at the LOLB position.
3. Fletcher Cox- DT
This would be the most likely pick at 15th overall, if Fletcher Cox were to fall this far. But Cox is a great defensive tackle with huge upside who Reid would likely view as a safer pick. It is very much like him to select a linemen, whether offensive or defensive, in the first round.
The Eagles are always in need of defensive linemen, especially now that they are running the wide-nine technique. While Mike Patterson is by no means a poor defensive lineman, depth at this position, as well as a good rotation, is key to generating pressure without a blitz, which is what the Eagles are aiming for now defensively.
If Cox falls this far, expect the Eagles to select him.
4. Jonathan Martin- OL
Jonathan Martin's draft stock was hurt by his poor pro day performance. However, protecting Andrew Luck's blindside is no small feat. And prior to his pro day, many analysts and scouts lauded Martin for his athleticism.
Perhaps what Martin needs is a good O-Line coach to mold him into a dominant tackle. Howard Mudd is one of the best in the game, if anyone can do it it's him.
It is true that the Eagles signed Demetress Bell. But depth at the O-Line is absolutely necessary due to the unfortunate loss of Jason Peters. Especially as it is unclear if Peters will return at all due to his age and his injury (ACL tear) likely reducing much of his speed and agility.
Martin will likely be available at 15th overall. Like Cox, perhaps Reid will go the safer rout and select him here.