12 Players Philadelphia Eagles Must Start Circling on 2013 NFL Draft Board
The last thing on Andy Reid’s mind right now is probably the 2013 NFL draft. He needs to focus on beating the undefeated Atlanta Falcons next Sunday, then finding a way to not only make the playoffs but make a deep run to save his job.
But Reid is always looking ahead, and I’m sure he has his eye on several players already for next year’s draft. After all, the Eagles will have major decisions to make on multiple positional groups in the offseason, and the draft is as good a time as any to look to upgrade the team.
Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles thought they had a really solid offensive line heading into 2012. And then All-Pro offensive tackle Jason Peters tore his Achilles tendon, Jason Kelce suffered a Week 1 season-ending knee injury, and Todd Herremans has resembled a pedestrian offensive lineman, not the borderline Pro Bowl player that just signed a five-year contract.
Barrett Jones can play tackle, guard and center. He was a unanimous All-American following the 2011 campaign, and he’s played an integral role on two Alabama championship teams. Considering the Eagles really don’t have any depth, Jones would be a great addition.
The Eagles would likely have to spend a mid- to high-first rounder on him, but with Peters trying to rehab from his devastating injury and the team not sure what it has in Herremans or Danny Watkins, Jones would fit well for Howard Mudd’s line.
Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
I like Nate Allen as a defender in pass coverage, although I’m not sold on his tackling ability and I think Kurt Coleman is better suited as a third safety.
The Philadelphia Eagles failed with their recent safety picks in Macho Harris and Jaiquawn Jarrett, but they could go for Tony Jefferson in the first or second round. Jefferson was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2010 and he’s a great all-around safety who would improve the Eagles.
David Amerson, CB, NC State
The Philadelphia Eagles may choose to let Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie go in free agency, and it’s not a guarantee that they will even bring back Nnamdi Asomugha for 2013 given what he’s scheduled to make ($15 million).
Brandon Boykin may be thrust prematurely into the starting role and the Eagles may spend another first-round pick on a cornerback like David Amerson. Amerson is a tall corner with great speed and ball skills, and the Eagles are going to need someone with his skill set to match up against Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Dez Bryant.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
The Philadelphia Eagles seem to spend a first-round pick on a defensive lineman every year, and that streak may continue in 2013 (assuming Andy Reid is around).
Trent Cole isn’t going anywhere, but if Jason Babin doesn’t show some improvement, the Eagles probably won’t bring him back next year. His contract actually decreases from $5.95 million to $4.25 million, but if he can’t get sacks (and we know he can’t stop the run), the Eagles can’t afford him.
Alex Okafor—coupled with Brandon Graham and Cole—once again gives the Eagles a top tier of defensive ends.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Initially, Robert Woods was seen as a top-five draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft. He was absolutely dominant as a sophomore, catching 111 receptions for nearly 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns from Matt Barkley.
Woods doesn’t possess outstanding size, but if he somehow drops to the middle of the first round or even the second round, it might be worth a gamble for the Philadelphia Eagles to grab him. A wide receiving corps of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Woods would make the Eagles one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Clay Harbor hasn’t been able to reach his full potential with the Philadelphia Eagles because the team constantly keeps him in to block, given the poor play from the offensive line.
Tyler Eifert is having an exceptional collegiate career at the University of Notre Dame, having totaled 63 receptions for 803 yards and five touchdowns last year while becoming a finalist for the Mackey Award. Imagine Eifert and Brent Celek in the same offense.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers for how Danny Watkins is doing this year, but I think most people would agree he’s not playing like a first-round pick should.
Evan Mathis signed a five-year deal during the offseason, but he’s been a career journeyman before his breakout 2011 campaign and he may not be able to sustain the greatness he displayed playing next to Jason Peters.
Jonathan Cooper would provide terrific depth and the possibility of one day taking over as the starter.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
To say D.J. Fluker is a massive man is an understatement. When he was in eighth grade, he stood 6’3” and weighed 400 pounds.
Since then, Fluker has added a ton of muscle and lost most of his body weight, making him a physical specimen. The Philadelphia Eagles appear to be set at offensive tackle with Jason Peters and Todd Herremans.
But with the way Herremans has struggled, and if Peters can’t rehab from his injury like expected, the Eagles will be needing an offensive tackle to keep Michael Vick/Nick Foles standing. How about Fluker?
Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
I’m tired of Andy Reid devaluing the linebacker position, especially when he allows Jim Washburn to implement the wide-nine defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles finally traded for two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans to play middle linebacker, then drafted outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft.
The team is still using the pedestrian combination of Akeem Jordan and Jamar Chaney at weakside linebacker, but if the Eagles could get three good linebackers, they would be able to really compete in the new tight end-driven National Football League.
Aaron Donald, DE, Pittsburgh
Aaron Donald was absolutely unblockable back in high school, and he came on strong as a sophomore in college last year.
This year, Donald is thriving for Pittsburgh where he’s terrific against both the run and the pass. Add him to the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive line that could be losing Derek Landri and Jason Babin in the offseason, and the unit should be a strength in 2013.
Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas
Even if the Philadelphia Eagles bring back Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in 2013 while employing Brandon Boykin at cornerback, the team will have depth for the future.
Asomugha is already in his early 30s, and I can’t see him playing at a high level for much longer. How about a cornerback trio of DRC, Boykin and Carrington Byndom in 2014?
Travis Frederick, G/C, Wisconsin
Again, the Philadelphia Eagles need depth for their interior line. The team is literally using Evan Mathis—their starting left guard—as the backup center.
Travis Frederick can play both guard and center, and I think a lot of his teams will like the versatility he brings to the table.