Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft: A Complete 7-Round Wish List
The Philadelphia Eagles have had a completely disastrous season, losing 10 of their last 11 games following a 3-1 start. The losing season has all but sealed the fate of head coach Andy Reid, who was put on the hot seat by owner Jeffrey Lurie after a disappointing 8-8 season in 2011.
The team's new head coach will begin his tenure in Philadelphia with the pressure of making what will likely be the fourth overall draft pick. It was Reid who selected quarterback Donovan McNabb, an eventual six-time Pro Bowler, with the second overall pick in the 1999 draft.
But it'll take more than just a stud first-round draft pick to solve the problems for the Eagles. This is a team that has struggled to stay healthy on offense, with just left guard Evan Mathis making it through this season without missing any games due to injuries.
On defense, the Eagles have been soft and ineffective, particularly in the secondary, where the team just completed an eight-game stretch without intercepting a pass.
There are many holes on the team. The Eagles are going to need a solid draft to cure as many of this team's issues as possible.
1st Round: Luke Joeckel, Tackle
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The first-round draft pick for the Eagles is not going to be an easy one. There's no clearcut player the Eagles have got to take.
On this team, the offense is clearly better than the defense, so why not take a defensive player? And I considered that. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o would be an ideal fit for any defense looking for a tough, physical linebacker. I think he'd make an impact immediately.
But I'm going to go on the offensive line, where the Eagles have been unable to stay healthy in recent years.
This season, the Eagles had left tackle Jason Peters miss the entire season with a torn Achilles. Center Jason Kelce tore his ACL and missed the final 14 games. Right tackle Todd Herremans missed the final eight games with an ankle injury.
With Peters, Kelce, and Herremans returning in 2013, the offensive line looks pretty set. Left guard Evan Mathis has played at a Pro Bowl level for the past two seasons, rating as the best offensive lineman in the entire league in both 2011 and 2012, according to Pro Football Focus.
That leaves a big hole at right guard. To fill it, the Eagles should move Herremans back to his natural position of guard. At right tackle, they could draft Luke Joeckel, a star tackle at Texas A&M, who is projected to be one of the top overall picks. Walter Football has him going to the Eagles as the fourth overall pick, in fact.
The Eagles don't know who their quarterback is going to be in 2013. It could be Nick Foles or it could be a veteran (or a draft pick). But whoever it is, playing him behind a potentially dominant offensive line, coupled with a star running back in LeSean McCoy and a promising backup in Bryce Brown, will give him the necessary protection to develop as a quarterback.
2nd Round: Tony Jefferson, Safety
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The Eagles have not been able to replace the legendary Brian Dawkins despite numerous attempts at drafting safeties since 2009.
Macho Harris, a seventh-round pick in 2009, started his entire rookie season but was released before 2010. Nate Allen was a second-round pick in 2010 but he was just benched and could be in danger of losing his starting job permanently. The same goes for Kurt Coleman, a 2010 seventh-round draft pick.
Coleman hasn't yet been benched but he's arguably even worse than Allen. Oh, and 2011 second-round draft pick Jaiquawn Jarrett was released earlier this season, barely a year into his pro career.
So even though the Eagles haven't succeeded at safety in recent drafts, the position cannot be ignored and Philly can't expect to sign a playmaker through free agency.
In the draft, the Eagles should take Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson, an early second-round draft pick, as projected by Walter Football. Jefferson would be a Week 1 starter.
3rd Round: David Amerson, Cornerback
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The Eagles have some major holes at their secondary. Major, major holes. Veterans Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have been disappointments since they arrived in Philadelphia, and rookie Brandon Boykin may never have the ability to play at anything other than slot corner.
With their third-round pick, the Eagles should look at the cornerback position, where they can take David Amerson from NC State. Amerson can start from Week 1, where it's possible that the Eagles will use him to replace Nnamdi Asomugha, whose massive contract suggests that he could be easily cut after the season.
Amerson also has the ability to play safety, where he can fill in if the Eagles need him.
4th Round: Da'Rick Rogers, Wide Receiver
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Wide receiver used to be one of the strongest positions for the Eagles. Now it has turned into a liability, as DeSean Jackson has shown a tendency to completely disappear in the red zone and throughout some games. Jeremy Maclin has not progressed as expected in his fourth season.
The Eagles need a physical receiver who can take hits and go across the middle. Da'Rick Rogers from Tennessee Tech stands 6'3, weighs 208 pounds, and could be an ideal third receiver for the Eagles in 2013.
5th Round: Ricky Wagner, Tackle
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Even though the Eagles should select offensive tackle Luke Joeckel with the fourth pick in the first round, they will need another lineman, preferably a tackle, in the later rounds.
Wisconsin tackle Ricky Wagner fits the mold that the Eagles are looking for. He's able to play either tackle position and can play as one of the two backups there, along with 2012 rookie Dennis Kelly.
If Peters isn't fully recovered from his Achilles injury, Wagner could compete with Kelly for the starting job (or the Eagles could try Danny Watkins at right guard again if they keep Herremans at right tackle).
6th Round: Etienne Sabino, Outside Linebacker
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The Eagles drastically upgraded their linebacking corps for the 2012 season by trading for veteran DeMeco Ryans and drafting speedy Mychal Kendricks in the second round. But they still have a major weakness at weakside linebacker.
In the sixth round, the Eagles should select Etienne Sabino from Ohio State. Sabino has good size and is physical and tough.
If the Eagles can enter 2012 with veteran Akeem Jordan as their weakside linebacker, and 2011 with rookie Casey Matthews as their middle linebacker, they can enter 2013 with Sabino as their starting weakside linebacker.
7th Round: Aaron Tipoti, Defensive Tackle
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The Eagles need to upgrade at the defensive tackle position, despite spending a first-round pick on a DT in 2012, Fletcher Cox.
While Cox looks like a playmaker who can start at the position for the next decade, the Eagles may release veteran Cullen Jenkins this offseason in a move to save salary cap space. Jenkins is due $5.5 million in 2013, a tremendous figure for a defensive tackle who is 31 and may be on the decline.
In 2013, the Eagles will use Cox, Mike Patterson, and Cedric Thornton in the rotation (and possibly Derek Landri, if they re-sign him after a disappointing 2012 season).
Adding California defensive tackle Aaron Tipoti would be a solid move for the Eagles, who need to rebuild a defensive line that topped the NFL in sacks in 2011 (50) but failed to register a sack for the entire month of October in 2012.