Eagles' Mock Draft: Updated 7 Round Projections After East-West Shrine Game
While the East-West Shrine Game does not boast the same caliber of talent as the upcoming Senior Bowl, it is the first real post-season chance to evaluate college talent for the 2013 NFL Draft. With the Philadelphia Eagles' eight picks following a disappointing 4-12 season, there is no doubt all eyes in the organization watched the week's events closely.
The Eagles have enough positional holes to fill that the importance of this draft falls way past round one. With new coach Chip Kelly taking the reigns, fans will have the opportunity to judge a non-Andy Reid Draft for the first time in over a decade.
Regardless of the reaction of fans and media, theresults won't be seen until next season.
That said, Eagles fans are crossing their fingers that Chip's evaluation of the East-West Shrine Game pays huge dividends.
First Round: DeMarcus "Dee" Milliner, CB
The hot choice at the moment for the Eagles fourth overall pick is Luke Joeckel, an offensive tackle out of Texas A&M. However, Joeckel is a hot pick for a reason and, in my personal opinion, I don't think the Eagles will get a shot at him at this slot.
This draft projection is still murky, as there are no players that are a lock to go at any spot. Usually there are a couple top players who are certainties to land with a particular franchise, but that's just not the case that year.
For that reason, I like the Eagles to cash in on the value of their top-five pick and trade down, grabbing the cornerback out of Alabama. Milliner's stock has been rocketing up since the BCS Championship Game, and could go anywhere from pick six to mid to late first round.
This really is a huge question mark for the Eagles. A player like West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith fits the mold to run a Chip Kelly offense, while a defensive end like Jarvis Jones could start in the event of a switch to a 3-4 defense.
With neither of the Eagles' starting cornerbacks guaranteed to return in 2013, Milliner could certainly fill a position of need. While the East-West Shrine game didn't feature Milliner (or any other top prospects), he may continue to rise to the fourth overall pick come Draft Day.
Second Round: Eric Reid, FS
Coming into the start of the college season, some considered Reid the top safety for the 2013 Draft. Things have changed, as Reid is now jostling for position with Matt Elam and Kenny Vaccaro as a probable Day 2 pick.
Reid might be a tough slide for the Eagles to their slot in the second round, depending on how he tests out in the Combine and other pre-draft workouts. However, even if some moving around is necessary, Reid is a must-start for the Eagles' safety corps.
Another guy who didn't play in the East-West Game, the Eagles will need to target high-end albeit undervalued talent for a quick turnaround in future seasons.
Third Round: Devin Taylor, DE
Anybody who watched the East-West Game now knows Devin Taylor's name. No offensive lineman could contain him on Saturday and this resulted in a couple of sacks and a forced fumble.
Taylor at the moment is the most interesting name of the draft. With workouts and the Combine coming up, he could sway himself anywhere from the first round back to the fourth round or later. After his play today, he's settled himself comfortably into the third-round range.
At 6'8, 280, Taylor has something that can't be taught in his size. With the right coaches leading the way, this already talented player could explode into one of the league's best.
Fourth Round: A.J. Klein, LB
A relatively unknown before Saturday's game, Klein led Iowa State in tackles with 117. Eric Galko reported that Klein stood out in Wednesday's practice, as he "flashed coverage ability," something that Eagles are in desperate need of.
If Coach Kelly does move to the 3-4, linebackers will be stretched thin as the Eagles may need to rely too heavily on current depth players Akeem Jordan and Jamar Chaney. Klein could change that for the better.
Iowa St LB AJ Klein had a great 1st Half. Quick to key/flow/fill. Great size and motor. Good buzz among scouting friends.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 19, 2013
At 6' 2, 245 pounds, Klein has the size to slide to the outside next to DeMeco Ryans. But first, he has to catch the eyes of the Eagles' organization.
Fifth Round: Brandon McGee, CB
McGee, out of The University of Miami, would be another much-needed piece in rebuilding the Eagles' horrid secondary. As Dane Brugler reported on Friday, "McGee is going to force many talent evaluators who saw him this week to go back an watch more tape."
Brugler continued, saying that "in individual match-ups, he stayed patient and disciplined in his stance with the confidence and footwork to stick with the receiver all over the field."
While this display obviously wasn't against the best in college football (let alone the NFL) the Eagles could use a corner with the raw skills that could potentially translate into success for McGee shutting down receivers.
On Saturday, McGee shined with an interception for a touchdown, making sure that teams would remember him. If the buzz on McGee fades in the upcoming weeks, the Eagles could really have a steal in the fifth round.
Sixth Round: Rodney Smith, WR
The 6'6 wide receiver out of Florida State helped the Eagles (along with any other team eyeing him) out on Saturday more than he did himself. Size always attracts attention when it comes to prospects, but Rodney didn't do much to add to that attraction with his play.
The Eagles need size for the long haul when it comes to the pass game. With a struggling redzone offense and lack of a true over-the-middle guy, Smith could develop into that player. It's easy to name all the standouts and rising players as guys that your favorite team should draft. Unfortunately, with 32 teams, it's not that easy.
One pre-draft game and a couple workouts doesn't make a player's career. The Eagles and Rodney Smith have an opportunity to prove that.
Seventh Round (#1): Josh Hubner, P
A team that overlooks special teams in the NFL may find themselves watching the playoffs at home. As the Eagles have fumbled around with punters recently, it's time to solidify the position for the future.
Josh Hubner has a monster leg, with noted 4.5-plus second hang time punts and was second in the nation averaging over 47 yards. He also pinned 19 punts inside the 20 yard line this season.
Hubner made the East-West Shrine Game and proved worthy of a late round shot. It's not a glamorous pick, but one that could be the difference between a contender and a pretender down the line.
Seventh Round (#2): R.J. Dill, OL
R.J. Dill is a senior coming out of Rutgers who projects to be a bit of a project and a little raw talent wise. However, he has the size and the intelligence to play the position and the Eagles could use some new faces when it comes to offensive line depth.
Dill didn't look great in either the Shrine Game nor the practices leading up to it, making a late seventh-round pick a definite possibility for him. With late-round picks you just cross your fingers and hope you strike gold. Dill may be one such diamond in the rough here.
With a healthy offensive line, the Eagles don't need the huge overhaul up front like many think. By rebuilding a good foundational depth, the problems will solve themselves. If Dill's size and makeup can translate to NFL talent, the organization may land themselves a future gem.