Philadelphia Eagles: Early Draft Preview
It's impossible to properly preview a draft three months in advance, but with Chip Kelly now on board with the Philadelphia Eagles and his staff beginning to fill out, there's just too much to look forward to for us to delay our first post related to the 2013 NFL Draft. A lot will change between now and April, but here's a general guideline for what Kelly and Co. should be thinking.
Round 1, Pick 4
Round 2, Pick 35
Round 3, Pick 69
Round 4, Pick 100
Round 5, Pick 131
Round 6, Pick 165
Round 6, Pick 188
Round 7, Pick 216
Positions that require upgrades
The entire secondary was a joke this season but at least Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha had a few good moments. It's hard to point out anything good that came from either Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman, both of whom are not fit to start in this league.
Philly should look for a free-agent safety (Jairus Byrd, Kenny Phillips, Dashon Goldson, William Moore) and then also look to add one or two more in the draft.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Matt Elam (Florida), Tony Jefferson (Oklahoma), Eric Reid (LSU), Bacarri Rambo (Georgia)
What position should the Eagles try to draft with the No. 4 pick?
This will depend on what happens with DRC and Asomugha. Rodgers-Cromartie is an impending unrestricted free agent and the Eagles can save a ton of cash by cutting Asomugha. Both players have been disappointments in their two years in Philadelphia, but good corners are hard to find and there aren't a lot of good ones slated to hit the open market.
The Eagles have drafted a corner in the first four rounds each of the last three years, and that trend should continue in 2013.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Dee Milliner (Alabama), Xavier Rhodes (Florida State), Jordan Poyer (Oregon State), Logan Ryan (Rutgers), Desmond Trufant (Washington), Terry Hawthorne (Illinois), David Amerson (NC State)
3. Outside linebacker
Jury's still out on Mychal Kendricks, but Akeem Jordan and Jamar Chaney aren't significantly better options on either side of DeMeco Ryans. If they switch to a 3-4 front immediately, then they'll need more linebacker depth right across the board.
Potential picks in the early rounds:
For a 3-4 defense: Jarvis Jones (Georgia), Dion Jordan (Oregon), Barkevious Mingo (LSU), Ezekiel Ansah (BYU)
For a 4-3 defense: Chase Thomas (Stanford), Sean Porter (Texas)
*A nose tackle also becomes a priority if the Eagles make that formation switch. A lot is in flux here.
Evan Mathis is a stud but it could already be time to start looking for a new option at right guard because Danny Watkins has been a bust two years into his career. The Eagles should draft an NFL-ready offensive lineman. If it's a tackle, they can move Todd Herremans back inside. If its a guard, they can create a competition between the newbie and Watkins.
Potential picks in the middle rounds: Larry Warford (Kentucky), Omoregie Uzzi (Georgia Tech), Alvin Bailey (Arkansas), Braden Hansen (BYU)
This is debatable. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Eagles take a guy like Geno Smith in Round 1, but I also wouldn't be shocked to see them go the entire draft without taking a signal-caller. That will depend on what Kelly decides he thinks of Nick Foles and what the front office decides to do with Michael Vick.
Plus, there's a chance that by the time the draft rolls around, a veteran like Alex Smith or Matt Flynn is on the roster.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Geno Smith (West Virginia), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse), Tyler Wilson (Arkansas), Matt Barkley (USC), Mike Glennon (NC State), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), E.J. Manuel (Florida State), Tyler Bray (Tennessee)
6. Left tackle
This isn't a major concern if Jason Peters comes back as good as new, but Peters and Herremans are both getting up there in age and coming off of season-ending injuries. If the Eagles identify a potential franchise left tackle early, they'd be smart to grab him.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), Eric Fisher (Central Michigan), Lane Johnson (Oklahoma), D.J. Fluker (Alabama), Brennan Williams (North Carolina)
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