Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft: Predicting All 7 Rounds, Pre-Scouting Combine
The importance of this offseason for turning around the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles cannot be expressed enough.
The Eagles jumped out to a 3-1 start in 2012 but stumbled to a 4-12 finish, including an eight-game losing streak that included the dramatic switch from veteran Michael Vick to rookie Nick Foles at quarterback.
In the middle of the season, they fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and replaced him with defensive backs coach Todd Bowles. That move turned out to be a total failure, as the Eagles endured a ridiculous eight-game stretch without an interception.
They also fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn the same week that the Eagles cut two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin.
And at the end of the season, the Eagles fired longtime head coach Andy Reid, who had been the winningest coach in franchise history despite never winning a Super Bowl.
Quite simply, the Eagles are a total mess.
Kelly's rebuilding may take more than just a year, as the Eagles need a new quarterback and six or seven new starters on the defensive side of the ball.
Like every coach's rebuilding process, the turnaround of the Eagles will need to begin in the draft. Luckily for Kelly, the Eagles have the fourth overall pick in the draft.
With that being said, here is a rundown of the entire projected mock draft for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles.
Round 1: Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah
The way I see it, the Eagles have a couple of options with the fourth overall pick.
They could select a quarterback, but that's a risky move because no quarterback is considered to be worth a top-five pick in the draft. Why risk the future by selecting a quarterback too high? Too many teams reach on quarterbacks and don't see the move pan out, such as the Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans in the first round of the 2011 draft.
They could go with tackle Luke Joeckel, plug him in as a starter at right tackle and move Todd Herremans back to his natural position of guard. That would give the Eagles one of the better offensive lines in the game: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Luke Joeckel.
But there's a pretty good chance that the Kansas City Chiefs will select Joeckel with the first overall pick. New Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is a big fan of offensive linemen, and even though the Chiefs really need a quarterback, it's better to pick a can't-miss tackle than a risky quarterback.
I really don't think Joeckel makes it past the first three picks, and that's okay. The Eagles should select defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.
Here's what NFLdraftscout.com had to say about Star: "Rarely does a player come along who so thoroughly dominates his competition that he generates buzz across the entire nation despite posting only average statistics and playing in a relatively small media market."
That's pretty legit.
Star can play in a 3-4, which the Eagles are moving to in 2013, and he will become the team's nose tackle. Defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins could both move to defensive end, and ends Brandon Graham and Trent Cole could likely play outside linebacker.
Round 2: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The smart move for the Eagles would be to select defensive players with the first three, four or even five picks of the 2013 draft. Besides the fact that the Eagles have a tremendous amount of work to do on the defensive side of the ball, Kelly is a master at making the most out of his offensive talent.
With that being said, the Eagles should rebuild their secondary by selecting cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Rhodes will become an immediate starter in 2013. Veterans Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will both likely leave this offseason. Asomugha is a likely pay cut, thanks to his massive salary in 2013, while DRC is a free agent and will not likely be signed.
Unlike Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie, Rhodes is physical and aggressive. He loves to jam receivers, is a solid tackler and has excellent ball skills.
He reminds me a lot of Sheldon Brown, who played eight years in a Philadelphia uniform before heading to the Cleveland Browns. That's a big compliment, as Brown was one of the more underrated players on the Eagles defense during their dominant years.
Round 3: Margus Hunt, Defensive End, SMU
You can never have too many pass-rushers on a team. That's the motto the Giants used to win a pair of Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011, and it's something the Eagles should strive to become in 2013.
Even with a 3-4 defense, the Eagles could use another pass-rusher. Veteran Trent Cole had a very disappointing season in 2012, and it's unclear whether it was the result of the Eagles' unusual wide-9 defense or his age.
Brandon Graham had a breakout season, and rookie Vinny Curry looks to be the third or fourth end this season. But a player like Margus Hunt would fit right into the rotation for the Eagles.
First of all, Hunt is enormous. He stands 6'8" and has incredible strength. He won a gold medal in the shot put at the Junior Olympics and has excellent speed. He also blocked 11 kicks in his career.
He's regarded as one of the biggest boom-or-bust players in the draft, however, as he's only been playing football for four years. That didn't work out too well when the Eagles selected 26-year-old guard Danny Watkins in the first round, but I wouldn't have a problem selecting a high-risk, high-reward player in the third round.
Round 4: Shawn Williams, Safety, Georgia
By waiting until the fourth round to select a safety, despite the Eagles' glaring needs at both safety positions, I am assuming that the Eagles will sign a free agent before the draft.
It doesn't have to be Jairus Byrd or Ed Reed. I would be fine with William Moore or Louis Delmas.
That allows Williams to start at the other safety position, meaning Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman can serve as backups (if they're both even still around).
Williams has been described as tough and physical, tackling like a linebacker. He has solid ball-hawk skills and even excelled at special teams as a freshman.
He's not likely going to be a star, but he'll be way better than what the Eagles have been throwing out in the secondary in recent years.
Round 5: Ricky Wagner, Tackle, Wisconsin
After starting the draft with four straight defensive selections, the Eagles are due to pick an offensive player. The likely candidate is a depth selection for the offensive line.
Tackle Ricky Wagner fits the mold. He has massive size and would be a great backup behind Peters and Herremans. He can play left or right tackle, meaning he and 2012 rookie Dennis Kelly could be the top two linemen off the bench next season.
The Eagles could also use Wagner (or Kelly) as a starter next season if Peters isn't fully recovered from his Achilles injury.
Round 6: AJ Klein, Linebacker, Iowa State
A linebacker in the sixth round may struggle to make the team in most cases. But for the Eagles, he would have a chance to start, especially since the Eagles are moving to a 3-4 defense and will have an extra spot at linebacker.
DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks will take up two of the starting spots at linebacker, but Iowa State linebacker AJ Klein might start in 2013.
NFLdraftscout.com says that Klein lacks elite athleticism for the NFL level but he is an intense competitor and a great leader. On an Eagles team full of players who don't want to step up and become a leader, I wouldn't have any problem with Klein on the team, even if he just contributed on special teams.
Round 7: Collin Klein, Quarterback, Kansas State
This would definitely be an unusual pick, but I've come to expect the unexpected when it comes to the Eagles.
Collin Klein was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, but he doesn't project well as an NFL quarterback. He's a lot like Tim Tebow in the sense that he is a very inaccurate passer but a great runner. He's also inexperienced in running an NFL-style offense.
He might have success in a spread offense. He might compete with Nick Foles for the starting job. He might be a backup. Or he might not make an NFL roster.
But he's worth taking a flier on in the seventh round, especially for a team desperate for a quarterback.