The 2013 NFL Draft is still six weeks away, but teams are already evaluating the nation’s top collegiate prospects. The scouting combine provided scouts with numbers
The offensive line was in shambles for the majority of last season, the defensive line failed to generate any pressure on the quarterback, and the secondary was as atrocious of a unit as there was in the NFL.
The Eagles have the fourth overall pick in the upcoming draft. There’s no clear-cut first overall selection for Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, meaning the Eagles could conceivably pick anyone. In this slideshow, I'll take a look at the best players in the nation and see how they could work on Philadelphia.
Walter Football’s top 25 NFL draft prospects is the list I will use for this in which I will evaluate the odds of the Eagles landing each one of the players.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Luke Joeckel is a tremendously talented offensive lineman who should be able to fill the left tackle spot for the next decade. The Eagles have Jason Peters signed through 2014, but if he doesn’t return at full strength in ’13, Joeckel could contribute at left tackle. And if Peters is healthy and productive, Joeckel becomes the Eagles’ right tackle for two years while Todd Herremans slides inside to right guard. Then Joeckel moves to left tackle by ’15.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: There’s really nothing about Joeckel that wouldn’t work on the Eagles. He’s athletic, talented and a terrific blocker in both the passing and running game. The only potential problem for the Eagles is that Andy Reid may take Joeckel first overall.
What Will Likely Happen: If he’s available at pick four, Chip Kelly will snag him. If he’s not available, the Eagles look elsewhere. And the odds are strong that the Chiefs will take him with pick one.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: No single player has skyrocketed up NFL draft boards more than Sharrif Floyd. Whether the Philadelphia Eagles run a 3-4 or 4-3, imagine Floyd and Fletcher Cox playing next to each other on the line. That’s serious trouble for Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo and Eli Manning. Floyd is now the top defensive tackle in the draft given Star Lotulelei’s recent heart condition. He is 6’3”, 300 pounds, which means he probably isn’t big enough to be a 3-4 nose tackle. But as a 3-4 defensive end, he’s going to do some serious damage.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: There’s no logical reason not to take Floyd. He’s the best defensive player in the draft. He fits a position of need. The only reason Chip Kelly may pass is because Floyd probably isn’t a nose tackle, and Kelly may want to trade down to get Jesse Williams of Alabama.
What Will Likely Happen: If Floyd is still around at pick four, the Eagles are going to strongly consider him.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Star Lotulelei is a rare interior defensive lineman that has the talent and potential to go first overall. He is massive at 6’4” and 325 pounds, meaning he could plug the inside of the Eagles’ defensive line if the team switches to a 3-4 formation. Lotulelei would allow Fletcher Cox and Trent Cole to be the 3-4 ends, with Brandon Graham making an easy transition to 3-4 outside linebacker.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: There wouldn’t have been any reason he wouldn’t be a good fit. And then the shocking news broke about Lotulelei’s heart condition. How serious it is remains to be seen. The St. Louis Rams still picked Robert Quinn in the first round two years ago, and he had a brain tumor. But Quinn did fall from a potential top-five pick to 14th overall.
What Will Likely Happen: The Eagles just got rid of a former first-round defensive tackle (Mike Patterson) with a serious condition (brain surgery). It doesn’t seem logical to pick another one, as good as Lotulelei may be.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Eric Fisher fills a huge position of need. He’s at least the second best offensive tackle entering the draft, and some people feel he’s going to be better than Luke Joeckel. Fisher is 6’7”, 305 pounds, and he can play left tackle, right tackle and guard. He could stand to bulk up a little to play at the NFL level. But he has the pure size, athleticism and strength to succeed from day one. The Philadelphia Eagles could play Fisher at right tackle for two years and then move him to left tackle when Jason Peters’ contract expires after 2014.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Each of the top-four players on this draft board fills a huge position of need for the Eagles. There’s really no area of concern that would be apparent if the team selected Fisher.
What Will Likely Happen: Chip Kelly probably won’t pick Eric Fisher because he may want to give Danny Watkins one more shot, which leaves Todd Herremans at right tackle and Jason Peters at left tackle. But Fisher has to be looked at as one of the top-five favorites to be selected fourth overall.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles are switching to a 3-4 defense, and they need pass-rushers. Brandon Graham is a logical transition to 3-4 outside linebacker, but Trent Cole may be better suited as a defensive end. That could mean the Eagles want a pure pass rusher like Jarvis Jones to come in and start immediately. Jones has as much natural talent as any pass rusher in the world. He’s comparable to Von Miller, and he will wreak havoc at the NFL level.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Jones has more red flags than anyone in the draft. He is already 23.5 years old. He has a spinal condition called spinal sternosis, which forced former San Diego Chargers offensive lineman Marcus McNeill to retire early at age 28. Jones isn’t seen as a particularly hard worker in the weight room, and he bypassed the NFL Scouting Combine.
What Will Likely Happen: The Eagles won’t likely pick Jones at pick four. It’s too risky of a pick for Chip Kelly’s first selection as coach. Jones’ spinal problem is the biggest concern. That could hold him out of the top 10-12 picks.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Cornerback is a dire position of need for the Philadelphia Eagles. The team seems to have almost no interest in re-signing free agent corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who vastly underperformed in 2012. Meanwhile, Nnamdi Asomugha has been told he needs to take a pay cut or find another team. Dee Milliner is the best cornerback in the draft. He ran a 4.37 at the NFL Scouting Combine and helped deliver a national championship to Alabama this past season. He’s a tremendous cover corner that can turn into a shutdown player at the next level.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: The only concern for the Eagles could be that Milliner is viewed by most people as the sixth- or seventh-best player in the draft, and the Eagles pick at selection four. There also hasn’t been a cornerback taken in the top four since 1998, although that shouldn’t factor into where Milliner goes.
What Will Likely Happen: Milliner has to be high on Philly’s draft board. It’s likely going to come down to him, the best offensive tackle available, or Dion Jordan, who played with Chip Kelly at Oregon.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Chance Warmack would be an absolutely tremendous addition to the Philadelphia Eagles, even at pick four. He’s the most physically talented guard the NFL has seen since the days of Steve Hutchinson, who went 17th overall in 2001 and eventually made eight Pro Bowls. Warmack would instantly take over for Danny Watkins, who has been downright awful at right guard in his two seasons.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Fourth overall is very high to take a guard. No guard has gone in the top 10 since Chris Naeole in 1997. No guard has gone in the top five since Ken Huff in the 1975 NFL Draft, who went third overall. It’s extremely doubtful Chip Kelly picks Warmack that high. Last year, David DeCastro was the best guard prospect in many years, and he slipped to the 24th pick.
What Will Likely Happen: It’s really tough to envision Kelly selecting Warmack with the fourth overall pick. The only plausible way the Eagles make Warmack their first-round pick is if they trade down and pick him.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles are overhauling their defensive line. Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson were each released, and Brandon Graham may move to outside linebacker if the team switches to a 3-4. Sheldon Richardson can play 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end. He’s probably too small to play nose tackle, especially given that he’s not even 300 pounds. But Richardson is a terrific all-around player. He’s a force as both a run-stopper and a pass-rusher.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Nose tackle is the top position the Eagles will need if they’re going to successfully transition to a 3-4. Richardson will likely be a very good player, but if the Eagles want to move to a 3-4, they may want to pick up a nose tackle over another defensive end.
What Will Likely Happen: If Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd are both gone by pick four, there’s a chance the Eagles would select Sheldon Richardson. Other than that, it’s unlikely.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Lane Johnson really upped his stock after a fantastic scouting combine performance. He ran very well in the 40, and he’s now got a good shot to go in the top 10 overall. The Philadelphia Eagles could certainly use Johnson as their right tackle. Todd Herremans is much better suited as a guard anyway. If Herremans moved inside to Danny Watkins’ position, Johnson could play right tackle. He’s extremely athletic and should fare well against speed rushers.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Johnson had a terrific collegiate career blocking Landry Jones’ blind side. But the fourth overall pick is just too high for the Eagles to take him.
What Will Likely Happen: Chip Kelly won’t spend the fourth overall selection on Johnson. But Johnson is extremely athletic, and Kelly loves those linemen for his offense. Kelly may want to trade down to the 10th spot or so to pick Johnson.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Bjoern Werner is a pure pass-rusher that will be trouble for a lot of NFL quarterbacks. Werner is extremely explosive off the edge and will cause problems for even the best left tackles. The NFL is predicated on speed rushers that get to the quarterback, and if Werner can play 3-4 outside linebacker in Chip Kelly’s defense, he will make a lot of plays.
Why He Wouldn’t be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t get a lot of sacks in 2012, but the problem wasn’t so much their defensive line. It was more the system the team had to play in, notably their wide-nine scheme. Werner is 6’4”, 255 pounds, which means he is undersized if the Eagles stick with a traditional 4-3 defense.
What Will Likely Happen: A lot of the pass rushers (Werner, Dion Jordan, Damontre Moore, Jarvis Jones) tend to blend together. The Eagles could use another one to get to all the good NFC East quarterbacks they have to play. There’s definitely a chance Kelly takes Werner fourth overall.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: So many things about Dion Jordan would make him a good fit for the Philadelphia Eagles. Jordan played for Chip Kelly at Oregon, where he was a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior in 2012. Jordan is extremely athletic, having played tight end, defensive end and outside linebacker at college. He turned in a phenomenal combine performance, running a 4.60 40-yard dash.
Why He Wouldn’t be a Good Fit: There will definitely be concern over the recent surgery Jordan underwent to repair a torn shoulder labrum. The surgery will keep him out three to four months. That shouldn’t carry over into the season, but it is definitely noteworthy.
What Will Likely Happen: It’s very unlikely Jordan is gone by the time Kelly picks fourth overall. I think Kelly will strongly consider Jordan; after all, Jordan did play under Kelly at Oregon, he fits a position of need and he’s extremely versatile and athletic.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Ezekiel Ansah is a pure pass-rusher if there ever was one. His game highlights from 2012 show he’s simply a relentless animal of a football player who never quits until the whistle has been blown. Ansah is a little undersized, which would make him a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, which is pretty good for a defensive end.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Ansah had virtually no production in college. He didn’t register a sack in his first two seasons and had just 4.5 as a senior in 2012. That’s got to be the fewest career sacks ever for a defensive end rumored to go in the top 10 in the draft.
What Will Likely Happen: NFL GMs will have to look past Ansah’s lack of production. He’s got the size and skill to be a force at the NFL level. He’s terrific against the pass and the run. Scouts have compared him to Chandler Jones and Jason Pierre-Paul. Chip Kelly will have to consider Ansah at pick four, although that’s probably a notch too high.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Alec Ogletree is the top inside linebacker in this year’s draft, and the Philadelphia Eagles could definitely use his production. The Eagles may be switching to a 3-4, and Ogletree would team with DeMeco Ryans for a pretty solid group of interior linebackers. Ogletree is always around the ball, and he’s productive against both the pass and the run.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: There are some causes for concern with Ogletree. He got a DUI recently, and he was suspended for four games in 2012 due to a failed drug test. That will certainly keep him out of the top 15, but he won’t slip to the second round.
What Will Likely Happen: That means the Eagles won’t get him barring a trade out of the fourth spot. Ogletree is probably going to be a productive player, even with the baggage, but he won’t be on Chip Kelly’s top radar.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Damontre Moore had excellent production at Texas A&M in 2012. He registered 12.5 sacks, including six in his first three games. It’s got to help that he’s lining up against future All-Pro tackle Luke Joeckel on every play in practice. Moore is undersized as a defensive end, which makes him a good 3-4 outside linebacker.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Moore turned in an absolutely miserable scouting combine performance. He benched 225 just 12 times, which rated dead-last among all defensive linemen. He also ran just a 4.95 40-yard dash. That may speak of his work ethic in the weight room.
What Will Likely Happen: Before the scouting combine, some mock drafts had Moore going second overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Regardless of his disappointing numbers, those times didn’t stop him from making plays in college. The Philadelphia Eagles will definitely have to consider him at pick four.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles had arguably the worst safety duo in the NFL last season. Nate Allen wouldn’t look nearly as bad with a good strong safety next to him, but Kurt Coleman is just awful. Kenny Vaccaro is the best collegiate safety, and he would start from day one for the Eagles. He’s a playmaker, a run defender, and he can even blitz the quarterback. If the Eagles don’t sign Dashon Goldson in free agency, drafting Vaccaro is a must.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: The Eagles would never spend the fourth overall pick on a safety. And it’s doubtful Vaccaro will last until the 36th pick. That means it’s highly unlikely Vaccaro becomes an Eagle.
What Will Likely Happen: Chip Kelly knows he needs to upgrade the safety position. All he needs to do is watch tape of the Eagles last year. Any game but the first win over the Cleveland Browns shows how badly Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman were exploited. He will probably select a safety somewhere in the first three rounds.
Why He Will Be a Good Fit: Don’t rule out Jonathan Cooper to the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s got a very bright NFL future. Cooper is very fundamentally sound as a guard, and he can contribute as both a pass blocker and a run blocker. Cooper turned in a phenomenal NFL scouting combine performance, benching 225 35 times and running a pretty quick 5.07 40-yard dash. The Eagles have a massive hole at right guard where Danny Watkins has struggled for two seasons. If the team picks Cooper, their offensive line becomes one of the top five or six in the league.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: No guard should go in the top five picks unless he is a once-a-decade prospect. Cooper will be an NFL starter from day one, and a very good one at that. But there are just better options with the fourth overall pick.
What Will Likely Happen: The only plausible way Cooper goes to the Eagles is if Chip Kelly trades down.
Why He Will Be a Good Fit: Pass rushers tend to be heavily valued on draft day. Barkevious Mingo excelled in the 3-4 at LSU, showing explosiveness off the edge. He’s an extremely comparable player to Von Miller, who has been arguably the best defensive player in the game since being drafted.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: There are a handful of reasons not to select Mingo. He didn’t put up great production in 2012, picking up only 4.5 sacks all year. That was despite playing opposite Sam Montgomery, who has a chance to go in the first round this year. Mingo is undersized, which means he has to play in a 3-4, and there’s still no certainty the Eagles will switch to a new defense. And Mingo was held in check by two very good tackles, Alabama’s D.J. Fluker and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews.
What Will Likely Happen: It’s not likely Chip Kelly selects Mingo. If he does pick a pass-rusher, it will likely be Dion Jordan, who attended the University of Oregon with Kelly.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles are desperate for another defensive tackle, having released Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. If the team doesn’t sign a player in free agency, it’s almost essential they draft an immediate starter next to Fletcher Cox. Kawann Short is a terrific all-around player, and he’s good at getting to the quarterback. Defensive tackles that pressure the quarterback are a rare breed, and Cox and Short would be a top-notch duo in a 4-3 or as 3-4 ends.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Short would probably be a good five-technique defensive end, as would Cox. But that still leaves the question as to who would play nose tackle in a 3-4 for Philly. It may be wiser for the Eagles to spend their second-round pick (what they would spend on Short) to get a nose tackle like Jesse Williams of Alabama.
What Will Likely Happen: If the Eagles can get Short in the second round, that would be a terrific deal. But I think he would work better in a 4-3 with Cox and Short in the middle, and Brandon Graham and Trent Cole as the ends. Considering the Eagles are switching to a 3-4, Short probably won’t be the top priority.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Chip Kelly should be able to bring out the best of both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in his offense. But the Philadelphia Eagles could still use a bigger wide receiver like Keenan Allen of California. Allen is 6’3” and over 200 pounds. He’s a playmaker, having totaled nearly 100 catches and 1,343 yards in 2011. Allen would stretch the field, giving Michael Vick a slew of offensive weapons.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Allen won’t last until the second round, and it doesn’t make sense to pick a wide receiver in the first round (even if the Eagles trade down). There are just better options and bigger positions of need for Philadelphia.
What Will Likely Happen: Kelly may pick a wide receiver in the middle rounds, but it’s extremely unlikely he goes for Allen.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles are essentially starting over with their secondary. Neither Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie nor Nnamdi Asomugha is likely to return. Brandon Boykin may be able to start, but regardless, the team desperately needs a big-play cornerback. Reports have linked the Eagles to the Miami Dolphins’ Sean Smith. Desmond Trufant would be a nice addition at a reasonable price. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, which makes him already one of the faster NFL corners in the business. Trufant would start from day one for the Eagles.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Other than Dee Milliner, Trufant is probably the best cornerback in the draft. The problem with drafting and starting Trufant right away is that it’s a lot to ask for a rookie to cover players like Dez Bryant, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz right away.
What Will Likely Happen: It depends what the Eagles do with the fourth overall pick. If they draft Milliner, there’s no need for Trufant. If they don’t get Milliner, Trufant will probably be gone by the second round. But if they don’t get Milliner and Trufant is around by pick 36, consider it a near-lock.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Andy Reid never focused on the linebacker position, yet today’s brand of football requires cover linebackers that can stick with the tight end. Kevin Minter is probably the best inside linebacker in the business. He is a good all-around player. He’s fast and can go sideline to sideline. He can play the run, defend the pass and blitz the quarterback.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Minter is like Kenny Vaccaro in that he’s not worth taking at the fourth pick but won’t be there for pick 36. He’s going to be a good NFL player, but it would probably take a trade to acquire him. Minter is also better suited in a 4-3, and the Philadelphia Eagles seem to be ready to switch to a 3-4.
What Will Likely Happen: Chip Kelly’s first pick as head coach will be more explosive than Minter. It will be one of the prime positions like an offensive tackle, pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker, or a cornerback.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: The Philadelphia Eagles have probably the worst group of starting safeties in the NFL. They can’t possibly expect to survive another season with Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman in the defensive backfield. Matt Elam had a very good collegiate career at the University of Florida. He is a great all-around player and would make an impact immediately.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: Chip Kelly may want to go with a more experienced safety, like Dashon Goldson. Elam will be overdrafted if the team takes him fourth, and he probably won’t last until the second round. That puts the Eagles into a predicament.
What Will Likely Happen: If Elam is around by the second round, there’s a good chance Kelly will take him. If he doesn’t, he must really see something in Allen or Coleman.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Johnathan Hankins is a pretty safe bet to succeed at the NFL level. He’s a mammoth-sized man at 6’4”, 320 pounds. Hankins’ strength is his versatility. At Ohio State, he played zero-technique nose tackle, one-technique defensive tackle, two and three-technique tackle, and even five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 formation. That’s precisely what the Philadelphia Eagles need. Drafting Hankins would allow Chip Kelly to ease his team into a 3-4 with Hankins eventually as his stud nose tackle that occupies multiple blockers.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: There’s really no conceivable way Hankins wouldn’t be a good fit for the Eagles. The only problem is where he would have to be drafted. If Chip Kelly likes Hankins enough, he may have to take him fourth overall, and that’s just too high. But waiting until the second round to try to get him could be too risky.
What Will Likely Happen: The odds are obviously greater that Kelly doesn’t draft Hankins. But he’s got to be kidding himself if he thinks Antonio Dixon is the nose tackle of the future for Philadelphia. He would be wise to strongly consider Hankins.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: No NFL team can ever have too many pass rushers. The Philadelphia Eagles probably have their 3-4 outside linebackers in Trent Cole and Brandon Graham (plus Vinny Curry). But Alex Okafor could certainly work his way into the mix as well. The Texas star can play 4-3 end or 3-4 pass-rushing linebacker, where his size (6’4”, 291 pounds) will make him tough to block. Okafor had ridiculous stats in 2012, totaling 12.5 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss, and four forced fumbles.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: It’s tough to distinguish Okafor as a player talented enough to be drafted fourth overall. In fact, there’s no chance this happens. And like many of the players above him on the list, Okafor probably won’t last until the second round.
What Will Likely Happen: It’s doubtful Philadelphia picks a defensive end or 3-4 linebacker like Okafor. Cornerback, guard and safety are more pressing positions of need.
Why He Would Be a Good Fit: Forget about the slow 40-time or the off-the-field issues. Manti Te’o can flat out play. He nearly won the Heisman Trophy as an inside linebacker. That’s almost impossible to do. He led Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship Game. Te’o can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3. He can move sideline to sideline, and he would be the best linebacker the Philadelphia Eagles have had since Jeremiah Trotter.
Why He Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit: With the whole world watching, Te’o was at his worst in the title game against Alabama. He looked more like a freshman forced into a starting spot than a college All-American. It was against the best team in the nation, but he will only face better competition at the NFL level. Te’o ran a pathetic 4.82 40-yard dash, and of course there’s the character concerns that could drop his stock.
What Will Likely Happen: I don’t think Te’o will get drafted in the first round. If he does get taken, it could very well be by the Baltimore Ravens, who own the 32nd pick. That means Te’o could definitely be around by the time the Eagles pick early in round two. He would be a good fit in a 3-4 to team with DeMeco Ryans in the inside.