Philadelphia Eagles 2013 Mock Draft: Building the Perfect 7-Round Draft
In 14 seasons, Reid turned the Eagles into one of the most successful teams in the National Football League. They appeared in the postseason nine times, advancing to the conference championship game five times and appearing in Super Bowl XXXIX. But they failed in their ultimate goal, which was collecting the franchise's first Super Bowl title.
That's where Chip Kelly comes in. The new head coach for the Eagles, Kelly has never coached at the NFL level, although he has had a tremendous amount of success at the University of Oregon. Whether he turns into the next Jim Harbaugh or the next Steve Spurrier remains to be seen.
But it all starts for Kelly with the all-important NFL draft.
The Eagles hold nine picks in next month's draft, including the fourth overall pick, which will be the highest they've picked since Reid selected Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb with the second overall pick in 1999.
Like Reid, Kelly will try to jump-start the Eagles franchise by choosing a franchise player at the top of the draft. That player could be a quarterback, an offensive lineman or one of a number of defensive players.
No one knows for sure who Kelly is targeting, but here are my predictions for the nine picks in April's draft.
Round 1: Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle
There are a number of players the Eagles could target with the fourth overall pick, including quarterback Geno Smith, tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei, defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan and cornerback Dee Milliner.
I published my official mock draft last week, predicting the Kansas City Chiefs would select Luke Joeckel, the Jacksonville Jaguars would pick Dion Jordan and the Oakland Raiders would grab Geno Smith. I'm sticking with the first three picks, as well as my fourth.
The Eagles will select Sharrif Floyd, a player who has the ability to play nose tackle or defensive end in their new 3-4 defense.
Veteran Isaac Sopoaga will be 32 at the start of next season. He had his worst season as a pro in 2012 and is on the decline. He's good to have for veteran depth, but he shouldn't be a starter.
With Floyd at nose tackle and last year's first-round pick Fletcher Cox as one of the two starting defensive ends, the Eagles will have two-thirds of a very intimidating defensive line.
The toughness that Floyd would bring to the Eagles is something that was completely missing from the 2012 team, and it's what is desperately needed to bring respect back to Philly's once-dominant defense.
Round 2: E.J. Manuel, Quarterback
Personally, I'm not sure whether E.J. Manuel will still be around at the top of the second round. It depends on the order and amount of quarterbacks taken in the first round.
Geno Smith is a first-round lock. I'm projecting Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley to also go in the first round. Mike Glennon is a possibility as well. And so is Manuel, but I think he'll fall out of the first round.
That's where the Eagles select him, hopefully to be the Week 1 starter. Veteran Michael Vick is only a one-year stopgap, but I don't want him starting one game this season. I'd use Nick Foles over Vick in a second, but Foles is possible draft-day trade bait. And I can't take seriously the idea of Dennis Dixon as a starter.
If the Eagles select Manuel or any quarterback in the second round, I want him starting as a rookie, especially considering the tremendous success by last year's Big Three rookie quarterbacks.
Round 3: Margus Hunt, Defensive End
Margus Hunt was my Eagles' third-round pick from my mock draft a month ago, and I'm sticking with him here.
The Eagles need another pass-rusher, and the 6'8" Hunt would have an excellent chance of starting as a rookie in the team's new 3-4 defense.
A defensive line of Sharrif Floyd, Fletcher Cox and Hunt would give fans lots of hope for the future. You can't have too many defensive linemen in this generation.
Round 4: Shawn Williams, Safety
With the additions of free agents Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips, the Eagles don't need to be in the market for a starting safety. They just need better depth on their roster.
Shawn Williams provides that, as he has excellent tackling abilities and solid ball-hawking skills. He would likely be an upgrade over Kurt Coleman, who would become expendable.
The safety position featured Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman as its starters in 2012. In 2013, Allen would be delegated to a backup role and Coleman would be off the team. That's how it should be.
Round 5: Ricky Wagner, Offensive Tackle
With veteran Jason Peters scheduled to return in 2013 from his torn Achilles, the Eagles don't need a replacement at left or right tackle for a few more years.
They do need more depth though. The backups in 2012 failed to get the job done when thrust into a starting role. Rookie Dennis Kelly will be a year older and more experienced, and free-agent bust Demetress Bell was cut immediately following the season. Veteran King Dunlap signed with the San Diego Chargers, leaving the Eagles with a hole at tackle.
Ricky Wagner, who stands 6'8" and can play left or right tackle, would be an ideal candidate for the fourth tackle spot behind Peters, Todd Herremans and Kelly in the 2013 season.
Round 7: John Boyett, Safety
With four seventh-round draft selections, the Eagles can afford to take a gamble or two. Here's one.
Former Oregon Ducks safety John Boyett has suffered tears to both patellar tendons throughout his college career. His inability to stay healthy will obviously impact his draft status, but while healthy, he was one of the better safeties in his class.
He will have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot or at least earn a chance on the practice squad.
Round 7: Brandon Sharpe, Linebacker
Brandon Sharpe can play either defensive end or linebacker, meaning he would be a good fit in the team's new defensive scheme.
He collected 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks as a senior at Syracuse. He would likely compete for a roster spot against current backups like Casey Matthews and Jamar Chaney.
Round 7: Michael Williams, Tight End
Michael Williams stands 6'6" and weighs 269 pounds, a significant increase in size over any of the current tight ends on the Eagles roster.
At Alabama, he proved his worth as a solid pass-receiver and an excellent blocker, something new head coach Chip Kelly really looks for in his offensive players.
As a seventh-round pick, Williams would likely spend his first season on the practice squad.
Round 7: Braden Hansen, Offensive Guard
Braden Hansen played guard and a little bit of center at college, which would come in handy if the Eagles don't bring back Dallas Reynolds for the 2013 season.
He earned FBS All-Independent honorable mention as a senior in 2012, where he closed out his college career by making all 52 starts in four seasons.