5 Late-Round Prospects That Would Be a Perfect Match for the Philadelphia Eagles
The NFL draft is one of the most important processes in constructing and rebuilding a franchise.
Look at the Green Bay Packers, who practically ignore free agency, choosing to use only the draft to strengthen their team. It's worked, too, as the Packers have qualified for the postseason in the last four seasons, including a Super Bowl title in 2010 and a 15-1 mark in 2011.
Obviously, when a team picks as high as the Eagles do in the draft (fourth overall), they're going to want to select an impact player who can immediately step in and turn the Eagles into a playoff contender, like Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts or Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins.
But it's not just the high draft picks that are vital to a team's success.
The Eagles have had a number of low-round draft picks over the years turn into solid starters or even stars, notably defensive end Trent Cole, offensive tackle Todd Herremans and center Jason Kelce.
That's what can really help an NFL team—landing a steal in a lower round. With four seventh-round picks this year, the Eagles can afford to take some gambles. If one or two turn into starters, they've succeeded.
The following slides will highlight some potential late-round picks for Chip Kelly's Eagles.
Joe Kruger, Defensive End
Joe Kruger would be an ideal fit for the Eagles because he is a versatile player and Chip Kelly loves versatility.
He can play defensive end or outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and he has long arms, also a favorite of Kelly's.
Kruger likely wouldn't start for the Eagles as a rookie, but he could earn five to 10 snaps on defense per game.
Mychal Rivera, Tight End
I look at Mychal Rivera and I definitely see a player who could succeed in Chip Kelly's offense.
Rivera has the skill set to play multiple positions on offense. He can line up at tight end, at receiver and even in the backfield. He's a legitimate downfield receiving threat and has good size and impressive strength.
The Eagles already have Brent Celek, James Casey and Clay Harbor on the roster, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Kelly draft Rivera to compete for playing time at tight end.
Tristan Okpalaugo, Outside Linebacker
Okpalaugo enjoyed a breakout season as a senior at Fresno State, recording 8.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.
The 6'5", 245-pound linebacker has good speed and strength, as he ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash. He spent the 2011 season as a defensive end and switched to linebacker in 2012.
For the Eagles, versatility is everything, and Kelly would surely enjoy using Okpalaugo at multiple positions.
Dexter McCoil, Safety
A 2012 Conference USA first-team selection, McCoil collected 91 tackles and five interceptions in his final season at college. He holds the all-time Tulsa record for interceptions.
McCoil possesses great size (6'4", 224 pounds), and through his early free-agent defensive signings, Kelly has shown that he values size in his players.
With safety arguably the weakest position on the Eagles in 2012, McCoil would have a solid chance of beating out either Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman for a roster spot.
Joseph Fauria, Tight End
Joseph Fauria could be the red-zone threat the Eagles have been lacking over the past few seasons.
He has tremendous size, standing at 6'8" and weighing 259 pounds. He's not explosive by any means, but he has good hands and is reliable around the goal line. He collected 12 touchdowns as a senior at UCLA and scored 20 during his career, the third-most in school history.
He could be one of a number of tight ends on the roster for the 2013 Eagles.