Philadelphia Eagles 2013 Mock Draft: Best Case Scenarios for All 7 Rounds
Chip Kelly’s first-ever draft pick with the Philadelphia Eagles will be one of his most important moves. It’s the highest in the NFL draft an Eagles head coach has selected since Andy Reid made Donovan McNabb his franchise quarterback in 1999.
Reid’s pick of McNabb was the second selection in the draft. Likewise, Kelly could add a franchise player to his roster with the fourth pick.
It will take more than one player to turn around a roster that was just 4-12 in 2012, but Kelly has eight picks that can start the transition to get the Eagles back on track in the highly-competitive NFC East.
Round 1: New York Jets Trade Up with Philadelphia Eagles
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There are many options for Chip Kelly’s fourth overall selection but none that stand out. Geno Smith and Dion Jordan are high-risk, high-reward players that could make an impact but could turn into colossal busts.
Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd will probably be gone by the Philadelphia Eagles’ pick. If so, the ideal scenario is that the Buffalo Bills or New York Jets trade up to fourth overall to select Smith as their franchise quarterback. This will move the Eagles back to ninth, where Kelly can select Lane Johnson, an offensive lineman made for Kelly’s offense.
Johnson is versatile enough that he can play tackle and guard. He’s a former quarterback, tight end and defensive end who is still reaching his potential as an offensive lineman. He’s incredibly fast and will be able to get downfield to block for LeSean McCoy.
By trading down for Johnson, the Eagles will also pick up another draft pick that can be used on a position of need.
Round 2: Chip Kelly Grabs One of the Top Cornerbacks
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The depth at the cornerback class is strong in this year’s draft. Dee Milliner is a top-10 pick, and both Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes will likely be gone by the end of Round 1.
That means Chip Kelly will have to choose from the second tier of players in the second round. But it’s still a high class of athletes, led by Johnthan Banks, Jamar Taylor, Darius Slay, Blidi-Wreh Wilson, David Amerson, and D.J. Hayden.
The Philadelphia Eagles have one starting corner for sure in Cary Williams, a free-agent acquisition brought over from the Baltimore Ravens. Brandon Boykin and newly-added Bradley Fletcher will be competing for the nickel spot, but a second-round pick could be a day one starter.
Round 3: Safety Matt Elam Falls to Pick 67
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The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t come close to replacing either Brian Dawkins or Quintin Mikell since either left in free agency. Andy Reid has tried and failed with draft picks like Macho Harris, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Kurt Coleman, and Nate Allen. Second-round players like Jarrett and Allen have especially disappointed.
New additions Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung are upgrades over Allen and Coleman, but the team still needs a young play-making safety. Kenny Vaccaro is by far the best in this draft’s class, and he’s going to be gone by pick 20.
After Vaccaro though, Matt Elam is an intriguing prospect. He plays with a ridiculous amount of energy delivering bone-crushing hits. Elam made plays all over the field in 2012, whether it was intercepting passes, blitzing the quarterback, or stopping the run. Elam will probably push for a starting spot as a rookie, especially given the injury history of both Phillips and Chung.
Round 4: Brandon Williams Becomes the Future Nose Tackle
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Star Lotulelei would be a terrific nose tackle, especially now that he’s officially been cleared from his medical condition. And if the Philadelphia Eagles can still pick Lotulelei after trading down in the first round, that’s a win-win.
But if not, Chip Kelly should look elsewhere for his nose tackle. If a player of Brandon Williams’ caliber can slip to the fourth round, the Eagles have themselves a steal. Again, it’s the best-case scenario for this round. Williams would likely rotate time as a rookie behind Isaac Sopoaga before taking over full-time in 2014.
Williams is over 340 pounds, which means he’s big enough to occupy the zero-technique role and contain both A gaps. Williams is also a surprisingly efficient pass-rusher, which means Kelly could rotate him among multiple spots on the defensive line, whether in a 3-4 or a 4-3.
Round 5: The Philadelphia Eagles Add a 3-4 End for Depth (William Gholston)
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Fletcher Cox will undoubtedly occupy one of the defensive end spots in the new 3-4 defense, but the other one is up for grabs. It could be Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry or a player that isn’t currently on the roster.
It seems likely that a new face will fill the spot. Michigan State’s William Gholston is a mid-level prospect that saw his stock fall after a disappointing 2012. He’s not a strong pass-rusher and he could find himself slipping out of the first four rounds due to the increasing demand for players that can get to the quarterback.
Gholston would be a fine addition to the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a natural 3-4 end, which would allow him to fill the team's exhausted positions. Gholston isn’t a flashy player but should be find a way to fall to the fifth round, he fits the new defense.
Round 7: One of the Three Picks Surprises and Makes an Impact
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Not many seventh-round picks make the 53-man roster. Even fewer make a positive impact.
The Philadelphia Eagles have three separate seventh-round picks, which gives Chip Kelly three chances to grab a player that can sneak onto the team. Andy Reid found late-round steals in players like Trent Cole and Todd Herremans, each of whom has had a Pro Bowl caliber career.
Depth at offensive tackle, wide receiver, and inside linebacker would be smart moves. If one of the players can make the roster and work his way into a prominent role, it's a steal.