Eagles 2013 Mock Draft: Predictions for Day 2 & Beyond
The first round of the NFL draft is complete, with the big surprise being West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who did not hear his name called by any team throughout the night.
Other surprises included the surprise fall by defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and the selection of EJ Manuel by the Buffalo Bills as the only quarterback in the first round.
For the Eagles, the first round was considered a big success. Not only did they grab offensive tackle Lane Johnson with the fourth pick, but they will have their pick of a number of quarterbacks near the top of the second round. Whether it be Smith, Ryan Nassib or Matt Barkley, the Eagles should be able to grab their future signal-caller without having to move up into the first round.
The following slides will highlight my predictions for the team's final six rounds of the draft, beginning with their 35th overall selection and ending with their four picks in the seventh round.
Round 2: Geno Smith, Quarterback
For the record, I do not think the Eagles will have to trade up to select Geno Smith. I have the Jacksonville Jaguars picking Ryan Nassib with the 33rd overall pick, although I wouldn't be at all surprised if I was wrong.
But if Nassib is the Jaguars' selection, Smith has to be picked by the Eagles. I wouldn't have wanted him with the fourth overall pick but I can't say I have a problem with him at No. 35.
Other options include defensive end Tank Carradine, linebacker Manti Te'o and safety Jonathan Cyprien.
Round 3: Margus Hunt, Defensive End
Margus Hunt was my third-round pick for the Eagles 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 Fletcher Cox and Hunt, with last year's rookie Vinny Curry and 2010 first-round draft pick Brandon Graham also in the mix, would give fans lots of hope for the future. You can't have too many defensive linemen in this generation, as the New York Giants proved during their Super Bowl runs in both 2007 and 2011.
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. That was a total disaster, as the Eagles endured a brutal eight-game stretch without an interception—the second-longest streak by a team in the history of the National Football League. So yeah, improvement is needed.
In 2013, Allen would be delegated to a backup role, and Coleman would be off the team.
Round 5: Rick Wagner, Offensive Tackle
With veteran Jason Peters scheduled to return in 2013 from his torn Achilles, and Lane Johnson just added in the first round of the draft, 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.
Rick Wagner, who stands 6'8" and can play left or right tackle, would be an ideal candidate for the fourth tackle spot behind Peters, Lane Johnson and Kelly in the 2013 season. If one of the starters suffered an injury, he could compete for playing time, depending on how well he grasped Kelly's new offense.
Round 7: John Boyett, Safety
With four seventh-round draft selections, the Eagles can afford to take a gamble or two. Here's one on a former Chip Kelly standout.
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. If he can stay healthy, he has lots of upside. Consider this the definition of a low-risk, high-reward draft pick.
Round 7: Brandon Sharpe, Linebacker
Brandon Sharpe can play either defensive end or linebacker, making him 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, but I would be surprised if either of those two managed to beat him out on the 53-man roster.
After all, Matthews and Chaney have both been disappointments over the past couple of seasons, and Sharpe won't have had a chance to prove himself yet on the NFL field.
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. But I honestly wouldn't be totally stunned to see Kelly cut a veteran player like Brent Celek, which would give Williams a decent chance at earning the No. 3 tight end spot.
Round 7: Braden Hansen, 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 (and I hope that's the case).
Offensive line depth is extremely important, and the Eagles have had their fair share of injuries over the past few seasons. Centers Jason Kelce (in 2012) and Jamaal Jackson (in 2010) have basically missed the entire season, while Jason Peters and Todd Herremans (both in 2012) have missed significant time with injuries.
Hansen 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.