Eagles Mock Draft: 4 Round Predictions, Post Combine
The NFL combine sure changes everything. Players like Blake Bortles have shot to the top of draft boards, while Jadeveon Clowney, despite not hurting his draft prospects, does not seem like the dominant once-in-a-generation player he was touted to be.
How have these combine results affected the Philadelphia Eagles? After the combine, the Eagles' draft may now go a little something like this...
1st Round: Calvin Pryor, S (Louisville)
In a mock draft I wrote before the combine, I had the Eagles taking Justin Gilbert at 22nd overall. But Justin Gilbert completely dominated the combine. His 4.37 40-yard dash time was tied for best among all corners, and he excelled at all the positional drills. He is now looking a top-10 pick.
If he Eagles can't get Gilbert, they will likely address another pressing need: the safety position.
Nate Allen was adequate as a free safety last season, but he is a free agent and not guaranteed to return. Patrick Chung was a horrendous strong safety and will be cut soon.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will likely be off the board sooner than 22nd overall due to his coverage skills, but it will be hard for the Eagles to pass on Calvin Pryor.
Pryor has great instincts and delivers bone-crushing hits. See the attached video if you want proof of that. And while he didn't blow away the competition at the combine, his performance was adequate. He recorded a 4.58 40 time, tied with Clinton-Dix, and looked good overall in his position drills, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
If he pans out, the Eagles could be getting a poor man's Brian Dawkins.
2nd Round: Carl Bradford, OLB (Arizona State)
At the 54th overall pick, many of the top corner prospects will be off the board. And Louchiez Purifoy turned in a disappointing combine performance. Kyle Fuller excelled and may even go in the late first round.
The Eagles may go outside linebacker here. Trent Cole is aging and will be due $10 million in the 2015 season. And other than him, the Eagles didn't have much in the form of a consistent pass rush.
Carl Bradford made a name for himself with the Sun Devils with big plays. He has great quickness and uses leverage well.
A good pass rush would do wonders for a secondary. And with the worst pass defense in the NFL last season, the Eagles will continue making it a priority.
3rd Round: Bruce Ellington, WR (South Carolina)
Chip Kelly is an offensive-minded coach. It would be unlike him to go three rounds without selecting a single offensive player, especially since he selected Zach Ertz last season when tight end was not viewed as a team need.
And, considering that Howie Roseman has stated numerous times that value is more important than need, the Eagles likely add a weapon here. Even if Jeremy Maclin returns, the Eagles will likely cut Jason Avant for cap reasons.
Bruce Ellington is an intriguing talent. He is only 5'9" but has as much speed and burst as anyone, running a 4.45 40 time. Also, he is more of a Steve Smith than a DeSean Jackson, being more built overall and weighing 197 pounds.
Ellington needs to greatly improve his route running, but Kelly may be intrigued by his physical gifts and take a chance on him.
4th Round: Aaron Murray, QB (Georgia)
With Michael Vick all but certainly gone, the Eagles need more depth at the quarterback position. Aaron Murray may be the kind of high-upside player the Eagles would take a chance on.
Murray has a quick release and throws an impressive deep ball, but concerns about his size and durability will slide him to the fourth round.
Nevertheless, Murray is worth consideration as a third-string project player.