The Philadelphia Eagles' most pressing needs for this April's draft are as follows:
1. Both sides of the line
2. The defensive backfield
3. Depth at the running back position, assuming Brian Westbrook doesn't hop in a time machine anytime soon.
This Eagles-only mock draft will take Andy Reid's tendencies into account, but it will also include a heavy dose of my own opinions as well; I'll break down what guys I would pick, and what Andy will most-likely take as well.
My pick: Jason Pierre-Paul
(DE--South Florida, 6-6, 260 lbs.)
Good QBs are starting to catch on to how the Eagles operate defensively, and without a guy opposite of Trent Cole to help put pressure on those experienced QBs, the Eagles will continue to be exposed.
With JPP listed at an ideal 260 pounds, he's the perfect fit to be a DE in a 4-3 scheme. I have a prejudice towards guys with hyphens in their names, and I have an even bigger prejudice towards athletes from the "speed state," so how could this pick go wrong, right?
Andy Reid's Pick: Maurkice Pouncey
(C/G--Florida, 6-5, 316 lbs.)
Andy gets all gitty inside when he can get great draft value, and with such poor depth on the offensive line these past few years, I have a feeling he'll finally get back to his linemen-lover mentality.
It's been said that Pouncey can play all three inside-linemen positions (C, LG, RG) as well as RT. Jamaal Jackson's ACL was torn during week 16, so I doubt he'll be ready to play anytime before week eight or nine of next year.
My Pick: Vladimir Ducasse
(G--UMass, 6-6, 330 lbs.)
Not too many people have heard of Vlad-D, but that just goes to show you how deep this draft really is. His overall rating on Scout.com is a 90, which is a first-round grade. Because of his position though, he will slide quite a bit, hopefully.
Andy Reid's Pick: Greg Hardy
(DE--Ole Miss, 6-4, 265 lbs.)
Wow are there some major similarities here between Hardy and Trent Cole. Both are the same weight, and both are within centimeters of being the same height. Greg Hardy has a ton of potential, and he could very well end up being one of the best players from this draft.
Once again, value people. The point I brought up earlier about balancing out the defensive line to help out Cole would certainly be taken care of with a selection like this.
My Pick and Andy Reid's Pick: Dominique Franks
(CB--Oklahoma, 6-0, 192 lbs.)
When the Eagles' cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor reached their 30s Andy Reid selected Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown to be their eventual replacements.
Well, now is the time for Sheldon Brown to be replaced as well (eventually). He had a good year against non-playoff teams, but his skills were clearly exposed against the Cowboys, Cardinals (of last year), Saints, Chargers, and the Broncos.
Sheldon has been a great player for the Eagles in years past, but he will be turning 31 in March. Dominique Franks can be groomed so that by the time Sheldon is ready to move on he'll be ready to step in.
My Pick: Major Wright
(S--Florida, 6-1/2, 208 lbs.)
Major Wright has all of the intangibles in the world to be a Dawkins-esque player, and whew it took a lot out of me to say that, but bear with me. He's got outstanding instincts, great size, great ball skills, and not to mention he's someone who will lay a lick on your receivers if they come over the middle.
Wright is only a junior, and he will slide because of it. I have mixed feelings about him declaring early because he could of gotten a lot better by staying another year, but the talent is there for the taking, even this late in the draft.
Andy Reid's Pick: Joe McKnight
(RB--USC, 5-11, 198 lbs.)
From what I've seen out of Westbrook this year, he will most likely need a replacement, and what better way to do that than getting a guy with the kind of value that McKnight carries along with him in his flashy new SUV.
With Pete Carrol leaving he probably made a good decision to declare, not knowing what the new coach(es) would bring. Reid loves drafting the same kind of players year-after-year, and McKnight falls into the same "scat-back" category as Westbrook and Shady McCoy.
My Pick: Carlton Mitchell
(WR--South Florida, 6-4, 210 lbs.)
The Eagles' tallest past-catching option is TE Brent Celek at 6-4. This is a problem. Mitchell definitely declared too early for this year's draft, but he was almost forced to with the recent firing of his head coach Jim Leavitt.
Whenever a guy has the fear of not being able to produce at the level he's capable of, he typically freaks out and declares without thinking of the repercussions.
Mitchell is projected as a fourth or fifth rounder. With not a single wide out over 6-foot tall currently on the roster, this USF Six-foot-four athlete is still quite raw, but worth the risk of using a 4th round pick on in my opinion. Mitchell is projected as a 5th or 6th rounder, but Ramsen Barden (WR--Giants) was too last year, and he was selected in the 4th; I feel as if this pattern persists, Mitchell will be taken a round or two early as well. If Reid finally feels like he wants a tall, viable option for the red zone he'll think about pulling the plug earlier than he normally would.
Andy Reid's Pick: Brandon Deaderick
(DT--Alabama, 6-5, 295 lbs.)
Trevor Laws can't get on the field, and after him on the depth chart is absolutely no one. Reid goes for depth here in Deaderick and hopefully he'll develop into a solid rotational player someday.
My Pick: LeGarrette Blount
(RB--Oregon, 6-1, 249 lbs.)
When the Eagles signed Michael Vick, all bets were off in my eyes in terms of trying to keep the team character-oriented. With that signing Reid proved to us all that he's willing to give a guy a second chance.
Blount can catch the ball and he can also be used in short-distances. Eagles fans are ready for a real power-back, and I certainly fall in that boat as well.
Overall Prediction: A LB would be a good fit here. Moise Fokou and Akheem Jordan are good, young athletic LBs, and a little bit more depth could help them out.
The Eagles should draft the best overall linebacker left on the board at this point and just hope that he somehow develops into a starter one day.
I'm not too sure on what the Eagles should be targeting this late in the draft, but they will probably go after either a TE, K, P, or LB.
Cornelius Ingram's ACL tear still remains a major question mark, Sav Rocca is about as reliable as a Ford, and David Akers looked much-improved last year, but he's definitely loosing some leg.