2011 NFL Mock Draft: Philadelphia Eagles 7-Round Projections (Version 2.0)
As the clock continues to wind down to April 28th and the start of the 2011 NFL draft, the season of teams attending pro days and hosting private workouts is in full swing. Naturally, the Philadelphia Eagles are no exception to the rule.
To date, the team has scouted over 36 prospects from around the country, according to a list compiled by Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com.
As he always does, Andy Reid is playing his cards close to his chest, trying not to tip his hand on who the Eagles will select come draft day. However, there are a few players and positions that have appeared to draw extra interest from the team.
In the interest of keeping things current, let's now take a look at the latest version of the Eagles' complete seven-round mock draft. Here are 10 college prospects who could find themselves clad in midnight green in a matter of weeks.
Round 1 (23rd Overall): Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Sure, Colorado's Jimmy Smith may not have the best attitude or work ethic. In fact, several teams have reportedly removed him entirely from their draft boards due to character concerns.
However, one thing you can't remove from Smith is his size and athletic ability. At 6'2", 211 pounds, Smith could provide the perfect complement to Philadelphia's Asante Samuel. He is a big, physical shutdown corner that has drawn comparisons to the Jets' superstar, CB Darrelle Revis.
After Dimitri Patterson's subpar performance last year, which included an embarrassing three-touchdown performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, the Eagles are left without a solution at right cornerback. Ellis Hobbs is likely to retire, Joselio Hanson is better suited as a nickel corner and rookie Trevard Lindley still needs time to develop. Smith would be able to step in immediately and boost a slumping Philadelphia defense.
The Eagles have already shown a fair amount of interest in Smith, choosing him as one of the 30 players they are allowed to bring in for a private workout. In Andy Reid's eyes, he could be well worth the risk.
Round 2 (54th Overall): Marcus Cannon, OG, TCU
The Eagles' right guard position is one of the weakest points of their offense. The tandem of Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole simply didn't cut it last year, and Michael Vick was often flushed out of the pocket by attacks from the right side.
As one of the top offensive guards in the 2011 NFL draft, TCU's Marcus Cannon has a big mean streak in him with the ability to push defenders around and attack at the second level. He would especially excel at opening up holes for LeSean McCoy and for Vick on designed quarterback runs.
Much like Jimmy Smith, Cannon has the ability to step in immediately and become an asset to the Eagles' offensive line. He is a safe, smart pick at No. 54, and the Eagles would jump at the chance if he is still available.
Round 3 (85th Overall): DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
With longtime Eagles veteran Quintin Mikell rumored to be on his way out of Philadelphia, the team will have a gaping hole at safety. Nate Allen, last year's second-round pick, is still recovering from a ruptured patella tendon. Kurt Coleman, while impressive in his limited playing time, still needs a good deal of experience under his belt.
Behind the two second-year players are special teams ace Colt Anderson and an assortment of practice squad safeties. Depth is clearly a pressing need here.
When Brian Dawkins still roamed NFL fields in midnight green, one of his most feared qualities was his skill in blitzing and run support. With Clemson's DeAndre McDaniel, the Eagles would once again have a large-framed safety to roam the box and attack opposing runners.
In what many experts consider to be a very weak safety class, McDaniel stands out as one of the few good options. In addition to his blitzing ability, McDaniel is a freak of an athlete. At the NFL combine, he ranked among the top five safeties in both the vertical jump and broad jump. His strength brings a ferocity to his hits that Eagles fans will quickly come to love.
Round 4 (104th Overall): Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon State
The offseason addition of ex-Bengals starter Rashad Jeanty went a long way in improving the Eagles' linebacker reserves, but additional help is still needed. Ernie Sims, Akeem Jordan and Omar Gaither did not receive tender offers and will likely depart Philadelphia via free agency. Fresh faces at the linebacker position are clearly a necessity.
Casey Matthews, the younger brother of the Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews, presents an intriguing option to the Eagles as a mid-round pick. He is a true student of the game who uses his high football IQ to compensate for his average strength and speed.
The Eagles have already expressed an interest in Matthews, who was invited to Philadelphia for a private workout on March 31st.
Matthews should be able to make a big impact on Bobby April's special teams unit during his rookie year, with a chance to challenge for a starting position as he develops.
Round 4 (120th Overall): Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
Although former Brown Jerome Harrison performed adequately during his short time with the Eagles, there is no guarantee that he will be re-signed to a new deal for 2011. The team will need to bolster the depth behind LeSean McCoy, as special teamer Eldra Buckley has previously shown that he cannot handle the workload.
Enter Hawaii's Alex Green, who the Eagles brought in for a private workout back in early April. The large-framed Green weighs in at 6'0", 225 pounds, yet manages to elude defenders effectively after bursting through the line. He was reportedly very impressive showing off his cutting skills during Hawaii's pro day.
If he were drafted, Green would provide an excellent complement to LeSean McCoy for use in red-zone and short-yardage situations, two areas where the Eagles could use improvement.
Round 5 (149th Overall): Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
With Kevin Kolb all but certain to be traded this offseason, the Eagles have not been shy about scouting quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL draft.
One of their most recent private workout invitations was extended to Alabama's Greg McElroy, who made headlines during the NFL combine by scoring a 48 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test, labeling him the smartest player in this year's draft (and, quite possibly, the entire NFL).
In McElroy, the Eagles would have a suitable backup quarterback with fantastic discipline and a team-first attitude, which all but outweigh his below-average arm strength. He would be able to compete with Mike Kafka for the second-string position but more than likely would need a season or two to develop into a reliable No. 2 to Michael Vick.
Round 5 (153rd Overall): Ugo Chinasa, DE, Oklahoma State
It's hard to imagine Andy Reid restraining himself for this long before drafting a defensive lineman, but Oklahoma State's Ugo Chinasa could be worth the wait. The athletic Chinasa has demonstrated a speed that belies his 6'5", 263-pound frame and has been dubbed by some to be one of the 2011 NFL draft's sleeper picks.
Chinasa was able to improve on his NFL combine 40 time by 0.06 seconds, making his fastest speed a blazing 4.65. While he will need to bulk up a bit if he expects to excel at the NFL level, Chinasa has the potential to be a valuable role player in Jim Washburn's defensive line rotation.
Round 7 (229th Overall): Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock
With Jamaal Jackson coming off his second season-ending injury in two years, the Eagles will need to bolster their depth at the center position.
Brandon Fusco out of Slippery Rock has been in the Eagles' sights since the Senior Bowl, eventually receiving an invitation to a private workout with the team on April 4th.
At the NFL combine, Fusco was able to flash his athletic ability with a 5.18 40 time and 28.5-inch vertical leap. He has been on a roll since the Senior Bowl and, as he showed in an interview with the New York Daily News, has no reservations about going the extra mile to prove himself:
“Coming from a smaller school, everybody’s expecting a lot more from you. I have to be not just up to par. I need to excel beyond them. At the combine, it showed. I was very prepared. I was really happy with my performance and I think it really opened a lot of eyes with the scouts.”
Although he is ranked among the top options at center in the 2011 NFL draft, Fusco's small-school status will likely keep him available until the later rounds.
Round 7 (237th Overall): Martin Parker, DT, Richmond
Much like center Brandon Fusco, defensive tackle Martin Parker comes from a small school but has managed to make an impression with NFL scouts.
During his college years, Parker and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, currently of the Atlanta Falcons, were part of a dominant defensive line that led the University of Richmond to its first-ever national football championship. Parker wrapped up his stellar college career with a two-sack, one-forced-fumble performance in the East-West Shrine Game, which was good enough to earn him MVP honors.
Parker's 300-pound frame and deceptive speed will come in handy as a rotational player in Jim Washburn's defensive line.
Round 7 (240th Overall): Zack Pianalto, TE, North Carolina
Usually, the seventh round is a place for taking gambles on players, and that is exactly what North Carolina's Zack Pianalto presents. Dubbed by his NFL.com scouting report as "almost chronically injured," Pianalto has become notorious for getting banged up in the end zone.
However, despite missing five games in 2009 with a subtalar dislocation of his right foot and the majority of 2010 with a fractured fibula, Pianalto still managed to set a school record for most career receptions by a tight end with 94 grabs.
When there is a player with that kind of receiving talent available on the tail end of the draft, it could certainly be worth it to give him a chance. The Eagles must think the same way to some degree, as they have already held a private workout with Pianalto earlier this month.