NFL Draft 2011: Predicting the Eagles 1st Pick, Thinking Outside of the Box
Attempting to predict the Eagles approach to the draft is not an exact science. In fact, you probably have to have mastered the intricacies of chaos theory in order to come close.
Most mock drafts have the Eagles taking either Jimmy Smith or Gabe Carimi with the first pick, but if recent history is anything to go by, these players become the most unlikely picks the Eagles make.
Last year, nobody had Eagles taking Brandon Graham with their first pick, or even a defensive end for that matter. No one expected Jeremy Maclin to go to the Eagles in the first round the year before either, and with the emergence of DeSean Jackson, no one was predicting a wide receiver.
Using this logic, I attempt to weigh up the likelihood of the players who no one is predicting will be taken by the Eagles. Predicting the Eagles first draft choice whilst thinking outside of the box.
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
One of Andy Reid's best attributes is that he is willing to sacrifice instant gains for long term benefits.
Da'Quan Bowers' stock has fallen and fallen due to injury and the fact that he won't be ready come the start of the season (if there is one).
The Eagles has a pretty good tandem in Trent Cole and Brandon Graham (also out for the beginning of the season), but Graham is an injury concern and Cole was tired and overworked by the end of last season.
The Eagles like to rotate their defensive line, so Bowers is not an impossibility if Eagles think he is too valuable to pass on.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Jerome Harrison is a free agent this year, and if he goes, the Eagles will need to find a legitimate RB to compliment McCoy.
A lot of teams enjoy having a one-two punch at the running back position, and if Ingram falls past the Dolphins, the Eagles might just be tempted by the idea of having two legit players sharing the load for the foreseeable future.
Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn
Last year the Eagles jumped up in the draft only to surprise everyone by taking Brandon Graham (most people expecting it to be Earl Thomas). If they jump up again this year, most people will be expecting Prince Amukamara, but if Fairley falls far enough, a big trade might be for him instead.
Personally, I think the Eagles are pretty much set at DT, but what do I know?
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
If the Eagles are sure that they will be trading Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick is getting to the age where Eagles might be looking for a future successor.
It worked out quite nicely for the Eagles when the drafted Kevin Kolb in the second round to take over from Donovan McNabb even if it didn't quite turn out as the Eagles had planned.
Why move away from what works. I've chosen Mallett here, but really, it could be any of the QBs slated to be taken in the late first or second round.
Davon House, CB, New Mexico State
As I said before, Andy Reid is often willing to sacrifice short term gains for the long term benefits, and if good enough offers for picks come in, the Eagles might end up adding picks for the 2012 draft and not make a first-round pick in the 2011 draft.
It won't be a surprise if Davon House is on the Eagles roster next season, but it will be a surprise if he is the Eagles first choice in the 2011 draft.
*Photo courtesy of nflsoup.com
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Work ethic was an Eagles buzz word for their draft last year, which lead them toward crazy picks like Daniel Te'o Nesheim amongst others.
If they still value that quality as highly as they did the previous year, they may make a play for blue collar player Kerrigan.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Brent Celek regressed last season. How much of that was Michael Vick, blocking need or Celek himself is anyone's guess. But if Andy Reid feels like he's lost a little faith in Celek, he may look at drafting a TE.
Rudloph is rated by many to be a late first-round prospect who will fall to the second round due to lack of need at that position. If the Eagles do trade out of the first round, they may see Rudolph as the BPA and take him off the board.