2012 NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles 7-Round Mock (with Trades)
Super Bowl or bust. That is the mindset the Eagles should have next year and that is the mindset owner Jeffrey Lurie will have.
Though the team is immensely talented, there are flaws at key positions that Andy Reid failed to address this offseason.
I know I enjoy mock drafts, so here is a quick look at who the Eagles may be selecting this April to help solidify a talented team.
Unhappy Veterans: DeSean Jackson and Asante Samuel
The Eagles are all in next year. Super Bowl or bust; and with regards with Andy Reid, his job will be gone if the Eagles don't win it all next season.
Reid certainly knows DeSean Jackson's worth to the team. His presence alone frees up defenders for Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek, not to mention safeties have to play back, allowing LeSean McCoy to gain huge yards on the ground.
It was obvious that Jackson acted selfishly throughout the season, but I think the Eagles will put the franchise tag on him. They will definitely not let him walk without getting anything for him. Ultimately I think he signs the tag and plays out the year. If he performs like he should, he will get a nice contract after next year.
With Asante Samuel, the Eagles have a chance to get rid of a declining player who has a $8.4 million salary next year. The Eagles have a replacement in waiting and could also take a defensive back in this deep corner draft.
Though the Eagles could have gotten at least a second-round pick if they had traded him last offseason, I think the best they can do this time is a third-round pick.
Round 1: CB Dre Kirkpatrick
The 6'3'' 192 pound Kirkpatrick is a physical player and he could fit nicely in a strong trio with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Kirkpatrick can solidify the slot corner position and if Rodgers-Cromartie struggles next season, which could very well happen, Kirkpatrick can substitute in.
Kirkpatrick is a great tackler and can excel in either a man-press scheme or zone scheme. He was even asked to blitz for the Crimson Tide defense and proved to be an effective blitzer.
This is a passing league, with more and more teams using three cornerback sets; the current trio of Samuel, Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie was doomed to fail because not any of them could play the inside position.
Kirkpatrick can allow the Eagles to numerous schemes on defense and with the likelihood of Juan Castillo coming back, he will enjoy having a versatile player like Kirkpatrick in his arsenal.
Round 1: TRADE: LB Luke Kuechly
Andy Reid and Howie Roseman understand that their job is on the line in the 2012-13 season, so don't be surprised if they are willing to give up their 2013 first-round pick to get another defensive stud in the 2012 draft.
I am predicting they will trade that future pick and one of their two second-round picks to get back in the first to draft middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Kuechly is one of my favorite linebacker prospects in this year's class.
He is a sideline to sideline player who is a perfect defensive leader for a team lacking one. Kuechly can play the middle right away and unlike the current group of Eagle linebackers, he is a great tackler.
Kuechly's read and react skills are close to an elite level and he can hold his own in pass coverage, being a former safety in high school.
His instincts are second to none in this year's class and would be a great fit by protecting the vulnerable wide-nine technique.
Round 2: S Mark Barron
The Eagles safeties this season have been hot or cold, sometimes they look to be reliable, other times they look to be completely lost.
I like Kurt Coleman a lot, but my views haven't changed since last summer when I wrote that I still envision him as more of a third safety.
Nate Allen has been the epitome of inconsistency, but with another offseason coming off of his ACL injury in his rookie season, I think Allen can provide reliability at free safety.
That brings us to strong safety, a position that was supposed to be manned by Jaiquawn Jarrett. His physicality is why the Eagles reached for him in the second round last draft, but he never showed much of it in his few starts. And he never was a cover man in his college career, so that probably won't translate even if he has a full offseason.
I thought of Jarrett as an in the box type of safety, but in a few games we have seen him, he has not made many plays against the run.
Therefore, I think the Eagles should admit their mistake, they're going to have to if they want to be a Super Bowl favorite, and draft Mark Barron, the 220 pound strong safety out of Alabama.
Barron can be a similar player to Brian Dawkins when he was here in Philadelphia. Barron isn't the greatest cover man, but I think they should exclusively use him in the box making plays against runs and screens, very much how Dawkins was used late in his career.
Barron is a consistent tackler and would be a perfect compliment to Allen, a more rangy player.
Round 2: TRADE: DE Vinny Curry
I'm predicting the Eagles to trade their original third and the third they acquire in the likely Asante Samuel trade to get back into the second round to draft defensive end Vinny Curry.
Curry has been a dominant pass rusher with 77 tackles (22 tackles for a loss), 11 sacks, three blocked kicks and seven forced fumbles.
The Eagles hope that Brandon Graham can recover fully from injury, but he has to be a question mark.
Jason Babin and Trent Cole will be 32 and 29 respectively at the start of next season, so finding another pass rusher is never a bad thing.
Curry has an explosive first step and is very similar to Babin where he can use his incredible closing speed to get to the quarterback.
With the likelihood of Juqua Parker not coming back, Curry will fill a role as a backup pass rusher who can kick inside on obvious passing downs.
Round 3: TRADE: LB Travis Lewis
I am predicting the Eagles to trade both their fourth-round picks to acquire an extra third to draft outside linebacker Travis Lewis.
Lewis certainly regrets coming back his junior year because his draft range is currently late second to early third. Last draft, he was projected to be a mid first-round pick if he declared.
Lewis is a very instinctive player who rarely finds himself out of position on running plays. Though only 232 pounds, Lewis can diagnose plays, being a former middle linebacker.
Unlike the current group of linebackers, Lewis is a very strong run defending linebacker, racking up 360 tackles over a three year span at Oklahoma.
Though he needs considerable improvement in pass coverage, Lewis can be a starter on first and second downs and Casey Matthews or Brian Rolle can be the nickel outside linebacker.
Round 5: RB/WR Jeff Demps
Demps can solve multiple needs for this Eagles team.
At 5'8'' 180 pounds, Demps can assume the same role Darren Sproles has in New Orleans. Demps will solve the Eagles return issues and his legitimate 4.2 speed will come in handy on screens.
Demps served as a running back and a receiver so his versatility is key, especially for a player considered to be only in the the fourth to sixth round draft range.
Demps can be a nice change of pace back to LeSean McCoy who is more quick than fast.
Round 5: TRADE: OT Matt Reynolds
Andy Reid always loves drafting lineman, especially one from his alma mater BYU.
The Eagles have three sixth-round picks and don't need all of them, so I could see them packaging two for a fifth-round pick.
Though Reynolds is 325 pounds, he is an athletic tackle who can shift laterally very well. He may not seem to be a fit with Howard Mudd, but Jason Peters and Todd Herremans are both over 320 pounds.
Reynolds is an interesting player who I have seen people mock as early as the second round, but as late as the sixth round.
A very inconsistent year is why his draft stock is a mystery. Reynolds though flashed dominance in a few of his games. If he does not work out at tackle, guard is always an option for Reynolds, who most would consider to be a far superior pass blocker than run blocker.
If anything, Reynolds can be a versatile backup for the Eagles.
Round 6: C/OG: Quentin Saulsberry
Like Reynolds, the 300 pound Saulsberry is a versatile lineman who can play guard or center.
At Mississippi State, Saulsberry started eight games at right guard and four at center. In a tough conference like the SEC, Saulsberry was an honorable mention as voted on by the AP.
The Eagles will most likely lose Jamaal Jackson, and Saulsberry can be an invaluable backup to Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins.