Now that the Eagles season is all but assured of falling short of the playoffs, the loyal Philly fanbase can start focusing on their Super Bowl, the 2012 NFL Draft. Last year's draft yielded the Eagles a solid but not great starting guard, a promising strong safety who couldn't beat out Jarrad Page or Kurt Coleman in his rookie campaign and a running back turned cornerback who can't crack a spot on the defense.
Any Reid and company elected to select players with more potential down the road rather then take guys that can make an instant impact. The Eagles loaded up with talented impact players in free agency but only a couple of those players ended up being a positive impact on the team.
Now the Eagles are loaded with athletes and playmakers but not many players who can catch the football or make a tackle. The talent is there but the football IQ is not. Next April's draft will be more about getting high quality football players that are fundamentally sound. Lucky for the Eagles the draft is loaded with sure-tackling linebackers and receivers with great hands.
It's obvious to every single Eagles fan that they need a linebacker to anchor that defense and they need a vocal leader like they used to have in Jeremiah Trotter or Brian Dawkins. They can get both with Manti Te'o.
Te'o has great size at 6'2, 255 pounds and he also possess very good athleticism at the position. He always seems to be around the football against the run as he had six double-digit tackle games this season for Notre Dame. He has 106 tackles this season and 4.5 sacks.
Manti Te'o is the ideal Mike linebacker in the 4-3 defense. He has great size and speed to go along with his football instincts that are off the charts. With Jamar Chaney being more of an outside linebacker and Casey Matthews looking like a career backup at best, Andy Reid cannot afford to pass up this prospect. Reid has never taken a linebacker in the first round but I imagine he will make an exception come next April.
Michael Floyd may end up being the steal of the draft next April. Floyd doesn't possess great speed and he doesn't project as a great deep threat and that will keep him out of the first round of the draft. What he does possess, however, is great hands and body positioning.
Floyd isn't the type of player to put up big numbers on a track field or a combine, but when you put him on the football field he just delivers. In four seasons at Notre Dame Floyd has caught 266 passes for 3,645 yards and 36 touchdowns.
The Eagles have plenty of speed at wide receiver. What they don't have is anyone who can come back to the football and catch the ball over a corner or safety. This is why the Eagles can't consistently score in the red zone. Michael Floyd will change that.
When you are trying to reach the Super Bowl out of the same conference as the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers, you can never have too many talented cornerbacks. Chase Minnifield is the complete package at cornerback in a loaded draft class.
He has good size at 6'0", 185 pounds and good speed, somewhere in the 4.4 to 4.45 40 range. He plays the ball extremely well and catches the ball like a receiver. Not to mention, he has 13 career interceptions, most of which came in his last two seasons as a starting cornerback.
The one thing that stands out on tape with Minnifield is his tackling ability. He isn't just a big hitter, he is an excellent tackler. He doesn't lunge at the feet of ball carriers, he wraps them up around the hips. It's rare these days to see a cornerback under 190 pounds that tackles this well.
He also possess good return skills as a punt and kick returner. He has just under 1,000 kick return yards, all coming in his freshman and sophomore season. Very elusive return man, ability to juke defenders out of their shoes.
The Eagles appear to be loaded at cornerback on paper but Asante Samuel will be traded in the offseason, Nnamdi Asomugha is on the decline now entering his early 30s and we don't know what kind of players Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh will turn out to be.
It appears that DeSean Jackson is on his way out in Philadelphia. Never mind the way some members of the media had overblown Jackson sitting beside himself on the sidelines in a Week 13 loss to the Seahawks, he has shown very little effort this season while in the middle of contract negotiations. He is short arming passes and looking to avoid contract before he looks for the football. He has become a cancer to the football team and he will be let go after the season.
Out goes DeSean Jackson, in comes Jarius Wright. Wright is a very similar player to Jackson. Both players are about 5'10, 180 pounds but both run 4.3 40s.
Wright has six plays over 50 yards in his four-year career at Arkansas where he racked up 165 receptions for 2,846 yards and 23 touchdowns. The one difference Wright has over Jackson is his knack for scoring touchdowns. He has 11 touchdowns this season.
Wright could team up with Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Michael Floyd next season in Philadelphia. You think Eagles fans would even miss DeSean with that receiving corps to go along with LeSean McCoy in the backfield?
The Eagles tried to add Darren Sproles last summer, but the Saints were too good of an opportunity to pass up on for the speedy back. This draft the Eagles have a shot to pickup an even faster back with good return ability as well.
Jeff Demps is small at 5'8", 190 pounds, but his sub-4.3 speed doesn't just grow on trees. He would be an excellent addition to the backfield to go along with LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis. He isn't an every down back but his big play ability coming out of the backfield as a runner or receiver is down right dangerous.
His ability on kickoff returns is something the Eagles have been missing since Brian Mitchell. The Eagles get an immediate impact player in the fourth round that can contribute on offense and special teams.
Kyle Wilber is an interesting prospect coming out of Wake Forest. Some peg him as a 3-4 edge rusher, some as a defensive end in the 4-3 but I like him as a strong side linebacker project in the 4-3. He has a knack for getting into the backfield and disrupting plays.
He plays a lot bigger than his 6'4", 240 pound frame might allow him to. He is a potential two down linebacker in the 4-3 who can be a situational pass rusher on obvious passing downs.
Wilber can be a very physical strong side linebacker down the road who be a much needed physical presence for the Eagles against the run. He can help out any defense in a number of different ways regardless of the type of defense you run.
Kirk Cousins doesn't wow you physically or athletically. He doesn't have great arm strength or accuracy and he isn't the second coming of Michael Vick or Cam Newton. He is, however, one of the most technically sounds quarterbacks in the 2012 draft class.
Cousins consistently makes great decisions and has outstanding foot work. If you give him a running game and a decent defense he can manage the game and put your team in position to win week in and week out.
His biggest concern on tape is his ability to get the ball out to his receivers in the face of a heavy rush. He tends to overthrow wide open receivers against the blitz or he forces the ball into traffic. A year or two learning an offense and the speed of the game and he could turn out to be a solid starter in the NFL.
Tom Brady was a similar player coming out of Michigan. He didn't have an outstanding arm but he had a knack for pulling out close games. Neither player handled the blitz very well early but obviously Brady has done okay for himself. He wasn't forced to play too early in his career and he thrived when he was eventually called upon.
Cousins may not be the second coming of Brady but he is a potential steal at quarterback in the fourth or fifth round of the draft.
The Eagles still need to add more depth at offensive tackle and get more Howard Mudd type linemen. Winston Justice will either be released or traded in the offseason to free up cap space. In comes Jeff Adams out of Columbia with the Eagles' eighth pick of the draft.
Adams is a high quality offensive tackle that gives maximum effort and is surprisingly athletic. He is an ideal project for Howard Mudd. At 6'6", 305 pounds he has great size but his sub-5.00 40 time proves he moves very well also.
Adams will be a three-time All IVY League offensive tackle this season and is a three-year starter at Columbia.
The Eagles need to add some competition at safety in the draft. Nate Allen has had a very up and down season. Kurt Coleman can fly around the football but he can't cover anybody. It's still unclear what rookie second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett can do for the Eagles' defense. I would expect the the Eagles to draft at least one safety, even if it's just to add some competition in training camp.
Damien Jackson is a speedy free safety who can make the team as a special teams standout and as a backup free safety. He has good size at 6'2", 210 pounds and good speed to boot. If he can make tackles in the open field at the next level he could challenge Nate Allen for a starting job.
If you could describe Logan Harrell in two words it would be heart and intensity. He doesn't give up on a play and he goes all out every second he is on the field. Jim Washburn is going to love this kid.
Harrell is a pure inside pass rusher that would excel in a Wide 9 system that constantly rotates defensive linemen. He has a good burst off the line and has a good inside swim move as well. He has 19 career sacks as a defensive tackle including 10.5 last season and six this season.
Harrell isn't a complete defensive tackle. He really is more of a pass rushing specialist, similar to a Trevor Laws or Derek Landri. Ideal fit for Washburn, but won't be a great fit for most teams in the first five or six rounds of the draft. Could be a major steal for the Eagles.