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NFL Draft Day 2 Options for the Eagles

It's time to re-set the table and look at the Birds' options heading into Day 2 of the NFL draft.

NFL Draft Day 2 Options for the Eagles

West quarterback Matt Scott, of Arizona, during the East West Shrine Classic NCAA college football game Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The West won the game 28-13. (AP Photo/Chris O´Meara)
West quarterback Matt Scott, of Arizona, during the East West Shrine Classic NCAA college football game Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The West won the game 28-13. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Now that Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson is officially an Eagle, it’s time to re-set the table and look at the Birds’ options heading into Day 2 of the NFL draft. (Johnson, by the way, will be introduced by the team today at 5 p.m. at the NovaCare Complex.) But he’s yesterday’s news (for now) because the Eagles still have work left to do.

They have two picks on the second day of the draft. The Eagles have the third pick in the second round (35th overall), and the fifth (67th overall) in the third. Don’t be surprised if general manager Howie Roseman engineers a trade back to get an additional selection.

So where are they most in need after the first round and where will they go? Will they take the best player at each spot or cater the pick – like they did two seasons ago in taking safety Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round – to their needs? Let’s take a quick look at who is still on the board at the positions the Eagles may be looking to upgrade:

QUARTERBACK
Geno Smith, West Virginia (6-3, 218)
Matt Barkley, Southern Cal (6-3, 227)
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse (6-2, 227)
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (6-2, 215)
Mike Glennon, North Carolina St. (6-7, 225)
Tyler Bray, Tennessee (6-6, 232)
Matt Scott, Arizona (6-2, 213)
Landry Jones, Oklahoma (6-4, 225)

More coverage
 
Best players left in NFL Draft
 
Eagles have plenty of second-round options
 
What they're saying about Eagles' next pick

I already entertained the idea of the Eagles grabbing Smith with their second round pick. It’s not necessarily a surprise that he fell through the first round, but the fact that Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was the first quarterback selected (Buffalo traded up to No. 16 to get him) came as a shock. I don’t think the Eagles will pull the trigger on Smith. If they really wanted him they could have traded into the back end of the first round. Of course, Smith will only get a four-year contract instead of a five-year one now that the first round is over, so that may have played into the decision to wait. But I’m not feeling the Smith vibe down at the NovaCare Complex. I’m not sure if the Eagles will take a quarterback tonight or in the entire draft, for that matter. Of the above listed names, Scott would seem to make the most sense for the Eagles, but they may be able to get him tomorrow.  

CORNERBACK
Jamar Taylor, Boise State (5-11, 192)
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (6-2, 185)
Darius Slay, Mississippi State (6-0, 192)
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut (6-1, 195)
B.W. Webb, William and Mary (5-0, 184)
Dwayne Gratz, Connecticut (5-11, 201)
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (6-0, 191)
Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (5-9, 186)
David Amerson, North Carolina State (6-1, 205)
Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana (5-10, 188)

All of the top cornerbacks went in the first round, as expected. There was the slight chance that Desmond Trufant or Xavier Rhodes would sneak into the second round, but they won’t be around when the Eagles select at No. 35. That may be a little early to take Taylor or Banks, although both project as starters in the NFL. Maybe the Birds trade back and get one of those guys later. Banks has the Chip Kelly-preferred size for defenders, but he ran a slow 40 (4.61 seconds) at the combine. Honey Badger (Mathieu) would be an intriguing option for the Birds in the third round, but his size makes me think Kelly will pass.  

SAFETY
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International (6-0, 217)
D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina (5-11, 208)
J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern (6-0, 213)
Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse (5-9, 213)
Phillip Thomas, Fresno State (6-1, 208)

Do the Eagles want to select another safety in the second round? The Eagles have made some poor choices before (see: Nate Allen in 2010 and Jarrett). But it remains a need and there are some pretty good safeties still on the board. Cyprien could have gone in the first round. The 49ers traded up for Eric Reid, so they aren’t likely to take a safety a pick before the Eagles. Maybe the Jaguars, who have the first pick tonight, pluck Cyprien. The remaining names could be had in the third round.

3-4 OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi (6-4, 250)
Michael Buchanan, Illinois (6-6, 255)
Corey Lemonier, Auburn (6-4, 255)

The Eagles still need 3-4 outside linebackers, I don’t care what they say about Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. There aren’t many of the second- and third-round caliber that have college experience at the position, though. Some of the 4-3 defensive ends listed below could qualify.

4-3 DEFENSIVE END
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (6-5, 250)
Tank Carradine, Florida State (6-4, 276)
Alex Okafor, Texas (6-5, 264)
Sam Montgomery, LSU (6-3, 262)

There is some talent among this group. Moore and Carradine could have gone in the first round. But are they a schematic fit for the Eagles? Carradine seems ideally suited to play with his hand always in the ground. The rest aren’t considered guys that can move in space. The Eagles desperately need an outside linebacker that can pass rush and also drop. Those guys are very hard to find.

3-4 DEFENSIVE END
Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist (6-8, 277)
Jesse Williams, Alabama (6-4, 323)
William Gholston, Michigan State (6-6, 281)

Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton are the likely starting defensive ends for the Eagles at this point. Vinny Curry is in the mix, but I still think he could be traded over the next two days. The Eagles know they need to added bodies here. They entertained the idea of signing free agent Ricky Jean-Francois this offseason. They need a five-technique end that can fill both gaps and stop the run. Hunt is a solid prospect, but he’s already 25. Williams moves pretty well for his size and could also play nose.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Kawann Short, Purdue (6-3, 299)
Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State (6-3, 320)
John Jenkins, Georgia (6-4, 346)
Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State (6-1, 335)

There’s a mixture of three-technique defensive tackles and one-techniquers in this grouping. Jenkins is a beast. I watched him for a half hour at the Senior Bowl and he didn’t slow down once during that one-on-one drill session.

WIDE RECEIVER
Justin Hunter, Tennessee (6-4, 196)
Keenan Allen, California (6-2, 206)
Robert Woods, Southern Cal (6-1, 201)
Terrance Williams, Baylor (6-2, 208)
Aaron Dobson, Marshall (6-3, 210)
Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (5-10, 193)
Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (6-0, 204)
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State (5-11, 189)
Marquise Goodwin, Texas (5-9, 183)

There are some interesting names at the top of this list. Hunter, Allen and Woods were projected by some to go in the first round. I like Hunter. He’s a lean 6-4, but he can move. Goodwin would be a bit of a gamble in the third round, but goodness he’s fast. He ran a 4.27 40 at the combine. I’m sure Kelly has envisioned that speed in his offense.

TIGHT END
Zach Ertz, Stanford (6-5, 249)
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6-5, 255)
Vance McDonald, Rice (6-4, 267)
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (6-6, 254)
Jordan Reed, Florida (6-3, 236)

Ertz would be an appealing pick-up for the Eagles. They added James Casey in the offseason, but he’s more of an H-back. Brent Celek is still here, but he isn’t getting any younger. Kelly wants to carry about four tight ends on his roster and employ an offense with a lot of two-tight end looks. Ertz would fit in nicely. One problem: He may not be there at No. 35. Many thought the 49ers would draft Ertz in the first round, but they moved up for Reid. John Harbaugh can still get his former college player with the second pick tonight. Kelce, younger brother to the Eagles’ Jason, is a strong prospect. The Eagles have him fairly high on their board, that I know. But he may be a better fit in the third round. McDonald is a beast. Very athletic. Not the greatest ball catcher. Reed would make more sense. He is a converted wide receiver.  

LINEBACKER
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame (6-1, 241)
Kevin Minter, LSU (6-0, 246)
Arthur Brown, Kansas State (6-1, 241)
Sio Moore, Connecticut (6-1, 245)
Jon Bostic, Florida (6-1, 245)
Kiko Alonso, Oregon (6-4, 238)|
Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (6-1, 241)

The Eagles appear set at inside linebacker. Maybe they’re looking for a guy to eventually replace DeMeco Ryans. I would be shocked if that guy was Te’o. For the sake of my sanity, I pray that it isn’t. Minter could have gone in the latter portion of the first round. Brown is the older brother of Eagles running back Bryce Brown. I believe the Eagles brought him in for a pre-draft visit.

RUNNING BACK
Eddie Lacy, Alabama (5-11, 231)
Montee Ball, Wisconsin (5-11, 214)
Andre Ellington, Clemson (5-9, 199)
Christine Michael, Texas A&M (5-10, 220)
Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State (6-2, 230)
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA (5-10, 205)

Lacy slipped through the first round – the first time in NFL history that a running back wasn’t taken in the opening round – but there were pre-draft concerns about his durability. The Eagles really aren’t in the market for a tailback with LeSean McCoy and Brown on the roster. They do need to add a few bodies. Chris Polk is still here. Dion Lewis was traded a few weeks ago. The Eagles will probably sign a few undrafted rookies after the draft rather than expend a pick on a position that has lost value in the NFL.

TACKLE
Menelik Watson, Florida State (6-5, 310)
Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6-5, 306)
David Bakhtiari, Colorado (6-4, 299)
Dallas Thomas, Tennessee (6-5, 306)
David Quessenberry, San Jose State (6-5, 302)

It’s unlikely the Eagles draft another tackle after picking Johnson, but there are some appealing names.

GUARD
Larry Warford, Kentucky (6-3, 332)
Brian Winters, Kent State (6-4, 320)
Barrett Jones, Alabama (6-5, 306)

The same holds for guard or center.

 

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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