Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Draft Day 2 options for the Eagles

Fletcher Cox? Yeah, everyone seems to be happy the Eagles traded up to grab the Mississippi State defensive tackle. He’ll be introduced by the team today at 4 p.m. at the NovaCare Complex. But he’s yesterday’s news (for now) because the Eagles still have work left to do.

Draft Day 2 options for the Eagles

The Eagles have a total of three picks on the NFL Draft´s second day.  (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
The Eagles have a total of three picks on the NFL Draft's second day. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Fletcher Cox? Yeah, everyone seems to be happy the Eagles traded up to grab the Mississippi State defensive tackle. He’ll be introduced by the team today at 4 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 three picks on the second day of the draft – not one of which they had to part with to get Cox in an exchange with Seattle. The Eagles have the 14th pick in the second round (46th overall), the 19th (51st overall) in the second round and the 24th in the third round (88th overall).

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 last season 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:

CORNERBACK
Janoris Jenkins
, North Alabama (5-10, 193)
Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt (5-11, 185)
Trumaine Johnson, Montana (6-2, 204)
Josh Robinson, Central Florida (5-10, 199)
Brandon Boykin, Georgia (5-9, 182)
Dwight Bently, Louisiana-Lafayette (5-10, 182)
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina (6-0, 197)
Ron Brooks, LSU (5-10, 190)

More coverage
 
Eagletarian: Looking ahead to Day 2
 
MTC: Thoughts on Cox and Day 2
 
Complete coverage of the Eagles' 2012 NFL Draft

Some thought the Eagles would go cornerback in the first round after the Asante Samuel trade. One thing about that: the Eagles knew Samuel wasn’t going to be back for some time, so his leaving wasn’t going to change their board. That being said, they could use another cornerback, particularly one that can step in and play the slot. Joselio Hanson’s best days are behind him, and with offenses increasingly going with three-wide receiver sets, the nickel corner plays as many snaps as any defensive lineman in the Eagles system. Jenkins has the most talent. He also has the most baggage. The buzz right now is that he’ll be off the board early in the second round. Of the next group that can play inside, Robinson is intriguing. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.33 seconds) of all the corners at the combine. If the Eagles were looking for someone long-term to replace either Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha on the outside, or if he was sitting there at No. 51, Johnson would be hard to pass. Boykin is tailor made for the slot.

TACKLE
Cordy Glenn
, Georgia (6-5, 345)
Jonathan Martin, Stanford (6-5, 312)
Mike Adams, Ohio State (6-7, 323)
Bobby Massie, Mississippi (6-6, 316)
Jeff Allen, Illinois (6-4, 307)
Mitchell Schwartz, California (6-5, 318)

There were legitimate fears the Eagles might take a tackle in the first round. If Andy Reid wasn’t looking down the barrel, I bet he might have stayed at No. 15 and taken a tackle like Riley Reiff instead of Cox. That being said, I still think Day 2 is a good opportunity for the Eagles to get a tackle that they could groom over two seasons to replace either Jason Peters or Todd Herremans on the outside. Glenn was first-round worthy, many thought. He’s got Peters-like size, but some teams like him better as a guard. Martin would seem to be the kind of prospect Eagles o-line coach Howard Mudd would prefer. He’s aggressive, athletic and smart. He’ll probably be gone at 46, although the Eagles could certainly move up. Adams has been all over the place, in terms of mock drafts. Massie has the skills, but he needs coaching.

LINEBACKER
Mychal Kendricks
, California (5-11, 239)
Lavonte David, Nebraska (6-1, 233)
Bobby Wagner, Utah State (6-0, 241)
Demario Davis, Arkansas State (6-2, 235)
Zach Brown, North Carolina (6-1, 244)
Sean Spence, Miami (5-11, 231)
Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma (6-1, 246)

I went out on a limb and said the Eagles wouldn’t draft a linebacker in the first three rounds. I’ll stick by that, but I’m a little nervous because No. 1, they traded away two of their third day picks to get Cox and No. 2 I could easily seem them taking a guy like Kendricks. He ran the fastest 40 -- a sub 4.5 – for any linebacker at the combine, and would be an ideal fit at weak-side. He’s not just some combine warrior, though. He produced at Cal. David would make sense, too, in the second round. He’s quick, too, and would be able to run with tight ends, but would probably struggle initially against the run. Wagner exploded at the Senior Bowl. He’s another weak-side candidate and could likely be got in the third round.

QUARTERBACK
Kirk Cousins
, Michigan State (6-3, 214)
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (6-7, 242)
Nick Foles, Arizona (6-5, 243)
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (5-11, 204)

Do the Eagles need to get a quarterback today? No. Will they try and get one? I think so. That doesn’t mean it will happen. Cousins makes the most sense to me. He has the intangibles – he’s a leader, he’s heady, and he’s got that thing you want your quarterbacks to have. The problem: He isn’t an accurate deep thrower. That’s a pretty big problem. If you’re taking him in the second round, you better project him to be a starter. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time. Osweiler and Foles probably have greater upsides. But neither is polished and could take a few years to develop. Will Reid even be here in two years? As for Wilson, he’d be a first rounder if he had a few more inches. I stood next to him at the Senior Bowl and 5-11 is generous

WIDE RECEIVER
Stephen Hill
, Georgia Tech (6-4, 215)
Rueben Randle, LSU (6-3, 210)
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (6-3, 216)
Brian Quick, Appalachian State (6-4, 220)
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International (5-10, 183)
Joe Adams, Arkansas (5-11, 179)

I was surprised Hill lasted through the first round. Instead of taking the Georgia Tech receiver the 49ers surprised some by selecting A.J. Jenkins instead. Hill is always a home run threat. He should go off the board fairly quickly today. Randle and Jeffery are big guys that could possibly play in the slot for the Eagles. Neither is especially quick, and the Eagles may be looking for someone faster than Jason Avant. Hilton could fill that role and he could possibly help in the return game.

SAFETY
Brandon Taylor
, LSU (5-11, 209)
De’Quan Menzie, Alabama (5-11, 202)
Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State (6-1, 207)

I get that safety is a concern, but I just don’t see the Eagles expending a second round pick on the position for the third straight year. Maybe if Taylor fell to them in the third round it would be something they would have to think about. Menzie played corner in college, but some scouts project him as a safety in the pros.

RUNNING BACK
Lamar Miller
, Miami (5-11, 212)
LaMichael James, Oregon (5-8, 194)
Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati (5-10, 197)
Chris Polk, Washington (5-11, 215)
Bernard Pierce, Temple (6-0, 218)

The Eagles could go running back on the second day. They do need a backup and there are a few guys available that could be intriguing. I still think they wait until Saturday they get one, but I’m sure Reid and Howie Roseman have James and Pead relatively high on their boards. Both are multi-faceted backs that can assist any West Coast offense. They’ll have to learn how to block, though. Pierce doesn’t fit the Eagles’ needs.

DEFENSIVE END
Courtney Upshaw
, Alabama (6-2, 272)
Andre Branch, Clemson (6-4, 259)
Vinny Curry, Marshall (6-3, 266)
Olivier Vernon, Miami (6-2, 261)
Tyrone Crawford, Boise State (6-4, 275)
Cam Johnson, Virginia (6-3, 268)

The Eagles can probably wait until Saturday to get a prospect to throw into their stew of defensive ends. But if Upshaw or Branch were to keep falling, or if Curry – who I know the Eagles have an eye for – was to be there at 46, it would be hard to pass on any of the three. Curry would probably be the best fit of the three for the wide-nine.

TIGHT END
Cody Fleener
, Stanford (6-6, 247)
Dwayne Allen, Clemson (6-3, 255)
Orson Charles, Georgia (6-2, 251)
Michael Egnew, Missouri (6-5, 252)
Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6, 238)

Fleener fell into the second round and could go to the Colts right out of the shoot today. The Eagles aren’t in desperate need of a tight end. Celek still has plenty of gas and the team likes Clay Harbor. I think there’s room for improvement at the backup spot, but the Eagles have greater needs and the tight end class isn’t very strong this year.

Get complete coverage of the 2012 Eagles draft.


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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