With the NFL combine under way in Indianapolis, now seems like a good time to round up the latest mock drafts from around the country.
SI.com's Don Banks has the Eagles taking Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 15:
This should be the perfect first-round melding of team need and draft slot value for the Eagles, because one of their glaring deficiences for a while now has been for a player who possesses Keuchly's skill set. He's a smart and instinct tackler who has the ability to read and react and find the ballcarrier. He's a tough player and a natural leader, and he should fit perfectly in the hard-nosed NFC East.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post also likes Kuechly for the Eagles:
A tackling machine with good size, natural instincts and knowledge to fend off blocks and find the football. Is the kind of talent the Eagles need inside to improve their struggling linebacking corps.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Kuechly (sense a pattern here?):
The team's problems in the middle of the defense last season were well-documented. Kuechly's production and instincts could fill that gap, especially if he shows better-than-expected athleticism at the combine.
No team was softer up the middle than Philly in 2011, and while linebacker is a bigger need, it wouldn't be a very good value here if the board lines up like this. In Cox, you get a player who should be great in the 3-4, a powerful bull-rusher who can collapse the pocket, but also a guy who does a good job against the run and plays with a really high motor. I have wide receiver as another potential need, but the Philly defense needs to be a bigger priority in the draft. The Eagles can target a linebacker in the next round.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com has the Eagles going with (surprise!) Kuechly:
It's a little high in the draft for a middle linebacker, but unless the Eagles secure a player like Stephen Tulloch in free agency, this kid is too good to pass up.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com thinks it'll be Kuechly too:
Juan Castillo was a convenient scapegoat for the fact that the Eagles didn't have a middle linebacker play with any kind of consistency in 2011. Philadelphia may be perfectly positioned to nab the most productive linebacker in recent college football history. More decorated than a wedding cake, Kuechly is the reigning Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott Impact Trophy Award winner and has more career tackles (532) than any other linebacker in the country. That's saying something considering he's leaving after his junior season.