Friday, April 18, 2014
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Eagles mocks, draft thoughts

A few new mock drafts have been released since the Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans earlier this week.

Eagles mocks, draft thoughts

Could the Eagles draft Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox with the 15th pick? (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)
Could the Eagles draft Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox with the 15th pick? (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)

A few new mock drafts have been released since the Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans earlier this week.

And yesterday, Paul Domowitch of the Daily News wrote about how the acquisition of Ryans could affect the team's plans.

Below is a mock roundup, broken down by position. I have also offered some thoughts on what I think the Eagles might do with the 15th pick.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

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Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has the Birds selecting Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox:

Cox is the kind of potential three-technique who can create behind the line of scrimmage and stop plays before they start. The Eagles don’t have a huge need at DT, but Cox could still mature into a playmaker inside, at a position where Philly lacks an impact guy.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com also has the Birds taking Cox:

The Eagles' struggles against the run have been pinned on the young linebackers, but the inability to control the interior triangle was due to their inconsistency at defensive tackle. Cox is a high-motor playmaker with outstanding athleticism to give the Eagles' defense a jolt.

Chad Reuter of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe:

Given that the Eagles made a move to acquire DeMeco Ryans from the Texans, GM/coach Andy Reid might decide to address his defensive line in the first round for the fourth time in eight years. Poe's combination of size and athleticism are formidable.

My take: Defensive tackle should absolutely be considered at No. 15. Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins are both coming off very good years, but as I have explained before, the Eagles will play four different guys inside. They re-signed Antonio Dixon, who is a legit run stopper, even if he hasn't shown much as a pass rusher. That potentially leaves one spot open, which could go to Derek Landri or Trevor Laws, if either guy is re-signed. Laws visited the Patriots last week, per ESPNBoston.com. Landri was a better player last season.

If the Eagles spend an early pick on a defensive tackle, the thought process is simple. He plays about 40 percent of the snaps as a rookie, spelling Patterson or Jenkins. He gets a chance to start if either guy suffers an injury (or if he just proves to be a better option). And next year, he competes for a larger role.

SAFETY

Charley Casserly of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Alabama safety Mark Barron:

Philadelphia's Wide 9 defense needs a physical downhill safety.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com also has the Birds taking Barron:

The Eagles invested a pair of second-round picks and a seventh in safeties over just the past two years but still haven't found a starting combination that has played with any consistency. Barron is the unquestioned top prospect at the position this year and is both physical against the run and a ball hawk. Considering the passing attacks in the NFC East, investing in an all-purpose defensive back with Barron's instincts and pro-readiness seems like a good fit.

My take: This is a tough position to figure out for the Eagles. I'm comfortable penciling Nate Allen in at free safety. His performance at the end of last season was encouraging.

The strong safety spot, however, is up for grabs, and Jaiquawn Jarrett is the X-factor. I'm sure the Eagles would like him to win the starting job, but Jarrett was unable to do that as a rookie. Are they confident he'll be ready for that role after a full offseason? We'll likely find out based on what moves they make at safety in the rest of free agency and the draft.

Kurt Coleman is a decent backup option, and if the Eagles don't upgrade at the position, he'll likely compete with Jarrett for a starting spot.

If the Eagles really like Barron and have questions about Jarrett, it makes sense to consider him. But my guess is they won't draft a safety early.

CORNERBACK

Evan Silva of Pro Football Talk has the Birds going with South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore:

The Eagles are prepared to part with Asante Samuel; Gilmore replaces him.

My take: Heading into training camp last season, the Eagles were stacked at cornerback. But now, drafting a corner early makes a lot of sense.

Asante Samuel is likely to be traded this offseason, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is onliy signed through 2012. The Eagles could take a chance and extend Rodgers-Cromartie (turns 26 in April) before the season. They could surely get a better deal now than they would after the season, if Rodgers-Cromartie plays well. Then again, he didn't do a lot last year to warrant a significant investment from the team. Yes, Rodgers-Cromartie looked more comfortable playing outside than in the slot, but his poor tackling and failure to play to the whistle are concerns.

Also, Nnamdi Asomugha turns 31 in July.

The other guy to consider here is Joselio Hanson. In the final two weeks of the season, with Samuel out, Hanson played 58 percent and 73 percent of the defensive snaps, respectively, per Pro Football Focus. Overall, he had an OK season, and was the team's best tackling corner, but if the Eagles see a prospect with the ability to play inside, they would probably consider upgrading.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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