Here's another mock roundup, broken down by position, along with my draft thoughts.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com has the Birds going with LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers:
With Jason Peters out for the indefinite future, offensive tackle jumps to the top of the Eagles' needs, especially considering it's no secret that Andy Reid prefers linemen in the first round. But the head coach also eyes defensive linemen early in the draft, making Michael Brockers a logical choice here. He is an intriguing prospect because he doesn't enter the NFL with a strong resume and is still very much an unpolished player. But the raw athletic ability matched with his large, long frame will be enticing for a defense who can mold the 21-year old into something special.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com also has the Birds taking Brockers:
General manager/head coach Andy Reid has used his first-round pick on the defensive line four times in the last eight years. He's already addressed a need at middle linebacker by trading for DeMeco Ryans, so adding a powerful young player like Brockers should only improve the run defense.
ESPN.com's staff of bloggers has the Birds taking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox:
Michael Brockers was tempting, but the pick here is Cox because he provides a pass rush from the interior of the defensive line right away and could be more NFL-ready than Brockers at this point. The Eagles are a win-now team that relies on its defensive line to pressure the passer, and Cox fits nicely into their interior line rotation.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times also has the Eagles taking Cox:
If Cox is still around at this point, he will be hard to resist for the Eagles. He's very agile and can put more weight on his 6-foot-4 frame.
Russ Lande of The Sporting News projects Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe to the Eagles:
The Eagles want to improve the strength and production from their interior defensive line. They could get much bigger (346 pounds) and athletic with Poe.
My take: I've been over the reasons why defensive tackle makes sense a number of times in this space. You can draft a player who contributes immediately as part of the rotation and eventually takes over for either Mike Patterson or Cullen Jenkins as a starter. If the Eagles see primarily a run-stopper in Brockers, my guess is they'll pass on him. But if they see a player who Jim Washburn can mold into an interior pass rusher, he has added value. Cox may be the player most often linked to the Eagles at this point. As I pointed out yesterday, Greg Cosell of NFL Films believes Cox is a much better prospect than Poe.
Todd McShay's mock (below) is interesting because he has Still being available in the second round at No. 46. Since defensive tackle is considered a deep position this year, the Eagles will have to determine what kind of gap there is among the top prospects. If it's a small one, they may want to go another route in the first round and select a DT with one of their two second-round selections.
ESPN.com's Todd McShay has the Birds selecting Alabama safety Mark Barron:
The Eagles began addressing their linebacker need by trading for DeMeco Ryans, so Barron makes sense in the back end. He is the most complete safety in the draft, offering a physical presence in run support and the range to play the point in coverage.
McShay has the Eagles taking Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still with the 46th pick (second round) and Oklahoma linebacker Ronnell Lewis at 51.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com also has the Eagles 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: There would be two reasons for taking Barron in the first round. One is if he's clearly their best player available when the Eagles make their pick. And two is if they have serious doubts that Jaiquawn Jarrett can be a quality starter in 2012. Considering Jarrett didn't see the field last year until the safeties ahead of him got injured, the latter point is not out of the question. But I would be surprised if the Eagles went with a safety early, specifically in the first round. With two young players on the roster already in Nate Allen and Jarrett, it wouldn't make a lot of sense.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has the Eagles going with Georgia tackle Cordy Glenn:
The potential season-ending loss of Jason Peters could force Andy Reid to add a versatile offensive lineman to the lineup as insurance. Glenn can play multiple spots along the front, giving Reid the flexibility to handle Peters' injury without putting Michael Vick in jeopardy.
My take: Domo did a good piece with NFL Network's Mike Mayock about the available tackles in the draft. Mayock doesn't see Glenn as a left tackle. He has him as a second-round right tackle right now, but thinks he might be best suited to play guard.
One thing we need to remember is that the Eagles' projections for offensive linemen are probably different than other teams' because of Howard Mudd. Nobody thought Jason Kelce, a sixth-round pick, would come in and start right away. If the Eagles don't think any of the available free-agent tackles are very good, they might just have to let Mudd do his homework, find a tackle or two he likes and trust that he can piece it all together.
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