The fact that the Eagles brought Demetrius Bell in for a visit this weekend would seem to be a pretty clear indication that they have decided free agency — and not the draft — is the best way to go as far as addressing their current left tackle crisis.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock wholeheartedly agrees with that thinking.
Mayock’s five top-rated offensive tackles at the moment are USC’s Matt Kalil, Iowa’s Riley Reiff, Stanford’s Jonathan Martin, Ohio State’s Mike Adams and Georgia’s Cordy Glenn.
The only one of that group that Mayock is convinced can be a Day 1 starter at either left or right tackle is Kalil, and Kalil will be long gone by the time the Eagles are on the clock.
“Kalil is far and away the best tackle prospect in this draft,” Mayock said. “He’s a gifted foot athlete. He’s got long arms (34 1/2 inches). He needs to develop his core strength, which is typical for a lot of these guys. But he’s a special athlete. He’ll be a plug-and-play left tackle for the Vikings \[who own the third pick\] if they don’t trade out.”
Mayock isn't sure any of the other four tackles in his top five will be able to start as rookies, at least on the left side. Even though Reiff has been mentioned as a potential top-12 pick by some, Mayock feels he, Martin, Adams and Glenn all would be reaches at 15, which is where the Eagles currently are scheduled to pick in the first round.
“Reiff, Martin and Adams, all three of those guys should be drafted in the 20s, not 15,”' Mayock said. “I would struggle drafting any of them at 15.”
Mayock has a second-round grade on the 6-5 3/4, 345-pound Glenn.
On Reif: “To me, he's a little bit overvalued right now. You keep seeing him in the top 10 in a lot of mocks. I don’t see that. I feel much more comfortable taking him somewhere in the 20s.
“I think he’s a good player who’s a right tackle to start with, and ultimately, 2-3 years down the road, could develop into a left tackle. But I don’t see him as a guy you could plug in at left tackle Day 1 and say, ‘We’re good.’”
On Martin: “I think he's more of a right tackle and I think he's a little bit soft. I’m not a big Jonathan Martin fan. I think he goes later in the first round. Twenty to 32. For the Eagles to draft him and plug him in on the left side Day 1 would scare me.”
On Adams: “There’s a lot of mixed opinion on him. He could play left tackle. Would I want to take him at 15? Probably not. But he’s a left tackle. He’s long (6-7 ¼, 323, 34-inch arms). He’s a pretty good pass protector. He’s a pretty good run guy.”
The knock on Adams has less to do with talent and more to do with work ethic. Then again, that also has been the knock on Jason Peters at times during his career, and he developed into the best left tackle in the league before his injury.
Said Mayock: “I don’t think [Adams’] issues are crazy. It’s not like he’s been in all sorts of bad trouble. If he was in a good locker room surrounded by veterans who pushed him and he had a coach like [the Eagles’] Howard Mudd, I think he'd be fine.”
On Glenn: “You're talking about a kid whose 6-5 3/4, and 345 pounds and his arms are like vines. He’s got 35 1/2-inch arms. When you start talking about girth and length, he’s huge. Now, some people are getting a little carried away with projections. I'm seeing him all over the place in first-round mock drafts. I don't see that.
“He ran way better than he should have [at the scouting combine] for his size. But I don’t see him as a left tackle. He’s not a foot athlete. I’m not even sure I see him as a right tackle. But that’s where I have him right now. I have him as a solid second-round right tackle. However, if he can’t survive at right tackle, I think he’s got the size, girth and demeanor to be a potential All-Pro guard.”
For more on Bell's visit, click here.