Thursday, August 28, 2014
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Draft mockery 2: Eagles will take ...

Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno is tabbed by many mock drafts to be an Eagles first-round pick, especially because he´s an excellent pass catcher.
Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno is tabbed by many mock drafts to be an Eagles first-round pick, especially because he's an excellent pass catcher.
Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno is tabbed by many mock drafts to be an Eagles first-round pick, especially because he´s an excellent pass catcher. Gallery: Mock Drafts Project Eagles' Picks

When the NFL draft begins on April 25 - a month from now - who knows what the Eagles will do?

Nobody. Not even the Eagles, who have two first-round picks, the 21st and 28th overall.

But that doesn't stop the Internet's legions of mock drafts from projecting, guessing and pretending.

A month ago, our post-Super Bowl survey produced only 11 players' names.

This go-round, eight new names shook loose, while five others dropped totally off the list.

The four most popular picks, though, again had solid support.

But who knows? The Eagles might trade up, trade down or trade the picks for players.

No move would shock us ...  unless, just to drive us nuts, they decide to pass.

Hmm ... the Eagles would save some cash ... and coach Andy Reid sure does love to pass  ...

Just joking. Passing is probably the only option that can be safely eliminated.

All of the following first-round selections come from mock drafts that were updated this month.

EIGHT NEW NAMES

Defensive end Robert Ayers, Tennessee. 6-foot-3, 270 pounds. Andy Reid is unlikely to use the team's first pick on a running back or even a tight end, says Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com. He calls Ayers "an every-down left end who can help against the run and get to the quarterback. ... a very nice fit in Jim Johnson's system." Ayers has "great size and the ability to be a quarterback terror," says Chris Steuber of Scout.com. 

Offensive tackle Andre Smith, Alabama. 6-foot-4, 332 pounds. "The Eagles would likely be excited to work with Smith, should he fall this far," says Matt Bitonti, picking the OT at 21 for Philly-based  draftdaddy.com. Indeed, the Birds might have to trade up to get Smith. Scouts, Inc., for example, ranks him the eighth best player in the draft.

Offensive tackle Max Unger, Oregon. 6-foot-5, 309 pounds.  "Highly intelligent ... blue-collar type" with "some quickness and movement ability," but "really is not fast at all when it comes to exploding out of the blocks," says NFLDraftScout.com, whose Rob Rang picked the OT at 28 for CBS Sportsline.

Cornerback Sean Smith, Utah. 6-foot-4, 214 pounds. Size might tempt teams to switch him to safety, but he's fast enough to remain at cornerback, says NFLDraftScout.com. Projected at 28 by Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline.

Center Alex Mack, University of California. 6-foot-4, 311 pounds. "Best center prospect in the last decade," some scouts say, according to NFLDraftScout.com. No wonder CBS Sportsline's Clark Judge thinks Eagles will take Mack if he's there at 28. "If Philadelphia doesn't move up, it'll take the best offensive lineman available with one of the selections. Alex Mack fits that description," says Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com, agreeing on the Bird's second first-round choice.

Running back Donald Brown, Connecticut. 5-foot-10, 210 pounds. Could be productive as a rookie, because of "all-around skills and tremendous character," says ESPN's Mel Kiper, dropping Brown in at 28.

Safety Louis Delmas, Western Michigan. 5-foot-11, 202 pounds. Best safety in the draft, says Scouts, Inc.  
"Sean Jones was signed, but only for one year and he’s better suited at SS, where Quintin Mikell lines up," says Robert Davis of  footballsfuture.com, predicting the pick 28. "Delmas would come in and battle Jones for the starting FS job right away."

Offensive tackle William Beatty, University of Connecticut. 6-foot-6, 291 pounds.  "Eagles love to restock their lines early in the draft," says About.com's James Adler, projecting the OT at 28. According to Scout.com's Chris Steuber, Beatty is "still developing as a player, but his upside is off the charts."  "Beatty over Mississippi's Michael Oher, you ask? Yeah. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. For now, at least," says by Sports Illustrated's Don Banks  Some mocks project Beatty as a second-rounder.

FOUR STILL POPULAR PICKS

Running back Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State. 6-foot-1, 237 pounds. Still the consensus pick at No. 21 for the Birds, according to Scout.com's Mock Draft Muncher, a composite of 40 mock drafts. "Big back with good hands, good fit. Will the Eagles trade down?" says Ourlads Scouting Service. "Perfect type of back to play alongside Brian Westbrook," says footballsfuture.com. Also slated to go at 21 by Inside the Eagles (again), Michael Abromowitz of thefootballexpert.com (again), NFLdraftdog.com and  nflmockdraftaces.com, while draftcountdown.com has him at 28 instead of 21, remarking, "At the absolute least Philly needs to bring in a dependable backup to replace Correll Buckhalter." Also tabbing him for 28 is draftcountdown.com.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State, 6-foot-5, 257 pounds. "He’s an unquestioned talent when healthy, but will teams be afraid of his inability to perform this off-season? The Eagles can afford to gamble on this replacement for L.J. Smith," says nfldraftblitz.com, projecting the 21st pick.  "Elite senior tight end prospect," says  NFLDraftScout.com, whose Rob Rang, picking for CBS Sportsline, has the TE going to the Birds with their first pick this time, instead of their second. CBS Sportsline's Clark Judge, draftcountdown.com and draftking.com (again) all have the TE going at 21 and Philly-based  draftdaddy.com retains him at 28. 

Offensive tackle Eben Britton, Arizona.  6-foot-6, 310 pounds. The consensus guess for the Birds at 28, according to Mock Draft Muncher, Scout.com's composite of 40 mock drafts. "Exciting combination of speed, wingspan, strength and field intelligence," says NFLDraftScout.com, whose Chad Reuter put the OT in the 21 slot for CBS Sportsline. Todd McShay picked the OT at 28 for ESPN, saying Britton "could develop into a better option than Winston Justice." (To which Eagles fans might reply, "Uh, Todd, nobody in Philly thinks Justice is a great option.")  Also dropped into the 28 slot by Inside the Eagles, Ourlads Scouting Servicenflmockdraftaces.com (again) and draftking.comNFLdraftdog.com, and Michael Abromowitz of thefootballexpert.com (again). 

Running back Knowshon Moreno, Georgia. 5-foot-11, 208 pounds. "A younger version of Brian Westbrook," says NFL.com's Steve Wyche, who changed his mind from running back Chris Wells as the Eagles' pick at No. 21. Wells might be a better complement to Brian Westbrook, but "Moreno's versatility makes him a better fit to ultimately succeed Westbrook in the Eagles' pass-happy system," says Scout Inc.'s Todd McShay for ESPN.com, predicting this time he'll be the Birds' first pick, rather than the second.  "A runner, receiver and blocker who can spell Brian Westbrook, if not steal carries from him," says nfldraftblitz.com, projecting No. 28. Also projected at 21 by Sports Illustrated's Don Banks and About.com's James Adler.

BACK, BUT WITH ONLY A VOTE OR TWO

Offensive tackle Michael Oher, Mississippi. 6-foot-5, 309 pounds. Subject of a bestseller, The Blind Side: The Evolution of a Game, which tells how Oher had little schooling and was raised with 12 siblings by a drug-addicted mother. "Physically gifted " enough to be "a standout," but  "might not be able to understand the complexities of his position," according to NFLDraftScout.com. Projected at 21 by Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline and at 28 (again) by Mel Kiper of ESPN, who says Oher "is loaded with talent and can dominate" but "seems to have lapses in concentration." 

Tight end Jared Cook, South Carolina. 6-foot-5, 244 pounds. "A rare athlete" who "turned in the fastest 40-time among the tight ends and also topped the charts with a 41-inch vertical jump," says NFLDraftScout.com, whose Chad Reuter picked Cook at 28 for CBS Sportsline. Downside: "less than eye-popping statistics."  

DISAPPEARING ACTS

Five players each had a single vote a month ago, but dropped off all the surveyed updates.

USC linebacker Brian Cushing and LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson are likely to be gone by 21, according to  Scout.com's Mock Draft Muncher, a composite of 40 mock drafts.

Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson,  Oklahoma Guard Duke Robinson and Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy probably won't be first-rounders, according to many mocks. The Eagles have just their own second-pick, No. 53 overall.


 

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

 

 

Peter Mucha Inquirer Staff Writer