Apr 26, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT
There’s a lot of buzz that
Geno Smith is still available, and the Eagles are up third on day two of the
NFL Draft. Will they take their quarterback of the future in round two?
Honestly, I don’t know how in
love with him they are. There’s a reason Smith fell into the second round, and
you have to ask yourself if Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly really want
another project at quarterback, or if they would prefer to address other needs.
Besides, there is a chance
Geno doesn’t even get by the Jaguars who select first, and there is a lot of
noise about the possibility of the Jets trading up for the West Virginia
product as well. The Eagles may not have a decision to make at all.
Feel free to weigh in on
whether you think the Eagles should get their QB here or not, but I think there
is a world of opportunities beyond Geno Smith on day two. Here’s a few of them.
This remains the most glaring
hole on the roster behind franchise quarterback. The Eagles purged their roster
of Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson in anticipation of utilizing more
three-man fronts, but as of now they appear to be at least one big body short to
successfully run either a true 3-4 or the hybrid 4-3 under scheme.
There is really two ways they
could go from here: large or supersize. For example, 6-4, 276-lbs. Florida St.
defensive end Cornellius Carradine is somebody they visited with, and could be
a force on the edge in any scheme. Or there are players like Jesse Williams
from Alabama, who at a massive 6-3, 323-lbs. could be the nose tackle this
defense desperately needs. There are some other good options available, but
either Carradine or Williams would be a good use of the third pick in the
I would be fairly surprised if
the Eagles came out of Friday without a tight end. There is a lot of talk about
Chip keeping four or even five tight ends on the roster, and out of the guys they have – namely Brent Celek and James Casey – none are especially dynamic receiving threats.
The best tight end on most
board is Stanford’s Zach Ertz, a big (6-5), strong (24 bench press reps)
athlete Chip saw a lot of in the Pac-12. Another logical fit is Cincinnati’s
Travis Kelce, brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce. Or they could go a
different direction – it’s a relatively deep group, and it would seem this has
become an area of need.
The Eagles made some serious
renovations to their defensive backfield through free agency, but they’re not
done yet. While you might be able to pencil in Cary Williams and Bradley
Fletcher at cornerback for the next year or two at least, the moves at safety look
quite a bit more temporary. Kenny Phillips in particular is only on a one-year
deal worth slightly more than the league minimum, so even if you were to assume
he and Patrick Chung are the starters in 2013 – which even that is not a given –
there is a short shelf life to that arrangement.
The player they are most
commonly being linked to in the second round is Florida International’s John
Cyprien, a hard hitter with decent size (6-0, 217) who could have gone toward
the end of the first. The rest of the class isn’t all that overwhelming, but a
kid like Shawn Williams with size (6-0, 213), athleticism (4.46 40), and
big-school pedigree (Georgia) might be worth a shot a little further down.
Cary Williams would seem to
have one corner on lockdown, but it’s hard to envision the Eagles leaving the
other spot up to Bradley Fletcher and Curtis Marsh and calling it a day. If
nothing else, there needs to be another body for competition, not to mention
depth. Fletcher has had injuries, while Marsh has hardly played in the NFL.
Luckily it’s a fairly deep
draft for corners, so they should be able to find some help. Chip seems to like
bigger, more physical corners, so we can scratch off anybody under six feet
right off the bat. Mississippi St.’s Johnthan Banks is tall (6-2), but thin
(185) so he may not be ideal. Oregon St.’s Jordan Poyer is just tall enough for
this ride at 6-0, and he’s another player Chip will have some insight on from
playing in the Pac-12. It doesn’t matter who it is though, it’s just a position
they should seriously consider addressing.
You get the sense by some of
their offseason moves (Arrelious Benn, Ifeanyi Momah) the Eagles would like to
add some size to their receiving corps as well. While it’s not necessarily an
immediate concern, Tennessee WR Justin Hunter certainly fits the bill. He’s 6-4
and with blazing 4.4 speed, which would be a pleasant surprise coming out of
Don’t rule out a linebacker,
either. DeMeco Ryans has a big contract and may not be a three-down player in
the new scheme, while Mychal Kendricks is undersized. It’s worth noting Kansas
St.’s Andre Brown is the brother of running back Bryce Brown, so there may be
an added team chemistry bonus there. Penn State’s Michael Mauti is worth a look
a little later on as well.
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