The 2013 NFL Draft begins on Thursday. Between now and then, there will be a ton of rumors as to what might happen. We won't know anything for sure until the action starts to unfold. My guess is that the Eagles are looking at defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan, offensive tackle Lane Johnson or moving back.
With that in mind, let me present an updated Mock Draft. I'm guessing that the first three picks will be offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Jordan and offensive tackle Eric Fisher. That leaves the Eagles choosing between Johnson and moving back. In order to keep things simple, I'll avoid trades and just stick with the current picks.
One thing to remember as you read this, no draft is going to solve every problem and fill every need. The Eagles are coming off a 4-12 season. There are new systems in place. Change is in the air. It will take more than one draft and one offseason for general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly to get the roster where they want it.
The key, simply, is to add as many good players as you can.
First Round (No. 4 overall) - OT Lane Johnson - Oklahoma - 6-6, 303 pounds
The Eagles are excited about the return of
Johnson played right tackle for the Sooners in 2011 so starting out there for the Eagles would be a smooth transition for him. If anything happened to Peters on the left side, Johnson could move over there with Herremans stepping in at right tackle. Down the road, Johnson could move to the left side to replace Peters, but hopefully that wouldn't be for several years.
Johnson is a great athlete. His Combine workout would have been solid for a running back or linebacker, but it was phenomenal for an offensive tackle. He ran faster in the 40-yard dash than Anquan Boldin did at the Combine. Johnson is also strong, agile and explosive. His arms are 35 inches long, giving him an ideal frame for the offensive tackle position. Don't think of Johnson as a finesse athlete. He has a big-time mean streak. He loves to run block and wants to bury his opponent in the ground. Johnson has excellent potential and could develop into a Pro Bowl player.
Second Round (No. 35 overall) - TE Zach Ertz - Stanford - 6-5, 249 pounds
Chip Kelly is going to make the tight ends more a part of the offense than Andy Reid did. That means he needs depth and talent.
Ertz is a very good prospect. He was the featured receiver for Stanford and led the team with 69 catches for 898 yards. I think he'd be an ideal fit in Kelly's offense. Ertz can line up as a traditional tight end and work the short and underneath routes, but he can also split out wide and catch passes down the field. He has very good hands. He runs well. Ertz looks like a big wide receiver. His ability to move around and create mismatches is something Kelly would love. He will give linebackers fits. He'll get open against most safeties. In college, Ertz even beat some cornerbacks. He runs very good routes and sells his fakes well. He does this at full speed and it gets him open.
Stanford is a running team. You don't play if you don't block. Ertz isn't going to overwhelm anyone, but he gives good effort and is willing to do the dirty work. Kelly knows all about Stanford and Ertz. Back in November, Stanford ran for 200 yards against Oregon and Ertz caught 11 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in a big upset.
Third Round (No. 67 overall) - QB Zac Dysert - Miami (Ohio) - 6-3, 231 pounds
Trying to guess which quarterback Kelly and the Eagles will pick isn't easy. I'm assuming they take one, but it isn't a given. If the Eagles go for a quarterback, I'm thinking they do so in the middle rounds.
I've previously written about Matt Scott so I mixed things up this time by going with Dysert. I don't think Kelly needs a great athlete, but he would probably prefer a quarterback who can run enough to make the read-option plays a regular part of the offense. Dysert can run. He ran for 12 touchdowns in his career and gained 108 yards on the ground this past season against Akron.
Dysert's strength is his passing game. He has a good arm and can make all the throws. His best attribute is his ability to "throw guys open." This is when a quarterback throws the ball to a covered receiver, but makes such a good throw that the receiver can make the catch.
A quarterback must be bold and accurate to pull this off. Dysert is both. His big weakness is that he can be too aggressive at times. Miami (Ohio) was a bad team during his tenure so there were plenty of games where Dysert felt he had to force the action. In the NFL, he'll have good talent around him. Dysert needs to stay aggressive, but be smarter about when to take chances and when to play it safe. I think he can become a starting NFL quarterback.
Fourth Round (No. 101 overall) - Safety T.J. McDonald - USC - 6-2, 219 pounds
The Eagles hope that
McDonald is an insurance policy at both spots. He has the size and physicality to play in the box. McDonald runs well (4.59 in the 40-yard dash) and has good ball skills. He can also play free safety. He also offers impact on special teams. McDonald blocked three kicks in his college career, one of them a punt against Oregon in 2011. McDonald has the physical tools to be a good NFL starter, but he must play more consistently and improve his overall game.
Fifth Round (No. 136 overall) - DE Joe Kruger - Utah - 6-6, 269 pounds
Kruger will turn 21 this year so this pick is all about the future. He has a great frame. You can get him to bulk up to 285, which he'll carry very well. Kruger is a good athlete. Most 3-4 ends struggle to rush the passer. Kruger looks good on the move. He had six sacks in 2012 and wasn't even a full-time starter.
The concern with him is that he is raw (just 14 career starts) and he came out early despite not having a great year. Was Kruger just ready for the NFL or is there some other reason? He is the younger brother of Paul Kruger so he has good bloodlines.
Seventh Round (No. 210 overall) - LB Mike Catapano - Princeton - 6-4, 271 pounds
I don't know if Catapano will last to the seventh round. The Eagles would be lucky if he did. Catapano had a terrific season for Princeton and was the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
He had 12 sacks and three forced fumbles. Put on the tape and you see a talented, disruptive player. Catapano played defensive end in college, but I think the Eagles would want him at linebacker. He had a very good workout at his Pro Day showing speed, agility, strength and explosion. Those are the traits a good pass rusher needs in the NFL. It is possible the Eagles could try him at defensive end, but linebacker seems the more natural fit to me.
Seventh Round (No. 212 overall) - CB Marcus Cromartie - Wisconsin - 6-0, 195 pounds
I absolutely do not like the idea of passing on cornerbacks until the seventh round, but that's how things worked out. It really would help the Eagles to have an extra mid-round pick or two.
If the Eagles do wait until late, Cromartie makes a lot of sense. The Eagles will look for bigger guys who run well. Cromartie has good size and speed. He had a good career for the Badgers. The big knock on him is the lack of plays. Cromartie only had one interception in his career, and that was a tipped ball that came right to him.
He does not have good ball skills. I think Cromartie fits what the Eagles want. He is big and can play press coverage. He is a solid tackler.
Seventh Round (No. 218 overall) - CB Marc Anthony - Cal - 5-11, 196 pounds
Anthony is a talented player. He has good game tape. He played well at the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, he ran slow at the Combine and that has killed his value. Corners need to run about 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. Anthony was timed at 4.63. In the past, teams would write him off. There is a new movement in the NFL to focus on corners with size and physicality, even if that means sacrificing some speed. The Seahawks are the best example of this. Anthony is a risk, but I think he's a smart risk. Let him press and be physical and see if he can overcome the lack of top speed. He is a good athlete overall.
Seventh Round (No. 239 overall) - LB Mike Mauti - Penn State - 6-2, 243 pounds
Finally, the Eagles would add a backup inside linebacker and special teams demon. Mauti is only this far down because he tore up his knee late in the season. He seems to be making good progress to this point. Mauti is a good player. He was a playmaker for the Nittany Lions. Mauti had three interceptions, three forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks. I also love his special teams potential. Mauti was great at covering punts last year. He flew right up the middle of the field and pounded on returner after returner. Great hustle on his part. He was a senior and star player, but felt the need to shine on special teams.