The Scouting Combine starts next week so I thought it would be good to get a pre-Combine mock draft up. The values on these players (and many others) will be affected by what they do in Indianapolis. Game tape is still the backbone of scouting, but getting accurate measurements on players is crucial. Finding out just how athletic they are can make a huge difference. The medical exams are the biggest part. That's when guys can go from a second-round grade to undraftable.
A word about mock drafts - think of them as draft scenarios. This mock draft isn't my ideal scenario. My goal isn't to come up with exactly what I want so much as what's something the Eagles might actually do.
I know linebacker Luke Kuechly is the primary pick for the Eagles in mock drafts, but I tend to think the team will go for a veteran in free agency to improve middle linebacker. I would love to see them get Kuechly, but I'm not expecting it at this point. As long as the team adds a quality starter, I'm all right with that. For the sake of this mock draft, let's assume the Eagles either extend
The Eagles have a very good defensive line in place, but think back to 2002. The Eagles had the best secondary in football and then drafted Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Michael Lewis. They wanted youth. A couple of years later that trio started in the Super Bowl. The Eagles don't need line help, but adding young talent to the mix would be the smart way to go since there are some good pieces available.
1st Round (No. 15 overall) - DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
2nd Round (No. 46 overall) - DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
2nd Round (No. 51 overall) - CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
3rd Round (No. 77 overall) - LB Keenan Robinson, Texas
4th Round - WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
4th Round - OT Nate Potter, Boise State
5th Round - LB Demario Davis, Arkansas State
6th Round - S Jerron McMillian, Maine
6th Round - WR B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
6th Round - S Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt
DT Fletcher Cox - Mississippi State (6-4, 295 pounds)
Cox is just a junior so this may be an unfamiliar name to a lot of people. Guys like Devon Still and Jerel Worthy have gotten a lot of the early attention at defensive tackle. Still had a great year for Penn State, but watch his tape and I'm not so sure he's a great fit for what Jim Washburn wants. Washburn's favorite player is Kyle Vanden Bosch, who has one of the best motors in the NFL. He is a relentless player. Washburn loves that energy and attitude. Still doesn't show it. Worthy has a great first step, but isn't skilled beyond that.
Cox is a really interesting player. MSU lined him up all over the place. He was defensive tackle, defensive end and nose tackle. He played on the right and left side. You never knew where he would be when the defense broke the huddle. Cox is a good athlete. He has the burst to get off the ball and into the backfield. He's comfortable playing at end. Cox is a good pass rusher, not just a quick guy. He had five sacks this year. He could beat you with burst, a move, or even come up with hustle sacks.
|Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He was a finalist for Philadelphia's Most Influential Blogger Award and is the Editor of IgglesBlitz.com|
I think the Eagles would like someone to be the backup under tackle.
DE Chandler Jones – Syracuse (6-5, 265 pounds)
Another junior player who the Eagles could like. I watched him recently and a couple of plays reminded me of Jevon Kearse. Washburn loved Kearse from their time together with the Titans. Kearse was a dominant player at Florida and that's why he was a high pick. Jones is talented, but never put all the pieces together at Syracuse. He finished his career with just 10 sacks. He did have 27 tackles-for-loss, but that sack total is surprising for a guy with his build and athleticism.
Jones is very talented. He's an agile athlete with good speed and quickness. He can be a physical player as well. In one recent game I was studying, Jones shoved blockers around using strength and power rather than just trying to run by them. I love when defensive linemen mix in power moves with the speed and skill stuff. I think it would be nice for the Eagles to add an end with a big frame. Jones has a sleek build now, but could add some weight and still carry it very well. Or Washburn may prefer him to just stay as he is. The Eagles ends are a bit on the short side. Jones would change that.
CB Brandon Boykin - Georgia (5-9, 183 pounds)
Boykin is an outstanding athlete and big-time playmaker. Georgia actually used him on offense at times. He had a long touchdown run in the season opener against Boise State and caught a short scoring pass in the bowl game. This wasn't a case of him getting some snaps on offense against crappy competition. Georgia had Boykin play in the slot most of his Senior year and that's where I would like to see the Eagles use him.
LB Keenan Robinson – Texas (6-3, 240 pounds)
Robinson has the potential to be a big-time SAM linebacker. He has an ideal frame. Robinson is a good athlete. He can cover. He's got good pass rush skills. At his best, Robinson can be a physical player and good run defender. The reason he's on the board this late is inconsistency. Watch the Texas/Oklahoma game from 2010 and you'll think Robinson would be a first-round pick. Other times he was more up and down. There is no lack of skill or potential. Robinson had a good showing at the Senior Bowl. He's experienced enough to challenge for a starting job right away. Last year, Seattle took a somewhat inconsistent player in the mid-rounds named K.J. Wright. He became their SAM and was good enough to send Aaron Curry, a former top-five pick, out of town. You can still find good starting linebackers in this part of the draft.
WR T.Y. Hilton - Florida International (5-10, 175 pounds)
Hilton was a very good receiver and great return man for FIU. Hilton had six return touchdowns and caught 229 passes in his career. Heck, he even ran for seven touchdowns. He was an all-around weapon for them. He has big-time speed and athletic ability. The Eagles have a vertical passing attack. You can always find room for another speedy guy. Hilton didn't play with good quarterbacks in college so he mainly caught short to intermediate passes and then had to do the rest on his own. He still managed to average 15 yards per reception for his career. Hilton's speed could be a great asset if
OT Nate Potter - Boise State (6-6, 295 pounds)
The Eagles have arguably the best pair of offensive tackles in the NFL. Neither
LB Demario Davis - Arkansas State (6-2, 235 pounds)
Davis is a talented, but odd player. He's not an ideal fit at any one spot. I also think he could play any of the linebacker positions. Davis is athletic enough to play in space. He is tough enough to play in traffic. He's got the potential to become a starter, but could also be a very good backup because of his versatility. The Eagles could like him because he moves well laterally and isn't just a downhill player. In the wide-nine, linebackers must be able to slide laterally as well as attack upfield. Davis has good range and has some pop when he hits. He was a late addition to the Senior Bowl and had a good showing in Mobile. Coach Mike Singletary seemed to take a liking to Davis and that's a good sign for a young linebacker.
S Jerron McMillian – Maine (5-10, 205 pounds)
This isn't a strong safety class up top. There are only a couple of guys of interest. Beyond that, I think you are smart to wait for the late rounds and take a chance on a player like McMillian. I want the Eagles to find a safety that can tackle and play in the box. McMillian does both well. He had 11.5 tackles-for-loss this year. That is really impressive for a safety. It shows you that he spent a lot of time around the line of scrimmage. McMillian is impressive on tape. He is a good tackler. He has good burst to the ball. When he sees a runner or receiver come to his side, McMillian flies up quickly and is able to get in on the stop. He has some thickness to his build. He was second team All-American as a senior. McMillian finished his career with nine interceptions, three forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks.
WR B.J. Cunningham - Michigan State (6-1, 206 pounds)
This is a deep class of receivers and that means some good players are going to slide. I've liked Cunningham since I saw him play his first game as a freshman (against Cal). He can be a good downfield receiver, but lacks the speed to consistently run by top corners. Cunningham has good run-after-catch skills. He will run through arm tackles and has just enough elusiveness to be effective. He has some size and plays big. Cunningham had 12 touchdown catches as a senior and can be a solid red zone receiver. He finished his career with 218 catches and 25 touchdowns.
S Sean Richardson – Vanderbilt (6-2, 218 pounds)
This pick is all about potential. Richardson has a great build for a safety. I would love for the Eagles to add a big guy to the mix. The problem is that Richardson hasn't stood out to me as a guy who attacks the runner/receiver the way I expect from a big guy. He's not soft or anything like that, but he's a guy that plays under control. I like McMillian more as an attacking, aggressive type of player. Richardson has a very good combination of size and athleticism. I have no problem with using a late pick on a player with his potential. He might never develop, but he could be a good player if he did. Richardson did start for three years and was a productive player in the SEC so this isn't like some wild shot in the dark.