With the 2012 NFL Draft now less than a week away, we turn our focus not only to those prospects who have impressed teams around the league but to those who look like potential fits for the Eagles' system. First, we turn our attention to the offense and begin with some sleepers who could find themselves in Philadelphia come the draft's third day.
Quarterback (Alex Brown – Optimum Scouting):
An athletic and mobile quarterback who throws accurately and efficiently on the rollout, Tulsa's G.J. Kinne could be a natural fit with his favorite NFL Team in the Philadelphia Eagles. Kinne sports a quick release and compact mechanics, can buy time in the pocket, and has the arm talent to complete difficult, tight-window throws. Underrated in terms of arm strength, Kinne can rope passes outside the numbers with good zip, as well as air the ball vertically. Posting a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at his pro day and leading Tulsa in rushing during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Kinne's best considered attribute could be his highly athletic skill set. He maintains a well built, sturdy frame of 234 pounds while standing just over 6-1, and he constantly showed the ability to elude the first defender when adjusting to oncoming pressure from within the pocket. Kinne displays very good athleticism inside and out of the pocket, and is only improving in terms of accuracy in the intermediate to deep passing game. Kinne has quickened his delivery, improved his release, and increased both his velocity and accuracy while working with former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington this offseason. Ultimately, Andy Reid has shown the aptitude to mold any quarterback into his system so there should be no cause for concern if Kinne winds up wearing an Eagles jersey. Having quality starter potential if given time to develop and learn the pro game, Kinne could very well end up selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round and find himself challenging Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards on the depth chart.
Our Take: Kinne is a personal favorite late, and I have brought him up more than once throughout this offseason. He's a good scheme fit here in Philadelphia, and fans will quickly become enamored with him when they see the similarities to former Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia. He's a tough, hard-nosed player who is the son of a coach and an experienced starter. As Alex said, he would be a great fit in the later rounds.
Running Back (Shane Hallam – Draft Countdown):
If the Eagles are looking for another running back to fit the mold of a very good pass catcher with top quickness and athletic ability (a la LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis,) someone like Edwin Baker out of Michigan State could fit the bill. Baker is steadily moving up draft boards and should go in the fourth or fifth round when it's all said and done. He was extremely productive as a sophomore and would fit the Andy Reid offense perfectly. If they are opting for a goal line back to complement McCoy and Lewis, Robert Turbin out of Utah State seems to have gained their interest. He actually had a private workout with Philadelphia and, with his ability to stay balanced through holes, he would fit as a short-yardage and red-zone running back.
Our Take: Baker has gone somewhat under the radar this spring, and he's a player who could make an impact at the next level if he lands in the right situation. Philadelphia certainly is one of those places where he can put to use his wide variety of skills between the lines. Turbin is another one of my personal favorites in this draft, and while he isn't necessarily the fleetest of foot, he is a tough runner that has great hands. He plays with a ton of urgency, and I have seen him on film run across the length of the field to lay blocks on opponents to set up touchdown runs. Turbin should come off the board at some point in the middle rounds, with Baker hearing his name called sometime soon after.
Wide Receiver (Paul Guillemette – Pigskin Paul):
Now that the team has locked up DeSean Jackson, it may be time to look for a little positional depth through the draft. In Andy Reid's pass-first scheme, drafting a wide receiver prospect is almost a must every year, and the Eagles passed on doing so in 2011. I don't see it happening again this year. Luckily, this is a great year for depth at the wide receiver position. It appears to me that there would be several talented guys available if the team decided to use a mid-round selection on a receiver. Juron Criner (Arizona) could be a nice supplement to the current group because he offers up excellent size (6-3, 224), good hands, and strength to get some extra yards after the catch. He's not blazing fast (4.65-second 40-yard dash) but he's a red-zone weapon with better hands than many seem to give him credit for. One of most underrated receiving prospects in the draft might be Michigan's Junior Hemingway, who really blossomed under head coach Brady Hoke and his pro-style offense in 2011. Hemingway averaged over 20 yards per reception as a senior and many of those yards came after the catch. He's big and strong at 6-1, 225, but also ran a totally respectable 4.53 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Either of these two guys would be a nice complement to the Eagles smaller fly-guys in Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Our Take: Criner is absolutely an intriguing option in the middle rounds, and in a thinner receiver class would probably go a bit earlier than he will in this draft. A big target with deceptive movement skills and strong hands, he's capable of making incredible highlight catches on the perimeter. Hemingway had a strong senior season that will likely lead to him hearing his name called in the draft. Both players' ability to create yards after the catch make them good fits in Philadelphia, and are very attractive options on the third day.
Tight End (Cory Bonini – KFFL / USA Today):
I want to say Garrett Celek, brother of current Eagles tight end Brent Celek, would be natural pick for Philadelphia in the late rounds, but it almost seems too forced. Don't rule it out, although I suspect they will go in a different direction. My vote is for DeAngelo Peterson of LSU. A former wide receiver, he is capable of creating mismatches with linebackers because of his athleticism. His size, 6-3, 243, on paper, doesn't bode well near the red zone, but he boasts a 36-inch vertical jump to compensate for his lack of ideal height. The former Tiger is a long-term grooming prospect, mainly due to his poor route-running skills - a coachable problem to have. I would be remiss without referencing Oklahoma tight end James Hanna. His ability to generate yardage after the reception meshes well with what the Eagles expect from the position in the passing game.
Our Take: The athleticism of both Peterson and Hanna makes them very intriguing options on the third day. Peterson, who participated in the Senior Bowl in January, is a developing prospect with plenty of potential that can be fulfilled if he can clean up the small things in his game. Both are former wide receivers who have exceptional movement skills and ability to get down the seam in a vertical offense. Celek, obviously, would be a very interesting addition to the roster with his brother Brent on the roster. They're both similar players, though Garrett may not be as athletic as his veteran brother Brent.
Offensive Line (Chad Davis – Draft Breakdown):
An intriguing mid-round prospect along the offensive line is Oklahoma tackle Donald Stephenson. A relatively inexperienced player, Stephenson blew up the NFL Scouting Combine when he ran a 4.94-second 40-yard dash (tops among all offensive linemen) and a 7.52-second 3-cone drill (sixth best on the o-line). Those are very impressive numbers for a player who checks in at 6-6, 312. Stephenson possesses the foot quickness, coupled with a nasty streak, to play left tackle in the NFL. Strength is an issue however, as Stephenson only managed 19 reps at 225 pounds at the combine and he struggled with more powerful rushers in college. But the raw ability is there and with some coaching, Stephenson could be a steal in the fourth- or fifth round range.
Our Take: On film, Stephenson's potential is obvious. As Chad stated, he's a very athletic prospect with good feet and movement skills. He's able to get to the second level, and while he needs to get stronger you can see that he would be a good fit in Philadelphia under coach Howard Mudd if he were to fulfill his potential.