The NFL Draft kicks off tonight. I already posted a mock draft for the Eagles a few weeks ago, but decided it was time to get another one out there. I intentionally changed players, save for the first pick. Mock drafts have to be looked at as possible scenarios. How would things play out if the Eagles took this guy early instead of that guy? What happens if a certain player unexpectedly slides to our spot? Simply putting together a list of players you like is fun, but the draft has so many moving parts that you have to expect the unexpected and think in terms of "what if." You also have to acknowledge that there won't be ideal choices in every round. Enough talk, let's get to the picks.
1st Round (No. 23 overall) - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado (Previous mock: Smith)
2nd Round (No. 54 overall) - LB Martez Wilson, Illinois (Previous mock: G Clint Boling)
3rd Round (No. 85 overall) - G Will Rackley, Lehigh (Previous mock: LB Casey Matthews)
4th Round (No. 104 overall) - RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma (Previous mock: SS Da'Norris Searcy)
4th Round (No. 120 overall) - DT Lawrence Guy, Arizona State (Previous mock: DT Cedric Thornton)
5th Round (No. 149 overall) - WR Cecil Shorts, Mount Union (Previous mock: RB Alex Green)
5th Round (No. 153 overall) - S Joe Lefeged, Rutgers (Previous mock: LB Brian Rolle)
7th Round (No. 227 overall) - LB Adrian Moten (Previous mock: WR Stephen Burton)
7th Round (No. 237 overall) - CB Korey Lindsey (Previous mock: CB Josh Gatlin)
7th Round (No. 240 overall) - DE D'Aundre Reed (Previous mock: LB Jabara Williams)
Now let me give you a quick overview of the picks. I stuck with Smith for the top choice. He fits the Eagles' biggest need and is easily worth that pick. I think he's a player the Eagles want, but we'll have to wait until later tonight to find out for sure.
As for the second round, I actually came up with that choice while doing a two-round mock draft for ScoutsNotebook. I was shocked to have Wilson fall that far, but that's how it worked out. There was another player on the board that surprised me, defensive tackle Stephen Paea. The Eagles have reportedly shown some interest in him and I'd be very happy to get him in the second.
The rest of the draft was a combination of value and need picks. I'm sure some will think I'm crazy for not having the Eagles add more to the offensive line. I don't see them going for a tackle with four guys already in place, three of whom started and played well in multiple games last year. The Eagles could add another guard or a center in the late rounds. It isn't a great class for centers. I wasn't avoiding that spot. There just weren't good choices. Howard Mudd may have some player that he really likes. I still think he will want some time to see what he can do with A.Q. Shipley and Dallas Reynolds.
Now for specific information on the choices.
1st Round: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado - 6-2, 211
Smith is an outstanding press corner. He can be physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage and then shadow them all over the field. He played well when he faced star receiver A.J. Green of Georgia. Green posted big numbers, but that came at the expense of Smith's teammate Jalil Brown. Smith kept a lid on Green and showed that he can handle NFL-type wide receivers. Smith played right cornerback for the Buffaloes so coming to the Eagles and taking over that spot would be natural for him.
2nd Round: LB Martez Wilson, Illinois - 6-4, 250
Wilson is an interesting prospect. He was an elite player coming out of high school. He was expected to be a Lavar Arrington-type of impact linebacker. That didn't exactly happen. Wilson showed talent early in his career, but then lost the 2009 season to injury. He finally had his breakout year in 2010 and looked like a star. He wasn't a dominant player, but had some really impressive moments. He has the size to be a middle linebacker. Wilson was the fastest linebacker at the Combine (Jamar Chaney was last year). That shows you he has the speed to play any linebacker spot. Wilson had nine career sacks and can be very disruptive when he attacks upfield. He could be a Karlos Dansby-type of linebacker. The Eagles would be drafting him for potential. Wilson is still somewhat raw. He could play in the middle, but I think he'd be really interesting as the weakside linebacker. He could really use his speed to chase plays from that spot.
3rd Round: G Will Rackley, Lehigh - 6-3, 309
The Eagles do need help at the interior line spots. Rackley played left tackle for Lehigh, but projects inside in the NFL. He is coming from a I-AA school, but Rackley isn't what I would consider a major project. He played well in the Shrine Game practices. They moved him around and he faced NFL-type talent. Rackley has a good combination of size, skill and athleticism. He's not great in any area, but doesn't have significant weaknesses either. Rackley is tough, smart, and coachable, making him a good fit for Howard Mudd. Rackley could be a very good right guard.
4th Round: RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma - 6-0, 213
The Eagles got lucky last year that LeSean McCoy stayed healthy. I hope that becomes a trend, but we do need help at backup running back. Murray is a very different runner than McCoy. Murray is tall and sleek. He has excellent speed. He's not shifty or elusive. Murray needs space to get going. He might remind you of Correll Buckhalter, but with less strength and more speed. Murray had injury issues until 2010. He stayed healthy and ran for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is a very good receiver, especially on screen passes. He caught 157 passes in his career and averaged 10 yards per catch. Murray also averaged 28 yards per kickoff return in his career. He scored 65 total touchdowns for the Sooners.
4th Round: DT Lawrence Guy, Arizona State - 6-4, 305
Guy left ASU after his junior season. He didn't have a great year in 2010 and that is partly why a guy with his ability will slide into the middle rounds. Guy is athletic. He has an excellent motor and pursues very well. Guy has the quickness to penetrate and make plays. He finished his career with eight sacks and 23 tackles-for-loss. Guy needs coaching, but has the raw ability to be a starting defensive tackle in the NFL. He has the quickness and motor to fit well in Jim Washburn's system. He would also give the Eagles a tall interior lineman, something that can be helpful when trying to get pressure up the middle.
5th Round: WR Cecil Shorts, Mount Union - 6-0, 205
The Eagles added jack-of-all-trades players in the last two years in the form of Danny Amendola and Chad Hall. Shorts is similar, but has more potential. He did play at the D-3 level, but the rule of thumb with small-school guys is to take dominant players. In the last three years, Shorts scored 73 touchdowns. He did that as a runner, receiver and returner. He was absolutely a special player at his level. Shorts has OK speed, but excellent quickness. He is elusive with the ball. Andy Reid would love figuring out ways to use him.
5th Round: S Joe Lefeged, Rutgers - 6-0, 210
Lefeged would give the Eagles someone to add to the safety mix. You get the feeling they would prefer to sign a free agent to the group to help the experience level. There is still room for some competition. Lefeged could be a big contributor on special teams. He averaged 27 yards per kickoff return (one touchdown). He also blocked four kicks. He is a good hitter and tackler. Lefeged had a very impressive eight career forced fumbles (four in 2010).
7th Round: LB Adrian Moten, Maryland - 6-2, 228
The Eagles need to add at least a pair of linebackers in the draft. Moten is someone the team has reportedly worked out. He could play either outside spot in the new system. He might even fit in the middle. Moten is a good athlete. He ran a 4.53 at the Combine. There is a chance he goes before this point in the draft, but Moten seems to be a guy flying under the radar. This is similar to what happened with Moise Fokou when he came out. Neither he nor Moten was compelling in any way, but both had good numbers and played well for a big school. Moten had six career picks and five forced fumbles. You like linebackers that can create turnovers. He also has solid cover skills.
7th Round: CB Korey Lindsey, Southern Illinois - 5-10, 195
Lindsey was a two-time All-American for the Salukis. He is from the Asante Samuel mold, preferring to play off and then break on the ball. Lindsey picked off 14 career passes and often moved around to cover the top receiver. He hurt his hamstring and wasn't able to finish a full workout for scouts, making it hard to quantify how athletic he is. Lindsey does look good on game tape. He also has some punt return ability.
7th Round: DE D'Aundre Reed, Arizona - 6-4, 261
The Wildcats had one star pass rusher, Brooks Reed. They had another defensive end who is likely to be drafted in Ricky Elmore. D'Aundre Reed wasn't a starter, but he also has NFL potential. Reed had a very good workout at the Combine. He had six tackles-for-loss in 2010, a solid number for a backup. He had a very impressive 32 solo tackles. That tells you he's got a good motor. You see that on tape as he chases plays all over the field. Reed would give the Eagles a pass rusher with a good frame. The coaches could consider bulking him up and moving him inside or they might just like having a bigger guy for the left end spot.