Draft week is finally here. There is time for one last piece of guess-work on my part. I'm putting together my mock draft for the Eagles. This is a combination of what I want them to do and what I think they will do. The players all went at reasonable spots. It would be easy to have a bunch of studs fall to our picks, but that's too easy. I left trades out of it. We all know Andy Reid loves to make deals, but mixing them in can really get confusing. I did run a scenario where I had us move up in the first round, but I ended up not liking that group of players as much so I stuck with the regular picks.
I want to cover one thing before I get into the picks. There is a lot of chatter regarding Tennessee safety Eric Berry and the Eagles. He is a great prospect and I'd love to have him. The problem is that moving up from the 24th pick inside the top 10 is very costly. I just re-watched some game tape of Berry this weekend to take a final look at him. He is a great, great player. I'd love to have him, but at what price? Enjoy all the pre-draft trade talk, but don't get your hopes too high in regard to Berry. There are plenty of other teams that will have their eyes on him and any deal would cost an arm and a leg.
- 1st round, pick 24 – DE Jerry Hughes - TCU
- 2nd round, pick 37 – CB Brandon Ghee - Wake Forest
- 2nd round, pick 55 – FS Morgan Burnett - Georgia Tech
- 3rd round, pick 70 - OT Jared Veldheer - Hillsdale
- 3rd round, pick 87 - DT Al Woods - LSU
- 4th round, pick 105 - WR Andre Roberts - The Citadel
- 4th round, pick 121 – CB Walt McFadden - Auburn
- 6th round, pick 200 - RB Charles Scott – LSU
- 7th round, pick 243 - QB Zac Robinson - Oklahoma State
- 7th round, pick 244 - DE Dexter Davis - Arizona State
Now let's talk about the players.
Jerry Hughes is a player I've talked about a lot this off-season so I won't go into too much detail on him. Hughes played left defensive end for TCU. He was extremely productive, racking up 26.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in the last two years. He lacks ideal size at 6-2 and 255 pounds, but that is big enough for an athletic pass rusher. He plays bigger than he is. Hughes is a good run defender. He would offer us depth at both end spots. He could take over as a starter in a few years. I don't think you can ever have enough good pass rushers and Hughes is arguably the best one in this draft class.
Next up, I had us going with cornerback Brandon Ghee. He has good size at 6-0 and 192 pounds. He did 15 reps of the bench press at the Combine. He can press and be physical with receivers. He also has long arms. Ghee would give us the kind of bigger, physical corner we've needed for a few years. He ran really well at the Combine. He has good athletic ability. Ghee is a good tackler. So what's the downside? Ghee is not a playmaker. He only picked off one pass in his entire career. That's low for a three-year starter. I thought his hands looked OK at the Combine. I'm not sure what the problem was. Ghee did break up 25 passes. He also had five forced fumbles and 12.5 tackles-for-loss. He was productive at everything but coming up with interceptions.
Ghee would come here and challenge Ellis Hobbs for the right corner spot very early. Ghee is a fifth-year senior with three years of experience as a starter. That's the kind of experience and maturity you love to find in a good prospect.
At the bottom of the second round I had the Eagles select free safety Morgan Burnett of Georgia Tech. This was a tough pick for me. I'm old school when it comes to safeties. I want Wes Hopkins and Andre Waters. Burnett is an athletic playmaker and cover guy. He is not a strong run defender. For better or worse, that's where the NFL seems headed. This is now a passing league and we have to focus on finding pass defenders.
Burnett has good size at 6-1 and 210 pounds. He's only a junior, but he did start all three years. He is a big-time playmaker. He had 14 interceptions in his career. Burnett can cover man-to-man or in zone. He is a natural centerfielder. He tracks the ball well and has very good hands. Burnett is a good hitter. He will come up and thump receivers that cross the middle. His tackling in the run game is very inconsistent. He will wrap-up, but doesn't forcefully drive through his targets the way a good safety should. That is something that can be taught.
Burnett could hopefully challenge for a starting spot. Think about our safety position right now. Macho Harris started most of 2009. He played corner in college and had to learn a new position. Quintin Demps split time at corner and safety. He played at a smaller school and didn't have to face elite athletes. Marlin Jackson is coming off injury. He's been a corner-safety tweener going back to his college days at Michigan. We need a pure safety. Burnett could be that guy.
With the early pick in the third round, I have us taking offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. I've written about him a couple of times this off-season. Veldheer played at the Division II level, but he is a legitimate prospect. He has good size at 6-8 and 312 pounds. His Combine workout was as good as the guys from the big schools. He has good feet and looks natural in pass protection. Veldheer played well in the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game. He is a better prospect coming out of college than Todd Herremans was.
I like our offensive line on paper. I think Nick Cole can do a solid job in the middle with a whole off-season to practice at that spot. I think Stacy Andrews will have a good bounce-back year and show people why the Eagles went after him. Our depth on the offensive line is solid, but I do have concerns about left tackle. Jason Peters had to come out of a couple of games last year. That led to a lineup shuffle at times and hurt the line. King Dunlap replaced him in the Oakland game and struggled. I would like to bring in a quality player to be the backup offensive tackle. Veldheer is that guy. He's big, smart, athletic and a four-year starter. I think Juan Castillo could develop him into a solid NFL lineman.
Next up is defensive tackle Al Woods of LSU. Woods really grew on me this off-season as I watched more and more of him. He has good size at 6-4 and 309 pounds. He is strong. Woods can push the pocket or stuff the run. He is very tough for a lineman to block by himself. Woods has some quickness and athletic ability, but his game is built more on power. It would be nice to have a tall defensive tackle who could maybe do a better job of affecting passing lanes. Our current group of tackles is on the shorter end. Woods would be a good backup initially, but could challenge for a starting job in the future.
The Eagles' first pick of the fourth round – according to me, anyways - is receiver Andre Roberts from The Citadel. Huh? I know this might confuse some people. It sounds weird, but watch some tape of this kid and you'll understand. We'd be lucky to get him at this pick. I'm not sure he falls this far. Roberts is 5-11 and 196 pounds. He ran one of the best times at the Combine. He's tough. He might not be huge, but Roberts is a physical player. The Eagles' rule with I-AA players is that they need to be dominant at that level. Roberts caught 285 career passes and 37 touchdowns. He ran three punts back for scores. He would be a great backup at receiver and returner. Roberts is a player I really like for us. We have outstanding young starters in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. We have a good slot receiver in Jason Avant. Hank Baskett provides a good player off the bench. We do need someone to add to the mix. Roberts would offer insurance. We are a passing team and you do need receivers.
With the second pick of the fourth round, the Eagles pick cornerback Walt McFadden from Auburn. I've been a fan of his all year. He caught my eye early in the season and played pretty well all year long. Check out his numbers for the 2009 season: six interceptions, 10 pass break-ups, 36 solo tackles, and 4.5 tackles-for-loss. McFadden has a slight build at 5-10 and 181 pounds. He actually reminds me of Asante Samuel. McFadden ran really well at his Pro Day. He's good in coverage. He can jam receivers and play physical or back off and break on the ball. McFadden is a good tackler and run defender. He would give us depth at corner. We still don't know how much the team likes Dimitri Patterson and Geoff Pope as corners. Clearly they love Patterson as a special teams player.
Sticking with the SEC, I have the Eagles taking running back Charles Scott of LSU in the sixth round. Shady McCoy had a good rookie year and looks like he'll be a real good player. We need a young runner to pair with him. Scott is 230 pounds and would be a terrific complement to McCoy. Scott is a downhill runner. He has good straight-line speed. Put on his game tape and you see a guy who attacks the line of scrimmage. Imagine a third-and-one situation with Leonard Weaver as the lead blocker for a big back that runs hard. That's a good mental picture. I'm not sure Scott falls this far, but it is possible. He didn't have a great workout at the Combine and missed some time late in the year with a shoulder injury. Simple stuff like that can move a player down a bit. He still is a good player.
With the first of our compensatory picks, the Eagles take quarterback Zac Robinson from Oklahoma State. Back in the summer, I thought he could be a second-round pick with a strong senior season.
Things went really bad for him and OSU. His star runner got hurt and missed most of the year. His star receiver got suspended and missed most of the year. Robinson was very up and down, but still got his team to a good bowl game and 9-4 record. Robinson has a medium, athletic build. He is a good runner and passer. We like players with that kind of skill set. Robinson played well in the Senior Bowl. He needs work, but has good potential.
Finally, I have us taking Dexter Davis. He played defensive end for Arizona State, but would come here to fill the Chris Clemons role of pass rusher, situational linebacker and special teamer. Davis is a shade under 6-2. He is 244 pounds. He had 31 career sacks, so you know he can get to the quarterback. He had a good workout at the Combine. This is an athletic guy and a playmaker. He had 10 forced fumbles in his college career. He just lacks ideal size and that will hurt his draft value. Davis could be a good role player in the NFL. He also could be a real good special teams player.
In only a few days we'll find out what happens for real. You can go to ScoutsNotebook.com for a final mock draft, Top 100 list and value board. I'll be writing material there all week.
For my thoughts on each Eagles move you can find me at http://eaglesblitz.blogspot.com.