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Todd McShay has released his final NFL mock draft of the season and has seen fit to go big this time. He’s got all seven rounds forecasted. Frankly, I’ve been pretty critical of McShay’s picks for the Eagles in this pre-draft process, so let’s what he’s got in this final 7-round mock…
First round – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado - "Smith is just as talented as Amukamara and has eased character concerns, and he would be a steal at this point for the Eagles."
Again, I have to ask that if Smith "is just as talented as Amukamara and has eased character concerns" then why is he going to fall to number #23? I don’t get that. Plus, CSNPhilly’s Reuben Frank told me last night that there was "0% chance" the Eagles would take Smith at #23.
In the second and third round, McShay has two local offensive lineman coming to Philadelphia. I’m not sure these guys would drop far enough for this to happen, but they would make for interesting picks being "homegrown" type players.
Second round – Will Rackley – OG – Lehigh
Third Round – Benjamin Ijalana – OT – Villanova
Fourth Round (from Cleveland) – Dion Lewis -RB -Pitt
Fourth Round – Shiloh Keo – S – Idaho
Fifth Round (from San Diego) – Scott Lutrus – OLB – Connecticut
Fifth Round – D.J. Williams – TE – Arkansas
Seventh Round (From Seattle) – Kealoha Pilares – WR – Hawaii
Seventh Round (comp) – Sealver Siliga – DT – Utah
Seventh Round (comp) – Allen Bradford - RB – USC
My one major reaction is that this mock is very light on defensive lineman and there’s been a lot of rumors about the Eagles wanting to take a defensive lineman in this draft. It’s one of the positions that we know that they feel is stocked.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock has released his final mock draft as teams make their final preparation for the real thing this evening. In his mock, he's made two interesting predictions. First, he thinks that no fewer that eight quarterbacks will be taken within the first three rounds. Unlike last year, there's no bonafide #1 QB that everyone likes. However, we do have a very deep QB draft with a lot of guys that had good college careers.
His other bold predictions is that there will be a new record for trades. His reasoning makes some sense. With free agency not having happened yet and with the league unsure when it will, teams have more needs than every before. Every potential free agent a team has is a potential need position and no teams have had a chance to sign a free agent to fill any holes they already had. No one knows what the cap will be, if one exists at all. No one knows what the rules of free agency will be. So teams will likely be looking to stockpile picks in hopes of filling more needs in the draft.
That said, I'm sure you're wondering who he predicts the Eagles will take? Wisconsin offensive lineman Gabe Carimi.
"Carimi was a left tackle at Wisconsin, but I like him on the interior of the offensive line from Day 1. The Eagles have had a bunch of issues inside over the last couple of years with injuries. Their center, Jamaal Jackson, is getting old, and their two guards are free agents. You plug Carimi in and play him."
Carimi was a popular pick in mock drafts for the Eagles about a month or so ago. However, in recent mocks he's pushed up the board a bit while Colorado corner Jimmy Smith has become the hot pick for the Eagles.
Still, his reasoning makes perfect sense. The Eagles really need a solution at right guard.
The great and powerful Mel Kiper has bestowed upon us his final mock draft, mere hours before the real thing takes place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Unlike a lot of mock drafts out there, Mel actually has some interesting changes from his previous forecast to this one.
His #1 is still the same. He's got the Panthers taking Cam Newton. Not because he thinks Newton is the top guy on the board, it's just what he thinks the Panthers are going to do. At #2 and #3 however, there are some changes. He has flipped the positions of Von Miller and Marcel Dareus. He now has the Broncos taking Miller and the Bills grabbing Dareus. It's an interesting pick because everyone seems to see Miller as a pass rushing in a 3-4 defense. Kiper has him heading to the Broncos, who are transitioning back to a 4-3, to play SAM linebacker.
Kiper also has changes for the rest of his top five. This time around he has the Bengals taking WR A.J. Green (which is not a change), but he has the Cardinals drafting CB Patrick Peterson from LSU. Previously he had them taking Blaine Gabbert. In his latest mock, he's got Gabbert falling to the 49ers at at #7.
Philly really needs help in the secondary. Smith has a ton of upside -- some teams have him rated higher than Amukamara -- and was a shutdown guy at Colorado. We've heard the questions about his attitude, but based on what I hear from teams, that's not a huge issue. Fluid, fast, instinctive and skilled, he fills a need for Philly and can be on the field early.
If you happen to be looking for a pattern on this list... think second round linebackers.
We know the Eagles need help at CB, LB, and OL. What about skill players? Will they go for a RB or WR? Who might be some targets?
Eagles GM Howie Roseman met with members of the media this week to talk about the upcoming draft and Reuben Frank pulled a few choice quotes that might give us a hint into the Eagles thinking. The first seems to hint that Roseman isn’t particularly impressed with the top of the offensive line class.
“In past years, you’d get into the middle rounds and … you worried that you were forcing up a guy because you wanted to draft an offensive linemen,” he said. “I think this year, we talk about maybe the top not being as strong it’s been as in years past, but maybe the depth is there more so than it’s been in years past throughout the draft.”
This is likely a sentiment a lot of teams share. This is the first year in a while that there’s no elite offensive tackles. That has probably led to mock drafters and perhaps GMs overrating what is on offer this year. We’re seeing guys like Nate Solder and Mike Pouncey being projected as first round picks when in fact their performance doesn’t seem to be first round material.
Roseman was also asked about whether he though a pass rusher was more help to a secondary than a good secondary was to pass rushers?
I think that the pass rusher can help your secondary … when you’re able to get a guy who can impact the timing that allows corners that aren’t maybe as talented to be able to play. Really talented corners can be thrown away from." And then this: “Defensive line is a really talented area in this draft.”
Again, I don’t think you’d get a whole lot of disagreement here. I think it’s generally accepted that a good pass rush can make for a good secondary. However, I’m not sure that I’d take this mean the Eagles would take a defensive lineman over a good corner in the first round. Fact is, their actions have shown that they value players in the secondary during the Reid era. They’ve picked secondary players high, they’ve handed a mega free agent deal to a corner… Clearly they value that position highly.
That said, his valuation of the defensive line talent in the draft could be telling. Plus, there’s probably more corner talent available in free agency than there is defensive line help, so that could factor in their decision as well.
ESPN’s other NFL draft analyst Todd McShay released his latest mock draft today and he’s got a little bit of a shakeup in his top five. He still has Cam Newton going #1 to the Panthers, not because he ranks Newton as his top QB, but because he hears that Newton is the pick.
The rest of his top five has the Broncos taking Marcell Dareus, Bills taking Von Miller, Bengals taking A.J. Green and the Cardinals picking up QB Blaine Gabbert. He’s also got a bit of a surprise with Julio Jones going #6 to the Browns. That seems high for Jones, but McShay says that Mike Holmgren has a history of drafting lots of wideouts.
That means that Patrick Peterson, who some scouts rate as the best overall player in the draft, falls to the 49ers at #7. The folks in San Francisco, who could use a corner, would likely be doing cartwheels if that scenario played out.
Scenario 1: Smith is neck-and-neck with Amukamara from a talent standpoint and is on the rise as teams get more comfortable with his character and their ability to keep him focused. He would be a steal at this point and step in right away opposite Eagles CB Asante Samuel to help upgrade a pass defense that allowed a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes in 2010.
Scenario 2: Derrick Sherrod is possible as an upgrade at a need spot.
Scenario 3: UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers could also be on the radar at this point.
Every once in a while, NFL Mock Drafts will sort of settle into a groove with a certain team taking a certain player. Sometimes it's because there is some information that the team has interest in that player, but other times it is because everyone just thinks it makes too much sense not to happen. I'm not sure what the reason is this time, but the eagles have been given Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith in a lot of recent Mock Drafts. That includes the latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft from SB Nation.
A supremely talented player, character concerns won't drop him any further than CB-needy Philly.
The Eagles need help at cornerback, and this is good value for a player like Smith. The more I see this pick made across the Internet, the more I feel confident that it is the way this should play out for the Eagles. If Smith doesn't get taken off the board by a team picking ahead of the Eagles before they have a chance to get him, I'd be surprised if he isn't the pick (assuming there isn't a much bigger prospect that falls to them).
What would the 2011 NFL draft look like if you put 32 Eagles fans in charge of each NFL franchise? Finally, we get an answer to that question. Over at Bleeding Green Nation, we've run a community sourced mock draft over the past month where one different person from the community has made a pick for one team per day. Keeping in mind that the stock of certain guys have gone up and down over the past month, so the higher the pick, the older.
Here were the results of the community sourced draft with a snippet of analysis and a link to full reasoning for each pick.
Ultimately, the Panthers choose to help boost their biggest need over the last four years: the run defense. Since 2007, the Panthers have ranked 18th, 20th, 22nd, and 23rd in run defense. The main excuse for the poor run defense is the poor defensive tackle play. Part of that reason is that the Panthers have never spent a first round pick on a defensive tackle in their 15 years of existence. The best way to boost a run defense is to have good defensive tackle play, just ask the Eagles that after grabbing Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley in consecutive drafts.
To say that Peterson is ahead of the other cornerbacks in his class would be an understatement, and certainly a big one. An intriguing physical specimen at 6-foot-1 and about 220 pounds, he has the size to play at both safety and CB, and has been compared to the likes of current NFL stars such as Charles Woodson. A heralded player from a young age, he flashed dominance as a press coverage specialist for LSU over the last few years and eventually forced opposing clubs to pass the ball away from his area on the field. He's unquestionably athletic and, believe it or not, has been said to run like Adrian Peterson in his role as a dangerous punt returner, while his ability to redirect opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage is something that will almost assuredly transition into immediate success at the professional level.
He is a solid QB with mechanics. He doesn't do anything great, but he's above average at most basic QB tools. He's got decent strength, good vision, and can throw in stride. Is he going to make the Bills better right away? Probably not, but he is a great piece to build an already solid offense around.
Newton is a pure winner, leader and great football player, who will excel in the NFL. The Bengals' 4th pick is not for need any more than it is Best Player Available, with several solid QB's suitable to new OC Jay Gruden's West Coast Offense available in later rounds. Because of Carson Palmer's self-demise, Owner Mike Brown will be wistfully hoping new Cincinnati Bengal Cam Newton will rejuvenate the fanbase, sell more merchandise and tickets, and (somehow) help the Bengals roar past the Ravens and Steelers for AFC North supremacy for years to come.
I normally try not to put too much stock in combine numbers, but I have to admit that my eyebrows were raised when I saw Dareus run a faster 10-yard split in the 40 yard dash than DT Nick Fairley, who is about 30 pounds lighter than him. Dareus is a huge, powerful linemen who uses his hands well and could instantly improve the Browns’ 27th ranked run defense. Until recently, I would have listed WR as the Browns’ biggest draft need, but with the recent release of former Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers, improving the DL has instantly become the highest priority. Several draft experts have Dareus listed as the best tackle in the draft, and he’s definitely impressed Holmgren so far:
Prince is the second best corner in this draft following Peterson and he isn't far behind. Yes San Fran needs a qb, but this is a team that has gaping holes in multiple phases of the game, especially in the secondary. Shawnte Spencer and Nate Clements scare no one. Look at all the good teams in the NFL and behind that starting QB and great pass rush are at least one, if not two shutdown corners. In my opinion, they are just as valuable. San Francisco has none, and by having great coverage in the back end, San Fran also shores up it's pass rush through coverage. As much as I want to take a qb here, and I really do, there's no one who really stands out and shouts, "I'm your franchise." Aaron Rodgers did. Heck a lot of guys have. But in this draft class, eh, not so much.
Green is what so-called draft experts like to call a physical specimen. At 6'4" and 212 pounds, Green already has Randy Moss-esque size. Normally players this big do not have the speed to go with their size. Not AJ Green. Green has been clocked in the forty at 4.38. In addition, Green also has great hands, something that is obviously needed in a wide receiver. Green can also make plays with the ball in his hands. Few receivers of his size can do this.
Ideally for Bowers, he'll end up in a 4-3 system where he can pin his ears back, attack the QB, and rack up sacks. Unfortunately for Bowers in this mock draft exercise, he lands in a 3-4 system, in which he may have some more 5-technique responsibility than he had hoped for. Still, it's not about where the player wants to go or what team may be the best fit for him in the NFL Draft. It's about who the best player is for the team that is picking, and for the Cowboys in this case, this pick is a coup.
Corey Liuget is going to play a role the Redskins had hoped Albert Haynesworth would play. A guy who can take on
multiple blockers and still have the power and explosiveness to disrput plays in the backfield. In fact, NFL scouts
claim the sexiest appeal about Liuget's game IS his ability to penetrate and wreck havoc behind the line.
11. Houston Texans - Robert Quinn OLB North Carolina
Quinn was a top 5 pick going into the year and because of endorsement issues fell out of the top 10. These issues also aren't things that are likely to continue in the NFL and shouldn't scare the Texans. Quinn is 6'4" and 265 pounds. He ran a 4.62 in the 40 to show NFL scouts the time off didn't make him out of shape. He also did 22 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine. Quinn is a phenomenal pass rusher and is very athletic for someone of his size and weight. The Texans are getting a player with top 5 caliber ability that can come in and improve their D right now and its at a position need. With Quinn, Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams this suddenly becomes a solid pass rushing unit. And, because of the quality of QBs in the AFC and the need for an effective pass rush, this is an easy pick for the Texans.
At 6'3" 220lbs, Jones is an absolute monster at the WR position. He ran a 4.34 at the combine and posted a 38.5 inch vertical - all on a broken foot, no less. He has shown great burst off the line and can use his strength and quick hands to manhandle CBs at initial contact. He's not an amazing route runner and can be a little slow coming out of his cuts, but he makes up for it with his strength and size. Jones is an absolute beast after the catch, breaking tackles like a running back, and shows a great competitive drive as a downfield blocker. He's a tough player and an outstanding citizen, known for his community service. His hands are suspect at times, but this is likely due to lapses in concentration rather than naturally bad hands. This is the sort of thing that can be coached up, and he's too dynamic of a player to skip because of a few drops.
Smith plays with great leverage and great footwork. He has played primarily right tackle, but has more than enough potential to man the left side. When you consider the incompetency of Jeff Bacchus and the fact that Matt Stafford is made of glass, then you need someone like Smith guarding Stafford's blind side. Smith can also blow huge holes and lanes up for Jahvid Best and the rest of Detroit's running backs.
The Rams current starting corners are Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher. They combined for 4 int's and 0 sacks. The Rams finished 18th in pass defense, giving up 232+ passing yards a game despite playing 6 games againist horrible offenses in the NFC West. I believe Jimmy Smith will develop into the next shutdown corner. In his final two years at Colorado, he only gave up one first down in man coverage. Smith has excellent size at 6'0 200+ lbs, and ran a 4.4 40 at his pro day in Boulder. I see Smith as a Darrelle Revis clone. They both ran 4.4 40 at their pro days, both are about the same size (Revis is 5'11 198) and both are extremley cocky but confident. They both want to man up against the other team's best wideout.
Running back is pretty much the biggest need here for the Dolphins, but the only team currently behind the Dolphins that would consider the #1 RB prospect in this year's draft would be the New England Patriots, who have other pressing needs such as O-Line and Defensive End. A trade down in the first round could still ultimately give Miami the same shot at Ingram as with the 15th pick, and even if Ingram is somehow snatched up before the pick, there are other good to decent running back options that will be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, including Ryan Williams and Mikel Leshore. Remember, while both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are free agents, there's still a possibility of the Dolphins re-signing at least one of these guys. To sum it up: if I were the Dolphins' GM, I'd be calling up picks 20-32 every possible second during the draft and see if someone's willing to trade their second pick or more to move up a spot. Alas, for the sake of this mock, we cannot do trades.
Aaron Kampman is coming off a torn ACL for the second year in a row and is their only proven pass rusher. The Jaguars need another explosive DE that can compliment Kampman. Cameron Jordan can fill that role. Jordan's a talented five-technique player who stole the show at the Senior Bowl in January. The son of a former NFL All-Pro, Vikings great TE Steve Jordan, Jordan's a hard-working, high-energy guy that will be right up Jack del Rio's alley. Jordan has the athletic ability to play both DE positions, and also the versatility, strength, and bulk to move inside to DT. Jordan will rejoin his former Cal teammate Tyson Alualu and hope to regain the chemistry they had in 2009 when they combined for 113 tackles, 20 for a loss, and 13.5 sacks.
17. New England Patriots -- from Oakland - Ryan Kerrigan - DE/OLB, Purdue
As a team last year, the Pats got no production out of their pass rushing OLBs, and that is a huge reason for their poor pass defense numbers. Even though Jermaine Cunningham is a good developmental player, Tully Banta-Cain and Rob Ninkovich should not be starting anywhere, especially on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. This brings me (finally) to my pick. Ryan Kerrigan is a guy that I feel can transition from 4-3 end in college to 3-4 ‘backer in the pros. He may not be the biggest guy, but he's a hustle player and had 32 sacks in his last 3 years at Purdue. His combine numbers were staggering, running a 4.67 at 267 pounds, and even though he's put on 12 more pounds, Kerrigan should be able to keep his explosiveness and quick feet to excel at OLB in the NFL. Even though I hate upgrading the Patriots, Ryan Kerrigan will be a monster at the next level and should be a perennial 10-12 sack guy for New England.
Last season, the Chargers' offensive line ranked in the middle of the pack, allowing 38 sacks and 68 quarterback hits. An upgrade to their weakest position along the line could easily make this offense progress from good to great. While the rest of their starters will likely be back for 2011, the question mark here is right tackle Jeromey Clary. Clary will be a restricted free agent (if and when there is a free agency) and the Chargers have tendered him at a second-round level.
Mike Pouncey (who I will assume will play guard and not center) was a second team All-SEC selection. He started all games he has played in (13 as a center and 28 as a guard, his natural position where he excelled). He helped the Gator interior line dominate in 2008 to an undefeated season and the national championship and in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati in 2010. He came in at the combine at 6-5, 320 lbs. Although his pass blocking skills are slightly below par, he excels in run blocking helping the Gators to a 5.6 YPC avg. in 2010. He has sharp technique and great athleticism for a guy his size. He is very strong and has great push in the run game. Even though he isn't vey agile, he makes it to the second level very easily. One thing that most people never seem to talk about with lineman (or really any college player) is penalties; Pouncey is very disciplined and is rarely called for penalties. One of the greatest things about Pouncey is his versatility. He can probably play any of the three positions of the interior line on an NFL caliber team. Another thing about Pouncey is that he is very smart. He is always meeting assignments and mirrors defenders very well. At 6-5 however he as susceptible to being overmatched by stronger bulls rushers on an opponent's defensive line. He has also shown some inconsistency as well as at times being beaten out by quicker pass rushers.
Lombardi Award finalist and consensus All-American, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn is someone that the Bucs can benefit from throughout their D-line. Clayborn is coming off of a down-year due to some nagging injuries (Clayborn suffers from Erb's Palsy that affects the nerves surrounding his right shoulder) but has 19 career sacks and a forced fumble on his resume. While 19 sacks are not mind-blowing over 4 years, it should be noted that 11 of them came in his Junior year. Clayborn's disease and regression last season has made him drop from his projections prior to this year (last offseason a lot of scouts and analysts considered him to be a top ten pick). However, he ran 4.76 which is in the top times among the top D-line talent in the draft. He is 6'2'' and 280 pounds and has motor that is non-stop.
Kansas City made the playoffs last season by going 10-6 and winning the AFC West. However, in Scott Pioli's 3rd year as GM, the Chiefs are still rebuilding their team. In 2010, the Chiefs were ranked as the 8th youngest average age in the league at 25.66 years old. The Chiefs primarily run a base 3-4 defensive scheme since the hiring of GM Scott Pioli & Head Coach Todd Haley. In such a scheme, one position that is at great importance is the nose tackle position or the zero-technique. Every great 3-4 defense has one and every other team needs or wants one. Good nose tackles are hard to find. Recently Ron Edwards has been the NT for K.C., but he'll be 32 years old at the start of the season & without a contract for 2011. In my eyes, Taylor is the best nose tackle in this draft. He has the prototypical size and skill-set to make it in the NFL.
Paea won't be counted on immediately to be "the guy" to solve the Colts' run D issues but alongside Moala could end up becoming one of the better DT's in the league. His best football is ahead of him, having only played for 6 years. By all accounts he is humble, hardworking, and determined to succeed. I fully anticipate that whomever selects this kid will be sewing a "C " patch on his chest within 5 years.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Harris - CB, Miami
This kid is a player. Man, after watching his film, it's hard not to like him. His instincts are second to none. His excellent ball skills evidenced by his 27 pass breakups the last two years, quick feet, loose hips, good balance and speed enables him to be great in man coverage. He displayed those qualities in the on-field drills at the combine. His performance in every drill was flawless, prompting rave reviews from Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders himself. He has an incredible burst when closing or recovering which helps him in zone. He recognizes the run quickly and is not afraid to get in there, make the tackle and make sure the ball carrier gets down. His work ethic and passion for the game are also phenomenal. He was quoted saying that he and his classmates should dedicate their 2010 season to head coach Randy Shannon, that they were largely to blame for their inconsistency. That's the type of leadership qualities we look for in a player.
Aldon Smith arrived on the national scene in his redshirt freshman season in 2009. In that year, Smith racked up 19 tackles for loss, including 11.5 sacks. His best game of the season came against the best team he faced that season, the Texas Longhorns. In that game Missouri got whalloped by the second ranked team in the nation, but Smith proved he was the real deal. He finished the game with 11 tackles, 4 of them for loss, and 2 sacks. The following week he showed he was no fluke by getting 3 sacks against Colorado in a dominating performance
Pete Carroll is known for going for the best player available and that player is the behemoth left tackle from Wisconson, Gabe Carimi. The 2010 Outland Trophy winner is a monster at 6'7 and 315 lbs. Sean Locklear has been the long-term starter at right tackle, but has had some injury issues and will be 30 at the start of the season. He's not known as a great run blocker and that's what this team needs after finishing 31st in rushing. According to coldhardfootballfacts.com offensive hog index, Seattle finished tied for 28th in the league.
With the drafting of Smith, the Ravens would be getting a deep ball threat to stretch out the field and give Flacco's arm some work. Smith is quick off the snap and can use his speed to terrorize opposing DBs. With Anquan Boldin there, he wouldn't need to be the number-one wideout and he could focus on making his game complete enough to be the number one when the time comes.
Although this past season Georgia switched to a 3-4 and Houston played outside linebacker, before that he was a defensive end in the 4-3 scheme. This guy is a monster when it comes to the pass rush. He is explosive off the edge and has an incredible gift of getting in the backfield. With John Abraham often commanding to be double teamed, Justin Houston could make a significant contribution right away as a pass rush specialist and eventually an all around defensive end. Justin Houston is a physical freak. He just ran a 4.57 at his Georgia Pro-Day and had an incredible combine. He is an extremely versatile player who in the past two seasons recorded 17 ½ sacks (one season as a DE on season as an OLB), he can excel in both schemes.
28. New England Patriots - J.J. Watt - DE, Wisconsin
Watt is a DE from Wisconsin who has great size at 6'6", 290 pounds, and has been described by most scouts as "NFL ready". The Patriots finished 14th in the league in sacks last year with 36.0. Although finishing 14th in sacks isn't too bad, they finished 30th in the league in passing yards given up per game with 258.5 yards, and 19th in yards given up per reception. This is mainly because they couldn't get consistent quarterback pressure because of their lack of a physical and explosive defensive end.
Compared by many to Tony Boselli, Solder, a massive (6'8 ¼", 314 lbs) former TE with good feet like our own Jason Peters, would fix all of that on the left side. He followed up a dominating Senior Bowl performance with an outstanding combine, running a 5.05 40-yard dash (tops for offensive tackles) with a 1.63 10-yard split (tops for offensive linemen). He also tied for the third-best vertical jump among offensive linemen (32 inches) and the third-best broad jump (9-2). Though he only managed a disappointing 21-reps @225lbs in the bench press, he clearly has the frame to bulk up quickly.
After releasing former first-round pick Vernon Gholston earlier this month, the Jets badly need a player who can boost their defensive end position. Trevor Pryce and Shaun Ellis are well into their thirties and Mike DeVito, who started 11 games on the right side last year, failed to come up with a single sack.
In Ayers, the Jets will get a productive, edge-rushing end with the versatility to fill in at linebacker. Should he fall this far in the real draft, Ayers would likely be an option too tempting for the defensive-minded Rex Ryan to pass up.
A 6'5" 321 tackle prospect Sherrod is projected to be a left tackle in the NFL, but has the ability to play either right or left tackle. Sherrod is the last of the "Big 5" offensive tackles (Smith, Solder, Costanzo, Carimi, Sherrod) in this yenar's draft and the drop-off from one to another is small. Depending on who you ask will depend on the order they rank the five, and any team would be ecstatic to have any of the five. After them the tackle position is slim pickings for the most part.
Heyward is ideally fitted for a role in a 3-4 system, most likely as a 5 technique. Being a Michigan fan as I am, I recall Heyward coming up big in the 09 Michigan-Ohio State Game, recovering a fumble for the first score of the game as well as getting a sack. This guy has huge potential to be a star. He has an ideal build at 6'5", 290, and has the quickness and agility to really flourish if put in the right system. He is strong, a good tackler, and can keep contain on the run, although he occasionally over-pursues. With the coaching of Mike Trgovac, I feel Heyward could really blossom into a premier DE, and make the Packers defense a force to be reckoned with for the future. Heyward has a few cons; he sometimes takes whole games off. Although he is another high motor guy, his speed is inconsistent.
The Eagles need to find a starting caliber CB in the draft. There are 3 top prospects. How do they stack up to each other?
Now that the NFL Draft is getting near, we're getting Mock Drafts thrown at us with much greater frequency. But despits the deluge of differnet opinions, there seems to be a trend for the Philadelphia Eagles pick in the first round. Mocking the Draft is just the latest Mock to give them Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, here is their rationale.
I can see the Eagles going in any number of directions depending if there is a free agency period and how it shakes out. Either way the cornerback position is an area of need and Smith represents a player with high upside.
The more I think about it, the more Jimmy Smith makes sense. If you're going to get a serious impact player this late in the first round, it's probably because he has some issues. For Smith, those issues are his confidence and some character concerns, which might not end up hurting him in the end. The Eagles seem to be targeting Jimmy Smith (at least in the opinion of everyone) and I think he would be a pretty good fit in Philadelphia.
the guys over at SB Nation just came out with the latest edition of their 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and they have the same guy going to the Eagles that they have had for the last few weeks. They seem to have fallen in love with the notion of the Eagles taking Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. Here is their rationale.
Some of the perceived attitude issues plaguing Smith's draft stock are beginning to be shrugged aside - and as such, Smith might go earlier than most anticipate. Right now, Philly seems like the basement of his draft-day potential.
People tend to forget about those character issues as the first round progresses and the player in question becomes better value. Smith has all the tools to be a very good cornerback at the next level, and a few character concerns might not prevent him from getting there. The Eagles have shown that they don't mind taking a chance on a talented prospect with character concerns (Jackson, DeSean), so projecting Smith to go in this spot is not too much of a reach. The only question now is whether or not he'll be on the board for the Eagles to pick.
Are the Eagles planning on drafting a safety? Which players might they be interested in?
Just in case you weren't aware, SB Nation has a blog that is dedicated to everything NFL Draft, and it is called (quite ironically) Mocking The Draft. They've rounded up contributors from all of SB Nation's NFL team blogs to participate in a Community Mock Draft of the first two rounds that will go right up until the actual draft in April.
We’ve heard rumors that he’s overly cocky, but we heard those same things about DeSean Jackson, and look how that turned out. A lot of teams outsmarted themselves taking guys like Devin Thomas and Jerome Simpson before him. A lot of teams probably did the same thing last year with Dez Bryant. The Eagles have never shied away from taking guys with character concerns, and I know they recently had Smith in for a visit to Philadelphia. Assuming he carried himself reasonably well in that face to face interview, I don’t think the Eagles would have any reservations about taking him.
Mocking the Draft contributor Dan Kadar reacts to the pick.
There are a load of reasons why this pick makes sense and why it's been mocked nearly all off-season. First and foremost, Philadelphia needs a cornerback in a bad way. Asante Samuel is on one side, but the other is a huge unknown following Ellis Hobbs' career-ending injury. So from a need standpoint, Smith fills arguably Philadelphia's biggest hole.
ESPN has seen fit to have both of their draft gurus hit us with fresh new mock drafts today. We went over Mel Kiper's latest mock earlier today and now turn our attention to Todd McShay. On the top pick, the two agree. They have Cam Newton going #1 to the Panthers.
Actually, their full top five is identical. Where's the famous McShay vs Kiper disagreement? As for the Eagles pick, they at least have a slight disagreement. Kiper has them taking Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi. McShay agrees with the position but has a different player, Derek Sherrod from Mississippi St.
I struggled with this pick more than any other in the first round, having a hard time finding a player who fit Philadelphia's needs and was worthy of the pick. In the end, guard and tackle are priorities and Sherrod has the versatility to contribute at both positions. He's not explosive or dominant and is a bit of a reach here but Sherrod consistently gets into position and rarely makes mistakes, and recent off-field issues for current OT Jason Peters could increase the urgency to address the offensive line. The Eagles could also consider the top available cornerbacks here but all come with questions.
I agree with McShay.... he did struggle with this pick. This is a pretty awful explanation and pick from McShay. Let's first take a minute to laugh hysterically at his suggestion that Jason Peters' noise pollution incident changes the Eagles draft plans in any way... Then how about his assertion that Sherrod is "not explosive or dominant and is a bit of a reach here." He really is a reach. Sherrod should be a second round type player. With Miami CB Brandon Harris and Colorado CB Jimmy Smith all still on the board, reaching for an offensive lineman in a draft pretty deep in the position would be terrible.
McShay then has the Eagles reaching for Illinois LB Martez Wilson in the second round and making an ok pick of Buffalo cornerin the third.
As for the Eagles, his pick remains unchanged from his previous four mock drafts. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
I have offensive tackle as the top need for a team that has to make sure they don’t take the athleticism of their starting quarterback for granted. In Carimi they get a guy who loves to run block and will sustain those blocks. But he can also take on great pass-rushers, and has shown enough that it figures he could fill in at either tackle position early, potentially starting on the right side with the goal to become a starting left tackle.
Kiper also mocked out the second and third rounds. In the second he’s got the Eagles filling another need with Utah corner Brandon Burton. In the third he’s got them selecting Ohio St. linebacker Ross Homan.
The latest edition of the 2011 NFL Mock Draft from SB Nation looks a lot like last week's, especially from the perspective of the Philadelphia Eagles. They still have them taking Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. Here is their rationale.
Philadelphia's most pressing needs lie along the offensive line and in the secondary. They may target overall value if they can't find a good fit at either positional hole, but luckily for them, Smith - despite character concerns - fits like a glove.
Since Smith plays all the way out in Colorado and he didn't get a lot of exposure playing on a pretty bad team, you can head over to our Draft blog Mocking The Draft for more information on him. hey say he is an above-average athlete, a good tackler, and very good at jump-ball situations against the wide receiver. He has very good size for a cornerback, and should be a very physical presence. He would be a good foil across the formation from Asante Samuel, who is more of a finesse corner.
The Eagles need some help on offense, mainly the line. Are there some local prospects who could be draft targets?
SB Nation just came out with the latest edition of the 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and some trends are starting to emerge from the selections they give the Eagles. They either give them some help along the offensive line, or in the defensive secondary. This week, they opted for the latter with Colorado CB Jimmy Smith. Here is their rationale.
Minus a worthwhile offensive lineman here, there are a number of directions the Eagles could go, including cornerback. Smith is a character risk, but his talent is significantly better than every Eagles CB aside from Asante Samuel.
When have character issues ever prevented a cornerback from being very good? In some cases, I might call that a requirement for the job. Smith has the kind of bravado that elite cornerbacks need. When the ball is in the air, he is confident that he is going to come down with it, and I like that kind of attitude from my corners. In terms of fit, he would certainly help the Eagles secondary that was exposed at times last season.
The NCAA Tournament might be demanding all of your attention at this point in the spring sports calendar, but that doesn't mean there can't be any room in your heart for other events; like the NFL Draft, for example. SB Nation just came out with the latest edition of the 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and it looks pretty familiar, for the Eagles at least.
They have the Eagles taking Colorado offensive lineman Nate Solder, and here is their rationale.
Andy Reid is all about the offensive line, and though Solder isn't perfect, he's pretty close athletically. Reid can work with him.
If Andy Reid is in fact "all about the offensive line" than Solder is the type of prospect that should make him very, very happy. If you were to build a perfect left tackle from scratch, he would probably look a lot like Solder (once he adds a few pounds in the weight room). Reid might be the perfect guy to mold him into that type of player.
ESPN's "other" draft guru Todd McShay has released his first post NFL combine mock draft and he's got no quarterbacks in his top two. Plus, he's got quite a surprise for the Eagles at No. 23.
His No. 1 overall pick is Marcell Dareus, the defensive tackle from Alabama. The major debate here is whether the Panthers take a QB or not. Obviously they just drafted Jimmy Claussen last year, so they've got a young QB... but is he a franchise QB? If they think a guy like Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert is a franchise guy, they've got to take him right?
At No. 2, he's got a big surprise with the Broncos taking LB Von Miller. He says Miller will help upgrade their pass rush as a strong side LB in their 4-3... I dunno. He calls Miller one of the three cleanest prospects in the draft, but I think it's surprising how this guy has rocketed up draft boards. I just don't see No. 2 overall pick when I see Von MIller.
The rest of his top five are what you might expect. Blaine Gabbert to the Bills, A.J. Green to the Bengals & Cam Newton to the Cardinals. He has Nick Fairley dropping to the Titans at No. 8, which they'd probably be doing cartwheels over. As for the NFC East teams he's got USC OT Tyron Smith to the Cowboys, WR Julio Jones to the Redskins and Florida OL Mike Pouncey to the Giants.
His Eagles pick is a surprise. In his mock, the two top remaining offensive lineman (Nate Solder & Gabe Carimi) come off the board right before the Eagles pick. So he's got the Eagles taking UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers. His explanation.
Ayers didn't have a great combine and a lot of people are down on him, but when you study the tape he's always around the ball, shows great versatility and has the ability to get after the quarterback. The Eagles have a history of drafting hybrid DE/OLB prospects and plugging them in at linebacker, and Ayers would offer an upgrade on the outside over Moise Fokou, who started 11 games as a second-year player in 2010.
He refers to Ayers as a hybrid, but he really just played linebacker at UCLA. He's got prototypical size and speed for the position, but like a lot of college linebackers he's still developing as a coverage guy. He was also named team captain of UCLA this past year, so it would seem like he has those leadership intangibles that the Eagles look for.
The pick isn't a surprise from the perspective that it fills a need at LB, but it does feel like a very "un-Eagle like" pick. They've never drafted a LB in the first round under Andy Reid.
The NFL has been locked out for about 72 hours now, and nobody really knows what the future of the labor negotiations will hold. But while we wait for the uncertainty of the season to play itself out, we can focus on something that we know will happen for sure; the NFL Draft. So let's mock away our pain, with SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft.
They have the Eagles looking for help on the offensive line with Colorado's enormous left tackle Nate Solder. Here is their rationale.
It's hard to ignore the offensive line issues Philly had in a disappointing close to the 2010 season. Solder does not have the strength to play right away for Andy Reid, but it's hard to imagine Reid not being enamored with Solder's physical talents.
He'll definitely need to hit the weight room, but he has the frame to put on weight, and you don't see guys that big with that type of athleticism every day. He could develop into one of the better players in the draft, and I think he would be good value if the Eagles get him here.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr has graced us with his third NFL mock draft of the year and Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert has risen to the top spot. Kiper says that the expected rookie wage scale that will likely be part of the new CBA makes the first overall pick more valuable since the contract that player will get won't be prohibitive. That means that by grabbing the top QB in the draft, Carolina either holds a major trade chip or they get themselves a potential franchise QB. This could also make Jimmy Claussen a trade chip in the coming years.
Next he's got the two big DTs coming off the board with Nick Fairley to the Broncos and Marcell Dareus to the Bills. Cam Newton is the second QB off the board at #4 to the Bengals while Texas A&M OLB Von MIller goes #5 to the Cardinals.
As for the NFC East teams. He's got the Cowboys taking CB Prince Amukamara, the Redskins making an interesting pick of WR Julio Jones & the Giants going offensive line with Mike Pouncey. For the Eagles, his pick his unchanged from his last mock, with the Birds taking Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi.
Philadelphia should be targeting the line on both sides of the ball. They could also consider secondary help, but might consider that a slight reach here. In Carimi they get a guy who loves to run block and will sustain those blocks. He battled a number of top defensive ends in Big Ten play, and could fill in at either tackle position early, potentially starting on the right side with the goal to become a starting left tackle in what should be an explosive offense.
There are two spots that we have seen the Eagles address more than any other in NFL Mock Drafts around the Internet; offensive line and cornerback. In their latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft, SB Nation give the Eagles the latter, with Colorado CB Jimmy Smith heading to Philadelphia. Here is their rationale.
It's easy to project an offensive lineman here, as it's a problem area, and Andy Reid seems likely to fix it. Corner is a need, too, however, and adding a personality like Smith's to a D already featuring Asante Samuel is intriguing from both a talent and chemistry perspective.
Smith has an excellent blend of size and speed, and his physicality is superlative for the cornerback position. He also has the confidence and mind-set to play the position, which is the "personality" they were getting at in the article. At the Combine Smith had no problem saying that he thinks he is better than Nnamdi Asomugha.
"I like the comparison, he's a shutdown corner in the NFL," Smith said Sunday the NFL Combine. "I think I have better ball skills than he does, though."
That's the kind of confidence you need to play the position. If he is still on the board when the Eagles pick, he could represent good value at a position of need.
Our latest SBNation NFL mock draft has been released and there’s a new No. 1 overall. In our first post-combine mock draft, the Panthers are selecting Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, who actually declined to throw at the combine.
It’s an interesting pick for the Panthers, who just drafted three QBs last year including Jimmy Clausen in the second round. This pick probably depends a lot on the new coaching staff’s evaluation of Clausen and whether they think he’s a good starting QB in this leauge. Even if they like Clausen, conventional wisdom would say that you never pass on a franchise QB, but the fact is that Blaine Gabbert is not the kind of prospect that Sam Bradford was last year or Andrew Luck will be next year. Giving new coach Ron Rivera an elite defensive prospect like Nick Fairley and giving Clausen another year may be the safest route.
As for the Eagles, the mock has them taking Wisconsin OL Gabe Carimi. So has almost every other mock draft in the world. I’ve commented on it a hundred times. It’s a solid pick, but I really have nothing new to say.
Yahoo Sports blog Shutdown Corner published their latest mock draft and like many, have the Eagles taking an offensive lineman. Although, for once, it's not Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi. They have the Eagles grabbing Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod.
"Now that the Eagles have made an enormous financial commitment to Michael Vick, the next step is to make sure he's protected. Sherrod is the most fundamentally sound tackle in this class, and his abilty to play either right or left tackle is a huge advantage for an Eagles team looking for blocking help just about everywhere."
Corners Brandon Harris from Miami and Aaron Williams from Texas were both still on the board in this mock and would probably bear some consideration for the Eagles, but Sherrod is a guy who some have called the top OT prospect in this draft. That's part a compliment to Sherrod, but also part an indictment of the lack of truly elite tackles.
Football Outsiders' Doug Farrar is high on Sherrod.
Of all the tackles in the 2011 draft class, Sherrod may be the most consistent on a play-to-play basis -- a trait reflected in his excellent Senior Bowl week, when he transitioned from left to right tackle in practice week without skipping a beat and looked absolutely dominant in the game -- especially when paired on the left side with Baylor guard Danny Watkins. His size (6-foot-6, 312 pounds) has him an inch or two shorter than a lot of this year's tackles, and you see the difference in the way he's able to get under pads. Add in his ability and agility at the second level, and Sherrod will pay dividends as an every-down asset in the pros.
Whether there’s a lockout or not, the NFL draft is going to happen. In fact, it’s pretty much the only thing we can be sure of in this offseason. So the draft is something we can discuss without having to couch it with the "if the CBA get done" disclaimer we use with everything else.
First is guard/center. There’s a half decent chance that the Eagles could have all of these guys fall to them within the first few rounds.
Next up is tackle, which is probably the position to focus on as an Eagles fan. While the Eagles' greatest need is probably more RG than RT, Andy Reid is well known for drafting college OTs and playing them wherever he pleases. That philosophy is not uncommon, since generally at the college level a team will play its best lineman at tackle. It could very well be that several of these guys are better fits at guard.
Cornerback is arguably the Eagles' biggest need for next year. My hope is that the need is filled through free agency with a guy like Nnamdi Asomugha… but a top draft pick wouldn’t be too bad. Other than the top two, the Eagles should have a shot at some of these guys in their range.
I’ll also include outside linebacker because it is a need, but it remains to be seen whether the Eagles agree or would even be open to taking a LB from the top five. Typically, the Eagles don’t draft LBs high.
Needless to say, most of us seem to agree. There's no doubt that the Eagles have a few important needs, but offensive line seems like the one that's going to be most easily addressed in the draft. While virtually all of the top corners are expected to be gone by the time the Eagles pick, there should be a number of highly rated offensive lineman. In every single SBNation.com mock draft so far, they've had the Eagles taking an offensive lineman.... so people see the need nationally, they see it locally, the players see it... In fact, most of us expected they'd fill the holes on the line last year's draft. So you could really say that the overhaul is a year past due.
In looking back at the college careers of successful NFL quarterbacks, a pattern emerged. Matt Ryan all met this standard., Phillip Rivers, , , , , &
QBs drafted in recent years who have met this standard include Same Bradford, Kevin Kolb & Matt Stafford. Even top QBs in the NFL that didn't meet the rule got very close. Ben Roethlisberger was one point short of 26 points on the Wonderlic, while Donovan McNabb was a few points short. Aaron Rodgers was just one start shy of 27 games.
Even more damming is the list of first round QBs who did not meet the standards of the rule. Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, David Carr, Heath Shuler, Jimmy Clausen, Jay Cutler, Joey Harrington, Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow, Alex Smith, Jeff George, and Vince Young. That's a nearly 100% bust rate.
So how do the QBs in the 2011 class stack up? Hogs Haven did an analysis and it doesn't bode well for teams looking for QBs this year. Keep in mind that the Wonderlic test hasn't been administered yet, but most of these guys won't meet the standard anyway.
Jake Locker has a terrible completion percentage at just 53%.
Colin Kaepernick falls shy of the completion percentage at 58.2 and was hurt by really poor completion rates early in his career.
Ricky Stanzi came agonizingly close to the 60% completion percentage at 59.8.
Christian Ponder from FSU passed the test.
Cam Newton has the completion percentage, but has only played in 14 games. Well short of the 27 needed.
Greg McElroy from Alabama passed.
Andy Dalton from TCU passed.
Ryan Mallett had a 57.8 completion percentage and failed.
Blaine Gabbert from Missouri, who is getting a lot of buzz, passed.
The 2011 Senior Bowl kicks off this afternoon in Alabama, for Eagles fans it’s a great chance to see some guys that the Eagles could be targeting in this year’s NFL draft. Below, we’ve got a list of every player the Eagles have been spotted meeting with in Mobile this week at the Senior Bowl practices.
Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, who is seen as a real possibility for the Eagles at #25, has pulled out of the game with an ankle injury. Also, safety Ahmad Black is reportedly sick and will not play. Otherwise, all of these guys will be in action and Eagles fans and scouts will be paying close attention.
Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock
Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin
Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
Derek Sherrod, OL, Mississippi State
Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson
Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma City
Ahmad Black, S, Florida
Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville
Nate Solder, OL, Colorado
Lee Smith, TE, Marshall
Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech
Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
Eric Hagg, S, Nebraska
Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami
Lawrence Wilson, LB, UConn
Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
Owen Marecic, FB/LB, Stanford
ESPN NFC East blogger (and Baylor alum) Matt Mosley reported today that the Eagles have been impressed with Baylor OL Danny Watkins at the Senior Bowl this week. Watkins played offensive tackle at Baylor, but has been working at guard this week and likely projects at that position in the NFL. Mocking the Draft has the 6’4 310 pound Watkins as the 7th ranked OT in the draft.
Watkins is an interesting story having not actually played football before 2007. He’s originally from Canada and had been a hockey player and volunteer firefighter. He went to a small division two school to play football, where he dominated on the offensive line and got the attention of bigger D-1 schools. He stepped in at left tackle for Baylor and really had a great career there.
One thing that is sure to give teams pause is that Watkins is 26, which is old for an NFL rookie. Plus, as I said he has limited football experience. You don’t expect a guy to be 30 years old by the time his rookie contract is up…
Watkins is expected to go sometime in the second round.
The Eagles will undoubtedly be kicking the tires on many players this week at the Senior Bowl. One player that our people down there spotted them talking with was Oklahoma DE/OLB Jeremy Beal. Every scouting report you read on Beal has all those buzzwords the Eagles seems to like, “relentless, high motor” and he supposedly is a guy who spends a ton of time studying film. The question is where he’d fit in the Eagles 4-3 defense.
He played both defensive end and linebacker in college and proved to have some success both in pass rushing and coverage. Many scouts feel he’s best suited as a 3-4 OLB, but could the Eagles be looking at him as a SAM. Of course, they could very look at him as a defensive end as well. He’s a team captain, has started a ton of games, been very productive… really a solid all around prospect.
The Philadelphia Eagles will no doubt meet with a ton of players over the course of this week as Senior Bowl practices roll on in Mobile, Alabama. We'll try to do our best to cobble together reports of who the Eagles have been spotted speaking/meeting with. With the Eagles biggest draft needs likely being offensive line and corner, it will be especially interesting to see those prospects that they're showing interest in.
One of the early themes is clearly that the team is meeting with the top offensive lineman. Sherrod, Carimi & Castonzo could all come off the board in the first round.
Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock
Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin
Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
Derek Sherrod, OL, Mississippi State
Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson
Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma City
Ahmad Black, S, Florida
Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville
We also got reports from our people in Mobile that the Eagles met with Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB, Oklahoma.
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