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.