Trading for long-time Houston Texans middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans didn't just shore up the Philadelphia Eagles' defense. It also freed the Eagles to use their first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on the best player available, rather than using the selection to desperately seek a linebacker.
In Don Banks' latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft, the Sports Illustrated NFL analyst predicts that the Eagles will use the No. 15 pick on Fletcher Cox, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle from Mississippi State.
The DeMeco Ryans trade means the Eagles have their 2012 starting middle linebacker already on their roster. That frees up Philly to look at several positions in the first round, defensive tackle, offensive tackle and safety among them. Cox is the draft's third-rated DT, and while the position isn't an urgent need, you know how Andy Reid loves his big guys up front.