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.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock released his top five players per position. If you want to see his full rankings, here they are, but I’m going to focus on the positions of need for the Eagles.
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.
1. Mike Pouncey, Florida
2. Danny Watkins, Baylor
3. Clint Boling, Georgia
4. John Moffitt, Wisconsin
5. Rodney Hudson, Florida State
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.
1. Anthony Castanzo, Boston College
2. Nate Solder, Colorado
*3. Tyron Smith, Southern California
4. Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
T-5. Ben Ijalana, Villanova
T-5. Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
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.
*1. Patrick Peterson, LSU
2. Prince Amukamara
*3. Aaron Williams, Texas
4. Jimmy Smith, Colorado
*5. Brandon Harris, Miami (Fla.)
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.
1. Von Miller, Texas A&M
*2. Akeem Ayers, UCLA
*3. Justin Houston, Georgia
4. Bruce Carter, North Carolina
5. Chris Carter, Fresno State