With the NFL's scouting combine is less than a week away, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock held court with reporters this to week to give his thoughts on the expected participants and the strategies he sees for all 32 NFL teams. Just like virtually everyone, Mayock sees linebacker as the Philadelphia Eagles most pressing need and sees Boston College LB Luke Kuechly as the man to solve that problem.
Here's what Mayock had to say about Kuechly.
I think he's the best inside linebacker in this draft by far. He's a natural three-year junior. He's got more production than you could imagine. He's never been hurt. He's got no significant injuries. He's clean off the field, intelligent. He's got great instincts, and he's a better athlete than people think.
People think he's an inside linebacker from Boston College, so he can't run. Well, he can run. I've put on -- I'm going to say, five or six tapes at
least of this kid -- every once in a while he's going to get enveloped by a big body. But his instincts are so good and his ability to move under or over a block are so good, and his play making and instincts are so good.
Think about Sean Lee. That is the best comparison. Sean Lee went in the second round to Dallas, but has become a Pro Bowl inside linebacker. And I think this kid is very similar and has none of the knee issues that Sean had, and is a slightly better athlete.
So if he's not there, I think you've got a little bit of a problem inside. Dont'a Hightower could be there. I don't think Dont'a Hightower from Alabama is worthy of the fifth pick in the draft. And I don't think there are any other inside linebackers worthy of that pick.
So from my perspective, if it's not Kuechly at 15 and you're looking inside, I don't see an inside linebacker. Some people like Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State, I'm not a fan at all. So I think he'd be better off dropping down into the second or third round at that point.
The Eagles hold the 15th pick in the upcoming draft, but their need for a LB could certainly change depending on what the team does in free agency, which begins just about a month before the draft.