I’ve written a ton about Dion Jordan. He’s my choice for #4 if he’s on the board, but that may not happen. The other night I discussed the possibility of using that pick on Barkevious Mingo. Most of you hated that idea. I have mixed feelings, but Mingo at his best is too good for me to not consider him. Those are the only 2 OLBs in play early. It is possible for the Eagles to look at Ziggy Ansah as a LB, but I want to save that discussion for Monday. I’m planning to do a write-up on him.
In rounds 2-7 there are some interesting prospects available, but none that I’m excited about. Let’s discuss some of the options.
Jarvis Jones – 6-2, 245 – Georgia – Jones is too small for the Eagles to consider him at 4 and frankly I’m not sure Chip Kelly will have any interest at all. Jones is slow (4.90). He has 33-inch arms, which is average. He had great production in college and that can’t be ignored, but his skill set doesn’t make you think he’s likely to thrive in the NFL. Good 3-4 OLBs are normally at least 6-2, 255. If you add 10 pounds, how much slower will that make Jones? And he isn’t athletic enough to be a Von Miller type that thrives as a 4-3 LB and situational rusher. Someone will take a chance on Jones. How early is the question? If he really slides, you wonder would the Eagles consider him at 35 or is he off the board altogether. Remember that NFL teams put about 125 players on their draft board. They are choosy.
Damontre Moore – 6-4, 250 – Texas A&M – Slow and weak. But had 12.5 sacks this year. Has a great motor. Good frame. Ran poorly and has admitted that he didn’t do the lifting he needed to at TAMU. Probably goes in the 2nd round. Not sure if the Eagles will like him or not. Tough player to get a read on.
Jamie Collins – 6-3, 249 – Southern Miss – The opposite of Moore. Collins is a dynamic, explosive athlete. Had good, but not great production. The problem with him is that he didn’t play with any sense of urgency. Collins isn’t lazy or anything close to that, but he was USM’s best player and you need those guys to set the tone for the team. He didn’t do that. If properly motivated, could be an excellent fit. Could be a 3rd round target.
Corey Lemonier – 6-3, 255 – Auburn – Junior who had a strong year in 2011 and down season in 2012. Has serious potential. Powerful upper body. Long arms. Good athlete. Not a guy you want in coverage, but has pass rush skills. 3rd round target.
Michael Buchanan – 6-5, 255 – Illinois – Ideal size. Had a very good workout at the Combine. Another guy who played well, but struggled in 2012. There was a new staff and scheme at Illinois and that affected Buchanan. Feels like what Chip Kelly wants in terms of size and athleticism. Character stuff and intangibles will be huge. If the Eagles love him, could be a 3rd round target, but I tend to think of him more as a 4th rounder.
Chase Thomas – 6-3, 244 – Stanford – I question if Thomas will be of interest at all. Lacks ideal size and has short arms. Slow. Kelly faced him 4 times at Oregon and may like him because of that, but Thomas doesn’t fit the Kelly mold at all. He is a tough, disciplined player. If only he was bigger or faster.
Mike Catapano – 6-3, 271 – Princeton – Small school DE has NFL talent. Good pass rusher. Solid athlete. The Eagles could consider him for 5-tech DE, but after watching tape I think he’d be best at OLB. 5th rounder.
– Late round picks –
Ty Powell – 6-2, 249 – Harding – DE who played LB at the Senior Bowl. Natural pass rusher. A bit small for Kelly, but could be good value late.
David Bass – 6-4, 262 – Played in the Shrine Game and showed NFL potential. Solid athlete.
Travis Long – 6-4, 245 – Washington State – Chip Kelly will know him from the Pac-12 days. Long made plays against Oregon for 3 years. Late pick or UDFA.
Tourek Williams – 6-3, 260 – FIU – Guy who stood out to me when studying Jonathan Cyprien. I’m not completely convinced he can make the switch to 3-4 LB, but was a good college player. Has a good motor and pass rush skills.
Stansley Maponga – 6-2, 256 – TCU – Short, but thick, powerful player. Ran slow in workouts. Numbers fell off in 2012.
Lerentee McCray – 6-2, 250 – Florida – The flasher. Put on UF tape to study Shariff Floyd and you’ll see #34 flash big time ability here and there. The problem is that he finished his career with 65 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 3 FFs. Why didn’t he play more? Why didn’t he produce more? Has NFL ability. Could be worth a late pick, but you must answer those questions. Howie Roseman is a Florida grad so I’m sure he knows all about McCray.
Armonty Bryant – 6-4, 263 – East Central OK – Played well at Texas vs The Nation all star game. Okay athlete. Good frame.
Tristan Okpalaugo – 6-6, 250 est. – Fresno State – The poor man’s Dion Jordan. Great frame. Long arms. Put on the Oregon game from this year and you’ll think you’re looking at a mid-round player. Had 9 total tackles. 4 TFLs (1 of them a sack). Played the option well. Some times will play over the slot. Unlike Jordan, isn’t natural in space or coverage. Upright in his backpedal and doesn’t transition well when breaking forward. When he’s allowed to just attack off the edge, can be impressive. So tall/long that he eats up ground in a hurry. Tony Pauline reported that he didn’t look good at his Pro Day, but I’ve not seen workout numbers.
Paul Hazel – 6-5, 220 – Western Michigan – Skinny, but has a good frame. Late pick or UDFA of interest. Productive pass rusher at WMU. Finished his career with 16.5 sacks and 10 FFs. I need to study him more before saying anything concrete. Interesting project.
* Tank Carradine and Quanterus Smith are both players coming off torn ACLs that could be of interest. Walter Stewart has some spinal issues that could make him a late pick or undraftable. All 3 players are very talented.
* Bjoenr Werner, Alex Okafor, Lavar Edwards, and Cornelius Washington are DEs to me. Werner and Washington are limited to the 4-3. Okafor and Edwards could bulk up and play the 3-4. There are others who think these guys could play 3-4 OLB. I don’t know what the Eagles think.
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Yesterday I mentioned that I was going to be happy no matter what the Eagles did at #4. A few of you wondered about this.
My point is that while I may not love the player the Eagles take, we’re picking at #4. There are no guys that the team must avoid. All of the prospects there are talented.
- Jordan, Mingo – gifted LBs.
- Joeckel, Fisher, Johnson – stud OTs
- Ansah – freak (in a good way)
- Floyd, Lotulelei – outstanding DL
- Milliner – big, fast CB
- Geno – best QB in the draft and he’s got the athletic ability to fit Kelly’s offense
- Austin – maybe the most interesting player in the entire draft…explosive
How can I get upset with those players? Each of them has the ability to help the Eagles.
I prefer not to take Geno, but as I’ve said time after time…if Chip Kelly loves him and thinks Smith can be a star QB, go get him. I’m not giving the Eagles a free pass to do whatever and I’ll blindly support the move. If they take EJ Manuel or Ryan Nassibe at pick #4, I’ll rip them. If they take DJ Fluker, I’ll rip them. If they take Tyler Eifert, I’ll rip them. Those players would be bad value at #4. The guys listed above are all worth pick #4. I know we question that with Austin, but he’s such a freak that I think you can make the argument.
I think too many fans let the draft get personal. One thing I pride myself in is being able to make the case for any draft prospect. It is easy to rip guys, but one thing the Baltimore Ravens teach their scouts is to go find players. Let me know what the guy can do well so that we can decide if that is something we value. Anyone can look at a set of stats, Hts/Wts, or workout numbers and say “yes” or “no”. The trick to scouting is being able to identify skills/talent and being able to explain what there is to like about a player.
In the end, I may not like a player, but I will be able to make the case for him, not just against him. This isn’t personal. This is about evaluating players. You may not want the Eagles to draft Jordan or Mingo or Geno or Johnson or Floyd, but do keep in mind that these guys are all incredibly talented young men that have the potential to be NFL starters for the next decade. There are no bums in this group.