New Regime, New Draft Results?
- Updated: April 7, 2013
In just under three weeks the Philadelphia Eagles will be on the clock for the first time under new head coach Chip Kelly. The Eagles have brought in and met with several players leading up to the draft. As they continue to bring in these different positions, the question is are the Eagles just doing their due diligence or setting a smoke screen. The Eagles have a lot of holes to fill and really could go in any direction. As the draft gets closer it may become more apparent which way they are leaning but for now all we can do is speculate.
One direction the Eagles have been rumored is to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. While the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class are weak, Geno Smith has emerged as the best of the class. The Eagles and Chip Kelly have traveled down to West Virginia to work out Geno and have invited him up to Philadelphia to meet with him. Smith had an amazing start to his senior season. He was a Heisman contender and the Mountaineers were undefeated through their first four games. Then it looked like defenses picked up on the Mountaineers offense. Geno Smith still had a very good year throwing for 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He is a very accurate passer and has the potential to run a spread offense in the NFL. The glaring concern about Geno Smith is can he be a franchise quarterback and worthy of the number four overall pick.
The Eagles look like they will be transitioning into a 3-4 defense. With that being said, there is no one on the Eagles current roster that is good enough to play the nose position. The Eagles signed free agent Isaac Sopoaga but he is only a temporary fix. This is where Star Lotulelei would fit into the Eagles rebuilding draft. The 23 year old nose tackle out of Utah is a space eater. He has strength, pumping out 38 reps during his bench press work out. Lotuelelei at 6’3, 310 pounds showed explosion and athleticism running a 4.65 40 yard dash. He would fill a pressing need for a big nose tackle. The biggest draw back to Lotuelelei is a heart condition that was found right before the Combine. He was eventually cleared by an independent doctor but is something to consider when thinking about drafting the big man. Star is scheduled to be meeting with the Eagles in the next couple days.
While the Eagles offensive line was depleted due to injuries last season, they are returning the same offensive line that two years ago was regarded as the anchor of the team. With that being said Danny Watkins has struggled and does not look like a first round pick. Todd Herremans has looked good at tackle but was a much better guard. If the Eagles were to select an offensive tackle at the fourth spot, Eric Fisher would more than likely be available. Fisher is a solid book end tackle that would be able to play the right side until it was his time to replace Jason Peters at left tackle. Fisher has excellent footwork and is a great pass protector. His only weakness that has been spotted is in his run blocking ability, but as he gets stronger I see that improving.
Last year the wide nine gimmick was exploited and the defense struggled to rush the passer. In the 3-4 the Eagles are said to be implementing, outside linebackers are the main pass rushers. Dion Jordan has the potential to be something special. The last time the Eagles passed on a potentially raw defensive pass rusher the NY Giants ended up with Jason Pierre-Paul. Jordan has a freakish wingspan and extremely long strides as he stands 6’6. Jordan is raw, but has an amazing upside. He was also recruited to play for the Ducks by Chip Kelly and there could be a connection come draft day.
Lastly, the Eagles secondary has been horrendous over the last couple years. It has been revamped via free agency, but there is still room for improvement. That answer could be with the fourth pick in cornerback Dee Milner. Milner is a big, physical corner. He has good speed and should be able to keep up with most receivers in the NFL. Milner is a very smart player and avoids putting himself in bad situations. There are a couple ways to look at that: the first being he may not accumulate a lot of interceptions. The second being that he will not get beat and will deflect and defend passes that come his way. Milner has huge upside as well and could be the young lock-down corner the Eagles need.
There are many holes on this team and I have addressed only the players I feel the Eagles should target. While I am a Geno Smith fan I do not feel like he is a true franchise quarterback. I feel he would be a reach at the fourth overall pick and would much rather see the Eagles look at an EJ Manuel early in the second round. I do like Star Lotuelelei because he kind of reminds me of Haloti Ngata, in that he is a big, strong, athletic, and physical gap filler. I just do not see the new regime taking a nose tackle. The Eagles already understood they had issues in the secondary and have done a solid job of addressing those issues. Milner would help solidify the Eagles secondary and would be a starter from day one. It seems he has recovered from his shoulder injury and would be a great pick for the Eagles. Eric Fisher is another starter from day one. Fisher and Peters would be a great pair of tackles. If the Eagles want to protect whomever is taking snaps this is the pick. Fisher has the potential to be a Pro Bowl tackle. I would love this pick. With all that said, I want Dion Jordan. Give me the Duck, if anyone knows his talent and potential it is Chip Kelly. This may be a tough sell in that it looks like a total biased pick. However Jordan has similar freak like talent that many saw in Jason Pierre-Paul. I do not want the Eagles to pass on that type of potential upside again. While I would be pretty content with the Eagles selecting any of the above mentioned player I want to see Dion Jordan putting on an Eagles hat April 26th.