4/20: Eagles draft buzz
Every day, from now until the draft, I'll round up the latest Eagles buzz on MTC. Here is today's installment.
Let's start today with three draft thoughts:
1. I was watching video of a bunch of prospects last night. One guy who stood out was Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Jones (6-5, 266) hasn't gotten much pub as a potential Eagles first-round pick, but from what I saw, he has a lot of the qualities they could find attractive: active, relentless, can play the pass and the run. Against Pitt, he showed great athleticism, intercepting a pass at the line of scrimmage and returning it 32 yards.
Editor's note: Jones' weight was incorrectly listed as 247 on NFL.com's combine Web site. It's actually 266.
Until recently, I hadn't seen many top-20 projections for Jones, but that could be changing. Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com has the Eagles taking Jones at No. 15 in the first round. NFL Network's Mike Mayock says 4-3 teams love Jones as a base end and indicates his stock is rising. And Mel Kiper says Jones "is moving up as fast as any player in the draft."
One concern with Jones is that he suffered a knee injury early last year and only played in seven games. I haven't been able to find specifics, but reports indicate it wasn't too serious. He played the final six games last year and had three sacks and an interception. Jones also participated in the combine. He is listed at 266, and according to this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, he has the frame to put on weight. He has longer arms than Jason Pierre-Paul.
Defensive end is not a need for the Eagles, but Jones could certainly join their rotation and compete with Brandon Graham, Darryl Tapp and Philip Hunt for playing time. And he would give them size and length that they don't have currently. It's also worth noting that Trent Cole turns 30 next season and Jason Babin turns 32 next month.
Anyway, just one more name to add to the (long) list of possible Eagles first-round selections.
2. Howie Roseman met with reporters yesterday. He talked about relying more on tape than postseason All-Star games and the combine when evaluating prospects.
I can see the All-Star game thing to some degree, but haven't the Eagles been doing this for the most part already? Especially with their first-round picks? The Eagles' last three first-round picks - Danny Watkins, Brandon Graham and Jeremy Maclin - were all productive college players. None of them come close to fitting the "workout warrior" label.
Speaking of which, I watched a Memphis-Tulane game last night to check out defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Tulane finished 2-11 last season. Memphis finished 2-10. Poe (6-4, 346) ran a 4.98 40 at the combine and benched 225 pounds 44 times. But against Tulane, he had just one tackle.
Overall, he looked like a player who didn't know exactly what he was supposed to be doing on any given play. I don't mean to disparage the Memphis coaching staff, but NFL talent evaluators have to make picks based on how they project players. There will be a team on Thursday night that sees Poe's size and athleticism and convinces itself that it has the coaching staff to turn him into a Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
And guess what: They might be right.
3. I've written in the past that it only makes sense for the Eagles to draft a quarterback if he has upside significantly greater than Mike Kafka. We know they're not getting Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill seems like a longshot too at this point.
Of the second-tier prospects, the one that might be most intriguing is Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel broke down the quarterback class. Here's part of his write-up on Wilson:
"He's been one of my favorite players to watch," one scout said. "He was the best interview out of the 60 guys we had (at the combine). It wasn't even close. I think he's got a chance, I really do."
Draft analyst Matt Waldman did a good job earlier this week of explaining why he likes Wilson and why his height (5-10 1/2) might not be a huge factor. I think I'm in the minority in predicting that the Eagles won't take a quarterback, but if I had to guess on a second-tier prospect they might target, I'd probably go with Wilson.
MORE DRAFT LINKS
ESPN's Mel Kiper does a different kind of mock, projecting what he would do if he were running each team's draft. He's got the Eagles taking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in the first round, North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown and Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen in the second round and Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the third.
The scouting report on Brown is that he's a good athlete, but not a very physical player. I don't think that's what this Eagles defense needs. As for Cousins, by most accounts, he has good intangibles, but not much upside. I don't think it makes sense for the Eagles to draft a quarterback like that, given that they already have Kafka. Kiper also writes that the Eagles were awful up the middle last year. That's true for the linebackers and safeties, but the defensive tackles actually played very well.
Meanwhile, Matt Maiocco, who covers the 49ers for CSN Bay Area, has athe Eagles taking Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw:
After adding DeMeco Ryans, Eagles seek help on the outside.
If you missed my post from earlier, the Broncos could be a potential trade partner for Asante Samuel.