Two weeks of mock draft roundups have demonstrated a fan base that seems in step with Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman’s theory of drafting the best player available, regardless of whether it fills a need on offense or defense.
In our Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft Roundup 1.0, fans preferred defense, throwing support behind Louisville safety Calvin Pryor over Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks and USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.
Last week in 2.0, things were different, with 57 percent support for Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and 32 percent for LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Just 11 percent believed Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby (and his discipline issues) would be a good fit.
Despite widespread belief Benjamin is a first-round prospect, Philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski says otherwise, saying it “would be disappointing” if the Eagles took the super-sized receiver in the first round.
For some very in-depth reporting and analysis on Benjamin and his chances of being the Eagles’ top pick, check out Sheil Kapadia over at Birds 24/7.
Meanwhile, we’ll plug along and take a new look at who the experts are saying the Eagles select with the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft’s first round.
Davis is feeling defensive and projects the Eagles will select Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
The first thing that jumps out is Mosley is a senior. He stuck around and played a full career for the Crimson Tide. That gives him a level of maturity that other prospects lack. In fact, ESPN rates his “intangibles” as “exceptional,” noting Mosley has “outstanding football character…no off the field issues…matured into leadership role during 2012 season, continued to improve in that area in 2013.”
Mosley projects as a “WILL” linebacker (weak side outside/inside) with good size and speed. Perhaps his biggest question mark is in durability, where ESPN notes he battled elbow, hip and shoulder injuries during his collegiate career. He did return to start all 13 Alabama games during his senior campaign.
He’s rated “above average” in all linebacker trait categories, with an “exceptional” mark in “range vs. run.” ESPN notes he’s an outstanding defender against the run with great closing speed. He also “does his homework in film room…makes a handful of plays per game based off of opponent tendencies,” which again speaks to his maturity.
In terms of pass coverage he’s labeled with stiff hips, and in pass rushing he has strong instincts and “blitzes with reckless abandon.”
Mosley is the top-ranked inside linebacker in the draft and eighth-rated player overall. This would be a steal if he somehow falls to the 22nd pick.
Here are the highlights. Mosley is wearing No. 32 for the Tide and his “great closing speed” is apparent. Highlight after highlight sees Mosley streaking to the ball carrier and tackling with authority. He looks pretty solid tackling in space, as well. Check out the interception around the 2:25 mark. Very impressive play.
Linebacker is a need for the Eagles, but it’s a specific need. They need someone who can be a strong pass rusher off the edge. If they feel Mosley can bring that, he makes a lot of sense.
This looks like a stretch to me, but Farrar might be the only guy you find projecting the Eagles to take an offensive lineman in the first round. His pick is UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo.
Su’a-Filo is the top-rated guard on the board, and if the Eagles seriously believe all-pro guard Evan Mathis is going to find himself a new home, well, it would address yet another self-manufactured need.
Some of the most important measures of an offensive lineman are size and durability. Su’a-Filo comes in “slightly below average” at 6-4, 307 pounds, and very durable, having started all 40 of his collegiate games.
He did a two-year Morman Church mission and would conclude the 2014 NFL season at age 24. He’s also noted as “respectable and accountable.”
ESPN has him rated “above average” in most guard traits, with the exception in “awareness” where he is rated “average.” They say “biggest area that needs improvement is against defensive line stunts…often a split second late recognizing and passing off defenders.”
In the NFL, a split second is an eternity.
Watching the highlights, he seems to do a decent job in the interior blocking and moves well when asked to pull.
He’s young and would be something of a project, and he seems to have a solid base to build from, but if the Eagles see Su’a-Filo as a target it’s likely he’ll still be around when they pick in the second round.
If you feel the Eagles haven’t done enough to address defensive deficiencies, you’re not alone. Greetham projects the Eagles will select Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
The top-rated corner and 17th-best athlete overall in the NFL Draft, according to ESPN, Dennard seems to bring it all. He’s 5-10, 200 pounds with a 40 time of 4.5. He has a strong vertical and good “top-end speed.” He’s also noted as a “hard worker in film room” and has “no off-field incidents.”
“Outstanding natural instincts” and “diagnoses things very quickly” and “rarely out of position.” What else do you want from a corner? He’s “tough and strong” and “plays with edge and fights off blocks.” “Doesn’t shy away from contact and willing to sacrifice body to make play.”
Eagles fans love to hear that.
His biggest drawback is “durability” where he’s rated “below average.” Dennard started all of Michigan State’s games last season, but in 2012 required two offseason surgeries to repair a sports hernia. He also missed time that season with a shoulder injury. In 2010 he sustained a season-ending knee injury.
It appears he’s overcome those injury issues from earlier in his collegiate career to turn into a solid player.
Check out the highlights here. Dennard has great ball skills and anticipation. Right around the 1:35 mark we get a little taste of his physical play. The guy isn’t afraid to make contact and depending on what kind of defense the Eagles are trying to build, he could be a welcome addition.
If these would be the top choices for the Eagles on Draft day, I’d love to see Dennard trade in one shade of green for another. Mosley wouldn’t be a bad addition, either, but when you have a chance to add a player of Dennard’s ability, I think you take it.
Who would you take?