It’s once again time to stick my neck out and attempt to forecast who will end up in midnight green. I’m bracing for a savage beheading this time out, since I nailed both Shady and Ingram last April. That was the Reid/Heckert regime. Now it’s Reid/Roseman. I have no idea what the hell these two are planning. Anyone who claims to is a big fat fibber.
Before making my straight predictions, minus zany trade scenarios, I’ll tell you what I really think is going to happen tomorrow night. A lot of fans and pundits are all but convinced the Birds will move into the top 15. Count me among that group. This is how it will play out.
The move up:
Rumors are rampant that Dallas is talking to Miami about moving up to 12 to select safety Earl Thomas. I have a suspicion this info is legit. My gut has been telling me for weeks that Reid/Roseman want Thomas too. He’s the best fit for their scheme. He also happens to be my favorite player in the draft, so this is probably wishful thinking on my part.
Denver is begging to dump out of 11. According to the trade value chart the 11th spot is worth 1250 points. In order to get their man, and trump the hated Cowboys, the Eagles will trade their 24th, 55th and 87th selections, which total 1245 points, and grab Thomas.
The beauty of this deal is that they still keep the coveted 37th pick, which can then be used to land a top cornerback like Patrick Robinson. The secondary is solidified for years to come. That leaves them with six picks to fill their other needs.
What about springing all the way into the top five to snag Eric Berry? It could happen, but I say no. It’s waaaaayyyy too expensive to leap that high.
Joe Haden? Nah. I think he’s a bit overrated and he doesn’t fit the defense.
A defensive end like Derrick Morgan would be a surprise. They dealt for Darryl Tapp and handed him a new contract for a reason: they love the dude and believe he is the future at LDE. That being said, my second favorite player behind Thomas is Morgan. I think he’s a legit Pro Bowl caliber end. He has an excellent burst and is solid against the run. I would be thrilled to see him be the pick. He could be had at #11.
#24 – All the players most linked to the Eagles should be gone: Maurkice Pouncey, Brandon Graham and Kyle Wilson. Mike Iupati is a possibility, but he’s not a center, which is the biggest need along the line. The most glaring hole on the team is at right cornerback. Trusting Ellis Hobbs to get the job done would be foolish, especially with his health still a question. I’m going with Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson. It might be a tad early, but Reid/Roseman can ill afford to gamble he’ll still be around at 37. Jackson best fits Sean McDermott‘s scheme. He can play tight man-to-man, off coverage and zone, and has a chance to start right away.
#37 – The McNabb pick. If there is a move up, this could be an enticing bargaining chip. Free safety makes sense here, but the value drops significantly after Berry and Thomas. Forget about center because Pouncey is the only elite prospect. I’m going with a wildcard and choosing a guy I have yet to see married to the Birds. California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. Although slightly undersized, Alaualu brings a non-stop motor and a nasty style of play. He can also slide out to end which would fill the versatility void left by Darren Howard’s release. Relying on the bumbling duo of Laws/Abiamiri is not advisable.
#55 – How about a safety? And the pick is… Georgia Tech free safety Morgan Burnett. This guy has been creeping up draft boards for weeks. He has excellent ball skills and range as evidenced by his 14 career interceptions. He also attacks in the run game. Of the second-tier safeties, he possesses the best all-around skill set. This represents a great value pick.
I could venture into the third round, but this is as far as I go. Linebacker, running back, tight end and quarterback should all be addressed, and maybe a developmental center with upside.
I’ll be posting liberally throughout the night, so stop in and drop a comment. Fasten your seatbelts. This promises to be one helluva draft ride.