The Philadelphia Eagles have had some questionable drafts the past couple of seasons. One of the most glaring needs that the team has failed to address is offensive line. For that reason, the Philadelphia Eagles should add Isaiah Battle if he is available late in the supplementary draft.
Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle is a huge mauler with quick feet who could be an absolute stud in the NFL. Battle is a big man who fits exactly what Eagles head coach Chip Kelly loves in offensive linemen. Battle is 6’6.5″, 326 lbs, and has 35 1/4-inch arms. From a size standpoint, Battle is almost a carbon copy of Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who was drafted #4 overall in the 2006 draft.
However, I believe that Battle could be a great fit for the Eagles at guard. Watching tape of Battle, you will see that he has trouble translating his athleticism to the tackle position. Battle routinely got beat by the speed rush or spin moves, not what you’d expect from a man with his moving ability. The last couple years have seen many teams draft college tackles and move them to NFL guards right away. One great example is Cowboys guard Zach Martin, who played left tackle at Notre Dame but acclimated quickly to guard for the Cowboys and became a Pro Bowler and first team All-Pro in his rookie season.
I think that Battle could have that kind of rookie year if moved into the left guard position, where he’d be between two of the best at their positions in Eagles left tackle Jason Peters and Eagles center Jason Kelce. Playing next to those two guys, as well as being coached by Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, could make Battle a very good rookie year guard.
The main issue with Battle, however, is that there are character concerns that forced him to leave Clemson only. One thing that Kelly has made clear in his three years with the Eagles is he does not like adding players with character concerns. As I wrote back in January, Kelly needs to take advantage of the culture that he has set up. That’s what great teams do. They draft a player with character concerns and use the great locker room to mold that player into who they want him to be.
While Battle may end up going in the middle rounds of the supplemental draft due to his ability, his off-field concerns may cause Battle to drop into the late rounds or even go undrafted altogether. If he is available in the seventh round, I think the Eagles should take a waiver on him. A player of his capabilities available for a seventh round pick does not typically happen (unless they’re possibly murderers).
At any rate, Battle would be an immediate upgrade to the guard position and most likely the starter over the likes of Eagles linemen Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, or Kevin Graf. Hopefully the Eagles take him to help solidify the offensive line and both protect quarterback Sam Bradford and pave the way for running back Demarco Murray to have another MVP-caliber year.
Fly Eagles Fly.
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