Thursday, January 31, 2013

What to do with the #4 pick?

The Eagles haven't had a top ten draft pick since 2000 when they selected Corey Simon 6th overall and haven't had a top five pick since Donovan McNabb was taken 2nd overall in the 1999 draft. Simon was a good player for the Eagles for six seasons reaching the Pro Bowl once in 2004 and helping the team get to Super Bowl XXXIX. McNabb's role on the team was even greater. Led the team to 5 NFC Championship games, won 4 NFC East Championships, Led the team to XXXIX, 6 time Pro Bowler, and holds numerous Eagles records. 

These two players were Andy Reid's first two first round picks. Now Chip Kelly is leading the team and this years first round selection will be a guy who Kelly and fans will look to make an impact for years to come. What's interesting about this years draft is, is that former Eagles head coach and newly appointed Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid holds the number one overall pick. This means that his selection will start the domino and most likely dictate who the Eagles will select at #4. 

The Chiefs need a QB, but they also have a big question mark in the LT spot. Branden Albert struggled with injuries last season and is slated to be a free agent. Luke Joeckel is considered by most to be the number one overall prospect in this years draft, and someone who can be an anchor for the O-line for years to come.  So the question is do the Chiefs stick with what they have at QB and strengthen their offensive line, or "reach" for QB Geno Smith. While Smith's draft stock has been rising as of late he still isn't considered to be in the top ten of overall prospects. 

The Eagles should prepare for the Chiefs to go either way, and regardless of how the Chiefs draft the Eagles will benefit. Despite not being ranked in the top 5 or top 10 of overall prospects, Geno Smith does possess the size, mobility, and arm strength that will translate into the NFL. That being said he has known to be inconsistent with his delivery and some question his mental toughness. Additionally he took most of his snaps out of the shotgun formation and his eye popping stats could have been a result of the high powered offense he ran. He could however just be the type of quarterback to thrive in Chip Kelly's system. 

If the Chiefs do grab him at #1 then Joeckel should fall to the Eagles at 4. Joeckel has been compared to the Browns Joe Thomas, arguable the best tackle in the game today. He possesses everything you look for in an offensive linemen and most annalists have to nitpick his performance to find weaknesses. If he does slip to number 4 then the Eagles should have a perennial Pro Bowler for years. 

On the off chance that both are gone by the time the Eagles are on the clock then the team should switch focus to the other side of the ball, as taking any of the other QB prospects would seem like a reach. With the focus on defense two guys stand out CB Dee Milliner and OLB Jarvis Jones. Both are top ranked for their position and both are aggressive football players. Milliner has a slight edge over Jones in that the Eagles secondary was horrific last season and I don't see the team keeping both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Milliner would become the teams franchise CB immediately. Some will look at taking either of these guys and point out that their are higher overall ranked guys but those prospects are all defensive linemen. While it isn't always good practice to not take the best overall player the Eagles D-line isn't the most glaring problem on defense so drafting for a need shouldn't be as much of a problem. 

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