With the draft just one night away, the forecast for the Eagles is getting murkier instead of clearer. Add West Virginia WR Tavon Austin, Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson, and LSU OLB Barkevious Mingo to the list of players the Eagles could take in the first round.
ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported that the Eagles could draft Tavon Austin if the draft’s elite tackles are off the board. It’s looking more and more likely that both Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will be gone before the Eagles pick, so Austin could be a legitimate possibility.
Austin has rare speed and quickness and would be a formidable weapon in the slot, on kick and punt returns, and even in the backfield. Chip Kelly is the right coach for him, and he could do great things in Philadelphia. The Eagles also “reached out” to him on Monday. He makes a lot of sense with the Eagles, but most analysts feel that he’s too small to be a top 5 pick.
Depending on who the Eagles consider to be an elite tackle, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson could be the apple of the Eagles’ eye on Thursday night. He’s new to the position, but is another fantastic fit in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. He has superior length, athleticism, and quickness. He has a bit of nastiness in the run game and could play on either the left or right side. He’s not the most powerful prospect, but he has immense upside. He’s clearly a notch below Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, though.
LSU’s Barkevious Mingo is the third name that has been connected to the Eagles recently. He didn’t put up very good sack numbers during his junior season, but was arguably misused by LSU and has big-time potential. At 6’4″, 241, he projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker and has the best burst of any pass rusher in this class, including Dion Jordan. He’s naturally strong and has a ton of upside. For the Eagles to take him at 4, they will have to like him better than Jordan, who will probably still be available.
Don’t sleep on any of these three names, but the favorites to be Chip Kelly’s first ever NFL draft pick are still Oregon’s Dion Jordan and Utah’s Star Lotulelei.