With the draft minutes away from kickoff, Eagles fans all have their eyes on the fourth overall pick. There’s been a lot of speculation, but this post is devoted to my personal ideas.
At four, the two clear-cut top prospects in Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel figure to be gone already. Behind them, there’s a big group of players who fit well in Philadelphia and have superstar potential that could outweigh the questions surrounding them. I’m not hoping for any one player, and the only two potential picks that I would disapprove of are West Virginia’s Geno Smith and BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah. Smith isn’t even the best quarterback in the draft, and although he’s a good fit in Chip Kelly’s offense, he’d be a major reach. I never bought into the Ezekiel Ansah hype, either. He has no pass rush moves and has some stiffness as a pass rusher. He doesn’t play the run well enough to play the 5-technique, and while he could develop into a good rush linebacker, he’s still a long way away from becoming an impact NFL defender.
Right now, the likeliest pick at four is Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson. He’s no Fisher or Joeckel, but he’s a rock solid pass protector with great athleticism and he has shown steady improvement throughout his career. He’d start at right tackle from day one and provide insurance for Jason Peters on the left side.
I really like LSU’s Barkevious Mingo, who has unbelievable burst as an edge rusher. I’d take him over Dion Jordan, who also makes sense at four. West Virginia’s Tavon Austin could be an incredible weapon for Chip Kelly to take advantage of, and the fourth overall pick is not too early for him. Utah’s Star Lotulelei would be a very disruptive force along the defensive line, and even Florida’s Sharrif Floyd makes sense at defensive end.
I have no idea what the Eagles will do, but they have plenty of options. Keep a close eye on which position the Eagles target, as that will say a lot about how they view their own roster.
One development to keep an eye on is trading down. If Lane Johnson makes it past the third pick, the Eagles could field calls from teams like the Lions, Cardinals, and Dolphins trying to secure his rights. It’s not usually easy to find a trading partner, but the conditions could be ripe for a trade in this scenario.