To recap where we are so far, the first three picks went like this:
- Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel
- Jaguars: OT Eric Fisher
- Raiders: Sharrif Floyd
I believe this is the absolute dream scenario for the Eagles. Last year, the Vikings held the 3rd overall pick. The Browns were drafting at 4th overall, and were apparently spooked that some other team was going to jump ahead of them to take Trent Richardson, so they moved up one spot to ensure they got their guy. The cost: a 4th round pick, a 6th round pick, and a 7th round pick.
Since the Vikings already had Adrian Peterson, there was no way they were going to take Richardson, and they wound up taking Matt Kalil at 4th overall. They essentially got 3 extra picks… for free.
The Eagles could realistically find themselves in a similar situation. The ideal scenario for the Eagles would be if two offensive tackles come off the board within the first three picks, most likely Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher. That could set off a bidding war for that 4th overall pick between OT-desperate teams like the Lions (5), Cardinals (7), Chargers (11), and Dolphins (12) for the services of the last remaining stud LT, in this scenario, Lane Johnson.
If at that point in the draft versatile OLB Dion Jordan is still on the board, the Eagles’ best bet might be to simply move back one spot, still get their guy, and pick up some freebies from the Lions in the process.
There is also the possibility that some team has fallen in love with Geno Smith and could inquire about moving up. There are a cluster of teams who might fit that profile at the back half of the top 10, including the Browns (6), Cardinals (7), Bills (8), and Jets (9).
This draft is universally thought to be “weak at the top,” and many have noted that teams drafting in the top 5 could have difficulty trading back. However, if there’s one team that as good a chance as any, it would be the Eagles, and I believe that they will indeed add some extra picks by moving back slightly out of the 4th spot. However, for the sake of this exercise, we’ll plug in Dion Jordan, who as noted above, may be available in certain scenarios even if the Eagles move back.
While the Eagles’ new coaching staff has been unwilling to put a label on what kind of defense they’re going to run this year, the overwhelming thinking is that it is going to be some sort of 4-3/3-4 hybrid, similar to the one run by the Seahawks. The two OLBs have different jobs, and they are explained here by Sheil Kapadia of Philly Mag.
“One linebacker is lined up across the tight end. This would be your typical outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. You need a player who’s capable of rushing the passer or dropping back into coverage. Chike Okeafor filled this role for the Cardinals in 2008 under new Eagles DC Billy Davis. According to PFF, he rushed the QB about 70 percent of the time and dropped back about 30 percent on passing downs.
And then there’s the pass-rush specialist on the other side. This is the player Davis referred to as the “Predator.” For the Cardinals, that spot was occupied by Bertrand Berry and Travis LaBoy. Per PFF, Berry rushed the passer 94 percent of the time and dropped back just 6 percent. For LaBoy, the exact same percentages applied.”
The Eagles seem to be set at the “Predator” position, which is where Brandon Graham and Trent Cole are likely to line up. The team also added versatile OLB Connor Barwin, who can play either side.
Dion Jordan would fill the role of the first OLB described by Sheil Kapadia perfectly. He’s 6-foot-6, 248, very athletic, and extremely versatile. He can rush the passer, but his real value was that Oregon moved him all over the field and asked him to drop into coverage quite a bit, where he also excelled.
There are a large number of mobile QBs that have flooded the NFC. They would include Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and even some other guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler. The more athletic guys you can add to your defense to chase those QBs around, the better off you’ll be.
The Eagles add a “do-everything” player to their front 7, and can continue to build around him and star-in-the-making Fletcher Cox.