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February 24, 2015

Eagles only mock draft, version 2.0

Eagles NFL
022415LandonCollins Brynn Anderson/AP


The draft is still a little more than two months away, and obviously, free agency has not yet even begun. But... let's just go ahead and do a mock draft anyway, for the same two reasons we did one three weeks ago:

  1. I believe the following players would make sense for the Eagles for varying reasons no matter what they do in free agency.
  2. People love clicking on mock drafts, and I gotta get those page views, son.

So let's just get to it.

Round 1: Landon Collins, S, Alabama (6'0, 228)

Landon Collins isn't Ed Reed or Earl Thomas in terms of his coverage or ball-hawking abilities, although he isn't a liability on the back end. He has a thicker build at 6'0, 228, and is a great tackler who looks to punish ball carriers. The Eagles have not had a punishing presence at safety since, well, you know. Watch how Collins attacks ball carriers downhill, as opposed to waiting for them to come to him:

The Eagles are a "stop the run first" defense, which could make Collins very appealing to Billy Davis to pair with the versatile Malcolm Jenkins.

Round 2: Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State (6'5, 313)

Cameron Erving started his career as a defensive lineman for the Seminoles before moving to the O line. He started at left tackle in 2014 before moving to center. Erving is thought of by some as a first-round pick who can play OT in addition to other spots along the OL. There are others who think he won't be an effective starter at OT at the pro level, and see him as an interior offensive lineman only, which lowers his value significantly. For the Eagles' purposes, however, Erving would make sense here even if their thinking is the latter.

The Eagles have two aging starters in Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans at guard, and both players will likely remain starters in 2015. The Eagles could earmark the inexperienced Erving for one of the guard spots in 2016, while giving them some youth and depth that they are desperate for at every position on the OL.

At guard, the Eagles would lose nothing in the way of athleticism that has been the trademark of their offensive line over the last half decade. Here is how Erving's measurables compare to other guards competing at the Combine since 1999 (chart via

Cameron Erving

Round 3: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama (6'1, 226)

Yeldon was looking like a potential first-round pick through his first two seasons at 'Bama, but his 2014 wasn't as productive as 2012 or 2013, particularly when you look at his yards per carry.

T.J. Yeldon

Running back is a position where we don't have a lot of evidence just yet on what Chip Kelly values, but I suspect he would love a big guy like Yeldon who is a north-south one-cut runner who doesn't waste a lot of motion. In the highlight reel below, watch how he finds running lanes on zone plays, puts his foot in the ground and bursts through them. Envision that in Chip Kelly's scheme:

It might seem crazy that a player as talented as Yeldon could be had in the middle of the third round, but considering how stacked this running back class is, it's a real possibility. There could be six running backs taken ahead of Yeldon: Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Ameer Abdullah, Jay Ajayi, Duke Johnson, and Tevin Coleman. The third round could have serious value at the RB position.

Round 4: Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford (6'6, 294)

I really liked what I saw from Anderson at the Senior Bowl, who was very disruptive in stretches during the week of practices. While the Eagles don't have a big need for defensive line help, Anderson is very nimble for his size at 6'6, 294. In 2014, Anderson has 8.5 sacks. He also does a good job of getting his hands up when the QB is about to deliver the football, a la Connor Barwin.

Round 4: Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah (6'1, 205)

Rowe started at CB for Utah this season after playing his first three seasons at safety. If the Eagles see Rowe as a CB at the next level, he has the long frame at 6’1, 205 and physical nature against the run that they have prioritized. If they view him as a safety in the NFL, he has versatility to cover receivers, which enables them to stay in their base defense against three WR sets. Initially, I thought Rowe would be a better fit for the Eagles at safety, but after an impressive showing at the Combine, he may very well have the athleticism to be a CB in the NFL (chart via

Eric Rowe

Rowe did not have a good showing at the Senior Bowl, which could turn teams off, but Rowe's size/speed/versatility/positional need should make him an obvious Eagles target.

Round 5: Byron Jones, CB, UConn (6'1, 199)

We profiled Byron Jones here before he shattered the broad jump record at the Combine. Obviously, Jones has incredible raw explosiveness. This is nuts, and watch the other Combine participants' reaction in the background:

Personally, when we previewed Jones, I had no idea he had that kind of explosion. What stood out to me was his impressive size, at 6'1, 199, and his reputation for having good character, via

STRENGTHS: Extremely smart and instinctive on the field. Shows above-average anticipation of routes. Is able to sniff out rub routes and works to avoid them. Flashes recovery speed downfield and gets head around to find ball and make a play on it. Uses instincts and adequate closing burst to disrupt the catch. Generally reliable tackler. Team captain and leader on the field and in the locker room. Scouts say he's willing to play hurt and inspires his teammates.

Round 6: Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech (6'6, 238)

You see his height/weight, right? Well, he also ran a 4.46 at the Combine, which made my daughter angry:

Georgia Tech's run-heavy offense does not make for impressive wide receiver stats, but Waller's career numbers are unimpressive no matter what the offensive scheme is: 51-971-9.

He's a pure project, but one with incredible size, speed, and leaping ability.

Round 7: Blake Sims, QB, Alabama (5'11, 218)

Sims is short, but he's only a half inch shorter than Michael Vick, who had some success in Chip Kelly's offense. Sims doesn't have Vick's physical skills (and that includes "2013 Vick"), and is probably a backup only in the NFL. Still, he has a good arm, he can make plays outside the pocket, and be a weapon in zone read looks.

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