April 30, 2015
Earlier during the pre-draft process, I argued that the Eagles aren't going anywhere until they find themselves a franchise quarterback. I do not believe that Sam Bradford will be that for the Eagles, and remain steadfast in my belief that the Eagles will try very hard to move up to draft Marcus Mariota, and I'm leaning toward them getting it done.
Having said that, onto the final Eagles-only mock draft of 2015! (Note: In the previous four mock drafts, I did not duplicate any players, so that you guys could read something different each time. My final version is comprised almost entirely of duplicates, with the exception of the first pick).
A couple days ago, we laid out the case for the Eagles going hard after Marcus Mariota in detail, but the bulletpoint version goes as follows:
• The Eagles are going to try, per sources.
• Trading for Mariota would theoretically end the Eagles' recent instability at QB.
• Marcus Mariota will cost far less than Sam Bradford.
• The Eagles have far better trade up ammo than is perceived.
• The notion that Sam Bradford won't sign anywhere else if he's traded is flawed.
• It sure feels like the Titans really want to trade out.
• Chip has "The Juice," and can pretty much make it happen if he wants.
• It just fits.
If the Eagles trade up for Mariota, it'll likely cost them their 20th overall pick, Sam Bradford, and some combination of other players and/or their #1 pick in 2016. For the purpose of this mock draft, we'll continue as though it would not affect the rest of their 2015 picks.
Rollins was among the prospects who impressed me at the Senior Bowl. Here's what I wrote then:
Rollins is a playmaker. During the week of practices, he showed a knack for locating the ball in the air and making plays on it, something Philly fans rarely saw from Eagles starting corners in 2014. In the Senior Bowl game itself, he made a very nice over the shoulder interception. Rollins was a star basketball player at Miami (OH) for four years, and didn't play footbal until his senior year, when he had seven interceptions. He has an enormous ceiling. To be determined if 5'11 is too short for the Eagles' liking.
After his Senior Bowl showing, Rollins was getting buzz as a potential first round pick. And then he ran a 4.57, which ended all of that talk. Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com thinks Rollins could move to safety, and I buy his logic:
Rollins would be perfect for the Eagles scheme. He could play deep, in the box, Cover 2 or slide down and play the slot. He has the size, skill set, athleticism and toughness to handle those roles.
If he doesn’t pan out at S, you can always put him back at CB. I think he could be a good starting corner in the NFL. I just think Safeties are harder to find. And Rollins combination of ball skills and instincts makes me think he could thrive at that position.
Tommy also found the following clip of Rollins planting an offensive tackle on his ass (skip to the 4:23 mark):
Love that. And some highlights:
Marpet comes from Division III Hobart, and in Chip Kelly's first two years in Philly, the Eagles have exclusively drafted players from big Division I schools. However, Marpet showed at the Senior Bowl that he belonged, and then some, which Marpet attributed to refined technique not normally associated with smaller schools. In interviews at the Combine, he also seemed like a high character kid who will interview well.
Then in February, he blew up the Combine:
The Eagles have a glaring need at guard, and Marpet is a player in the same mold as Evan Mathis, who could be dealt. To note, Marpet may not last until the Eagles pick in the third round, so perhaps they could package a player with their third round pick to move up to get him.
The Eagles recently brought in Amos for a visit to the NovaCare Complex, which makes sense. Whenever Alabama's Landon Collins' name comes up in a mock draft to the Eagles, Philly reporters are quick to shoot it down, as Collins isn't a great fit for Bill Davis' scheme. The Eagles seem to target versatile safeties, valuing cover skills over in-the-box skills. Does Amos' scouting report strengths on NFL.com sound like a fit?
STRENGTHS Athletic with good range. Fluid in space with easy backpedal and smooth hips. Has ability to turn, run and recover when ball is in the air. Good route recognition. Trustworthy in coverage and is rarely out of position. Can line up defense. Offered versatility in coverage. Played some slot corner in sub packages. Outstanding in zone coverage at Penn State. Can crowd receivers and closes throwing windows. Allowed just 3.9 yards per target in 2014. Has twitch to trigger and close on throws.
The downside is that Amos isn't noted for his in-the-box prowess, but I'm not sure the Eagles care all that much.
As of April 16th, CBS Sports has Antwan Goodley as the 275th ranked prospect in this draft and the 36th ranked WR. That seems absolutely crazy to me, but if NFL personnel people view Goodley the same way, he could be a late round steal for the Eagles.
In terms of build, Goodley reminds me a lot of Josh Huff. They are both short, thick, explosive players who almost look more like running backs than wide receivers. Both Huff and Goodley can do damage after the catch, and have value as returners. Like Huff, Goodley thrived in a spread offense in college, and both could do the same in the pros under Chip Kelly.
Goodley's numbers fell off a bit in 2014 because he was hampered with a quad injury, but he had a tremendous junior season for the Bears:
You can watch a Goodley highlight reel here, but for me, his signature highlight is below. You can see his YAC ability summed up here:
Boyle was a versatile player for the Blue Hens, lining up out wide, as an in-line TE, and even occasionally in the backfield next to the QB. He also has the ability to long snap. TE isn't exactly a dire need for the Eagles, but it's a spot where they could look to spend less money in 2016.
Brent Celek's receptions, yards, and first down catches have declined (or stayed the same) in each of the last four years.
Celek is the best blocking tight end on the team, but his blocking ability doesn't warrant the $4.8 million he'll count against the cap in 2015, and it certainly won't warrant the $5 million he'll count against the cap in 2016 if he continues to be less and less productive as a receiver. Boyle could be a player who eventually replaces Celek.
Boyle also has a connection to Chip Kelly. "Our offensive coordinator (Sean Devine) came from New Hampshire, so a lot of our plays are based off of their plays," said Boyle, speaking at the Combine. Devine and Kelly were both assistants for 11 years at New Hampshire, and Kelly made occasional trips to watch Delaware play this past season.
Gwachum played WR at Oregon State, but moved to DE his senior year. At 6'5, 246, with 34 1/2 arms, Gwachum has the size and athleticism that Chip Kelly loves. Gwachum is also thought of as a high character guy, via NFL.com:
SOURCES TELL US "This guy is going to blow some people away with his explosion numbers and teams will love him in interviews because he's a genuinely good guy. As a player, he still needs a lot of time to develop and you better set aside time for that and have a plan for him." -- NFC South area scout.
This is a player the Eagles would have to develop. When you're drafting in the later rounds, you can either go after players who can contribute quickly on special teams, or you can target guys who have a lot of upside, but need a lot of work. Since the Eagles already have more than their share of quality special teamers, why not take a long term chance on a size-athleticism freak?
Smelter tore his ACL late in the 2014 season, so he could still be recovering as NFL teams head into training camp, but in the 7th round, he would represent good value. And obviously, as the free agency period proved, Chip Kelly isn't shy about taking chances on guys with serious injury histories.
When healthy, Smelter is big-bodied WR at 226 pounds who comes from a run-heavy offense at Georgia Tech. He's a good blocker, and a tremendous athlete with an accomplished baseball background. He is also considered to be a great character guy, via NFL.com:
SOURCES TELL US: "I hate that he tore his ACL. We throw the phrase 'athlete' and 'competitor' around quite a bit in this business, but he embodies that. If he hadn't had a shoulder problem, I think we would be talking about him as a major leaguer right now." -- NFC Area scout
Smelter averaged over 20 yards per catch in 2014:
He is a player the Eagles could "redshirt" and groom to be a contributor in 2016.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski