As much as it pains many Eagles fans, team owner Jeffrey Lurie didn't beat around the bush by saying that Andy Reid deserves at least another season to get the team back into shape and back into the playoffs for, hopefully, another Super Bowl run. After an offseason where they signed many named players such as Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and Vince Young, I am sure the Eagles will play it cool in free agency, maybe sign a couple guys who can get in the mix at certain positions, and do most of their revamping in the draft.
Below is a very early 2012 Mock Draft that combines who I think the Eagles will take and who I want them to take:
1st Round ( 1.15): Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College
During Reid's tenure as head coach, the only legit middle linebacker he has ever had was Jeremiah Trotter. They tried inserting rookie Casey Matthews in at the start of the 2011 season, which proved to be a huge failure after he was overmatched in much of the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season.
Projected to be one of the first, if not the first linebacker drafted, Kuechly started all three seasons at Boston College and was a two-time first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-ACC pick. If Kuechly somehow slips past Dallas at the 1.14 pick, this is a slam dunk pick for the Eagles, who desperately need play-makers at the linebacker position.
2nd Round (2.46): Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
One of the biggest holes on the offensive side of the ball for the Eagles is offensive line, mainly at right tackle. Todd Herremans was adequate, but the team needs to find someone who they can put in there and forget about for the next several years. And they haven't had that since Jon Runyan. Sanders has the ability to play both at left and right tackle.
2nd Round: (2.51) (from Arizona) Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
I'd be ecstatic if the Eagles took Lewis at this spot. Solid against the run and a strong special-teams option, he'd be an upgrade at weakside where Brian Rolle is currently No. 1 on the depth chart. Lewis finished second on the Sooners with 5.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2011. Between he and Kuechly, this linebacking group would increase tenfold.
3rd Round: (3.77) Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
A Paul Hornung Award Finalist and semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, Boykin started all 13 games recording 48 tackles, 9 that went for a loss, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He was also big on special teams, returning 34 kickoffs for 780 yards and 13 punts for 88 yards. He was named the MVP for the Outback Bowl, despite losing against Michigan State, for scoring on offense, defense (safety) and special teams.
The team traded Kevin Kolb to Arizona for a pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last year. But with the rumors that 2011 was Asante Samuel's last season in Philly, the team is going to need some depth behind DRC and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Update: Early reports listed Boykin as suffering a broken or fractured leg at the Senior Bowl, but Boykin’s twitter said that the injury is not that serious and he expected to be back in playing shape in 3 weeks
4th Round: (4.99) (from Tampa Bay) Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina:
I could have easily listed the safety position here, but I'd rather another cornerback to groom with Nnamdi not getting any younger. Norman stood out during the East-West shrine practices and should be taken somewhere on the second day.
4th Round: (4.114) Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State:
Michael Vick is going to be 32 when the 2012 season regular season begins, so maybe looking for a quarterback of the future (again) would be in Reid's best interest. I only view backup Mike Kafka as just that, a backup. Cousins' draft status was expected to be around the 3rd round, but his 3 touchdown passes in the Senior Bowl will boost his stock. He could go higher with a good Combine. But if he doesn't, I'd pounce on him here and groom him for the Post-Vick era. Cousins improved his touchdown passing totals every year and led the Spartans to a 33-30 win in 3 overtimes over the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2012 Outback Bowl.
5th Round: - Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette
There's been some chatter that if the Eagles let DeSean Jackson walk, they will take a more "Patriotic" approach and use more tight-end sets in their offense. Brent Celek bounced back last year, but I'm not sure if Clay Harbor is the answer at No. 2.
Green finished 2011 with moderately successful receiving numbers: 51 catches for 606 yards and 8 touchdowns. But his lack of numbers were mainly due to the offense he was in. A beast at 6'6/237, he's built more like a receiver with tight end qualities. Teams want to start using more athletic tight ends ala Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, so Green could be a perfect fit if the Eagles want to use tight ends as a focal point.
6th Round: Gerell Robinson, WR, Arizona
Robinson would be nothing more than a depth signing if Jackson is let go or not. He played in 47 career games, making 25 starts. He finished his college career with 135 career receptions for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns. He'd be a 5th receiver at best behind Jackson (maybe), Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Riley Cooper.
6th Round (From Denver): Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee
With Ronnie Brown not expected back, Poole will add depth at the running back position behind LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis. A Pat Tillman Award winner at the East-West Shrine game, Poole had a so-so senior year, only averaging 3.7 yards per carry. But he has size and can be developed as a third-stringer. The team could decide to sign a free agent instead, but character is what makes me think the team could have interest in Poole during draft weekend.
6th Round (From New England): Mike Daniels, DL, Iowa
Reid loves his defensive linemen and has had some success developing late-round gems. Daniels finished his college career with 56 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. Pass rushers on the defensive line is definitely what this team could use.
Any Eagles fans out there hoping for someone else to add to the team this year? Give me a holler in the comments section below.