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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NFL Draft Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Wild on Sports
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2013 NFL Draft Capsules:
Philadelphia Eagles
 By Wild on Sports NFL Analyst Davis McGregor

On the Clock: Philadelphia Eagles

Team Overview:
Andy Reid’s tenure in Philly is over. He’s headed off to deal with the issues in Kansas City while the Eagles nabbed a brand new coach to the league.

Oregon’s Chip Kelly made the jump from the NCAA to the big leagues in hopes of restoring flight to these hopeless Eagles. With all the moves he has made so far this off season it seems like they are on the right track but who knows what will happen come game day.

Everyone knows the electrifying style of play Mike Vick brings to the table. This skill set combined with Chip Kelly’s high octane offensive play style puts a lot of options in front of this team. Philadelphia has a lot of potential on offense right now but with all the remaining questions with the offensive line, defense, and Vick’s health; this could end with another 4-12 year.

Team Needs:
1. Offensive Line
2. Defensive Line
3. Quarterback

Last year Vick took 166 shots of combined sacks and knockdowns. It is no surprise that his health is a serious consideration when he’s taking this bad of a beating. The Eagles were making moves all over the board in the free agency, signing Isaac Sopoaga at defensive tackle and Pat Chung to safety. As well as cutting ties with once-star Nnamdi Asomugha.

All strong improvements to the team, but still no new blood on the offensive line. For the Eagles to be what Vince Young always dreamed they could be, this needs to be fixed.

Likely Fits:
Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is a name that can be found on almost every teams draft board, and that’s no different for the Eagles. Only thing is, they are one of the only teams with a real shot of drafting him.

Fisher will go top 5 and there isn’t much disputing that. He has the skill set to make him self a premier pass protector and his ability to move and make plays outside of the pocket fits right into Kelly’s offense.

Fisher also has long arms that allow him to reach wide-9 defensive ends and combined with his quickness off the snap, create seals on the edge. Fisher would be just what the Eagles need to keep defensive ends off Mike Vick and actually give him some time to throw.

No doubt about it, if Fisher hasn’t been drafted in the top three picks than Philly needs to take him. If last years performance on the front lines is repeated, than this team has little hope of winning more than four games again.

With the second pick however, there’s a little more open discussion over which way to go. Isaac Sopoaga is a great addition to the D-Line, he’s a strong presence right at the nose of the defense and can anchor this whole line. 2010’s first rounder Brandon Graham and Pro Bowler Trent Cole have the outside rushing locked down too. So what’s missing? For this 4-3 defense to work the entire front line has to be able to hold its weight. Cullen Jenkings had been doing so for the last few years but now he’s made his way over to New York to do the same for Justin Tuck and his squad.

With no real depth at this position, the Eagles should head down to Alabama to watch Jesse Williams. Working in the best defense in the best college defense in the country has allows this Australian native to make a name for himself. Not quite strong enough of a name to make him go first round, but a high second round pick wouldn’t be surprising.

Williams has the skill set to play either and interior tackle, or an end if in the 3-4 nickel packages. He’s a great hustle player and has the ability to hold his place in a gap against the run. Jenkins in gone and if Chip Kelly hopes to have some sort of run defense this year, picking up Williams in the second round would do it. That is if they don’t decide to take a quarterback…

Michael Vicks health has been a huge concern since he joined the league, and especially over the last few years. It’s even a big enough of a question mark that fantasy football players are uneasy over drafting him. So what are the Eagles gonna do if he goes down? Dennis Dixon only came to the team because he knows Kelly’s offense from his days at Oregon and is most likely just going to help Vick transition to it. Nick Foles doesn’t have much of a future here either. Not that he isn’t good enough, just that with the new offense that came along with the new coaches, didn’t really have a spot for him.

One player that this offense might have a spot for however, is E.J. Manuel.

Let’s be honest, the draft this year is lacking pretty heavily in the quarterback position, pretty much the opposite of last year. So for one of the top 3 QBs to fall to the second round wouldn’t be shocking to anyone. If Manuel is that player to drop, then the Eagles might be calling his name.

After leading the Seminoles to an ACC Championship, and an Orange Bowl victory Manuel showed his ability as a signal caller by not only stepping up in the pocket and delivering strikes to his receivers, but also getting outside of the box and making plays with his feet. The same type of plays that Michael Vick and Dennis Dixon have always made. Chip Kelly would be wise to grab Manuel as not only an insurance policy for Vick this year, but as the possible future of his franchise.

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