BEFORE anything else let’s look at what we have to work with:
1) We pick 22nd in every round except the 6th because we have no pick in that round.
2) We only have 6 picks total.
3) There are no rounds in which we have 2 picks.
That’s stuff we can ALL agree on, because it’s fact. Now that we know what we have let’s look at what we need. For example these are 3 lists that seem to reflect the consensus:
1) S, LB, DL
Notice how regardless of how they stack up, LB pops up early every time?
Pass rush is our team’s biggest need. Regardless of what you think of the Safeties or Corners, a better pass rush than we’ve had these last 2 years will make everyone back there immediately better, by rendering the opposing offense immediately worse. Can we agree on that?
Did anyone notice how we aggressively pursued pass rushers in Free Agency? What’s that? You say we didn’t chase or sign a pass rusher? However we made sure WR’s got paid, we added a FS, and even some ST players, but again…no pass rusher.
It’s that more than anything else that says we’ll use the Draft to address an apparent need that we totally ignored in Free Agency. My thinking is we’ll grab an OLB. While I’d prefer for us to trade up to grab [Anthony Barr], it seems a lot more realistic that someone else will beat us to him. A trade up will cost us big, and we’ve already confirmed that we’re short on trade bait.
Our 3-4 scheme requires an OLB that will play most downs around the Line Of Scrimmage, meaning he’ll need the size to hold up to battling OT’s all day long. So we’ll need someone who’s already 265-270, or who may be able to add enough playing weight in the next couple of years to get to the 265-270 range.
That makes for a very narrow list after pick 22. In fact about the only guy fitting that bill is [Jeremiah Attaochu] out of Georgia Tech. Later on there’s guys like Arkansas’s [Chris Smith] and Alabama’s [Adrian Hubbard], but both are said to lack explosiveness, so it seems that they’re more like depth/role players than legit NFL starters.
All in all, I think OLB is who the Eagles will take with the first pick. We need an heir apparent for Trent Cole and barring an unlikely trade up, and even though he’s a reach at #22, Attaochu looks to be the guy.
Like I said it would be a reach to grab him at 22, but there’s almost no way this guy will still be there at 54 (our next pick), so we’d have to reach a bit, or gamble on a trade down.
Anything could happen between now and Thursday, and I won’t pretend to have inside information or to be a psychic, but if I were to put $50 on the pick, I’d go with:
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu 6’3 252lb Georgia Tech.