Should the Philadelphia Eagles Draft Chance Warmack with the Fourth Pick?

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIIJanuary 21, 2013

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Quarterback AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide jokes with offensive linesman Chance Warmack #65 prior to the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

New Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly will have an opportunity to catapult the turnaround of the Eagles franchise when the team picks fourth overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

The holes on this Eagles team are glaring. On offense, the major issue is right guard, where Danny Watkins has failed to even adequately fill in since he was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft.

On defense, the Eagles need to improve on the defensive line and at linebacker, and they need to literally replace all four members of the secondary. 

That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Kelly for the team's first-round draft pick. 

Recently,'s Gil Brandt boldly predicted that the Eagles would draft Alabama guard Chance Warmack with their first-round pick. Warmack would become the first guard drafted inside the top 10 overall picks since 1997.

Historically, guard is just not a position where players are valued very highly. It's not as important on the offensive line as tackle. 

However, it is still one of the 11 positions on the offense, and it's not like fullback, where the player might participate in 25 percent of snaps. Your guards are going to be on the field for every single play and you still need talented players there.

Warmack has been described as the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, who was drafted 17th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. (per David Wyatt of

Hutchinson was a can't-miss prospect who turned into a seven-time All-Pro selection with the Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. He is still in the league at age 35, where he starts for the Tennessee Titans.

The bust potential for guards is very low (making it even more embarrassing that the Eagles missed on Danny Watkins in 2011). 

If Warmack could turn into one of the best guards in the league, and everything about him indicates that he could, I would truly have no problem with the Eagles selecting him fourth overall.

It's a reach but it's a very safe reach. It also isn't a stretch to fill a need because guard is a major hole on the Eagles. 

I wouldn't have a problem with the Eagles selecting cornerback Dee Milliner or tackle Luke Joeckel if they were still available at the fourth overall pick.

But I would pick Warmack, who would make an immediate impact as a day one starter, over a player like defensive tackle Star Lotuleilei, who would help the team but doesn't fill a position of weakness.

It's very likely not going to happen. But if it doesn't, the Eagles still need to fix their hole at right guard before the 2013 season.

I'm not comfortable with starting Danny Watkins, who will be 28 years old. He's worth keeping as a backup but he's blown his opportunity to start for the Eagles.

With Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, and Todd Herremans returning from injuries next season, and Evan Mathis coming off consecutive dominant seasons, the Eagles have the potential to greatly help the development of quarterback Nick Foles (and running back Bryce Brown) with one of the game's best offensive lines.

That sounds pretty appealing to me.