The Philadelphia Eagles have possessed a top-five draft pick only once in the last 25 years. But in three weeks—barring a trade down—the Eagles will add a new name to a list that currently only contains Donovan McNabb.
Naturally, with varied needs and a ton of pressure on a new coaching staff, there's been rampant speculation in regard to where the Eagles will go with that pick. Will it be another quarterback like in 1999, or will they go with a defensive lineman like in 1971? Or maybe an offensive tackle like they did in 1966?
Yeah, the Eagles might not have a championship in their history, but they rarely pick this high.
Here's a breakdown of what national writers and experts think Philadelphia will do with that precious pick...
Eric Fisher (OT, Central Michigan)
There are two mega offensive tackle prospects in this year's draft, and the Eagles obviously have some uncertainty at that position. I like this pick because it serves a need, and it could also be the best available player in this spot. In a lot of other years, you could make the argument that Fisher, whose stock has risen throughout the offseason, deserves to be a No. 1 overall pick.
Plus, he's versatile and can play right tackle from the get-go, giving the Eagles the ability to move Todd Herremans inside and sit Danny Watkins. Thus, Fisher would make an immediate impact in Philly.
Many personnel evaluators in the NFL think Fisher is just as good as -- if not slightly better than -- Joeckel, and Philadelphia would get one of the premier players in this class. Both Jason Peters and Todd Herremans return from injury this season, but there is no guarantee they will remain healthy, and Fisher's movement skills make him a good fit in the up-tempo scheme new head coach Chip Kelly will install.
Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
Usually, I'm all about drafting pass-rushers in the first round. It's extremely hard to be good on defense without top-tier players rushing off the edge, and thus, that position carries more weight in the draft, such as the quarterback position does on offense.
But with guys like Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry already in Philly, it makes little sense for the Eagles to spend such a rare pick on a position that doesn't require attention. I'd rather see the Eagles swing the bat at a quarterback like Geno Smith or address a bigger need with Fisher or Star Lotulelei.
Jordan makes sense only if those types are gone or you're going full-out best player available. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but I think there are better options.
Kelly says he wants more size and versatility on defense. Though Utah DT Star Lotulelei would give the Eagles an inside standout, this dynamic defender—and Kelly knows him well—may have more value.
Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
I'm still split on whether or not the Eagles should roll the dice on Smith, who would be a lot riskier than either of the first two names on this list. I don't think you can win without a franchise quarterback on the roster, and I don't believe this franchise has one right now, but Smith doesn't feel like a top-tier quarterback prospect.
Of course, there's also a chance Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland or a trade partner makes Philly's decision for it by taking Smith first, second or third. I feel as though a lot of nervous Eagles fans would be a little relieved if that were to go down.
In drafting Smith, the Eagles are in a good position to develop an athletic, talented thrower to succeed specifically in Kelly's offense, but without the requirement that he must start from day one. I don't like the idea of Smith as a Week 1 starter in 2013 -- but for a roster that's already in a good position to compete this season, he could be a great fit for the franchise in 2014, and most importantly, a great fit for the coach.
Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
It seems as though the heart condition that interrupted his combine isn't going to be a problem, which brings Lotulelei back into the picture in a big way.
I think the Eagles are probably drawn to his versatility up front in what is expected to be a hybrid scheme. He can play nose tackle or five-technique defensive end, and he's the type of athlete Bill Davis could have a field day with.
A lot of experts don't have him in their top five right now, but I think that might change. I favor Lotulelei over Fisher, Jordan and maybe even Smith.
The Eagles have jettisoned most of last season's defensive linemen as they switch to a three-man front, and Lotulelei is a three-down player who can man the nose or five-technique.
Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
There's no doubt Floyd has top-of-the-first-round talent, but he does feel a lot like Fletcher Cox, whom the Eagles used a first-round pick on one year ago. The Philadelphia native also seems to think he's better suited to play defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme.
I'm not saying he'd be a bad pick, but I think there are better options out there for the top four than Floyd. I think Lotulelei is just as talented and is a better fit for what the Eagles are looking to do in 2013.
Philadelphia intends on drafting the best player available under Chip Kelly, and Floyd would add dynamic pass-rushing ability from the interior on passing downs. Floyd is both a value pick here and addresses a need.
The Eagles have also visited with pass-rusher Ziggy Ansah and are reportedly bringing in cornerback Dee Milliner next week, so there are plenty of possibilities at No. 4. At this stage in the game, I really don't have a feel for where they're leaning, and the fact that Kelly is new to the NFL and the draft process has all of us in the dark.
The reality is that that will probably make the next three weeks a lot more confusing, but also a lot more exciting.
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