Philadelphia Eagles Mid-Free Agency Complete 7-Round Mock Draft
With the biggest stages of free agency and most pro days now behind us, NFL teams will now look ahead toward the draft while continuing to evaluate film and create their draft boards.
The Philadelphia Eagles weren't overly active in free agency but had a few quality pickups, with Darren Sproles being the headliner. He makes the offense even more lethal, and re-signing Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin was big as well.
So Philadelphia's focus in the 2014 NFL draft needs to be defense, and that is reflected here. This mock is not really projecting exactly what the Eagles will do but offers my opinion on what they should do.
Here is my first complete Eagles-only mock draft of this draft season.
*Compensatory picks will change the overall slot for Round 4 and later, so those numbers were left off here.
Round 1 (No. 22): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young
The Eagles ought to go best player available here. Van Noy has been one of my favorite prospects for a while now, and he would bring the kind of athleticism that Philadelphia's defense needs.
His athleticism and fluidity make him a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He is a dynamic playmaker who can get to the passer and create havoc all over the field.
He would also make it easier for general manager Howie Roseman to shop around Brandon Graham, who is a great talent but is much more effective as a 4-3 defensive end.
Van Noy has the experience and instincts to make an immediate impact, and he is also athletic enough to still have a high ceiling. He also will not be around in the second round, so it's first round or nothing here.
Round 2 (No. 54): Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
The Eagles sorely need a safety, and there is very little chance that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be available with their 22nd overall pick. After him, there isn't much of a difference between the next three guys (even though everyone loves Calvin Pryor).
Bucannon is the best pure athlete of the second tier of safeties, and he could end up reminding some fans of Brian Dawkins because of his high-octane, big-hitting style of play.
He flies all around the field and has the size (6'1", 211 lbs) to be a major physical presence in the secondary. While he has room to improve in coverage, he is in no way a liability.
Bucannon's ceiling is through the roof, and he has the ability to fill a major need for Philadelphia at a good value in the second round.
Round 3 (No. 86): Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Now that Philadelphia has solidified the defense with two great athletes at positions of need, the team can look at further improving the dynamic offense.
Richardson, whose father (also named Paul) played for the Eagles, is a lanky player at 6'0", 175 pounds. But he is also an explosive receiver who would make Chip Kelly's offense even faster.
The Colorado captain is a tough, gritty competitor who does not let his size dissuade him from making tough catches and battling for balls in the air.
But when the ball gets into his hands, forget about it. Check out this highlight tape to see the full spectrum of what Richardson brings to the table.
Round 4: Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman
The Eagles have one of the best and most stable offensive lines in the NFL. The problem is that they have very little depth behind those starters.
Dozier is an unknown prospect coming out of Furman, but he has some serious talent. A four-year starter at left tackle, he is likely to move to guard in the NFL, but his experience at tackle is still promising.
At 6'4", 318 pounds with 33.875" arms, he is well-proportioned and strong throughout his body. His raw strength is impressive, but he still needs to refine his technique.
He can get slow and choppy with his footwork and will have to work on playing higher and with more active hands to survive at guard in the NFL. But he could be a quality depth guy and solid pickup at this stage in the draft.
Round 5: Antone Exum, S/CB, Virginia Tech
If he had come out after his junior season last year, Exum would have probably been a Day 2 pick. But after an ACL injury last offseason and then another foot injury at the end of this year, Exum's future is much less certain.
His stock will take a big hit because of those injuries, but I see some serious potential for value here. He's a big (6'0", 213 lbs) cornerback who is a powerful athlete with a very high ceiling.
He is raw, but his natural ability is tantalizing. The Eagles have a solid but uninspiring group of corners on the roster right now, and Exum could be eased into the rotation over the next couple of years.
In the fifth round, value is key. Exum is a bit of a boom-or-bust guy but is worth taking a chance on.
Round 7: Jeff Mathews, QB, Cornell
Seventh-rounders rarely make NFL rosters, and the Eagles have enough depth and special teamers to take a shot on a developmental prospect late in the draft.
Enter Mathews, who looks like an NFL quarterback at 6'4", 223 pounds with big 10.125" hands. He dominated and rewrote the record books at Cornell, passing for 11,284 yards to set the Ivy League career record.
He's a big, strong-armed and intelligent pocket passer who is a tough competitor and vocal leader on the field. His release is quick, he makes good decisions, and he's strong in the pocket, possessing many traits that help Nick Foles succeed.
While Matt Barkley will be the primary backup for the near future, Mathews has the long-term potential that Barkley lacks. Mathews could end up being a nice backup in the NFL, and the Eagles would be lucky to have him.