Super Early Premature 2013 Draft Evaluation: The Sixers Will Take ______ at No. 11

Super Early Premature 2013 Draft Evaluation: The Sixers Will Take ______ at No. 11

The Sixers had a very small chance of winning one of the top three picks last night and, of course, they didn't.

The No. 1 overall pick went to Nick Gilbert again (insert preferred conspiracy theory about the NBA still making The Decision up to Cleveland), and the Sixers stayed in their expected draft position at No. 11.

So who will GM Sam Hinkie take 11th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 27?

We've compiled this early list of day-after-lottery mock drafts. The general consensus sees the Sixers drafting a big, and most of these guys are not high on Thad Young as a power forward.

That said, given the changeover in the front office and the makeover this roster is expected to undergo, even if the team does need a big man -- Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown's contracts all expire next summer -- the best player available may likely win the day.

That seems to be the route CSNPhilly.com's Sean Kane went in his mock. His draft is the only one on our list that doesn't have the Sixers taking a big.

[mock drafts below]

Sean Kane, CSNPhilly.com — C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh

If he's still on the board, this is a no-brainer for the 76ers. McCollum should go anywhere from eighth to 12th in the first round, and if Hinkie really likes him (as I feel he should) then he may have to move up a spot or two to grab him. The Sixers have two of the first 12 picks in the second round, picks that could be used to move up in the first round. 

With apologies to McLemore, McCollum is hands-down the best shooter in this draft. The Sixers desperately need someone who can stretch the defense and consistently knock down three-point baskets. McCollum shot over 51 percent from long range before a foot injury in January cost him the rest of his senior year at Lehigh. He can play either guard position, he can get to the basket and is an above-average ballhandler and passer.

McCollum has great intangibles, as well. He's a high character guy who will continue to work at his game throughout his career.

 The biggest knock on McCollum is the level of competition he played against in the Patriot League. But he would have been a star in any league in the country, as he proved by scoring 30 points to single-handedly beat Duke in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament.

Chad Ford, ESPN — Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

Ford: The Cody Zeller bandwagon is officially filling up again. All it took was an incredible display of athletic prowess at the draft combine to convince NBA teams who had soured on him to give him another look. Of course, we all knew Zeller was athletic, but few knew he was capable of what he did at the combine. Zeller is trying to make the transition to the 4 and seems like an obvious fit in Philly, a team without a legitimate 4-man on its roster.

Jonathan Givony, DraftExpress.com — Cody Zeller

The 76ers enter a new era with head coach and de facto personnel decision maker Doug Collins stepping down, being replaced by Houston Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie and a coach yet to be determined. Philadelphia has one terrific piece locked up in point guard Jrue Holiday, but has plenty of holes to fill. A player who compliments the strengths and weaknesses of Evan Turner, whose lack of range from the perimeter is a concern, would fill a major need at shooting guard. Power forward and center are two others. Besides undersized-but-athletic Thaddeus Young, there are plenty of question marks.

John Goodman, CBS Sports — Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Had a difficult adjustment this past season to the college game, but he's big, strong and plays hard. Adams may be a project that's worth the risk.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports — Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

The Sixers need a big man with a pulse. Re-sign Bynum, don't re-sign Bynum they have to stop playing Thad Young at the four and relying on Spencer Hawes. Dieng gives them a high level big that can rebound with a monster upside.

Fox Sports — Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga

The Sixers are forced to start over at the center position after trading away a lot of assets for an absolute dud in Andrew Bynum. Olynyk was arguably the most dominant big in the country and despite Gonzaga's flame-out in the tourney, he was solid. He lacks great athleticism and quickness, but shows the skill set of a 10-year veteran. Olynyk's ability to defend the pick-and-roll has led scouts to believe he can make it defensively in the league.

Steve Alexander, Rotoworld — Rudy Gobert, C, France

Andrew Bynum didn’t exactly work out and Spencer Hawes, despite some very nice runs this season, still may not be the long-term answer. Gobert looks like an impressive big man. He has a massive 7’9” wingspan and moves very well for a guy standing 7’2”. He should be able to clean the glass and play well enough offensively to make an immediate impact in the league. However, he’ll likely have to play behind Thaddeus Young and Hawes, at least for part of his rookie season, if not all of it.

Your thoughts...

Eagles-Redskins scouting report: Secondary must stand up vs. Kirk Cousins

Eagles-Redskins scouting report: Secondary must stand up vs. Kirk Cousins

Eagles (5-7) vs. Redskins (6-5-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. on Fox
Redskins favored by 2; over/under 47

When the Eagles went into FedEx Field in Week 6, they had an opportunity to leave 4-1 and in great position in the NFC East. Instead, what ensued was a stretch of three divisional losses in four weeks by a combined 18 points.

Two months later, the Eagles are out of the race at 5-7 while the 6-5-1 Redskins are still battling for an NFC wild-card spot. The 'Skins would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today — they currently hold the seventh spot in the NFC, behind the Bucs (7-5) but ahead of the Vikings and Packers (6-6).

This is obviously a crucial game for Washington, but the Eagles are just as desperate after losing by 11, 14 and 18 points the last three weeks. Don't underestimate the role desperation and a few weeks of embarrassment can have on a team's ability to bounce back. It was partly why I cautioned in these scouting reports the last two weeks not to count out either Green Bay or Cincinnati, teams that had more talent and stability than a few weeks of midseason losses indicated.

Cousins and Reed
The next time the Eagles limit Kirk Cousins will be the first time. In four games against them, he's completed 63 percent of his passes, averaged 336 yards, thrown 10 TDs and two interceptions and rushed for another score. Washington has averaged 31 points and won three of the four contests.

The Eagles' margin of error on defense is extremely small in this game. To win, they'll need a better effort against a Redskins' ground game that gashed them for 230 yards last time, they'll need to generate consistent pressure on Cousins and they'll need Jordan Reed to not be himself.

Reed, the NFC's most dangerous tight end, is questionable with a Grade 3 AC joint separation suffered on Thanksgiving. Reed was a warrior on Turkey Day, leaving the game in the second quarter, standing on the sideline in a sling, probably receiving a little (ahem) help at halftime, and then dominating in the second half in Dallas. Reed finished that game with 12 catches for 95 yards and two TDs, but was hurt badly enough to miss last week's game.

The Eagles were fortunate to avoid Reed in the season's earlier matchup. Fortunate because he destroyed them last December, catching nine passes for 129 yards and two TDs in a 14-point win. Washington uses its tight ends more than any offense in the league, and Reed is a mismatch even for an Eagles team that has allowed the fewest catches (31) and receiving yards (327) to tight ends. 

With Reed out in October, backup Vernon Davis burned the Eagles for two catches, 50 yards and a TD. But it sounds like Reed will play Sunday after telling reporters that his range of motion is back.

The issue in stopping Washington is the Eagles just don't have enough defensive backs to defend everything. It's why they need Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham to get consistent pressure and keep Cousins out of a rhythm. They haven't been able to do that. They had no sacks in Washington in Week 6 and have failed to sack Cousins in two of the last three meetings.

Without forcing Cousins to get off his spot and get the ball out quickly, the Eagles' secondary hasn't shown anything to inspire confidence they can stop DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon, Reed and Davis at the same time.

To make matters worse, this is the first week Washington's All-Pro left tackle, Trent Williams, is back from a four-game substance abuse suspension. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams has allowed just three sacks in his last eight games against the Eagles.

Which Wentz will show?
Last week was Carson Wentz's worst game as an NFL quarterback. He missed wide-open throws, threw three interceptions and could have thrown more and barely exceeded 300 yards despite throwing the ball 60 times. 

He didn't look like the guy we saw the first four games of the season, and quite frankly he hasn't looked like a top-20 QB since October. 

The lack of weapons and occasionally poor protection are major reasons why, but Wentz isn't void of blame — he's simply missed some makeable throws.

Against Washington back on Oct. 16, Wentz was just 11 of 22 for 179 yards as the Eagles lost the time of possession battle. The best days belonged to Ryan Mathews (9 carries, 60 yards) and Jordan Matthews (three catches, 75 yards). Both are questionable heading into this one. 

Wentz didn't throw a single pass at Josh Norman in the first meeting. At times, Norman has followed the opposing team's top receiver, but don't expect him to do so this Sunday. Norman has lined up on the left side 64 percent of the time this season and in the slot just nine percent. 

Slot matchup
Matthews has run 73 percent of his routes from the slot and should draw third-round pick Kendall Fuller. As long as Matthews is sufficiently recovered from his ankle injury, this should be a good matchup for the Eagles. 

Fuller has been beaten repeatedly this season, allowing 42 catches (on 53 targets) for 542 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterbacks have a 123.9 rating against him, third-worst among all slot corners. (Malcolm Jenkins is actually worst in this category with a 137.9 QB rating allowed in the slot.)

Fuller has also struggled to wrap receivers up after the catch, allowing an NFL-high 213 yards after the catch. Picking up yards after a reception is something the Eagles have struggled to do all year.

Run game
The Eagles were shutting running backs down until they played the Redskins in October. Since-demoted RB Matt Jones rushed for 135 yards, current starter Rob Kelley rushed for 59, and both had a run of 45-plus yards.

Cox, Barwin and LB Nigel Bradham had awful games that afternoon against the run. It also didn't help that the Eagles were credited with 12 missed tackles. 

Run-stuffer Bennie Logan left that game early with a groin injury and missed the next three weeks. Since returning, however, Logan hasn't been himself, struggling to rush the passer and stop the run.

The Kerrigan factor
The Eagles always have trouble containing Redskins pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan, who had three sacks in the first meeting. 

Kerrigan has been a force in 2016 with 44 QB hurries, which is three more than Kahlil Mack and second-most among outside linebackers to Von Miller.

Kerrigan has nine sacks in 11 career games against the Eagles, and Washington is 5-1 when he has at least one against them.

Prediction
Close game, better performance from Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with Jackson and Crowder, over the middle with Reed and short with Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Nearly back from injury, Mathews hopes to rejuvenate Eagles' running game

Nearly back from injury, Mathews hopes to rejuvenate Eagles' running game

It’s been a fairly rocky season for Ryan Mathews, who cost the Eagles the Lions game with a late fumble, was demoted by head coach Doug Pederson for a spell, hurt his knee against the Seahawks and missed two games and is on pace for a third straight season under 600 rushing yards.

Mathews, who missed the double-digit losses to the Packers and Bengals, is expected to return on Sunday, when the fading Eagles face the Redskins.

Mathews is an interesting case. When he’s gotten at least nine carries this year, the Eagles are 4-2. When he’s gotten fewer or hasn’t played, the Eagles are 1-5.

Here’s the Mathews conundrum: He’s averaging a healthy 4.2 yards per carry and ranks eighth in the entire NFL with seven rushing touchdowns. Yet he’s gotten more than 11 carries only three times – in wins against the Browns, Vikings and Falcons.

Without him the last two weeks, the Eagles ran 37 times for a total of 134 yards, just 3.6 a pop. And lost.

He’s no Shady, Westbrook or Duce, but he does move the chains.

“I think Ryan brings definitely a different dimension,” center Jason Kelce said. “He’s an extremely powerful, explosive back. He hits the hole hard. There’s been some games he’s been absolutely dominant when he’s gotten the opportunities. 

“He’s done a great job for us. Good to have him back, glad he’s healthy and back out there and hopefully we can get something going for him up front.”

Mathews actually ranks 11th in the NFL since 2010 with 36 rushing touchdowns.

He said he feels 100 percent three weeks after injuring his knee in Seattle.

“I feel good,” he said at his locker after practice Thursday. “Tried to get back out there with my teammates and get back in the groove of things. 

“I’m good enough to practice and go. It’s just getting back in the rhythm, getting the timing down. I missed two weeks and it’s kind of hard. Just trying to get back in the groove of things.”

The Eagles take a 5-7 record and three-game losing streak into their 1 p.m. kickoff Sunday against the 6-5-1 Redskins at the Linc.

The Redskins have won four straight over the Eagles. A win would give them their first five-game winning streak over their NFC East rival since a six-game stretch from 1981 through 1984.

“It’s hard,” Mathews said. “We just have to learn from the mistakes and push forward. We can’t change anything in the past, we can’t undo the games. We get another chance Sunday to go out there and play our best.”

Rookie Wendell Smallwood has been the Eagles’ leading rusher the last three weeks, but the Eagles haven’t had anybody run for as many as 50 yards since the Atlanta game – the last time they won.

The Eagles have only some very faint playoff hopes at this point. But it won’t hurt to get Mathews back.

“Well, he's definitely a bigger back,” Pederson said. “He's a little bit more between-the-tackles and has that veteran experience that you see out of him. 

“It will be good to get him back out on the field Sunday and get him some more work.”

This has been a weird year for the Eagles’ running game, which has generally been fairly effective when Pederson commits to it. 

But that rarely happens. 

Either the Eagles find themselves too far behind to stick with it or Pederson just decides to have Carson Wentz throw the ball 50 times and the running backs whither on the bench.

“It’s tough,” Mathews said. “We as a group have to do our job and when our number is called we have to make plays. We’ll get it going.”

The Eagles haven’t had anybody get 20 carries in a game since opening day. Nobody’s gotten more than 13 carries since Mathews against the Falcons.

Mathews, twice a 1,000-yard rusher, could well be playing his final few games as an Eagle.

Curiously, his 4.64 average in an Eagles uniform is fifth-best ever by players with a minimum of 200 carries behind three quarterbacks – Michael Vick (6.70), Randall Cunningham (6.62) and Donovan McNabb (5.67) – and LeSean McCoy (4.65).

So with a strong final few games, he could actually own the highest rushing average in franchise history by a running back.

Mathews, who’s only gotten nine or more carries in back-to-back games twice in two years with the Eagles, said his only remaining goal is to finish strong.

“It would be awesome,” he said. “That’s the main thing you want to do. Take it one game at a time and just try to get better and finish off strong.”