Respected draft analyst Mike Mayock of NFL Network held a conference call Monday and answered several questions regarding the Eagles' draft needs:
1. The fourth pick
Mayock: "This is one of the best safety classes I've seen in years.
"I think the Eagles are going to get a chance to get a safety in the second or third round, and that's important. They need a safety badly. They could also use a corner.
"I happen to think No. 4 is a little high for Dee Milliner. I really like him. I think he's a heck of a football player and I think he'd be safe. But I don't think he's that explosive 4.35 kind of 40 [-yard dash] guy. If they took him, I'd be OK with that because he's a solid football player, but I think it's a little high for him.
"So then you start going, OK, where's the value at four? And my whole premise is less about having to plug a particular position and more about making sure I get an All-Pro if I'm picking in the top 10."
"You've got to decide with your offensive line how comfortable you are with all those guys coming back from injury (Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jason Kelce), and I think there are some questions there. So you've got to look at the top offensive lineman in this draft.
"I don't care if it's outside or Chance Warmack inside, you better be looking at those two guys."
"If you're looking at a 3-4 outside linebacker, most people are all over Damontre Moore, either at the 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.
"I kind of like Dion Jordan, who I think is two years away from being an Aldon Smith-type player. He's only about 240 pounds, but he's 6-foot-7. He's got frightening athletic skills, and he's a year away. He would be a situational pass-rusher year one, and if he puts 20 pounds on I think he's going to be a perennial All-Pro. I really like the kid. But, again, that's a little bit of a risk-reward. You're betting on this kid two years from now.
"That's why I wouldn't want a top-10 pick this year. I think the fifth pick in the draft and the 25th pick in this draft are very similar."
2. Would they take a QB?
Mayock: "No. I don't see that at all. They signed Dennis Dixon. They've now got three quarterbacks, and I think Chip Kelly's going to be pretty smart with how he handles that thing. I think it's too early to be taking a quarterback given the fact that they've got three right now."
3. Switching to a 3-4
With the Eagles switching to a 3-4 hybrid, what is a greater need for them given their current personnel: Nose tackle or 3-4 defensive end (five-technique)?
Mayock: "I have trouble saying that a five-technique should go with the fourth pick in the draft.
"I think the five-techniques, you can probably get them later in the draft. So when you start talking about what kind of nose tackle prospects you're looking for, John Jenkins, the 350-pounder from Georgia, you could get him with the fourth pick in the second round, I believe. That's about where his value is going to come into play.
"Brandon Williams, I like him a lot. He's got some upside to him. I think Jenkins and Williams make a ton of sense even in the second or third round.
"If they transition to the 3-4 as they seem to be doing, what don't the Eagles have? What do they need that you would look at first to make that transition?
"My first question would be: Is Antonio Dixon going to be my guy at nose tackle? If he's healthy and has gas in the tank, I think he could be at nose tackle. So that's my first question. How do I feel about him?
"At the five-technique, the two defensive ends, Fletcher Cox is a natural fit. Cullen Jenkins, I liked him better in the 4-3, to be honest, than 3-4, but he's got natural pass-rush ability.
"And you look at the outside linebacker, and you're looking at guys like [Brandon] Graham, Trent Cole, Vinny Curry to me would be better in the 4-3. He could probably do it, same with Phillip Hunt.
"So I look at those things that you have to make the decision immediately at nose tackle. And how comfortable are you that you could pressure the cornerback with those former defensive ends coming off the edge as rush linebackers? Probably, finally, DeMeco Ryans really didn't like that transition. Is he going to like it any better in Philly?
"And to be honest with you, they better find a safety at some point, because all the rest of it isn't going to matter if they don't get help from the back end."
4. Trading down
If there is not great value with the fourth pick, would any team be interested in trading for it?
Mayock: "Yeah, somebody might fall in love with (Philadelphia native) Sharrif Floyd or Jarvis Jones. Somebody might love Damontre Moore. I don't. But a lot of people do.
"So there could be some people looking for those kind of guys, or the Eagles can sit there and say, hey, we think that Dion Jordan or Damontre Moore or any of these guys can fit what we do. And Sharrif Floyd could play the five-technique. I don't think it takes advantage of what he does best. But he's got explosion and quickness.
"If they played the 3-4 like the Houston [Texans] do, which is different than most 3-4s, Floyd would be a natural guy at number four. I bang the table for him. But it all depends from a scheme perspective how they go about doing it, because you can play it different ways."