Mock Draft Roundup: With the Fourth Pick, the Eagles Select

Mock Draft Roundup: With the Fourth Pick, the Eagles Select

Today is the day. What will
the Eagles do with the fourth-overall pick in the NFL Draft? We checked with
the wisdom of crowds for answers, where we found only more staggering

Most years experts can predict
the first five or 10 picks of the draft with a fair degree of probability. This
is not the case in 2013. The mock drafts are so wildly varied, there is no
consensus at all beyond the number one selection – and even that has only been
narrowed down to a position (offensive tackle), not a name.

Luke Joeckel and
Eric Fisher are considered by many to be prospects 1A and 1B in this draft, and
it’s said to be so close, the Chiefs could go either way with the first pick. For
that reason, I don’t believe either player will be available by the time the
Eagles are on the clock, so therefore we largely ignored any mocks that indicated
otherwise. My guess is either the Jags will take whichever one of them falls to
two, or a tackle-needy team such as the Lions or Cardinals will trade ahead of
the Birds.

So on that note, let’s jump right into our first
batch: the third-best tackle in the draft.

Mike Mayock ( Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson

He's the
freakiest tackle I've ever seen in my life. And because of what Chip Kelly does
-- up-tempo, maximize snaps, throw the bubble screens, throw the tunnel screens
-- he needs a great athlete at left tackle.

Charley Casserly ( Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson

Both of the
Eagles' starting offensive tackles are coming off surgery.

Evan Silva (Rotoworld): Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson

NFL Network's
Mike Mayock suggested Tuesday that the Raiders might select Johnson at the
third pick. I just don't think they'll have Johnson highly rated because
Oakland is transitioning to a power-run scheme and Johnson is more of an
athlete than mauling run blocker at this stage. The Eagles could really use
Johnson's quick-twitch athleticism and second-level movement skills in Chip Kelly's
up-tempo offense. His addition would allow Philly to move Todd
to right guard, with Jason Kelce
at center, Evan Mathis at left guard, and Jason Peters
back at left tackle.

Dane Brugler ( Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson

The offensive
tackles are going to fly off the board fast and even if both Joeckel and Fisher
are still available at the fourth pick, Johnson might be the best fit for Chip
Kelly and his offense. Johnson is just scratching the surface of his potential
at tackle.

Jeff McLane ( Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson

If it’s Johnson, it’s safe to speculate that Chip Kelly wrestled control and made the first pick.

The “just scratching the
surface” bit makes me a little leery that Johnson is more of a project than
Joeckel or Fisher. After last season’s debacle on the offensive line, I doubt too
many people will mind. Besides, it’s not like they need him to take over for
Jason Peters at left tackle from day one.

Jared Sherman (CSN): Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher

Fisher is big and athletic - both traits Chip Kelly wants to see in his linemen. With Todd Herremans possibly kicking back inside to guard, there's a hole at right tackle. And with Jason Peters coming off Achilles surgery, Fisher is a pretty good backup plan at left tackle too.

Well, you never know I guess...

Switching gears, there are several
different defensive players being tied to the Eagles. Somewhat surprisingly, there
were virtually no mocks that had Philadelphia native Sharrif Floyd coming home,
although that’s probably because most of them have him going in the top three.
Defensive tackle was a popular pick however.

Don Banks (Sports Illustrated): Utah DT Star Lotulelei

Again, if
Lane Johnson remains available, the Eagles should have trade options, or could
even take the athletically freakish ex-Sooner themselves. But Philly has been
focused on finding talent to make the transition to a 3-4 defense work, and
Lotulelei is the best available Vince Wilfork-type cog among the defensive

Rob Rang (CBS): Utah DT Star Lotulelei

Chip Kelly is
known for the fast pace of his offense, but if the Eagles are to improve in the
NFC East it is their defense that will need to improve the most. With
Philadelphia expected to make the transition to a 3-4 scheme, it needs help up
front, which the powerful Lotulelei can provide. The Eagles are one of three
teams currently picking in the top 10 who have both worked out Lotulelei and
invited him to visit their facility, has learned.

Josh Norris ( Utah DT Star Lotulelei

Don't pigeonhole
Lotulelei as a nose tackle; he can win from multiple spots along the front

Pete Prisco (CBS): Utah DT Star Lotulelei

They can't
pass up on this power player.

From a pure need standpoint,
Lotulelei might make the most sense for the Eagles. Whatever Chip Kelly and Billy
Davis has in mind for the defense, we know it’s not going to be a pure 4-3, but
they are lacking some of the big bodies up front that make those other schemes
work. Lotulelei is versatile, and unlike Floyd, available – at least according
to most of these things.

Geoff Mosher (CSN): Alabama CB Dee Milliner*

Birds get the
corner they so desperately need, and get some extra picks.

Our first trade! Mosh has the
Eagles swapping with the Cardinals, moving down three spots to number seven, in
what would seemingly be one of the more popular scenarios. I’m not sold a team
that signed two starting cornerbacks in free agency is looking this high to
grab another

As an aside, the folks who
mock and don’t account for trades are doing it wrong. There are always trades.

Bucky Brooks ( BYU DE/OLB Ziggy Ansah

New coach
Chip Kelly would love to take on former Oregon charge Dion Jordan, but Ansah is
a better fit as a potential five-technique.

Ansah is probably the biggest
curve ball. I’ve seen him going as high as second, or not a player in the top
five at all. Few are mocking him to the Birds, but don’t rule it out, either.
Of course, the other name Brooks drops in there undoubtedly represents the
plurality of these lists.

Greg Cosell (Yahoo!): Oregon OLB Dion Jordan

This is where
the most intriguing defensive player comes off the board. That’s Oregon
DE/OLB Dion Jordan. I was fortunate to be on the
field at the scouting combine, and to watch this 6-foot-6, 250-pounder move was
a revelation. He looked like a wide receiver. On film, he was naturally
athletic, very smooth and fluid, and surprisingly explosive given his length.
At Oregon this past season, he primarily played in space, which he did
exceptionally well. I had to study a lot of games to get a feel for his pass
rush skills. They were impressive, and I believe he will become a very good
edge rusher in the NFL. He showed the ability to get low and bend the edge with
the needed flexibility to succeed against quality NFL offensive tackles.
There’s much to like about Jordan, and he’s just scratching the surface. Want a
comparison? How about Jason Taylor.

Peter King (Sports Illustrated): Oregon OLB Dion Jordan

Chip Kelly
bypasses the strong tackle market and a need at CB to pick an old friend from
Oregon. He'll fill those other spots later.

Peter Schrager (FOX Sports): Oregon OLB Dion Jordan

The Eagles’
defensive backfield has undergone an extreme makeover. Four new defensive backs
, Cary Williams,
Patrick Chung
and Kenny
— should be in the starting lineup. With those additions, I
don’t see the Eagles going with Dee Milliner, the cornerback out of Alabama, as
many have suggested. Jordan, a fantastic athlete who played for new Eagles head
coach Chip Kelly at Oregon, could be the guy at No. 4. Jordan is most favorably
compared to Aldon Smith,
the electric outside linebacker in San Francisco. Everyone’s fascinated to see
what Kelly and GM Howie Roseman do here — I think Jordan can be the guy.

Zach Berman ( Oregon OLB Dion Jordan

Without a tackle on the board, the Eagles could trade down. They
could also take defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. I’m sticking with the
player I’ve had here all along – one who Chip Kelly knows better than
any player in this draft, and one who has the upside to become an elite
pass rusher.

Pat Kirwan (CBS): Oregon OLB Dion Jordan

The Eagles
are building a 3-4 defense and need an OLB with pass rush skills. Jordan played
for Chip Kelly. If they take Jordan I would expect them to re-enter the first
round late and grab a QB. Either Geno Smith or EJ Manuel could be the choice.

I’ll say this much about
Jordan: if the Eagles do wind up going with the Oregon product, I don’t think
it will have the slightest thing to do with the fact that he played for Chip.
That’s a stupid reason to use the fourth-overall pick on somebody, and a less
relevant nugget I can’t think of.

Finally, Kirwan broached our
final group of mocks: the quarterback.

Clark Judge (CBS): West Virginia QB Geno Smith

Chip Kelly
knows he can't win with Michael Vick. So who's next? You're looking at him.

With Fisher left on the board?
I don’t think so. Besides, this is way too high for Geno by most accounts.

Gil Brandt ( West Virginia QB Geno Smith*

Smith has
been criticized, but I myself think he's a pretty good player. Moreover, with
his athletic and passing ability, I think he can fill a system need for new
Eagles coach Chip Kelly. There's a chance Smith might not be there at No. 11,
but I think the Eagles can still afford to trade with the Chargers, because
even if Smith is gone, Philly can try to move down a few more spots and get EJ

Brandt has the Eagles swapping
with the Chargers, another of the tackle-needy teams, to get down to number 11
where a team might actually have interest in Smith. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t
have EJ Manuel going in the first at all, so I don’t know why the Eagles would
take him later in the round if that was is going to be the case – they have the
fourth pick in the second too after all.

Geno Smith still seems like
one of the unlikelier scenarios for the Birds in this draft, although it hasn’t
gone away. We’ll find out along with the rest of these guys and everybody else
soon enough.

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Agholor, Huff and Green-Beckham avoiding Eagles' trade rumors

Agholor, Huff and Green-Beckham avoiding Eagles' trade rumors

While head coach Doug Pederson denied reports the Eagles have inquired about the availability of veteran wide receivers Wednesday (see story), it's fair to wonder how those rumors affect the psyche of the guys who are already here. True or not, there's a reason why stories about trades are believable.

The Eagles' current crop of receivers hasn't been very impactful, particularly Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Dorial Green-Beckham. Yet despite disappointing numbers, constant questions about their lack of production and now rumblings somebody like Torrey Smith or Alshon Jeffery could be coming to take their jobs, the young trio doesn't sound too worried.

"We all have a job to do here, and if you're worried about somebody else, you're going to lose sight of your own job," Agholor said. "Just like anybody else in any workplace, you need to focus on yourself and execute your job."

"That has nothing to do with me," Huff said. "As long as I'm confident in the way I do my job, everything else will speak for itself."

"It's something I'm completely not worried out," Green-Beckham added. "I'm really just focusing on myself and whatever happens, happens."

Not only do the Eagles' wideouts sound genuinely unconcerned by trade rumors, they almost seem to welcome the competition.

"It motivates you, especially if you're still around," Agholor said. "Or if you get sent somewhere else, you understand that you have to wake up. You have to wake up and you have to make plays."

"I'm a competitor," Huff said. "I'm not going to say no to a competition, but if they do want a veteran receiver, so be it. It doesn't bother us."

It's certainly the right attitude to have, maybe even the only one. Still, trade rumors — whether rumors are all they are or not — is a clear indictment of this group's performance this season.

Jordan Matthews has been OK, but far from a prolific No. 1 receiver who makes up for a lack of complementary weapons. The third-year player is currently on pace to finish 2016 with 67 receptions for 944 yards and five touchdowns, all of which would be down from his previous season's totals.

Agholor is second on the team with 18 receptions for 191 yards, Huff has 12 catches for 63 yards and Green-Beckham has 13 for 139. All three have found the end zone once as well.

What's troubling about those numbers is that not only the lack of production, but the lack of plays they've made down the field. Agholor and Green-Beckham are both under less than 11 yards per reception, while Huff is averaging a paltry 5.3.

It's no wonder the Eagles' front office would show interest in deep threats like Smith and Jeffery, both of whom are proven capable of stretching the field.

"I just work every day and try to get separation to the best of my ability," Agholor said. "I have a great receivers coach that tries to help me with my releases and fine tune that, but the most important thing I feel like with creating separation is a mindset, because this is a league, where it's good on good every day."

"It's just what the coaches see, what the coaches want from us," Huff said. "Obviously, would I want to get the ball downfield? Yes. Has it gone that way? No, but my job is to continue to get better each and every day, and once my number is called, I'll be ready to make that play."

Pederson, who earlier denied the Eagles were looking into trades, defended the big-play ability of his wideouts.

"Nelson can stretch it," Pederson said. "Josh can stretch it. But I think it's protection and design of the play. When I think of stretching the field, I mean, a guy can run fast and that can be stretching the field, but who can really take the top off?

"Those two guys are two that can do that."

Agholor, the Eagles' first-round pick in 2015, has faced these kinds of questions since his underwhelming rookie season. He's getting used to people doubting his ability, but that's not stopping him from keeping a positive attitude.

"I think the most important thing is to progress each day, and have a next-play mentality too," Agholor said. "Some of the greatest players in this league, they drop balls, I'm sure guys have probably jammed them before, however it goes, but the best thing they can do is just bounce back, line up again and win the next matchup.

"I want to continue to have that mindset and allow it to speak for itself so I don't have to sit here and tell. If every time you're all asking me that, it must mean you all don't see that."

Green-Beckham has a little bit more of a unique perspective on this matter than Agholor and Huff. While the second-year receiver is staying positive and motivated as well, he's been on the other end of these rumors and was ultimately traded from the Titans to the Eagles back in August.

Because he's only been with the team for a couple of months, Green-Beckham didn't seem too worried he's running out of opportunities with the Eagles.

"I just got here, so I don't think I'm going to end up leaving when I just got here," Green-Beckham said. "For some guys, you really have to worry about that, and you just have to focus on trying to compete, trying to get better and better each and every day and doing the little things."

Green-Beckham also knows better than anyone how such a trade would increase expectations on the players already inside the locker room, and he had a message for his teammates.

"I just know how it feels for guys who come in as traded, and for guys who've been here, you just have to understand you're going to have to compete when stuff like that happens," Green-Beckham said. "It makes your job a lot hard, but you just have to focus more.

"It's a business. Like they say, the NFL stands for not for long, so you always have that in your thoughts, and know every opportunity, you have to take advantage of it."

Joel Embiid the gold standard by wearing gold shoes to NBA debut

Joel Embiid the gold standard by wearing gold shoes to NBA debut

For the better part of two years, most of Sixers fans' worries focused on Joel Embiid's foot.

Before his first NBA game on Tuesday night against the Thunder, Embiid made sure his very large feet were still the center of attention.

Embiid walked into the Wells Fargo Center sporting a flashy pair of gold shoes.

Hopefully he has a pair of matching basketball sneakers for tonight's game.

Also, this is cool: