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
uncertainty.

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 (NFL.com): 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 (NFL.com): 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
Herremans
to right guard, with Jason Kelce
at center, Evan Mathis at left guard, and Jason Peters
back at left tackle.

Dane Brugler (NFLDraftScout.com): 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 (Philly.com): 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
linemen.

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, NFLDraftScout.com has learned.

Josh Norris (NFL.com): Utah DT Star Lotulelei

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

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 (NFL.com): 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
Bradley
Fletcher
, Cary Williams,
Patrick Chung
and Kenny
Phillips
— 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 (Philly.com): 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 (NFL.com): 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
Manuel.

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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Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

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Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

As the Western Conference Finals are taking place in Oakland, the Sixers are looking for new talent of their own in California.

This week, members of the Sixers' front office are attending pre-draft workouts organized through multiple agencies, including BDA Sports Management, CAA Sports, Landmark Sports Agency, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group.

While the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, these workouts are opportunities for them to evaluate players that could be fits for their 24th and 26th selections.

On Thursday, the list of workout participants included projected first-rounders Deyonta Davis (Michigan State) and Cheik Diallo (Kansas), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

The scouting process takes NBA teams coast to coast. Earlier this week, the Sixers reportedly attended a private workout with Excel Sports Management in New York City, in which Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray participated.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own practice facility, bringing in a total of 12 prospects thus far.

As the draft nears, 57 early-entry candidates withdrew their names from the 2016 draft.

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

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NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND, Calif. -- "We ain't going home! We're not going home!" Stephen Curry screamed at the top of his lungs.

No, his Golden State Warriors are going back to Oklahoma City, after keeping their title reign and the winningest season in NBA history alive for at least one more game.

Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to fire up Golden State's raucous crowd, and the defending champions staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

"We just did what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to win at home," Curry said. "We know what we still have to do going forward. ... We knew if we didn't win we were going home. There's no other motivation you need."

For all the speculation about the current state of Curry's beat-up body -- that troublesome ankle, sore knee or tender elbow -- he did it all.

"I thought he looked like 91 percent," coach Steve Kerr cracked. "He came out and played a really good game. That's all I can tell you. He's going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done."

Led by Curry, the Warriors looked like their old winning selves again.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. The Warriors trail 3-2 and are trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

"None of us want to go home," Thompson said. "We're having too much fun out there."

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and first championship since moving from Seattle.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

"We have to take that game and travel," Curry said of keeping momentum.

Durant's 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter and hit more big shots late, but the Thunder didn't go away easily.

"I liked our will, I liked our fight," Kerr said. "We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games."

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period with an 8-0 burst.

"We didn't shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We had our opportunities."

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, while Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. After struggling the past two games, Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds a day after receiving some encouraging words from Kobe Bryant on the phone.

"We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we're at our best," Curry said.

Kerr figured his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they're the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

He wasn't surprised to see this team respond so well.

"We played with great desperation," Kerr said. "I knew how we would play. This is a championship team."

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

"Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them," Durant said. "We know we're going home. We can't relax."

Golden State made 31 of 34 free throws.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise's playoff scoring list.

"That's who he is, that's what he's done, and that's what's made him a very good player," Donovan said.

Tip-ins
Thunder: The franchise lost in the finals in 1977-78, 1995-96 to Kerr and the Chicago Bulls and in `12. ... Steven Adams sat down with his second foul at the 9:34 mark of the first quarter. The Thunder had seven fouls to Golden State's one after the first. ... Oklahoma City took Game 1 at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost only three times all season. ... The Thunder started the game 3 for 14.

Warriors: Green picked up his fifth technical of the postseason. He also has at least one steal in 16 straight playoff games. ... Golden State missed six of its first seven 3s. ... The Warriors supported Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager with "Sager Strong" T-shirts for sale to support awareness and research for leukemia and lymphoma, both blood cancers.

Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

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Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jose Fernandez struck out 12 in seven innings Thursday and won his sixth straight start for the Miami Marlins, a 9-1 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Fernandez (7-2) struck out eight of the last 10 batters he faced and struck out every hitter in the Rays lineup at least once. The 23-year-old right-hander from Tampa gave up six hits in beating his hometown Rays for the first time in three tries. He finished the game with 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings, highest among major league starters.

Adeiny Hechavarria and Chris Johnson homered for the Marlins, who won three of four in their annual series against the Rays.

Hechavarria's third home run drove in the final two runs of a three-run second inning off Rays starter Drew Smyly. Johnson made it 5-0 with his second homer an inning later, Johnson's first hit in 22 interleague at bats (see full recap).

Rockies silence Red Sox, Bradley's hit streak
BOSTON -- Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Dustin Garneau hit two-run homers and the Colorado Rockies stopped Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 29-game hitting streak with a 8-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

The win ended a three-game losing streak by Colorado and it ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Sox. Bradley's major league-best streak was halted when he went 0 for 4 after moving up to the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

Jon Gray (2-2) gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the first, but pitched six scoreless innings before leaving in the eighth.

Clay Buchholz (2-5) took the loss. He pitched three perfect innings before things came apart in the fourth, when he gave up Gonzalez's homer with the other two coming the following inning (see full recap).

Happ leads Blue Jays past Yankees
NEW YORK -- J.A. Happ pitched seven strong innings, Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis had two-out RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-1 on Thursday to win the three-game series.

CC Sabathia was the tough-luck loser for New York, allowing just two unearned runs. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game since going on the disabled list May 4 with a strained right hamstring.

Happ (6-2) allowed one run on three hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks. He has given up three earned runs or fewer in 19 of his last 20 starts.

Sabathia (3-3) retired the first seven batters before an error by shortstop Didi Gregorius on Travis' grounder with one out in the third (see full recap).