Each week between now and the draft, our draft pundits Ron Burke, Chris Steuber, Jared Sherman and Geoff Mosher will provide their latest Eagles mock. They will make selections for each of the Eagles' six picks and update their selections every week.
Round 1, Pick 22: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (6-2/234)
When I put this mock together I still had wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin available at No. 22. The reason I chose to go with Mosley was simply because I felt he was the best player left on the board.
With DeMeco Ryans' physical skills fading, especially in coverage, the Eagles need to find his replacement. Too many times in 2013, Ryans was a step late in coverage and allowed teams to move the chains. Mosley, despite what Montana's Jordie Tripp says, is the best cover linebacker in the draft and is outstanding in almost every facet of playing the position. While he predominantly played inside at Alabama, he is athletic enough to move outside if needed.
Mosley is a leader, has never been in trouble, and plays hard on every snap -- all traits that Chip Kelly covets.
Round 2, Pick 54: Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville (6-3/251)
While the duo of Trent Cole and Connor Barwin did a credible job at outside linebacker in Billy Davis' 3-4 alignment, more of a pass rush is required from the position. Especially to help out a still suspect defensive backfield.
Smith notched 14.5 sacks in 2013 and was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year. He played both as a DE and OLB for Louisville after converting to the defensive side of the ball as a freshman (he actually came to Louisville as a QB).
Smith lacks the elite burst that athletes like Anthony Barr or Khalil Mack possess, but he gets off the snap well, uses his long arms and speed to shed blockers, and can really bend to get around the corner. The Cardinals often used him on stunts, sending him inside to blow by interior linemen.
Smith has plenty of experience in coverage as well and has good short area quickness to stay with tight ends and running backs on shorter routes.
Round 3, Pick 86: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (6-3/336)
Not a glamorous pick here, but with Evan Mathis crowing about a new contract and Todd Herremans a possible 2015 salary cap casualty, the Eagles need to start looking for their replacements. I love Jackson and would've been OK with the Eagles taking him in Round 2.
Jackson is a thickly built masher in the running game with the agility to get out to the second level and bury linebackers. As a pass protector, Jackson uses his long arms and leverage to control pass rushers.
The 2013 first team All-SEC selection was a two-time captain for the Bulldogs and is the son of a high school football coach. I believe those are two things Kelly loves to see.
Round 4, Pick 122: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (6-1/195)
Finally, the Eagles grab a WR. Abbrederis isn't necessarily a deep threat, but his route running and quickness is so good he routinely beat corners deep at Wisconsin (check out his game against Bradley Roby and Ohio State this year).
The Eagles need receivers who can beat man-to-man coverage, and Abbrederis' ability to beat the press off the line and get separation is excellent despite his perceived lack of athleticism.
The former walk-on was a first team All-Big 10 selection twice and will fight for every extra yard. Another talented character guy for the Eagles.
Round 5, Pick 162: Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware (6-1/326)
Kerr is a transfer from Maryland and was named first team All-CAA in 2013.
A short, stout DT for the Blue Hens, Kerr showed the ability to split double teams and be a disruptive force in the backfield. He's strong enough to hold the point of attack using his lower-body strength and low center of gravity.
He'll have to step up to the competition, but the Eagles could use a run stuffer in the middle to help spell the lighter Bennie Logan. Kerr would be a nice rotational piece on the defensive line.
Round 7, Pick 237: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon (6-4/242)
Lyerla left the Oregon Ducks midway through the 2013 season for personal reasons after getting arrested for cocaine possession and being suspended for a game.
If Lyerla had stayed out of trouble, chances are he would have been a second- or third-round pick this year. There is no doubt he is an extremely talented player, but his off-field issues have sent his stock plunging down the board.
Maybe I'm naive to think Kelly would take a flyer on his former recruit, but by most accounts Lyerla is a hard worker and truly wants to make football his priority. If he does, the Eagles are getting a gifted pass catcher who could step in if/when either James Casey or Brent Celek is cut for salary cap reasons.