Robert Griffin III
Looking at mock drafts from around the web, the above seven players have emerged as consensus locks for the top eight picks. Collectively, draft experts would be surprised to see any of them drop beyond the Dolphins, who seem poised to select Tannehill.
If you take these mocks to heart, only one player from the “next tier” of prospects will be selected in the top eight (most likely by Jacksonville). Which player that is depends on who you read. Could be Melvin Ingram or Fletcher Cox or Stephen Gilmore.
But even putting aside that one spot, consensus like this on seven of the top eight picks is rare. Which, as I said the other day, makes it (slightly) easier to guess what the Eagles will be looking at when the draft comes to its first turn at the ninth overall pick.
To me, that’s the critical juncture for the Eagles. As of right now, operating on nothing but rumors and logical conjecture, I would bet the Eagles wish list — assuming the draft turns out this way — looks something like this:
Plan A: Fletcher Cox. Defensive tackle makes the most sense of any position and Cox is tailor-made for the Washburn’s scheme. The fact that they paraded Dontari Poe around and kept the Cox workout under the radar also suggests that something is going on. In order to get their top choice, however, the Eagles will likely have to trade up, perhaps as high as ninth overall.
Plan B: Luke Kuechly. Jacksonville or Carolina could easily spoil the plan for Cox, in which case the next logical player is KEEK-ly. The linebacker would be an immediate upgrade on the strongside and a long term solution in the middle after he apprentices next to DeMeco Ryans. Some mocks have him going in the 11-12 range, but given the reception 4-3 linebackers have received in the free agent market, that may be overstated.
Plan C: Grab bag. Not sure that I see the Eagles trading up for Kuechly, but if he’s taken before they come up, everything breaks wide open. At that point you’re really talking about the “best available defensive player,” who is probably someone like Quinton Coples or Dre Kirkpatrick.
That’s how I expect the Eagles to approach the draft from their perch at 15 overall. I would be surprised to see Cox selected in the 12-14 range without the Eagles moving up to snag him first. Failing that, I would be surprised to them pass on Kuechly if he were available at 15.
But then again, I could be completely wrong. What do you think?