Tomorrow is mock draft day and given that we’re doing trades this year, I’m going to look into the possibility of the Eagles moving down and then drafting Tavon Austin.
Theoretically they could see a fair amount of value at #4, it could be the best place to pick in the top-ten. They won’t be grinding their teeth thinking, “what if?” by picking in the top two. Last year you’d get Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in that range. This year? Not quite so good. The Eagles aren’t worrying quite so much about that.
They’ll be able to sit there and see who goes in the top three, then make a judgement call. They’d have a few options. Eric Fisher, Dion Jordan, Dee Milliner — among others — might be available. So could all of the best defensive lineman. So while the top two or three might be wishing they were picking so high another year, Philly might be in a good place to accept their lot.
Then there’s the other scenario which suggests they might feel like those options are good, but are they exponentially greater than the options a bit later on? And while they might not feel a clinical, desperate need to grab any one of Fisher, Jordan or Milliner — the chances are others might be showing a greater sense of desperation. There are a handful of teams who could use a left tackle like Fisher. Jordan might have more pure upside than anyone else in the draft and Milliner looks like a complete corner. Three premium positions, three big needs for many teams.
The Chargers have shown relative lethargy so far in trying to kick start their franchise. They let a good guard leave for a division rival in Louis Vazquez. As far as we know they barely dipped their toe into the free agent tackle market. And what else have they done? Middling moves, almost as if they see this as a longer re-building process. Philip Rivers might disagree with that approach given he has no weapons, no protection and turns 32 in December.
Moving up might actually be the last thing they’re planning. If the plan is to build through the draft, they might even move down. I still think they have to find a way to get a left tackle. Rivers is a solid quarterback. It wasn’t that long ago he was putting up good numbers and was considered one of the handful of franchise players at the position. And now he has nothing, least of all a chance to succeed. The very least they can do is get him a blind-side tackle and another target.
At #11 it’ll be Lane Johnson (if they’re lucky) or bust. Moving up seems logical. I’m just not convinced it’s what this seemingly inactive franchise wants to do. And moving up from #11 to #4 would be costly, limiting the chance to add other key parts later (receiver, corner, pass rush — all needs).
Miami could consider a move up given they lost Jake Long, while others (Cleveland, New York, Buffalo) might consider it depending on who’s left on the board. Anyone wanting a tackle as good as Fisher probably has to get ahead of Detroit, who currently stand to start Riley Reiff on the blind side (a better fit on the right side).
If the Eagles can move down a bit, would they take Tavon Austin? They already have DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Both players have also been heavily linked with trades (both to the Colts, courtesy of some obscure tweeting by Jim Isray). I just wonder if Chip Kelly would feel like he can use Austin in the same way he’s exploited many other speed merchants during his time at Oregon? Line them up everywhere. Let them make plays. Jackson and Maclin are both quick receivers, but neither were used in the way West Virginia used Austin.
Out of all the teams who could accommodate Austin, Philly seems like the best fit. Kelly’s offense has shown how to make the most of an undersized playmaker like D’Anthony Thomas. There wouldn’t necessarily have to be a ‘Tavon Austin package’. It’s already in there as a functional part of a dynamic scheme.
Let’s say the Eagles get another second or third round pick for moving down. Let’s go one further and say they come out of the draft with Austin, E.J. Manuel and Kyle Long/Menelik Watson. Suddenly you’ve solidified your offensive line, added your answer to D’Anthony Thomas and got a quarterback that can do all of the stuff Oregon’s bevy of quarterbacks did under Kelly. All quick, rare athletes for their positions. Throw in LeSean McCoy and (if healthy) Jason Peters and things could be looking up. If the ambition is to get things rocking in Philadelphia quickly, it wouldn’t be a bad start.
It’s something I’m going to look into in the new mock. Part of me still thinks Kelly might troll the entire NFL by going for a pure west coast, orthodox offense. He did appoint Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator. He does love Matt Barkley. Wouldn’t that be a turn up for the books? Either way I suspect Kelly’s Eagles, like Carroll’s Seahawks, will constantly keep us both entertained and guessing.
Note — Today’s piece isn’t exactly deep. It also isn’t Seahawks related, but you already know that if you’ve got this far. Today was a pretty hectic and significant day as I was able to tell my family that my wife is expecting our first child in September. That took up a lot of time as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ll be back on it tomorrow. Here’s a Sio Moore (LB, Connecticut) video to make up for it: