The 2012 NFL Draft is only nine days (and a few hours) away from us. As football fans, we love the lead-up to one of the most popular events in all of sports. We love the feeling of not knowing who our team will draft and also knowing who we do not want our team to draft. The new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) finally works towards downsizing the rookie pay scale; which we all knew was becoming out-of-control and potentially could leave a team financially hampered if they inadvertently selected a “bust” in the early rounds. Gone are the hostage-inducing days of a JaMarcus Russell (6yr-$61mil), Dewayne Robertson (7yr-$54mil) or Akili Smith (7yr-$56mil) contract. Now teams can select a player in the draft without the worry or fear of financial ruin for the next few seasons if that player doesn’t pan out. However, the financial situation with rookies may be getting better but we still have the dreaded potential, and for some inevitable, reality of selecting a “draft bust”.
We all know of some of the names that many draft pundits (in their mock drafts and other sports articles), and fans alike, believe are “sure picks” for the Eagles in this year’s draft. However, you have to take into account a teams needs, their current system(s) and a ton of other factors when evaluating potential draft picks. These factors can determine whether a player that is talented enough to succeed, will succeed. Without further delay, let’s jump into a list of the top five 1st round picks that the Eagles should avoid (in no particular order), and some reasons why:
#1 - Memphis DT Dontari Poe (6-3½, 346) *underclassman
Dubbed by many as this years “workout warrior” in the likeness of a Mike Mamula (pictured), Vernon Gholston or Bruce Campbell, Poe does possess the size, speed and athletic ability to lure interest from every team in the draft. His attributes alone would lead most to believe that his upside is seemingly limitless. This could all be true, but his game tape begins to tell another story entirely. At Memphis, against Conference USA competition, he showed short flashes of dominance but never showed the consistency you want to see from such a gifted athlete facing second-tier competition. However, with the right coaching (Jim Washburn) in place Poe could be a long-time clog in the middle of our DL.
#2 – Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill (6-4, 222)
Yes, according to Andy Reid’s track record, grabbing a QB in the early rounds is almost undeniable either this year or next. Yes, Tannehill has good upside and may turn out to be a quality starter someday…maybe even better. Yes, we do have room in the QB stable for a project QB to groom behind Michael Vick who is no longer a spring chicken. However, my problem with picking Tannehill is that his stock is being driven up due to a lack of QB talent in this draft and we would need to trade up a number of spots to snag him. The Eagles have been linked to trading with the Cleveland Browns for the 4th overall pick. Sounds exciting, but you have to think of everything we would need to give up to move up that far. Possibly our 1st rounder (15), both of our 2nd rounders (14 & 19) and maybe even a future early round pick. That is potentially giving away four starters for one, not interested. If we can snag him outside the top 10, maybe…but that is looking like a pipe dream at this point.
#3 – North Carolina DE Quinton Coples (6-6, 284)
A solid, but not spectacular DE with a good frame and refined skills that could benefit a team right away. However, his ceiling is what has been drawn into question recently; evidenced by his recent slip in draft status over the past month or so. Also, the Eagles are not necessarily hurting at the DE position. The starters (Trent Cole & Jason Babin) are etched in stone and the backups all are good fits for Washburn’s Wide-9 scheme (Brandon Graham, Phillip Hunt & Darryl Tapp). Hopefully this is the year that Graham breaks out and removes the “bust” label that is beginning to creep up on him. Believe me, Reid will add players along the DL in this draft; however, taking Coples this early in the draft may be adding too much to a position of strength.
#4 – Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick (6-2, 186) *underclassman
Great size for the position and possibly a future starter but his situation with the Eagles is very similar to that of Coples above. The CB position is not necessarily a position of need for the Eagles. Actually at this point we have a surplus. The starters are locked in (Nnamdi Asomugha & Asante Samuel/Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, depending on Samuel’s status with the team in the near future) and Joselio Hanson is a more than adequate nickel CB. Behind those guys is a stable of young CBs with potential and ability. Just going out-on-a-limb here and saying that Kirkpatrick will not unseat any of the starters and will ultimately join the CB stable. Why invest our 1st round pick in a position that isn’t a need and that the Eagles are reportedly trying to “thin out”?
#5 – Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (6-3, 220)
Good size, progressed about every year in college, played against elite competition, solid hands and very good body control. Can help fill a void of size at the WR position for the Eagles and he also has an underrated catch-and-run ability. So where’s the problem? He tends to show tightness in his hips when making cuts, relies too much on catching with his body (leading to drops, but does have sure hands) and he seems to lack explosiveness (though possesses decent top-end speed). Floyd had good combine and pro day workouts which helped in raising his draft stock, but he doesn’t seem to possess the skills to warrant a pick this high. On the other hand, he does look like a good possession WR…but don’t we all remember Freddie “People’s Champ” Mitchell? No thanks!