Every Monday between the Championship Monday until the May 8th NFL Draft, Section 215’s Tim Kelly will run a simulated mock draft using Fansided’s mock draft tool. The goal of the mock drafts is to try to give fans an understanding of which NFL prospects have the best opportunity to be wearing midnight green next fall.
The idea of the Eagles taking a wide reciever with their first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft, when they already have DeSean Jackson under contract, and the chance to re-sign at least one of their two free-agent wide recievers (Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin), almost seems like a waste to me. It would be one thing if the Eagles didn’t have holes in their secondary, or linebacker corps, but Billy Davis’ defense could stand to be upgraded.
I think Chip Kelly has an understanding that while he would love to handpick another skill position player with a high-level pick, that he needs to be successful on both sides of the ball. If he doesn’t, then general manger Howie Roseman does. Unless a miracle happens, and Texas A&M Wide Receiver Mike Evans falls all the way to the Eagles at the 22nd pick, which would be nothing short of a miracle. Yet, that’s exactly what happened in my first simulation.
After only two seasons of college football, Evans is entering the draft. Many are somewhat scared by the fact that he has played competitive football for just four years (one of which he was only a practice player), but his elite production speaks for itself and should be enough to to realize that Evans is worth the slight risk that his inexperience comes with. If his production doesn’t do enough to overshadow his limited experience in your mind, maybe the fact that he compares well to Plaxico Burress in his prime, will. Not only does Evans have solid hands and above-average speed, but he also brings a physicality to the table, as he is 6’5, 225. He would be like Riley Cooper, only an inch or two bigger, and a better athlete.
All of that taken into account, the chances that Evans does fall out of the top ten aren’t high. In the nine other simulations I did, Evans didn’t make it past pick 11. Assuming that happens, trading up 11 or 12 picks, when you still have DeSean and the option to keep a poor-man’s Evans in Cooper, might not make sense. By some miracle if he falls to pick 14 or 15 though, Howie Roseman better be on the phone trying to pull the trigger to move up and select Evans.
Again though, even the simulator only had Evans falling this far once. An interesting candidate who fell to number 22 four times out of 10, was Michigan State Cornerback Darqueze Dennard. Dennard is projected to go around 15, but if him and Evans were both on the board, it would be interesting to see what the Eagles would do. Dennard fills a long-term need better than Evans does, but Evans has a higher ceiling than Dennard.
I’m not saying that Dennard couldn’t be a very above-average corner,and end up better than either Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher, but Evans has superstar receiver potential. Selecting Dennard may make the Eagles a more complete team in the short-term, but four or five years down the road, I think the Eagles would regret not taking Evans because he could serve as the perfect compliment to DeSean Jackson. Drafting either will likely require trading up, not sitting at the number 22 pick.