Last week, ESPN’s Todd McShay mocked the Philadelphia Eagles selecting Alabama Safety Landon Collins with the 20th pick in April’s draft. While Collins seems unlikely to fall that far, he certainly would be an improvement over Nate Allen, hopefully providing long-term stability at a position that has lacked such for the Eagles over the last half-decade.
McShay wasn’t sure if Kelly was prepared to potentially mortgage this year’s draft to move up for Marcus Mariota, but admitted that he knows that Kelly “thinks the world” of the Heisman Trophy winner.
Today, McShay’s colleague Mel Kiper
Jr. unveiled his mock draft 2.0, and sang a similar tune about the Eagles potential pursuit of Mariota, while mocking the Eagles to take former Washington Cornerback Marcus Peters.
"I can’t leave all the Eagles fans tweeting at me and asking the big question hanging, so I’ll say this: Of course I can fathom a scenario where they move up (or at least look to) and target the QB who made it tough for Chip Kelly to leave for a good NFL job when he did. But I can’t project a trade here, and just as many close Eagles observers know that help at cornerback is badly needed. Peters doesn’t come without question marks — he was dismissed from the team at Washington this past season — but if it’s purely a question of talent, he’s a potential steal at this point in the first round. He has loads of natural talent, and playmaker instincts to go with very good ball skills, and he makes any secondary better if he’s playing up to his potential."
For the record, Kiper had Mariota going at six to the Jets, but said that it is certainly possible that he falls further. Should he fall into the 8-12 range, that would seemingly be the point where Chip Kelly and/or Ed Marynowitz would be making phone calls in a potential attempt to make a trade up.
Talent-wise, Peters seemingly would be a great pick. He’s a little smaller cornerback than Cary Williams, but is still very strong and appears like he would be a good fit in an Eagles scheme that uses both man and zone.
As Kiper mentions, he was dismissed from the Washington football team last season, for essentially a string of sideline blowups and episodes that coach Chris Peterson felt made him cancerous to the team culture.
Scouts have also reportedly been turned off by the fact that he seems to have made Marshawn Lynch his mentor.
"“A huge red flag. He’s a talented kid, no doubt. And it only takes one team (to fall in love with a player). From all the stuff that he’s been involved in and the chances he’s gotten and the immaturity he’s shown, it’s going to be tough for him,” the scout said. ” … They’re all professionals up here and they won’t put up with that (expletive). Hanging out with Marshawn (Lynch), that was probably the worst thing for him.”"
For as talented as he is, picking him would seem to go against all that Chip Kelly has preached since releasing DeSean Jackson.
Still, the Eagles have a major hole at cornerback, and Peters may be their best option at corner. Michigan State’s Trae Waynes will likely be off the board well before the Eagles pick at 20, and Florida State’s P.J. Williams feels more like a second-round talent because of how raw he is.
As our own Somers Price has written, it may take Chip Kelly taking some risks on players with character issues for the team to ultimately take the next step forward. Perhaps if Peters is able to impress in combine interviews, Kelly would considering making an exception for someone of the talent level of Peters. Then again, he didn’t do that for DeSean Jackson after a Pro-Bowl season, so expecting him to do so for someone that has never played a down in the NFL may be unrealistic.