How Adding DeMeco Ryans Impacts Eagles’ Draft Plans
Trading for middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans for a fourth-round pick knocked one item off of the Eagles' offseason to-do list.
The Eagles still have a need for another linebacker, even after adding Ryans via free trade. Winston Justice's trade could necessitate the addition of a back-up tackle.
But, taking care of the linebacker position gives the Eagles flexibility heading into April's draft.
We won't get to see any of the Eagles moves in action until May, since there are no more mini-camps before the draft, thanks to the new CBA. Now, teams must wait until after the April draft before they can get together as a group and work.
However, what the Ryans move does for the Eagles is it creates a immense amount of flexibility in the NFL draft. Finally the middle linebacker spot is secure and with the number 15 pick, the Eagles are in a great position.
This reminds me of where the Eagles were in 2009 when they had pick 19 and surprised everyone by taking a wide receiver in the first round; Jeremy Maclin. Maclin slipped and the Eagles were there to take what they thought was the best player on the board. Ahead of guys like Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Clay Matthews Jr., Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt.
This year, sitting there at 15 there are a couple of guys who peak my interest as the Eagles seem to have put themselves into position to take the "best player available".
Mark Barron is a safety from Alabama and probably the only safety in this year's draft worth a first round pick. However, the Eagles have taken a safety in the second round the past two seasons, but if Barron is there, he could be tough to pass up.
Luke Kuechly of Boston College is one of the most productive linebackers the college game has ever seen, but now with Ryans on board, one has to wonder if Kuechly would be a fit; he was a middle linebacker while in college and would have to move outside if the Eagles drafted him.
And finally a name that will start to gain more and more attention is Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. Floyd reminds me and compares favorably to Larry Fitzgerald in many ways. He is a big, physical wideout who is a terror in the redzone.
Keep in mind the Eagles have two, second round draft picks and a total of nine picks overall. The Eagles have the ability to move up or down, but with the addition of Ryans, I think they stay put and take the best player available.
As of right now, here are two ways I see this draft going. Draft Barron at 15, then come back in the second round with South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery or they take Floyd at 15 and come back in the second round with a defensive tackle like UConn's Kendall Reyes or Brandon Thompson from Clemson, or try again with a safety like Harrison Smith from Notre Dame.
Who do you think they will take in the first round?