By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor
The Eagles are not close to being done making moves, but with the Combine wrapped up and the next phase of the offseason gearing up, now is a perfect time to release our first seven round mock draft of draft season.
Round 1 – 32 overall
The Pick: Orlando Brown Jr. | OT | Oklahoma
Measureables: 6'8". 360 lbs, 5.85 40yd dash, 14 reps on bench press, 19.5" vertical
There are plenty of offensive tackle prospects that figure to be on the board when the Eagles go on the clock. Although there are high ceiling prospects like Pittsburgh's Brian O'Neil or UCLA's Kolton Miller that figure to be available at 32, the Eagles should be looking to take Orlando Brown Jr. from Oklahoma with their first pick.
Normally Brown would go in the first 20-25 picks in the draft, but Brown's misfortune at the NFL Combine will yield a great prospect for the Eagles. To be frank, Brown's performance at the combine was laughable, and has been referred to as one of the worst combine performances of all time.
Brown posted the lowest composite score at the Combine, but it is not athleticism that made Orlando Brown into one of the best offensive linemen in his draft class. Brown is known for using his mammoth size to keep defenders away. "He's really big and he's really long. In the NFL, big guys with long arms can play a long time so you don't have to be the most skilled or the most athletic," said a former NFL offensive line coach.
Brown was a unanimous All-American last season, a two-time first team All-Big 12 selection, Big 12 lineman of the year in 2016, and a freshman All-American in 2015.
The man who Brown protected during his time at Oklahoma, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, came to Brown's defense by raising a valid point. "You can watch last year’s tape and see that he had zero sacks [allowed]. I’d say that’s pretty important for a left tackle," said Mayfield
The Eagles have been excellent at making value selections in the past two drafts, and there is not better value at 32 than Orlando Brown. This should be the pick and they should trust offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland to coach him up and get him ready for when Jason Peters inevitably leaves the team.
Brown did have a formal meeting with the Eagles at the combine.
Round 4 – 130 overall (via Minnesota)
The Pick: Tegray Scales | ILB | Indiana
Measureables: 6'0", 230 lbs, 4.77 40yd dash, 27 reps on bench press, no vertical
If any part of the Eagles roster could have been criticized this season it would have been the linebackers, who struggled to defend the pass without Jordan Hicks and will likely not be returning outside linebacker Nigel Bradham.
Tegray Scales gives the Eagles a new linebacker to develop. Scales was a four-year starter at Indiana who earned Third-Team All-Big 10 honors in 2016 and First-Team All-Big 10 honors last season. He was named the defensive MVP of the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl. Scales was also considered for the Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2017, an award that goes to a defensive player known for talent as well as character.
Scales's best trait is his instincts. Scales shared with reporters that the Eagles actually told him that they like his instinctual style of play during an informal meeting. Scales instincts are represented well by the 36 tackles for loss and 13 sacks that he has accumulated over the past two seasons playing in the highly competitive Big 10 conference.
Round 4 – 132 overall
The Pick: Duram Smythe | TE | Notre Dame
Measureables: 6'5", 257 lbs, 4.81 40yd dash, 18 reps on bench press, 31.0" vertical
The Eagles have met with a number of tight ends at the combine with Brent Celek's eventual retirement and Trey Burton's assumed departure in free agency looming.
One tight end that the Eagles should consider in the later rounds in Notre Dame's Duram Smythe.
Fans can expect a Brent Celek clone if the Eagles do wind up taking Smythe. Smythe played in all 12 games last season for the Fighting Irish, but only caught nine passes for 112 yards and four touchdowns. While Smythe does not get asked to catch a ton of passes, he did display a willingness to take on tacklers and run over the middle of the field.
While he is not a sexy prospect who puts up staggering receiving totals, Smythe is an incredibly polished blocker. He resembles an offensive lineman in his run blocking, and he is an adequate pass blocker as well. "There are only a handful of the old school tight ends who are big and able to help you in the run game and he's one of them," said one AFC scout.
The Eagles were one of the best teams at running the ball a season ago, and Smythe can help the run game sustain that success, as well as provide help in pass protection at a position of need. The Eagles had an informal meeting with Smythe at the combine.
Round 5 – 169 overall
The Pick: Quin Blanding | S | Virginia
Measureables: 6'2", 215 lbs, 4.63 40yd dash, no bench press, 31.5" vertical
Quin Blanding was a five-star recruit out of high school and immediately stepped on to the field at the University of Virginia and was named the ACC's defensive rookie of the year. The four-year starter never had less than 115 tackles in any season at Virginia, and earned two First-Team All-ACC selections.
Blanding is known for playing his angles extremely well and coming up to make stops in run support. He also showed a penchant for defending and winning jump balls with receivers when he was asked to play deep coverage.
With Rodney McLeod's future with the Eagles being speculated about due to salary cap reasons, and the overall depth at the safety position for the Eagles being weak after the two starters Blanding fits in as a a good depth option for the team. The knock on Blanding is that he is considered slow for a defensive back. The Eagles could try to use him as a special teamer and in run defense situations.
Blanding had an informal meeting with the Eagles at the combine.
Round 6 – 206 overall
The Pick: Oren Burks | OLB | Vanderbilt
Measureables: 6'3", 233 lbs, 4.59 40yd dash, 18 reps on bench press, 39.5" vertical
Although the Eagles already took one linebacker, they go back to the well and take a second one here. I mentioned that Bradham will be leaving for free agency, but the Eagles will also likely be without Najee Goode and Dannell Ellerbe next season, leaving the team with Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Joe Walker, and Nate Gerry as the team's linebackers.
The Eagles opt to add linebacker depth in the draft rather than spend their limited cap space on a backup linebacker. Oren Burks was a defensive captain at Vanderbilt, and was named to the 2016 Allstate-AFCA FBS National Good Works Team which rewards players for their community service. Although he is young, he has shown the same high level of character that the Eagles saw in Carson Wentz and Jordan Hicks.
Burks started his college career at safety and led the Commodores in interceptions that season. Burks is a bit lanky for an NFL linebacker at this time but the versatility he showed at Vanderbilt makes him an interesting pick and gives him a similar skill set to Nate Gerry, who the Eagles liked well enough to draft last season. Burks would start out as a special teamer and over time could develop into a starting outside linebacker. His familiarity with two positions that the Eagles need help at also makes him appealing to the Eagles.
Burks and the Eagles had an informal meeting at the combine.
Round 7 – 226, 248, or 250 overall (via Seattle)
The Pick: Antonio Callaway | WR | Florida
Measureables: 5'11", 197 lbs, 4.41 40yd dash, no bench press, 34.0" vertical
For the Eagles final pick of the draft they add depth to the receiver group that has recently been depleted after the trades of Torrey Smith and Marcus Johnson.
I mentioned with the first pick about the Eagles penchant for taking value picks, and Antonio Callaway is exactly that.
Like current Eagles Jalen Mills and Wendell Smallwood, Callaway's draft stock has taken a tumble due to off the field issues, so much so that some question whether or not Callaway will even be selected during the Draft.
Callaway was on the wrong side of a sexual assault case between his freshman and sophomore season. He pleaded no contest to having drug paraphernalia. Finally, Callaway was kicked off of the Florida Gators football team with a number of other teammates after being accused of credit card fraud.
Callaway would be a day two prospect normally, with electric playmaking ability that has garnered comparisons to Percy Harvin. Draft Analyst Mike Mayock gave his opinion on Callaway and said that he believes a day two pick could still be in the cards for Callaway if a team believes his past is behind him.
According to Callaway, the past has been placed in his rearview mirror. "It ain’t about me. I got a little girl. I just had her three weeks ago. I’ve got four little sisters. A single mom. I got to make it happen. I can’t be out here making mistakes and throwing myself in bad situations," said Callaway.
Under Howie Roseman the Eagles have shown that they are not afraid to take a chance on a player that has some red flags. It has worked out for the team in the cases of Jalen Mills and Jay Ajayi, and they just acquired another player with a less-than-stellar reputation in Michael Bennett. Callaway has come up on the Eagles' radar, having met with him informally at the combine. Callaway's explosiveness and new demeanor will be enough for the Eagles to take a chance on the troubled receiver.