Philadelphia Eagles Draft Preview: Defensive Tackle, Safety Needed in 2012 NFL Draft

 @http://twitter.com/jtalty
on April 19 2012 3:33 PM
Andy Reid
Eagles coach Andy Reid needs some defensive help from the NFL Draft. Tim Shaffer / Reuters

The NFL Draft is a mere seven days away, and the Philadelphia Eagles have undoubtedly spent countless hours analyzing who to pick with the 15th pick.

The Eagles went 8-8 in 2011 and could use some help to compete in the ultracompetitive NFC East, which houses the defending Super Bowl champion, the New York Giants. Philadelphia struggled with injuries all season, notably to quarterback Michael Vick, but certainly have the talent to compete in the NFC.

The Eagles have an incredibly explosive offense with Vick, Lesean McCoy, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but have holes throughout their defense. Who the Eagles decide on with the 15th pick will likely depend on who falls to them, but it will likely be a defensive player.

The Eagles have needs all over the place, but a defensive tackle could be the choice for the Eagles on draft day. Here are some names that have been mentioned with the Eagles:

Quinton Coples, defensive tackle, UNC:

Couples, a huge 6-foot-6 defensive end/tackle hybrid, could be one of the most talented defensive players in the draft, but there are some questions surrounding him. NFL Network's Mike Mayock said he could be an All-Pro but he's got bust potential written all over him.

The potential bust factor to Couples has created a bit of a variance on where experts expect him to land. The latest CBS Sports mock drafts have him going in the Top 10, while Sports Illustrated's Peter King has the Eagles taking him at 15. King said one coach described Couples as gifted but sporadic, which could cause the drop out of the Top 10. The Eagles would likely jump at nabbing Couples at 15, but it he might not be available, especially with the Jaguars picking at No. 7.

Dontari Poe, defensive tackle, Memphis

Poe had only one sack last season for Memphis, but absolutely dazzled at the NFL Combine in February. The 6-foot-3, 346-pounder bench-pressed 225 pounds 44 times and ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.98 sounds. The effort vaulted Poe into a potential Top-15 pick, but the potential bust question marks surround him. Sporting News' Russ Lande has the Eagles taking Poe, but he is another player that could creep into the Top 10 depending on specific team needs.

Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle, Mississippi State

Cox, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound junior, could be just what the Eagles are looking for on their defensive line, but will they even get a chance to draft him? By most accounts Cox is a Top 10 pick, but the Eagles might be willing to move up in the draft, according to DraftInsider's Tony Pauline. Pauline reported that there's buzz around Philly that the Eagles could try to make a move up for Cox, who would be perfect for the Eagles wide nine/nine technique.

Mark Barron, safety, Alabama

Barron had an impressive career as a part of the national champion Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-1, 213-pounder is rated by many as the top-ranked safety in this year's draft and is known for his excellent run-stopping ability. The issue for the Eagles is that the Dallas Cowboys, picking at No. 14, are believed to covet Barron and are locked in to drafting him, according to Sports Illustrated's Don Banks. If the Cowboys pass up on Barron, it might be hard for the Eagles to do the same.

Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Boston College

Kuechly, the all-time leading tackler in ACC history, is the smart, decisive linebacker that the Eagles need. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder is known for great instincts and could play a major role for a team right off the bat. The problem, as with most of the Eagles' targets, is that there's a good chance he is off the board before the Eagles pick. Both King and Banks have the Chiefs taking Kuechly at No. 11.

Some others mentioned: South Carolina cornerback Stephen Gilmore, Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw.  

Share this article

More News from IBT MEDIA