April 24 Wilmington News Journal:
“If you’re an Eagles fan and you’re wondering about their first-round pick Thursday night, start using unconventional wisdom.
The obvious pick would be one of the four or five top-rated offensive tackles that fall to them at No. 23 or Jimmy Smith, the Colorado cornerback who made a visit to the NovaCare Complex despite a laundry list of off-the-field transgressions.
But rarely, if ever, do the Eagles make picks to satisfy what the public believes is their most immediate need.
This year’s draft is stockpiled with tenacious edge rushers and stout interior defensive linemen. It’s the best class of defensive linemen ever, according to NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock — along with pick-your-poison quarterbacks with enticing upsides.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has already said he would be willing to trade out of the first round if another team — especially one looking for a quarterback — wouldn’t mind forking over some draft picks.
But if the Eagles stay in the first round, it’s not hard to envision lineman-loving coach Andy Reid raiding the treasure chest.
Some analysts think Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, a top-five talent with a potentially bum knee, could plummet into the 20s. If he’s within reach, pencil him onto the Eagles’ roster right now.
Realistically, defensive tackles Corey Liuget (Illinois) and Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple) fit the bill. Tackle is more of a need for the Eagles than defensive end, with starters Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley entering the downsides of their careers.”
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