It has been several weeks since the 2012 NFL Combine wrapped up in Indianapolis, where Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly received rave reviews for his speed and athleticism. While his performance may have opened the eyes of those who were unfamiliar with his skill set, he did not surprise Eagles fans. The next question to consider is this: Did he open the eyes of any mock drafters enough to move up?
Prior mocks had him squarely on track for the Philadelphia Eagles at #15, but has this changed? Have any other Eagles dented the board?
8th-best player available on Scouts Inc. big board
DraftCountdown.com: Round 1, Pick 15 — Philadelphia Eagles [unch]
DraftTek: Round 1, Pick 10: Buffalo Bills [+5]
CBS Sports (Rob Rang): Round 1, Pick 15 — Philadelphia Eagles [unch]
CBS Sports (Dane Brugler): Round 1, Pick 15 — Philadelphia Eagles [unch]
WalterFootball.com: Round 1, Pick 16 — New York Jets [-1]
DraftSite: Round 1, Pick 11 — Kansas City Chiefs [+4]
NFL Draft Info: Round 1, Pick 15 — Philadelphia Eagles [unch]
Your NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 15 — Philadelphia Eagles [unch]
The New NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 15 — Philadelphia Eagles [unch]
DraftSite: Round 7, Pick 225 Overall (Compensatory pick) — no team currently assigned [-29]
The New NFL Draft is still drafting Montel Harris in the seventh round — maybe someone should e-mail them and fill them in?
Current High/Low Ranges
Luke Kuechly: 1st round, picks 10-16
Donnie Fletcher: 5th round to undrafted
Max Holloway: Late 7th round to undrafted
Ifeanyi Momah, Mark Spinney, Nate Richman: Undrafted
Analysis & Final Thoughts
Despite having impressed at the NFL Combine and being in the top 10 of the big board, his actual draft position has barely changed at all. Most still believe that Kuechly is on a collision course with Philadelphia, though for the first time in a while, one was willing to stick him in the top ten with Buffalo. The Bills’ defense just added some pop with pass-rushing defenseman Mario Williams, and a ballhawk linebacker like Kuechly could really help things improve in Orchard Park.
Linebacker is a position Buffalo might consider, but it’s still too soon to say how much the Bills’ approach has changed after signing Williams. One would think that Kuechly will be on their radar and if he’s the best player available at the time, he could go. Some suggest they may add depth in other areas, but if a linebacker is what they covet on Draft Day, then it’s hard to see how Buffalo wouldn’t strongly consider him at #10.
There is no doubting, however, that linebacker is an area of need for the Philadelphia Eagles. Some have said it’s the top priority and others the second-highest priority, but whatever the case may be, Philly is looking for a linebacker. Kuechly, if available, will almost certainly be their guy. There are only a few places Kuechly could realistically fall off the board before #15 aside from Buffalo, and one is Dallas the spot before. Kansas City has come up on occasion but linebacker does not appear to be an area of critical need for the Chiefs; he would be a best-player-available choice for them.
Donnie Fletcher’s non-invite to the Combine and mixed Senior Bowl reviews from earlier in the year do not appear to have hurt his stock all that much. In the past installment, he came in as 4th round, 6th round, or undrafted. Now, it’s just 5th or undrafted. That would suggest that if he is chosen, it’ll probably be on the third day and the 5th round now appears to be his ceiling with a month to go. Either that, or none of these mock drafts have any idea when he’ll be picked.
Max Holloway has not made many waves, and he appears to be a 7th-round-or-not-at-all choice. The only 7-round draft that has taken him, DraftSite, now has him in the compensatory picks zone, which puts him perilously close to “undrafted” territory.