The first position I've scouted for the draft is 3-4 OLBs. The Eagles signed OLB Connor Barwin and have Trent Cole and Brandon Graham likely to make the transition to OLB. But with the Eagles interest in OLB Victor Butler, it's clear they're still looking for pass rushers. It's vital that Howie and Chip use this high draft pick on the best player available, instead of reaching for a tackle or defensive lineman.
Here's my rankings of the 10 best 3-4 OLBs for the Eagles system:
T-1. Dion Jordan, Oregon (6'6" 248 lbs): Excellent length. He's a physical specimen with tremendous speed and fluidity. Has experience in coverage and is a very versatile player. High-motor with violent hands once engaged with a lineman. Jordan has a lean build, needs to add bulk and more pass-rush moves. Has serious durability concerns, had surgery to repair a torn labrum after the combine. Only average production at Oregon, 14.5 career sacks. Jordan will have to get bigger, preferably to 255-260, to physically hold up. His versatility is valuable and he has enormous potential.
|Ansah's raw ability has him rising|
up draft boards every week.
3. Barkevious Mingo, LSU (6'4" 241 lbs): I've went back and forth on Mingo, but he has similar athleticism to Jordan without the injury concerns. He's a long, explosive pass-rusher with a tremendous first step and overall speed. Mingo is a physical player despite his lean frame. Ran a 4.58 40. He's never played OLB before, so that would be a transition and he lacks a deep arsenal of pass-rush moves. Mingo has some serious bust potential, but I truly believe he will be a very explosive 3-4 OLB. Taking him at 4 is too early, but if the Eagles trade down, he's an option around 8-12.
4. Jarvis Jones, Georgia (6'2" 245 lbs): Jones is an elite play-maker. Good burst, flexibility, and displays heavy hands. His production speaks for itself, despite a very lackluster pro day (4.92 40). He finds ways to make plays despite only a couple pass-rush moves. Lacks ideal size for the position as well. He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which is narrowing of the spinal cord and it ended LT Marcus McNeil's career at the age of 28. Jones' doctors have cleared him without restriction but positive reports surfaced about Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers prior to the draft and he hasn't had the production many expected.
|Moore's stock has fallen, which could|
make him a value pick in April.
6. Bjoern Werner, Florida State (6'3 266 lbs): He projects more as a strong-side DE in a 4-3, but has some potential as a stand-up rusher. The German is flexible with good bend, great anticipation and get-off. Plays the run very well and uses his hands well to bat down passes if he can't get to the QB. He's not a great athlete and lacks length. His motor runs hot and cold and he does have minor injury history.
7. Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (6'2" 251 lbs): While he isn't quite the player his teammate Werner is, Jenkins has more upside as a stand-up rusher. Good flexibility and length. His initial quickness is plus, and he's stout for his size. Good speed and productive in college as a pass-rusher. Suffered the Lisfranc injury in 2012, so that is a concern. He is very inexperienced in coverage, needs to add a little bulk and refine his hand usage. As of now, he's only a speed rusher, but he has upside.
|Lemonier makes the sack vs. Florida.|
9. Sam Montgomery, LSU (6'3" 262 lbs): He's a long defender that flashes quickness and good bend. Plus speed and burst and plays strong with a high energy. Strong vs. run and uses heavy hands. He's extremely slow off the ball, reacts to the lineman rather than watching the ball. He had a serious knee injury in 2010 and struggles to get around the edge.
10. Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky (6'5" 250 lbs): Smith is a long defender with a good motor. His active hands complement his explosive first step. He's a creative pass-rusher who understands the art of patience. He's a coach-able player who's improved every year. He plays at a smaller school and didn't face top competition on a weekly basis. He needs to add strength to his build. Smith tore his ACL in November and that's a very serious concern. Plus, he's never played OLB. He has big upside, but a lot of question marks.
- Michael Buchanon, Illinois (6'5" 255 lbs): He has nice height and length with an excellent first step. Uses his hands well and keeps battling. He motor runs hot and he shows fluidity in coverage. He's too lean, needs to add bulk. He struggles against the run, often getting man-handled by bigger linemen. Raw in many areas, but has significant upside.
- Cornelius Washington, Georgia (6'4" 265 lbs): He has great size and a big, long frame. Ran a 4.55 40 at the combine and displayed his unique athleticism. Decent first step and get-off. Big, heavy hands to fend off blockers. Only a situational rusher at Georgia and doesn't have a second move. Lacks stamina and hustle at times. Another raw prospect with big upside.
- In case you missed it, check out the young CB prospects who might be wearing midnight green in '13.
|As seen here, Curry has gained quite|
a bit of muscle this offseason.
- Many questions have arose about Vinny Curry and how he fits in the new defense. Reports surfacing from the NovaCare Complex have said the team plans on using Curry as a 3-4 DE. He came out of college at 6'3" 270 lbs. 280-300 pounds is the average size for a 3-4 DE so if he can add 10 pounds, he could be a valuable 3-4 nickel DE, providing a little inside pass-rush.
- I like the move, instead of moving the youngster, they are giving him a shot to prove his talents in Philadelphia... as of now. Anything can change as we head towards the draft.
* Follow me on Twitter @Matt_Chastain25 and @OfficialEagles_, I'll get ya back!