We're on to the third pick of the second round, No. 35 overall in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. If you missed parts of the first round, check out our entire rundown.
The Philadelphia Eagles are now on the clock, and their Niners Nation GM is BearAKA. With the thirty-fifth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Eagles select Kyle Long, OL, Oregon.
Explanation: It might be a mistake to grab offensive linemen in the first and second rounds. It's definitely a gamble that could end up paying off though. Kyle Long is a huge (6ft 7in, 310lbs), athletic talent. He can play both Tackle and Guard, which is exactly what makes him perfect for this Eagles O-line. Last year the Eagles were primed to have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but the team was cursed with the injury bug (and Andy Reid). Tackles Todd Herremans and Jason Peters both suffered season ending injuries, as did Center Jason Kelce. To make matters worse, Danny Watkins, who most now consider a bust, was only able to start in six games. Long would give the Eagles the depth that they were desperate for last year. He would be able to come in and take over Watkins' duties at Right Guard, and if Herremans is still recovering or gets hurt again, Long could slide over and Watkins would get another shot at proving everyone (including his own father ... probably) wrong. Whatever might happen injury wise, an O-line anchored by Mathis, Long and Joeckel is downright scary.
There are certainly other picks to be had here, but (as far as I know) it hasn't been made clear what type of 3-4 system Chip Kelly is going to be running this season. And even though you'd be hard pressed to get anyone to agree that Long is the BPA, I seriously doubt he would have lasted until the Eagles picked again. EJ Manuel was obviously a tempting option, but the Eagles already have two QB's on the roster who deserve another chance. PFF ranked the Eagles 25th in Pass Coverage last season, I was surprised that they weren't dead last. An improved O-line gives Kelly an opportunity to evaluate Vick (and/or Foles) under a clearer microscope, where he isn't being hurried into Romo-esque decisions. Besides, Kelly and co. are under zero pressure at the QB position as of right now. They have two viable prospects and if they don't work out it will just be blamed on the old regime. No need to use second round picks on QB's two years in a row.
Enough of that crap though; Let's talk a little more about Long. He is the son of Howie Long, but it isn't really fair to hold that against him. Everyone who reads Niners Nation is more than likely aware that he is also the younger brother of Rams DE Chris Long. Why am I mentioning this? Well, I'm probably making more out of that than I should be but taking that into account, as well as all of the praise he's received from Chip Kelly, I am led to believe that he is going to be a pro's pro. A Justin Smith type who is going to know from day one exactly what it takes to be successful at the pro level. That wasn't exactly a trait that the Eagles seemed to have in excess last season. Hopefully it's contagious.
Trevor Woods: BearAKA has a strategy to keep Michael Vick healthy. The Eagles had one of the worst offensive lines last season and will need to upgrade it if they want to improve their passing game, as Vick needs more time to operate. Long has a great pedigree and is quite physical. It helps that he already has experience in Kelly's fast-paced offensive scheme. The range here isn't unrealistic; Long could be selected around pick No. 35.
NIck Chiamardas: As BearsAKA acknowledges, this is a bit of a gamble. BUT if it pays off, the Eagles will point to this draft as to where it all began. Kelly loves athletic big men along the line. Here he gets his former lineman to help solidify what could have been considered the worst OL in the league. I think Long will have a long, successful career in the NFL. However, I would have liked to see the Eagles address another position of need ... cornerback. The Eagles lost both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the offseason. There are still some talented CBs out there including Jamar Taylor and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Long is still an understandable pick that I don't think anyone would blame Kelly for making.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama [Explanation]
- New York Giants -- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Chicago Bears -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Keenan Allen, WR, Cal [Explanation]
- Indianapolis Colts -- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington [Explanation]
- Green Bay Packers -- Damontre Moore, DE/OLB [Explanation]
- Houston Texans -- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- Denver Broncos -- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State [Explanation]
- New England Patriots -- Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist [Explanation]
- Atlanta Falcons -- Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State [Explanation]
- San Francisco 49ers -- Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International [Explanation]
- Baltimore Ravens -- Matt Elam, S, Florida [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Alex Okafor, DE, Texas [Explanation]
- San Francisco 49ers -- Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Kyle Long, OL, Oregon