Eagles' Draft-o-meter

Posted: April 26, 2011

Daily News sports writers Paul Domowitch and Les Bowen have targeted seven players the Eagles could draft with their first-round pick on Thursday. Here is their breakdown of each player, along with a rating from 1 to 10 on the chance he will be selected (1 is least likely; 10 is most likely):

PAUL DOMOWITCH'S DRAFT METER

GABE CARIMI, OT, Wisconsin: The Eagles need better play at right tackle than they got last year from Winston Justice. The draft's top two OTs, Tyron Smith and Anthony Castonzo, won't make it down to the Eagles. Carimi may not either. He's not as athletic as Smith or Castonzo. He's more out of the Jon Runyan mauler mold. But he could step in and start at right tackle as a rookie. Draft meter: 7

ADRIAN CLAYBORN, DE, Iowa: Clayborn has Erb's palsy in his right arm, which has some teams red-flagging him. But it didn't seem to hold him back as a 2-year starter for the Hawkeyes. The Eagles' new defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, is well-acquainted with Clayborn. His son Gregory was a teammate of Clayborn at Iowa. Draft meter: 8

RYAN KERRIGAN, DE, Purdue: Kerrigan led the Big Ten in sacks the last 2 years. The Eagles' new defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, no doubt sees a lot of Kyle Vanden Bosch in him. Kerrigan is probably the third best 4-3 defensive end in the draft behind Robert Quinn and Aldon Smith, but the chances of him sliding down to 23 seem slim. Draft meter: 5

MIKE POUNCEY, C/G, Florida: Pouncey is the best interior lineman in the draft. He can step in and start right away at either guard or center and might be there at 23. But with center Jamaal Jackson healthy again and his 2010 replacement, Mike McGlynn, expected to slide over to right guard, the Eagles would seem to have bigger needs. But he's a guy who would be a starter for the next 10 years. Draft meter: 6

JIMMY SMITH, CB, Colorado: Talentwise, Smith is right there with the draft's top two corners, Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara, who both will be top 10 picks. But he's got some significant character issues that are going to cause him to slide. Eagles badly need a corner and they did bring Smith in for a visit. But I just can't see them rolling the dice on this kid. They'll wait for free agency to find a starting right corner. Draft meter: 3

NATE SOLDER: OT, Colorado: The two best offensive tackles most likely to still be on the board at 23 are Solder and Derrick Sherrod of Mississippi State. But 23 may be a tad early for Sherrod, and Solder still is a little bit of a project. Eagles may prefer to trade down and take a tackle in the second or third round. Draft meter: 5

MUHAMMAD WILKERSON, DE/DT, Temple: If the Eagles drafted Wilkerson, it would be to play inside, which he certainly could do. But he seems to be more coveted by 3-4 teams as a five-technique end than a DT in a 4-3. Draft meter: 3

LES BOWEN'S DRAFT METER

GABE CARIMI, OT, Wisconsin: Early in the offseason, Carimi was the hot mock draft choice for the Eagles at 23. He is projected as a right tackle who also could play guard, and that's the side of the o-line where the Birds could really use help. But there are questions about Carimi's athleticism - an important consideration under new o-line coach Howard Mudd - and the Eagles seem to view this as a deep o-line draft where they can get value after the first round. Draft meter: 4

ADRIAN CLAYBORN, DE, Iowa: A year ago, Clayborn might have projected as a top 10 pick in this draft, coming off an Orange Bowl MVP award, but his 2010 season wasn't overpowering and concerns developed about a condition known as Erb's palsy. Basically, Clayborn suffered right-side nerve damage when he was born that resulted in his right arm being shorter than his left. For all that, he's a strong, relentless rusher who could be versatile enough to fit the Eagles' bill. If they keep drafting DEs high, sooner or later they'll get it right. Draft meter: 6

RYAN KERRIGAN, DE, Purdue: You could plug this guy in opposite Trent Cole and be set. He's really strong, has great hands and a quick first step. Might not last until 23. And, of course, the Eagles might trade out of the first round entirely, in which case they won't get him. Really has the look of an Eagles pick, though; he's a college captain (like Clayborn) from a big-conference school. Known as a playmaker with a knack for finding the ball. Draft meter: 7

MIKE POUNCEY, C/G, Florida: A guard who could play center would perfectly fit the Eagles, who can't know center Jamaal Jackson can be effective after missing the whole season, and who don't have a good right guard. But the Eagles almost never draft this blatantly for need, and they prefer to turn tackles into guards and centers - they never have taken a pure interior lineman higher than the fourth round during the Andy Reid era. (Yeah, they drafted Doug Brzezinski in the third in '99, but he could swing to tackle.) Draft meter: 5

JIMMY SMITH, CB, Colorado: If I were running the Eagles' draft, this big, fast, press corner might be the guy I'd take, assuming my concerns about his off-the-field conduct were assuaged. But GM Howie Roseman seemed to indicate last week that the Birds might look to free agency, whenever it arrives, to find a starter opposite Asante Samuel. Rest assured, if Smith is available at 23 and the Birds pass, fans will be monitoring how Smith does vs. what the Eagles wind up with. Draft meter: 4

NATE SOLDER, OT, Colorado: He's huge (6-8, 319) and had the quickest 10-yard time at the Combine for an OL. Came to college as a tight end, outgrew the position, but remained athletic. Why on earth would he still be around at 23? Well, he could use more upper-body strength and some work on technique. But Howard Mudd is the new o-line coach. Can't imagine he wouldn't be excited about the chance to get under the hood and tinker with what very well could be a Ferrari. Draft meter: 7

MUHAMMAD WILKERSON, DE/DT, Temple: Every now and then there's a local prospect who completely fits what the Eagles like to do. (See Brian Westbrook, 2002.) You know how the Birds like strong, pass-rushing defensive linemen who can play inside or outside? Wilkerson is billed as such a player. Some people seem to think he'll go in the first half of the first round, some seem to think he's a second- or third-rounder. Especially if he lasts a while, wouldn't be surprised to see him as an Eagle. Draft meter: 8

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