What the Experts Are Saying About Philadelphia Eagles' Draft
The Philadelphia Eagles completed their first draft under Chip Kelly, adding eight players, plus a handful more undrafted free agents. Kelly went with offensive and defensive linemen in two of his first three picks, but surprised everyone with the acquisition of fourth-round quarterback Matt Barkley.
Barkley didn’t seem to fit the mold of a traditional Kelly signal-caller, but the appeal of grabbing him in the middle rounds may have been intriguing enough. The late picks for Kelly add depth to the roster, as do the nine undrafted players the team signed in free agency.
For the most part, the reviews on the Eagles’ draft were positive. Experts felt the Eagles filled the pivotal needs, although many viewed the Barkley pick as strange. The following displays the grades from some of the top football experts.
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The website calls Lane Johnson a “bit of a reach”, which does seem true for an extremely raw offensive tackle who has only played two seasons at the left tackle position. Spending the fourth overall selection means Johnson is expected to become a perennial Pro Bowl player in Chip Kelly’s offense; anything less would be a disappointment.
Zach Ertz was a tremendous value pick. Bennie Logan was deemed a stretch in the 3-4, which does make sense considering he played in a 4-3 at college. The steal of the draft was Jordan Poyer, a second or third-round talent who fell to the seventh due to speed concerns.
In all, Walter Football’s confusion seemed to be with the players that Kelly picked, notably Logan for the defense and Barkley for the offense. Time will give a more accurate view as to whether Kelly’s players can fit the way he hoped.
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Calling in to the Mike Missanelli Show, Sal Paolantonio was skeptical about some of the Philadelphia Eagles’ draft picks, notably Lane Johnson.
Sal Pal says Johnson was essentially a consolation prize. It’s the fourth consecutive season the Eagles have drafted an offensive or defensive lineman first, and Sal Pal says the team should have nabbed West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin for the Chip Kelly offense. He also thought Philly was waiting to grab Dion Jordan before the Miami Dolphins traded up.
Paolantonio calls Johnson “a good foundational pick” and says Johnson has a “chance to be a very good player and he fits a need.” Drafting Austin though, as Sal Pal suggested, would have given the Eagles another dynamic receiver.
However, Jeremy Maclin is set to become a free agent, which means he would have to walk after the season, and Austin and DeSean Jackson are too similar in skill set to be the top two players.
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In the Bleacher Report draft bash video, Matt Miller said he thinks Lane Johnson is a great fit for the Philadelphia Eagles offense, especially Chip Kelly’s fast-paced system.
Miller suggests Johnson add some bulk to his frame, but he compares him favorably with Cincinnati Bengals standout left tackle Andrew Whitworth. He says Johnson is as good of an athlete as it gets for the position.
Miller says the Eagles needed players to fit Kelly’s offense, and Johnson is as good of a start as there is given his supreme athleticism and upside as an offensive tackle.
Mel Kiper, Jr.
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Mel Kiper, Jr. graded the Philadelphia Eagles very well for their 2013 draft picks, giving them an A for value, a B for needs, and a B+ for overall value.
Kiper was a big fan of the Eagles’ first-round pick, Lane Johnson. He said Johnson is an unfinished product but a player capable of elite potential and the ability to be an incredible athlete. Kiper didn’t seem to have any problem with the pick of Matt Barkley, saying he will come in and compete for the starting quarterback role.
In all, Kiper thought the Eagles got tremendous value with their picks, notably tight ends Zach Ertz and cornerbacks Jordan Poyer. For a team that was 4-12 last season, getting value is essential.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
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Elliot Harrison had nothing but good things to say about the Philadelphia Eagles’ draft. While he didn’t grade each team’s draft as a whole, Harrison picked the Eagles as one of his three teams that emerged as a winner.
Harrison cited the selections of Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz as tremendous additions. Johnson is a day-one starter and Ertz will push Brent Celek for extensive playing time in the offense.
Bennie Logan will provide insurance and depth behind veteran nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, while the offensive line should be much-improved with every starter back from injury in 2013.
Mike Mayock, NFL.com
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NFL draft expert Mike Mayock projected the Philadelphia Eagles to pick Lane Johnson with the fourth selection, and he was correct.
Mayock called Johnson the most athletic offensive tackle in the draft, saying the move made “a ton of sense” for Chip Kelly’s new offense. Mayock said Johnson has the athleticism to run an up-tempo offense, considering Johnson was a junior college quarterback with above-average running skills. He said it’s an added bonus that Johnson was a quarterback so he knows what it is like to get sacked.
Mayock said the move made sense for the Eagles in that it essentially upgraded Philadelphia at two positions—Todd Herremans can move inside to right guard and Danny Watkins moves to the bench. That gives the Eagles an extremely athletic group of offensive tackles in Jason Peters and Johnson.
Vinnie Iyer, the Sporting News
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Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News had nothing but positive things to say about the Philadelphia Eagles’ draft. Iyer called Chip Kelly’s first draft as head coach a great one, rating it behind just the Pittsburgh Steelers among NFL teams.
Iyer gave the Eagles an A, saying the top two picks of Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz were ideal athletes for Kelly’s offense. He said Matt Barkley was a terrific value pick, especially considering it came in the fourth round.
Iyer even liked the defensive picks for the new 3-4, notably linemen Bennie Logan and Joe Kruger, plus cornerback Jordan Poyer.