As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for the 2014 NFL draft, GM Howie Roseman will have an opportunity to add a handful of talented players to an already-solid roster. The offense really clicked in year one under Chip Kelly, as Nick Foles and co. set franchise records in both points scored and total yards gained.
That means the best idea for Philadelphia would be to add defense. The secondary seems to be the ideal position to target, particular the safety position. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Louisville's Calvin Pryor are good options for the first round.
Then again, there's always the chance that Roseman trades out of the 22nd overall pick. He is a strong believer in the best-player-available philosophy, and he may deem the best move to trade up, trade down or even trade the pick for a player. That being said, here are five possible scenarios should the Eagles move out of pick No. 22.
This scenario has been speculated numerous times over the past several months, and it still makes sense. First, the facts: Chip Kelly coached Dion Jordan at the University of Oregon, and it was heavily expected that the Philadelphia Eagles would take Jordan fourth overall.
When the Miami Dolphins traded up nine spots to grab Jordan, the Eagles instead chose offensive tackle, Lane Johnson. Jordan struggled in his rookie season, seeing minimal playing time behind Pro Bowler Cameron Wake and breakout player Olivier Vernon. The pair combined for 20 sacks and 73 quarterback hurries, while Jordan put up just two sacks and 18 pressures.
Jordan may be better cast as a 3-4 outside linebacker in Philadelphia. The Eagles owe Trent Cole enough money next season ($5 million base salary) that he may not be back unless he agrees to a pay cut. Connor Barwin is a great player, but he’s not a top pass-rusher. Kelly may decide that he likes Jordan enough to give up his first-round pick for him.
Chip Kelly is an aggressive football coach. If he likes a player, he’s going to do what he can to get him. The Philadelphia Eagles need a young pass-rushing linebacker, and they won’t get Anthony Barr if they wait until the 22nd pick. In fact, there’s a good chance Barr won’t make it through the first 10 selections.
Last year at UCLA, Barr recorded 10 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss. He’s a dynamic player who can make a huge impact from the defensive side of the ball. The ideal scenario is that he slips in the draft due to simple luck of the draw, then Philadelphia can package a deal to a team like the Detroit Lions (10th pick) to draft Barr.
Per NBC's Pro Football Talk, there may be a big market for free-agent wide receiver Riley Cooper. Cooper is a tall, physical receiver who displayed a tendency to bring down jump balls in 2013. He set a career high with eight touchdowns, including five in a two-game stretch in midseason.
Cooper isn’t worth much more than $4 million or $5 million per season, and a team may think he’s worth more than that. If that’s the case, the logical decision for Philadelphia may be to trade up in the first round of the NFL draft and grab Texas A&M’s Mike Evans.
Evans is a huge receiver at 6’5” with an incredible ability to pull down contested balls. He is a quarterback’s dream, assuming he can at least run fast enough to be productive at the next level. Evans will probably go in the first 15 picks, so the Eagles would need to trade up for him.
A big 0-technique nose tackle isn’t as exciting as a skill position player or a pass-rushing linebacker like UCLA’s Anthony Barr. But Louis Nix could provide the ability to anchor the three-man front like Bennie Logan couldn’t. Logan wasn’t bad in any way, but Nix is built like B.J. Raji with the ability of Haloti Ngata or Dontari Poe.
Nix would require double-teams constantly, thus making the job of ends Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton much easier. Nix’s draft stock will be heavily influenced by his scouting combine results; teams will need to know he has the strength and speed to compete, along with just a big frame.
Some say this is the deepest draft class in quite some time, which means Chip Kelly could conceivably trade out of pick No. 22 and still get a top player in the second round. This would be the Bill Belichick way, but stockpiling draft picks is a smart move for a young team like the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kelly could use a handful of positions for the defensive side of the ball. A safety is crucial, although the ideal scenario is to sign a free agent who can contribute immediately. Drafting a corner or a pass-rushing outside linebacker is necessary. And another versatile defensive lineman would help Billy Davis’ defense.