Now that the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, we have a chance to establish a suggested draft board for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Just in case Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly are Bleacher Report readers, here's what we're thinking the Eagles should be thinking with that No. 22 overall pick.
|1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||FS||Alabama|
|2. Calvin Pryor||FS||Louisville|
|3. Anthony Barr||OLB||UCLA|
|4. Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|5. Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|6. Dee Ford||OLB||Auburn|
|7. Justin Gilbert||CB||Oklahoma State|
|8. Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State|
|9. Brandin Cooks||WR||Oregon State|
|10. Ryan Shazier||OLB||Ohio State|
Brad Gagnon/Bleacher Report
— I really think the Eagles have to focus on safety over cornerback, which is why both Clinton-Dix and Pryor as well as some outside linebackers are listed above Gilbert and Dennard. Clinton-Dix is probably the best safety in the draft, and I like him more for Philly because he’s stronger than Pryor in coverage, but I don’t believe they’d pass on either player.
— Roseman goes on and on about drafting the best player available, but I’d still be shocked if they didn’t take a defensive back or a linebacker. The only exceptions, from my perspective, come if there’s no tie to break. In other words, if a dude like Evans drops all the way to them, I don’t think they’d be able to pass that up. That’s especially the case if they don’t keep Jeremy Maclin (although right now it looks as though they will).
— As far as those corners go, Gilbert is probably the better athlete. He dazzled at the combine. But Dennard might have better technique. I think the Eagles would love his toughness. That said, I still think that if it’s a close decision between either corner and Ford, they go with the pass-rusher.
— Philly’s sack rate of 5.2 was tied for the lowest in the league last year, and Trent Cole is in his 30s. Who knows what the future holds for Brandon Graham, so they’d be crazy not to look for pass-rush help early. I put Barr ahead of Mack because he’s more versatile and stronger in coverage, but there’s a good chance both will be gone when the Eagles are on the clock. Ford is a good consolation prize if he drops.
— The worst-case scenario, at least at this early stage, would be if all eight of those players were taken before the Eagles were on the clock. That’s unlikely, but if it were to happen I’d look to trade down and grab Cooks, who could replace Maclin immediately, or Shazier, who is a freak athlete. In Cooks’ case, we’re assuming Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. have already been picked.