The 10 Most Likely First-Round Picks for the Philadelphia Eagles

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The 10 Most Likely First-Round Picks for the Philadelphia Eagles
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With the NFL draft less than two months away, the biggest question for the Eagles right now is whether disgruntled wide receiver DeSean Jackson will even be on the team come draft day.

That makes it almost impossible to make any sort of mock draft involving the Eagles without knowing whether their best receiver will be in uniform in two months. Personally, I think it's about a 50 percent chance. 

I attempted to take that into consideration when I wrote this article, as a Jackson departure would increase the odds of Philadelphia drafting a receiver in the first round.

If there wasn't any DeSean Jackson drama, I think the Eagles would be a strong candidate to pick a defensive player. After all, they scored the fourth-most points in the NFL in 2013, brought back a healthy Jeremy Maclin and added versatile running back Darren Sproles.

But take away DeSean Jackson, which could easily happen, and you have to think that general manager Howie Roseman will let offensive-minded head coach Chip Kelly choose a wide receiver with his first-round pick. 

Although impossible to predict, I also attempted to factor in the odds of the Eagles trading up or down for a player in the 2014 draft.

So, in order, here are the ten most likely first-round picks for the Philadelphia Eagles

 

1. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

If DeSean Jackson leaves, this is the most likely receiver for the Eagles to pick in the first round. Brandin Cooks is a Chip Kelly kind of guy. He's extremely fast and a dynamic weapon with the ball in his hands, whether as a receiver or a returner. You know Kelly is already thinking about the different ways he could use Cooks, whether on the outside, in the slot and even in the backfield. 

 

2. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Personally, I think the Eagles are more likely to select a cornerback in the first round than a safety (even though I don't agree with that decision). They have Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin and Nolan Carroll. That's solid depth. But they don't have anyone who scares opposing quarterbacks. Boykin had a terrific season but he's still a role player.

A player like Darqueze Dennard would play sparingly as a rookie but he would likely compete for a starting job by the beginning of the 2015 season. 

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3. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Chip Kelly is a coach obsessed with speed, but he may not be able to ignore a weapon like Kelvin Benjamin, who would instantly become the team's option in the red zone. Benjamin is physical and has a ridiculous wingspan. The combination of Benjamin, Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz would give the Eagles a dangerous trio of weapons near the goal line. 

 

4. Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

The Eagles really need a pass-rusher, and after failing to address the position through free agency, they simply cannot avoid drafting at least one player who can pressure opposing quarterbacks. Auburn's Dee Ford is a little bit undersized, but he dominated during his senior year of college and could compete for a starting job as a rookie in the Eagles' 3-4 defense. 

 

5. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

If Calvin Pryor is available when the Eagles make their first-round pick, they need to grab him without hesitation. But I'm not sure he's as high on their draft board as others. After adding veteran Malcolm Jenkins and re-signing Nate Allen, the Eagles may be happier with their safeties than the majority of the fanbase.

Pryor would immediately be penciled in as a starter, but if Jackson leaves and the Eagles can pick between a top receiver and a top safety, expect them to choose the offensive player. 

 

6. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Like Pryor, the same applies to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. Clinton-Dix would immediately become the team's best safety since Quintin Mikell left after the 2010 season. It's just a question of whether the Eagles value safeties as much as their fans hope they do.

For what it's worth, Clinton-Dix was my original mock draft selection for the Eagles. 

 

7. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

The Eagles may need to trade up a few picks if they want to acquire Marqise Lee, a standout player while at USC. Obviously the chance of picking Lee—though the Eagles will more than likely have to trade up to acquire him—increases tremendously if the Eagles trade DeSean Jackson. 

 

8. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Notice a pattern here? The Eagles will be looking at a number of receivers in this year's receiver-dominated draft class. Beckham would be another perfect option in Chip Kelly's offense, especially if Jackson leaves and the Eagles need to replace his speed. 

 

9. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

If the Eagles trade up for any one player in the draft, it will likely be Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans.

There's no way he's still on the board at pick 22. The big question is how much the Eagles will be willing to trade up to acquire Johnny Manziel's favorite receiver.

If Jackson leaves but the Eagles find a way to pick Evans, they're going to be okay in a few years. Though not as fast as Jackson, Evans is a big, physical wideout who has legitimate star potential. 

 

10. Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota

The most likely defensive defensive lineman for the Eagles in the first round of the draft, Hageman has the ability to line up at defensive tackle or defensive end. His versatility will be huge for an Eagles team that doesn't have a true nose tackle. It could use Hageman at either spot on the defensive line. 

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