Draft day is just two weeks away, and it’s a likelihood that players have been evaluated, re-evaluated, analyzed and re-analyzed extensively. The Philadelphia Eagles possess just six draft picks for the upcoming 2014 draft, but if Howie Roseman is smart and works out a good deal or two, the Eagles may be able to add some draft selections.
Defense needs to be Roseman’s top priority. Coordinator Billy Davis did a fine job in his first season with the team, coaxing fine seasons out of veterans Trent Cole and Connor Barwin as the team switched to a 3-4 scheme. Still, Davis does not have a standout player on his side of the ball, and the Eagles will need to spend their first-round pick on such a player.
A number of players would fit, but Roseman should operate under the philosophy to strictly draft the best defensive player available. Trading down to secure more picks would be an ideal move, as it could potentially give the Eagles multiple second- and third-round selections.
Targeting a second-round receiver is a logical move, especially with DeSean Jackson having departed and Jeremy Maclin back on just a one-year deal. It’s said to be an extremely deep receiver class, and talent can be found in the second and even third round that could contribute immediately.
Indiana’s Cody Latimer is one such player who may be of interest to Chip Kelly and his staff. Latimer is a 6’2”, 215-pound receiver who is a likely top-40 prospect should the Eagles be interested. Latimer didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he clocked a 4.39 on his pro day. He benched 225 pounds 23 times, which was tops among all the wide receivers.
The Eagles did host Latimer for a private workout, and he would enter the 2014 season as their No. 3 receiver should Philadelphia draft him. In his most recent mock draft (subscription required), ESPN's Todd McShay predicted that the Eagles would take Latimer with the 22nd overall selection.
McShay’s logic was that a big, physical possession receiver like Latimer would be a prime fit in Kelly’s offense. Latimer doesn’t drop many passes, he’s good after the catch and he can block well, which is a necessity for an offense run by Kelly.
The 22nd pick may be slightly high for Latimer, although he has seen his stock rise as of late. Waiting until the second round may be a risk, as there may be a demand for a player of Latimer’s ability.
If Roseman can trade with the San Francisco 49ers to accumulate the 30th overall selection and an extra second-round pick, the Eagles can try to target Latimer with the 30th pick. If he’s gone, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews would be a fine alternative. Either way, the Eagles will need to take a wide receiver within the first two rounds.