Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft Roundup
Why settle for just one mock draft when you can see who all the experts are projecting to the Philadelphia Eagles in one place? Why settle for the first round when you could get multiple takes on all seven?
Well, in the Eagles’ case, I suppose it’s only six rounds—for now. At the moment, that’s how many selections the franchise owns in the 2014 draft, which thanks in part to the record number of underclassmen who entered, is being hailed as one of the deepest in years.
Make no mistake, the Birds would like to get their hands on more picks if possible. We’ll discuss the possibility of that and more, even if most of the mocks we’re sampling do not.
With the draft now little more than a week away, what are the latest mocks up to? We explore in depth, with analysis, inside.
*All combine results via NFL.com.
Round 1, Pick No. 22
Mel Kiper, ESPN: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Todd McShay, ESPN: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Will Brinson, CBSSports.com: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Don Banks, Chris Burke; Sports Illustrated: Cooks
Jimmy Kempski, Philly.com: Cooks
Matt Lombardo, NJ.com: Benjamin
We can basically split opinions on Philadelphia’s first-round pick into two groups: wide receiver and everybody else. Clearly, many prognosticators are attacking their mock drafts from the standpoint that the Eagles lost DeSean Jackson’s 82 receptions, 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns from ’13 and will therefore attempt to replace the three-time Pro Bowler.
The fact that the organization was willing to grant Jackson his outright release to begin with could indicate just the opposite however. That is, the Eagles are seemingly comfortable with Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper as the No. 1 and 2 wideouts for now, and while the club certainly needs to draft a pass-catcher or two at some point for depth and development, it’s not necessarily the primary objective in Round 1.
This may sound extreme, but personally I probably wouldn’t take a single one of these particular receivers with the 22nd overall pick over the best player available at another position. Lee (6’0”,) Beckham (5’11”) and Cooks (5’10”) all lack elite size. Lee (4.52) and Benjamin (4.61) don’t run particularly great according to their times in the 40-yard dash. Benjamin and Beckham weren’t especially productive in college, either.
You mean to tell me in a draft as deep as this one, featuring perhaps the strongest wide receiver class of all time, there isn’t a better all-around size-speed-production package than these guys?
Heck, based on measureables like height and 40-yard dash time, Cooks is practically a Jackson clone. Jackson lasted to No. 49 in ‘08.
That would suggest even in a typical year, receiving talent can be found outside the first round. In 2014, there will be tremendous value on Day 2 of the draft, including quite a few players who may fit the NFL mold better than several of these supposed upper-echelon prospects.
Round 1, Pick No. 22 (continued)
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Doug Farrar, SI: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Roby
Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com: Kony Ealy, DE/OLB, Missouri
Ron Burke, CSNPhilly.com: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Jared Sherman, CSNPhilly.com: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
None of which is to say the Eagles couldn’t come away with a wide receiver in Round 1. Merely consider the vast array of options that will be available should the front office opt to go in a different direction.
Honestly, the collection of expert picks above probably represents the worst-case scenarios. In a draft this deep, somebody unexpected is bound to fall. Think linebacker C.J. Mosley or safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, a pair of All-Americans out of Alabama, or Jim Thorpe Award winner for best defensive back in the nation Darqueze Dennard from Michigian State, even North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.
Count Barr among the potential surprises at No. 22. Back in January, the UCLA product was going in the top 10 or 15 of most of these things. Now he’s all over the board, plummeting as far as the second round in some mocks. With 41.5 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks over the last two years, he wouldn’t make it past the Birds, their biggest need being a premier pass-rusher.
Pryor would be a solid pick as well should he make it to 22. Philadelphia could use another safety, and his stock has been on the rise ever since declaring for the draft. Pryor has a reputation for being the big hitter and playmaker the secondary desperately needs, recording seven interceptions and nine forced fumbles in three seasons at Louisville.
Even a cornerback like Fuller, who has adequate size and fits the Eagles’ defensive scheme, would be a nice consolation prize here.
That being said, I’d give serious thought to trading down if the right offer was on the table. Were an elite prospect such as Mosley, Barr or Ebron there, it would have to be one helluva deal. The Eagles only have six picks this year though, so if they can move down and still grab Fuller, Su’a-Filo or even Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford while adding another selection or two, that’s precisely what I would be trying to do.
My Pick: Trade. Or OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Round 2, No. 54
Mel Kiper, ESPN: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Todd McShay, ESPN: Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
Matt Miller, B/R: Desir
Rob Rang, CBSSports.com: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Jimmy Kempski, Philly.com: Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
Matt Lombardo, NJ.com: Attaochu
Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com: Keith McGill, CB/S, Utah
Ron Burke, CSNPhilly.com: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Jared Sherman, CSNPhilly.com: Robinson
McShay admitting Brooks would be a reach is the kind of insight you occasionally get from a national guy who isn’t as intimately familiar with each organization’s history and press clippings. Let’s just say if there was one front office and one front office only that absolutely will not reach for a safety in the draft, it’s located in Philadelphia. (Thanks, Jaiquawn Jarrett.)
The choices here are a little more all over the place, but you can see the names of some wide receivers that are expected to make it into Round 2 should the Eagles employ the wait-and-see approach. Adams (6’1”,) Robinson (6’2”) and Matthews (6’3”) all possess above average size and were extremely productive in college. Matthews in particular runs very well, posting a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash.
If the Birds don’t land Barr, Ford or Ealy on Day 1, pass-rusher might become a priority here. Either Attaochu or Louisville’s Marcus Smith could be great fits.
This looks like the ideal spot in the draft to come up with a wideout though. If the Eagles wait until Round 3, maybe they’ll be able to get their hands on Donte Moncrief out of Ole Miss or Cody Latimer from Indiana. While it may not be the most immediate need on the roster, I’m not sure that’s a chance the organization can afford to take.
With 206 receptions for 2,800 yards and 15 touchdowns over his last two years at Vanderbilt, Matthews is one of the most polished, all-around pass-catchers in this draft. If he somehow manages to fall to No. 54, the Eagles shouldn’t think twice about scooping him here.
My Pick: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Round 3, No. 86
Matt Miller, B/R: Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman
Jimmy Kempski, Philly.com: DB Jaylen Watkins, DB, Florida
Matt Lombardo, NJ.com: Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor
Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com: Terrance Books, S, Florida State
Ron Burke, CSNPhilly.com: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Jared Sherman, CSNPhilly.com: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Here we have almost everybody going defensive back, which only makes sense seeing as Philadelphia ranked dead last in the NFL in pass defense in ‘13—by volume, anyway. B/R’s own Matt Miller goes against the grain however with the selection of an offensive lineman despite the fact that all five starters are currently slated to return.
The word “currently” is important in that last sentence, because it is important to note Evan Mathis is on the trade block according to a report by Ian Rapoport for NFL.com. The All-Pro left guard may be the best in the business, but he’s also the oldest. Seeing as the Eagles only own six picks in this loaded draft, getting even an extra third- or fourth-rounder back for Mathis, as Jason La Canfora for CBSSports.com suggests, could help.
Even if the team doesn’t move Mathis this offseason, it makes sense to prepare for his eventual departure. His availability is apparently due to his wanting a new contract, a demand that isn’t likely to disappear. Add in the fact that both Mathis and right guard Todd Herremans are on the wrong side of 30, and it’s a bigger need than a lot of folks may realize.
If the Eagles don’t grab Su’a-Filo in Rounds 1 or 2, Dozier is a quality athlete who should excel in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. Most of the cornerbacks or safeties at this point in the draft don’t look all that appealing anyway.
My Pick: OG Dakota Dozier, Furman
Round 4, No. 122
Matt Miller, B/R: Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama
Jimmy Kempski, Philly.com: Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
Matt Lombardo, NJ.com: Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon State
Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com: Jarred Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Ron Burke, CSNPhilly.com: Christian Kirksey, LB, Iowa
Jared Sherman, CSNPhilly.com: Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
Hopefully by now the Eagles have managed to add draft picks. Trading down in the first round or shipping Mathis out were earlier possibilities. Moving DE/OLB Brandon Graham for a mid-rounder since he’s not an ideal fit for Philly’s 3-4 defensive alignment could be an option as well.
Seeing as one or two of those scenarios is likely to play out, I’m going to go ahead and assume the Birds happen upon the extra couple of picks they need to grab an inside linebacker, a cornerback, or whatever the defense needs at some point later on.
If they didn’t grab Su’a-Filo or Dozier already, Steen would be a wise pick here, as offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland worked with him Alabama. Archer, who ran the fastest 40 time at the combine, could become an invaluable weapon out of the backfield for Chip Kelly’s offense as well.
Don’t be surprised if Philadelphia winds up going tight end eventually though. Yes, between Brent Celek, James Casey and 2013 second-round pick Zach Ertz, the depth chart is stacked. Yet Celek will be 30 before the Super Bowl, and Casey is easily dumped.
When Kelly initially arrived as head coach, tight end was expected to take on a prevalent role in his offense. That didn’t quite happen in year one as Ertz was learning on the job, but it doesn’t mean it’s not where the scheme is eventually headed.
Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz did not post traditionally great numbers in a limited Iowa offense—just 91 receptions for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns over the seasons. At 6’5” with 4.76 speed however, he could develop into a viable threat in a sophisticated NFL offense.
My Pick: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Round 5, No. 162
Matt Miller, B/R: Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane
Jimmy Kempski, Philly.com: Dontae Johnson, DB, North Carolina State
Matt Lombardo, NJ.com: Charles Leno, OL, Boise State
Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Ron Burke, CSNPhilly.com: Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
Jared Sherman, CSNPhilly.com: Marqueston Huff, DB, Wyoming
One thing the reigning Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks proved is that defenses don’t necessarily need first-round cover men on the perimeters to lock down opposing receivers. Richard Sherman was a fifth-round pick. Byron Maxwell was a sixth.
That doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good idea to skimp on the cornerback position. Then again, maybe the Eagles don’t have to.
Geoff Mosher for CSNPhilly.com’s selection of Colvin could be the best of both worlds. The Oklahoma product was slated to go as high as Round 1, but disaster struck at the Senior Bowl where the young man suffered a torn ACL.
Philadelphia would be a good landing spot for Colvin because it wouldn’t necessarily matter if he was ready this season or not. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are penned in as the starters on the outside. The front office also signed free agent Nolan Carroll from the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
The Eagles could stash Colvin on injured reserve for one year, then he could be starting as early as ’15, when Fletcher hits free agency and Williams’ salary and age will make him a candidate for release. After all, it’s only an ACL—not exactly a career death sentence in this day and age.
Colvin racked up 3.5 sacked, 17 pass breakups and five interceptions in his final two collegiate seasons. At 5’11”, he’s not quite as tall as the Eagles are thought to like, but considering where they would be getting him in the draft, nobody should complain.
My Pick: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Round 7, No. 237
Matt Miller, B/R: Shamar Stephen, DE, Connecticut
Jimmy Kempski, Philly.com: Wesley Johnson, OL, Vanderbilt
Matt Lombardo, NJ.com: John Urschel, OG, Penn State
Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com: Urschel
Ron Burke, CSNPhilly.com: Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA
Jared Sherman, CSNPhilly.com: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
At this point in the draft, I really love the idea of getting a big-bodied receiver like Evans, or a mathematician moonlighting as offensive guard such as Urschel. In my own personal picks though, the Eagles have already addressed wideout and guard in this draft.
Besides, I’m not convinced either one is still available at No. 237.
One of Philadelphia’s more underrated needs is along the defensive line, where they have essentially nothing behind their top four. In a previous mock draft, I had the Birds choosing Jay Bromley out of Syracuse.
B/R’s Matt Miller thinks Bromley is gone as well though, so I’ll take his word for it this time and adopt his Shamar Stephen pick. The 6’5”, 309-pound defensive end prospect finally came into his own in his senior season at UConn, racking up 10 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks—each more than his first three years combined.
My Pick: Shamar Stephen, DE, Connecticut