Philadelphia Eagles Final 2014 NFL Mock Draft Roundup
General manager Howie Roseman has just six picks with which to work, but he’s likely looking to trade down and maximize the draft selections in arguably the deepest draft class ever. Meanwhile, head coach Chip Kelly may fall in love with an explosive wide receiver and trade up for him, whether it be Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr. or Cody Latimer.
Even the most intelligent draft experts won’t get more than one-quarter of their first-round predictions correct, but analysts like Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Matt Miller can provide a glimpse at what teams will do.
Here is a look at the player each expert has predicted the Eagles will take in the first round.
*All Scouting Combine numbers are per NFL.com. All college statistics are per Sports-Reference.com.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com
Philadelphia Eagles fans would be thrilled if Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fell to them at pick 22. The team has needed a safety since Brian Dawkins left, and most mock drafts conclude Clinton-Dix is a top-15 player and the consensus best safety.
Per Jeremiah, “The Eagles need more playmakers in their secondary and Clinton-Dix would be an ideal fit.” Clinton-Dix has also stated he would love to play for the Eagles, and he certainly fills a dire position of need on the roster.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is close with Eagles exec Ed Marynowitz, who was one of main reasons C-D went to 'Bama. Told Marynowitz, "come get me!"— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) May 7, 2014
Clinton-Dix is a natural ballhawk. He would allow the organization to ease last year’s fifth-round rookie, Earl Wolff, in slowly, while Clinton-Dix and new free-agent acquisition, Malcolm Jenkins, would vastly improve the position.
The Pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Mel Kiper & Todd McShay, ESPN
This is the combined mock draft the duo did live on ESPN. Jordan Matthews kicked off a run of five wide receivers in seven picks, and he’s one of the more rapidly rising players on draft boards.
Matthews went to under-the-radar Vanderbilt, but he has the physical tools to be a successful NFL player. Matthews is 6’3”, 205 pounds, runs a 4.46 40-yard dash, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times at the combine.
He’s the SEC career leader in receptions and receiving yards, and he happens to be the cousin of Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest player ever to wear an NFL uniform. Matthews would be eased onto the Philadelphia Eagles, considering the team did re-sign both Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
The Pick: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
In Matt Miller’s final mock draft, he projects Auburn pass-rushing outside linebacker Dee Ford to the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a bit of a surprising pick, considering Miller has the Eagles passing on other defensive players like Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller and Ryan Shazier.
Miller’s logic makes sense, though:
Dee Ford is an interesting player, because like Cole and Graham, he's not very big (6'2", 252 lbs). What he has going for him are incredibly long arms (32.875"), great first-step speed and a tenacity rarely seen in college pass-rushers. He may not fit the profile for many teams, but his explosion off the line would be tough to overlook in a 3-4 defense.
Trent Cole won’t likely be back in 2015 given his $11.6 million base salary that season, and Connor Barwin can be released after this year at little cap penalty. Ford would contribute as a rotational player as a rookie, and ideally, he can take over regularly in ’15.
The Pick: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn
In Walter Football’s final mock draft, the Philadelphia Eagles are fortunate enough to grab Alabama playmaking safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Walter Football’s logic is that he’s the best player available at this point, and he fulfills a position of need.
Philadelphia's defense was terrible for many reasons, one of which is the safety position. Malcolm Jenkins was signed, but help is still needed there. Nate Allen is just too unreliable to be one of the starters. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a very good fit for the defense, and he happens to be the top player on the board.”
Again, this would be an ideal scenario for the Eagles, and while general manager Howie Roseman has openly stated it is not a great safety class, he couldn’t possibly pass on Clinton-Dix.
The Pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Peter King, Sports Illustrated
Peter King is one of those that believes the Philadelphia Eagles will trade up for a wide receiver. In this case, Howie Roseman moves from pick 22 to 15, swapping with the Pittsburgh Steelers, while also giving up a second-round pick.
Chip Kelly would sure love this. He’s an offensive head coach who needs a wide receiver now that DeSean Jackson has been released. Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t a big-bodied player like Mike Evans or Cody Latimer, but he is incredibly explosive.
Per King, “The versatility of Beckham—who can play outside and slot and on returns—makes him a good replacement for DeSean Jackson. And cheaper.”
Ideally, in two years, Beckham would take over for Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper as the team’s No. 1 receiver.
The Pick: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU (via trade)
Charlie Casserly, NFL.com
Charlie Casserly goes out on a limb when he has the Philadelphia Eagles picking Louis Nix III with the 22nd overall pick. It’s tough to say whether this is a best-player-available strategy, considering Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby, Jason Verrett and Ryan Shazier are all on the board. Casserly says the following:
CB and WR are needs, too, but I can't get the Saints game from last season's playoff out of my mind -- New Orleans controlled the line of scrimmage running the ball.
Based on this logic, Nix would be a good addition, but then that would all but relegate last year’s third-round pick, Bennie Logan, to that of backup or rotational tackle/end.
There are probably better positions to address with the line being arguably the defense’s lone strength.
The Pick: Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
Evan Silva, Rotoworld
Rotoworld’s Evan Silva projects Darqueze Dennard to the Philadelphia Eagles, which would give the organization the best defensive player available of the scenarios listed.
Dennard was the recipient of the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. He was a unanimous first-team All-American, and he posted an impressive 4.38 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Dennard would push for a starting role next season in the team’s secondary, where there is almost a logjam of cornerbacks.
Brandon Boykin would probably keep his role as the nickelback, Nolan Carroll would play the dime role, and Dennard would start opposite either Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher (with the other veteran to be released).
The Pick: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio projects safety Calvin Pryor to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 22nd overall pick, a selection which would fill a vital position of need. Pryor has seen his stock drop in recent weeks, while Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward’s has risen.
Florio suggests Pryor because “the Eagles have a clear need at safety, and Pryor remains on the board for the Eagles to pluck.” Pryor may be a poor fit in the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense because he’s not the versatile defender Billy Davis likes.
He’s more of an in-the-box safety who doesn’t cover the pass as well as he stops the run. It would be surprising to see the Eagles take Pryor, especially since one of the elite cornerbacks should still be on the board.
The Pick: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Cody Swartz, Bleacher Report Columnist
Logic suggests Chip Kelly will target a wide receiver with his first selection. He lost three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson in the offseason, and he spent his first two picks on offense a year ago, despite what was likely a more pressing need on the defensive side of the ball.
In the mock here, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Cody Latimer and Marqise Lee are all off the board. That means the Eagles can seemingly pick from Jordan Matthews, Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks or Kelvin Benjamin.
Cooks is too undersized for Kelly’s mantra that bigger people beat up little people. Robinson has the highest upside, given his outrageous vertical leap that puts him in the Calvin Johnson class. He’s a power receiver, who is built like Anquan Boldin, but should be an even better threat to score in the red zone.
The Pick: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State