Jason DeCrow/Associated Press
Per NFL.com, Eagles fans assigned the team a C grade for its selection of seven players in the 2014 draft.
Marcus Smith was seen as the questionable pick, as the Louisville pass-rushing outside linebacker likely could have been had in the second round, rather than at 26th overall. Still, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock was a huge fan of the selection, saying the following about Smith:
Marcus Smith is a pretty exciting edge player. The important thing ultimately is ’can this kid play?’ They have Connor Barwin on one side and Trent Cole, who will turn 32 years old, on the other. In that scheme he’s a perfect fit. The pick attacks an area of need for the Eagles, and they got some extra picks in the process.
Second-round wide receiver Jordan Matthews was a popular pick and will likely be a fan favorite. The Vanderbilt product is a bigger receiver with speed (4.46 40-yard dash) and strength (21 reps on the bench press). Matthews will be eased in slowly to replace DeSean Jackson, but ideally he can be a starter by the 2015 season.
Mayock was a huge fan of this selection, saying Matthews will improve an already-talented offense:
He’ll fit in beautifully in Philadelphia and in Chip Kelly’s offense. He makes tough catches. He has a big body. He ran faster than a lot of people anticipated (4.46-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine). The Eagles get Jeremy Maclin back. They have added Matthews and Darren Sproles. This team is going to be the first-, second- or third-leading scoring team in the league.
Mayock said Josh Huff and Jaylen Watkins were solid additions as a slot receiver and cornerback/safety, respectively. Meanwhile, Brian Baldinger particularly liked fifth-round Oregon defensive end Taylor Hart, saying he fits perfectly in the defense:
To me, if I had to make a comparison now, he looks like a young Brett Keisel without the beard. He’s got a promising future as a five-technique in any 3-4 defense. He broke his foot at the end of the (2013) season but he was a four-year starter. He’s 6-foot-6, 280, can run and he’s got violent hands.