NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles draft wrap-up

May, 10, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA -- A wrap-up of the Philadelphia Eagles' draft. Click here for a full list of Eagles draftees.

[+] Enlarge Jordan Matthews
Frederick Breedon/Getty ImagesThe Eagles traded up 12 spots to land Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews.
Best move: Trading up 12 spots to select Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews in the second round at No. 42 was brilliant. The Eagles were in need of a major upgrade at wide receiver, and they picked up a player who has speed and size. Matthews has the ability to catch the difficult pass across the middle, and he can run a deep route with ease. Without DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant, this was a position the Eagles had to monitor. Matthews left Vanderbilt as the SEC’s career leader in receptions (262) and yards (3,759). Look for him to make an immediate impact in the NFL. Matthews is joining a team that needs help at wide receiver. It’s the perfect fit.

Riskiest move: Drafting Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith with the No. 26 pick in the first round has to be questioned. This is a player the Eagles easily could have gotten in the second or even the third round. Smith registered 14.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss as a senior, but that was in the aftermath of a poor junior season with just four sacks. Pass-rushers are hard to find, but the Eagles could have filled another need and added Smith in the second round. Time will tell whether it was worth using a first-round pick.

Most surprising move: This is surprising in a good way here with the pick of Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff at No. 86. The Eagles took Matthews at No. 42 and could have used another big wideout. Huff is 5-foot-11, but he has speed, strength and toughness. Even though the Eagles had a major need at wide receiver, selecting them in consecutive picks was a bit surprising. Huff’s all-around talent, which includes a desire to thrive on special teams, had to be enticing for the Eagles. Returning kickoffs and punts became a problem area at the beginning of last season and didn’t get much better by the end. If Huff can adapt quickly to the NFL style, he’ll be quite valuable to the Eagles.

File it away: Taking Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins with the first pick in the fourth round, No. 101 overall, was a solid move. Remember this pick down the road. The Eagles fielded a lot of calls from other teams but chose to keep the pick. With a major need at cornerback, this was the right move. Plus, Watkins played safety for two years at Florida, so his versatility will be an asset. Having players who can perform at multiple positions is a major bonus in the NFL. Watkins, who played with the Eagles’ Nate Allen in high school, has the speed (4.41 in the 40-yard dash) to be an effective cornerback. And he has the physical presence to be a solid safety. Allen has leadership skills and was named Florida’s captain midway through last season. Getting a player like this in the fourth round is a big-time positive.

Senior season boosts Marcus Smith

May, 9, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA -- Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith wasn't projected by many experts to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

Even Smith knew why.

"Maybe because of my junior film," Smith said on a conference call.

Four sacks and 29 tackles were hardly eye-popping numbers. So Smith returned for his senior season and wound up with 14.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, much-improved statistics.

It was more than that.

At 6-foot-3, 251 pounds, Smith got bigger, stronger and faster. And it resulted with the Philadelphia Eagles taking him with the No. 26 overall pick in the first round. They traded down four spots with the Cleveland Browns to grab Smith.

"I think with my ability, I can be a double-digit sack guy," Smith said. "Once I get into camp and get rolling, I think I can be a double-digit sack guy. I really do."

The Eagles may have rated Smith higher than others, but they're ecstatic with the selection.

"His ceiling is very, very high," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "We're excited. He's a tough, hard-nosed football player. New to the position. Similar to Lane Johnson, you're getting a guy who has a huge upside because he hasn't played the position very long."

Long before Kelly watched Smith play at Louisville's pro day, he saw him help Louisville dominate Temple at Lincoln Financial Field, also the home of the Eagles.

Smith eventually completed his Louisville career with 24 sacks but was projected in the second round or later in virtually every mock draft.

"All you need is one team to love you," Smith said. "I know the Eagles will take care of me and I'm happy to be a part of this great organization."

Eagles get Marcus Smith and add a pick

May, 9, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles traded down once. They didn't want to risk moving out of the first round, though.

The Eagles had Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith rated quite high on their board and were worried they wouldn't be able to grab him in the second round.

So they traded the No. 22 overall pick to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 26 spot and a third-round selection at No. 83. Adding a draft pick and the defensive player they coveted was too much to pass up.

Even if it meant ruining all the mock drafts.

"I haven't seen anybody's mock drafts, but if anybody predicted this one, they're all shaking their heads,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Smith
Jim Owens/Icon SMIMarcus Smith had 14.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss while with Louisville last season.
From the moment Kelly scouted Smith at Louisville's pro day, he was sold.

"He worked out at the pro day and I thought he did a really, really good job in person,” Kelly said. "I was impressed with his athleticism.”

Even though there were a number of wide receivers still on the board, such as USC's Marqise Lee and Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, the Eagles went ahead and selected a versatile linebacker who has the ability to rush the passer.

The Eagles finished 20th in the league in sacks last season and Trent Cole led the way with eight. Adding Smith definitely upgrades this facet on defense.

Smith had 14.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss for the Cardinals last season.

"Long levers are strong levers,” Kelly said of Smith's arm length. "He fits the mold for what we're looking for. How many guys are that size, 250 pounds running a 4.6 range, having the long arms. We just thought he was a positive. This league is turning into a throwing league and you've got to be able to rush the quarterback.”

Smith managed just four sacks as a junior before his breakout senior season. Despite such a strong showing, even Smith was unsure whether he'd be selected so high.

"I feel like they really liked me, but I had no idea they [Eagles] were going to pick me,” Smith said on a conference call. "I'm overjoyed right now.”

So are the Eagles, who nabbed the player they wanted and added a third-round pick in the process.

"We thought it was big just because we wanted Marcus, and we felt like if we went back just enough we could get that extra pick,” Kelly said. "We don't know who that guy is, but last year that guy was Bennie Logan, so if you have a chance to go back just enough and still get the guy you want and get a Bennie-Logan type player, that's a great deal for us.”

Smith was actually recruited as a quarterback before switching to the defensive side. Fast forward to now and he's stoked about joining his new teammates with the Eagles.

"I haven't reached my full potential yet,” Smith said. "I think once I get around the right people, I'll be the great player that I want to be.”

Clinton-Dix asks Eagles to draft him

May, 8, 2014
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Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be an intriguing selection for the Philadelphia Eagles when their turn comes up at No. 22 in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft.

Clinton-Dix believes it would be the perfect marriage, according to CSNPhilly.com.

CSNPhilly.com reported that Clinton-Dix sent a text message to Eagles director of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, a former Alabama football recruiter, to push for the team to draft him.

"He sent me an article and I was on the front of it, about going to Philly and what not," Clinton-Dix told CSNPhilly.com at an NFL Play60 event in Manhattan Wednesday involving the prospects invited to Radio City Music Hall. "I told him to tell them to come get me, please. Whatever it takes."

Clinton-Dix compared himself to former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, one of the most popular players in franchise history.

"Dawkins was the last hot head they had," Clinton-Dix told CSNPhilly.com. "I don't know if I could fill his shoes, but I'd definitely bring an impact to that team."

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Clinton-Dix reportedly ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Clinton-Dix believes he can succeed at a high level in the NFL, much like Dawkins.

"I can do it all, from blitzing to covering, to playing the post, quarters," Clinton-Dix told CSNPhilly.com. "Whatever needs to be done, I'm doing it. Like I said, Brian Dawkins is a different breed, but I'm my own breed as well. You'd get a different feel with me."

Eagles not locked into any spot at No. 22

May, 1, 2014
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During a pre-draft discussion with reporters Thursday, Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman repeatedly said the club would take the best available player during the NFL draft.

They're not locked into any one specific position.

With such a deep draft at wide receiver, and with the Eagles clearly needing one with the recent release of three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson, wouldn't it make sense to start here? Sure.

But Roseman wouldn't be bound by one particular spot.

The Eagles hold the No. 22 overall pick and they could go a variety of ways when the first round begins next Thursday.

"When you look at that first tier group of guys, and there is some variation in that first tier, I think you're probably going to look at 10 guys who will end up being drafted at least in the first two rounds," Roseman said of the group of wide receivers available. "And then there is that next level group of solid starters where I think you can be sitting there in the fourth round and get a guy who is going to be, by our pro definition, a red starter in this league, and usually that's hard to find in the fourth and fifth round."

Coincidentally, three wide receivers have been selected at No. 22 overall since 2005 -- Oklahoma's Mark Clayton to the Baltimore Ravens in '05, Florida's Percy Harvin to the Minnesota Vikings in '09 and Georgia Tech's Demaryius Thomas to the Denver Broncos in '10.

In this draft, there are a plethora of ultra-talented wide receivers who could step in and help the Eagles immediately.

The team could wait as well until the later rounds.

"When you look back at the history of the drafts, the wide receiver position always goes later to begin with," Roseman said. "And now with the influx of the underclassmen at the wide receiver position, I just think that's how it will turn out."

Analyzing Kiper Mock 4.0: Eagles 

April, 17, 2014
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The Philadelphia Eagles have the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after finishing 10-6 last season. A wide receiver, linebacker or defensive lineman would make sense for the Eagles.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's fourth 2014 NFL mock draft is out on ESPN Insider today and his choice for the Eagles is a headline-grabber.

Eagles will focus on best available player

April, 12, 2014
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As of now, the Philadelphia Eagles hold six picks in the 2014 NFL Draft.

It's their fewest amount of selections since 2003.

This is subject to change since trades can be made and extra picks can always be acquired.

One year after having the No. 4 overall selection, the Eagles will pick No. 22 in the first round.

Philadelphia has its own selection in rounds one, two, three, four, five and seven. The Eagles previously had the New England Patriots' pick in the fifth round in a trade for Isaac Sopoaga, but they traded it to the New Orleans Saints in the deal for Darren Sproles.

The Eagles traded their sixth round draft pick to the Patriots in the Sopoaga trade.

In the second round, the Eagles will pick No. 54. Then in the third round, they hold the No. 86 overall selection.

Even with just six picks, the Eagles won't change their strategy of how they select players.

"The way we formulate our draft board is basically like an expansion team," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told the Philadelphia Daily News. "It's like we have no players and let's make sure we have a clear mind. It's very hard to go in and know maybe the weaknesses that you have on your team and not grade players up a little bit because of that. But we try to grade all the players in the draft like we don't have any at that position."

Roseman added that the Eagles must be focused on taking the best player available, even if it means selecting a standout player at a certain position where there isn't a specific need.

"When you look at your team and try to look out 3-4 years, it becomes increasingly difficult to see who's going to be on your team," Roseman told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I mean, this is such a fluid game. Rosters turn over 15-20 percent in a normal offseason. To sit there and be really confident in what you're going to have as you go forward, it's hard. You don't want to force a position and you don't want to not take a position just because of what you have at the moment. You have to take the best player. And you have to build your team for the long term and look at the draft as long-term decisions for your football team."

Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Eagles 

April, 10, 2014
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The Philadelphia Eagles have the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after finishing 10-6 last season. A wide receiver, linebacker or defensive tackle would make sense for them.

Todd McShay’s fourth 2014 NFL mock draft is out on ESPN Insider today and his choice is a headline grabber for the Eagles, who own the No. 22 pick.


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Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Eagles

March, 13, 2014
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About a week ago, selecting a free safety in the first round of the draft made a lot of sense for the Philadelphia Eagles. That is, to anyone who watched the Eagles in 2013 and saw Patrick Chung, Nate Allen and Earl Wolff. Chung is gone, Allen remains a free agent and Wolff, the Eagles hope, is a developing talent.

The Eagles can’t just address this position with one free-agent signing. Malcolm Jenkins is an upgrade for them, but he’s not going to solve every problem in the secondary.

But, perhaps, if you pair him with Louisville’s Calvin Pryor that just might get it done. And that’s why it makes sense that in his Mock Draft 3.0 Insider, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projected Pryor to the Eagles with the 22nd pick in the first round. Jenkins is a free safety, best in coverage. Pryor is more of an in-the-box safety, best on the move against the run.

Pryor would give the Eagles their own version of Kam Chancellor (though not nearly as big) or Troy Polamalu, a guy who can make plays in the box and hit with force. Pryor is fast enough and athletic enough to develop in coverage. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds; not a blazer, but fast enough. Where he would can really help is against the run; he’s aggressive in this area and does a good job of seeking out ball carriers.

Pryor has to show he can cover tight ends. But if he does, the Eagles would have solved a nagging issue at safety -- first with Jenkins and then with Pryor. Of course, then they’ll have to address the pass rush and possibly corner depth. But this would be a good start.

Kiper's Mock 3.0: Eagles

March, 13, 2014
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Perhaps it was an expected need a while back, when there was a chance Jeremy Maclin wouldn’t return. Or Riley Cooper wouldn’t come back. There’s also an energetic, offensive-minded head coach in place.

So, naturally, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. figured the Eagles would be in the market for a receiver when it came time for the draft.

That, of course, bypassed other more pressing needs (most of which still exist). The Eagles solved part of their problem at safety (they hope) by signing Malcolm Jenkins. But they still need Earl Wolff to develop. They also still need more pass-rushing help and a cornerback. Their pressing needs all involve defense.

But Kiper’s 1.0 mock draft made some sense because it would have given the Eagles another weapon in 6-foot-4 receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the raw but talented receiver from Florida State. He would have been a perfect red-zone target, assuming he had polished up his route running.

Then, in his 2.0 mock, Kiper stayed away from Benjamin but stuck at receiver. This time, he projected Louisiana State’s Odell Beckham, writing about him, “Beckham could be a good fit in Philly not just because he's a good receiver for a team that could use help in that department, but because he's versatile, and can work in the slot or on the edge.”

However, with Cooper and Maclin back in Philadelphia, taking a receiver just might have to wait until after the first round. The Eagles still need depth here, so anything’s possible when Kiper releases his Mock 3.0Insider.

McShay Mock 3.0: Eagles 

March, 6, 2014
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Todd McShay's third NFL mock draft for 2014 is out on ESPN Insider today.

The Eagles now seem quite set on the offensive side of the ball, but could go in one of many directions with their first pick to improve their defense. McShay had Darqueze Dennard going to Philadelphia in his last mock, and the Eagles probably would love that scenario, but overall, taking the best defensive player regardless of position seems like the smartest move for the Eagles. The Eagles have set themselves up to get very good value throughout this draft, especially to reinforce their defense.

Whom does McShay have the Eagles drafting at No. 22? ?

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Kiper-McShay Mocks 2.0: Eagles 

February, 6, 2014
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In their first mock drafts, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper went in opposite directions for the Eagles.

Todd McShay's Mock 1.0: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu*, CB, Oregon

Mel Kiper's Mock 1.0: Kelvin Benjamin*, WR, Florida St.

What changes are there in their second mocks? Here's the latest projection from each of our experts.


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Kiper Mock Draft 1.0: Eagles 

January, 15, 2014
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The Philadelphia Eagles will continue their rebuilding effort under head coach Chip Kelly with the 22nd pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

General manager Howie Roseman said the team will continue its strategy of sticking to the draft board without emphasizing perceived needs. That makes guessing what the Eagles will do doubly difficult. They will be limited by the 21 picks before them and will go by their grades on the remaining players.

Needs are easy to identify. The Eagles need to improve their pass defense by adding to the pass rush or to the secondary.

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McShay Mock Draft 1.0: Eagles 

December, 18, 2013
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Before the 2013 draft, much of the talk was about where the Eagles would look at quarterback. Would Chip Kelly draft a prototype for his system? The big surprise, of course, wasn’t just that Philly ended up taking what many felt was a square peg in Matt Barkley with the first pick in Round 4, but that neither Barkley nor incumbent Michael Vick have played much this season. Kelly and his staff instead have turned to Nick Foles, another guy few would have predicted could be the co-author of a Kelly offensive manuscript.

With QB less of a question going into the 2014 draft, where do the Eagles turn next?

Todd McShay released his first 2014 mock draft Wednesday, and identified the biggest areas of need for the Eagles as outside linebacker, cornerback and wide receiver. Here’s who McShay believes will provide the best fit for Philadelphia in Round 1.


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