Tonight the Eagles will go through the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NFL Draft, assuming the Commissioner hasn’t already changed the format and drawn this thing out til July.
Last night the Eagles selected OLB Marcus Smith from Louisville. They also acquired a 3rd round pick in a trade-down. The Eagles head into tonight with 3 picks.
2nd Round – pick 54
3rd Round – pick 83
3rd Round – pick 86
The primary goal for me is to come away with a WR from one of these picks. There are still some excellent choices on the board.
WR Marqise Lee
WR Cody Latimer
WR Allen Robinson
WR Jordan Matthews
WR Davante Adams
WR Martavis Bryant
It doesn’t seem likely that all 6 of those players will be gone in the first 21 picks. I don’t know for a fact that the Eagles like all 6 of them, but those are all talented players who fit the Eagles in some way. Lee is the smallest and he’s 6-0, 192. Not only are they big, but all of them run well.
I put the WRs in the order that I like them, but 32 teams will have them rated a whole bunch of other ways. Some would argue that Donte Moncrief should be in that list.
As much as I’d love Lee to fall, that’s not very likely. Beyond that, I’d love to see Latimer or Matthews fall to pick 54. Both guys would be good fits for what the Eagles are looking for (size + speed + skill + physicality).
It is possible the Eagles are looking into trade-up scenarios if they covet one of these WRs. If the Eagles used pick 83 as trade material, they could get up around pick 36. If they could do that and come away with Marqise Lee, that would be pretty darn tempting. The guy fell further than expected, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about him. Terrific NFL prospect.
If I had to map out an ideal scenario, it would be this:
54 – WR Cody Latimer – Indiana
83 – ILB Christian Jones – Florida State
86 – DE Brent Urban – Virginia
Latimer is a player the Eagles have shown a lot of interest in. I’ve already written a lot about him.
Beyond adding an OLB, I thought the Eagles biggest need on defense was adding more speed to the middle of the field. Signing Malcolm Jenkins certainly helped. Next up would be getting a young, athletic ILB. Jones could be an excellent target. This is a guy that could really interest the Eagles because of his versatility. Jones played WLB in 2012. They moved him to MLB early in 2013, but he then spent most of 2013 playing DE. He is 6-3, 240. He runs in the 4.7 range, which is fine for a 240-pound ILB. 3-year starter for the Noles. Led them in tackles in 2012. Didn’t have many sacks to show for 2013, but he was a disruptive pass rusher. Jones isn’t great in any one area, but he has experience doing anything a LB can do. He has played on the edge and on the inside. He could play OLB in the 3-4 as well as ILB. That makes him good depth, but also means you can be creative on gameday with who you rush and how you use your players.
Here is a highlight video from 2012, when he played like a true LB and not an edge rusher.
The final pick would be Urban, a 6-7, 295 DE. Right now the Eagles are thin at DE. They love the starters, Thornton and Cox. Behind them you have the undersized Vinny Curry and the unproven Joe Kruger. The Eagles want to add depth. Urban has the ideal 3-4 DE frame with his length and bulk. He’s cut at 295. He could stay trim and athletic or bulk up if that’s what they preferred. Right now Urban is mostly a run defender, but he is athletic enough to rush the passer.
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Here is the complete Draft Preview from yesterday. I’ll re-set that prior to Saturday. Only 32 players are gone now.
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The drafting of Smith instantly makes Brandon Graham expendable. I hope the Eagles shop him and try to get a pick. Graham won’t have much value because he’s a backup player in the final year of his deal, but the counter to that is that there aren’t many good pass rushers in this class. A 4-3 team could study Graham’s 2012 tape and be impressed enough to spend a pick on him.
Remember the logic Chip Kelly used in the Darren Sproles deal. Should we use a 5th on him? Are we likely to find someone of Sproles ability in the 5th? No.
Are you likely to find a pass rusher as talented as Graham in the 5th round? No. The team getting him could sign him to an extension during the season so it isn’t as if he’s purely a rental. The team would have the ability to see him play and decide if he’s worth keeping. The Eagles could also deal him for a conditional pick in 2015. That might offer greater value, but you’d have to wait for it.
Graham is a talented player, but he’s not meant for Chip Kelly’s version of the 3-4. It’s time to move on.