I am pretty joyed with how the Philadelphia Eagles handled their draft – and they’re probably going to be the most fun team to watch heading into the 2014 season. Here are some notes on their draft:
FIRST ROUND – Marcus Smith, LB Louisville
I was happy that with the 22nd pick in the first round, the Eagles elected to trade out of the spot. The Browns then used that pick to select Johnny Manziel, and the Eagles re-affirmed their commitment to their franchise quarterback Nick Foles. In the end, the Eagles proved they believe in the young star signal-caller. Smith is an unknown to me, but Chip Kelly says he has a high-ceiling and that he can get to the opposition’s passer. I wanted to see the Eagles add another toy, but for now they probably addressed the most dire need and most importantly showed that they’re prepared to build around Foles.
SECOND ROUND – Jordan Matthews, WR Vanderbilt
This was the ‘toy’ I wanted to see Chip Kelly add. The Eagles had a hole at the receiver spot with the vacated spot since Desean Jackson was traded; and this has a chance to help them not miss a beat. I know Matthews can play from the time I spent with NCAA football on the Playstation. He was always the big target putting up numbers for Vandy in the SEC. I like Mike Mayock’s quote on the pick:
“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.”
THIRD ROUND – Josh Huff, WR Oregon
Huff is probably a guy Chip Kelly knew from the time he spent at Oregon, and projects to be a number two or number three WR in a system (spread) like the Eagles incorporate. Another toy with high upside potential, perhaps as high in the Eagles system as any since it’s Chip Kelly’s mad-scientist scheme.
FOURTH ROUND – Jaylen Watkins, CB Florida
The Eagles started off Saturday with another phenomenal pick considering where things were at in the draft. Any time you can get a corner who played both safety and that corner spot in the SEC; you’re getting a guy who has some exceptional value in the next level. It’s another piece for the back end of the Philadelphia defense. He has playmaking ability, speed, and size. Remember this name.
FIFTH ROUND – Taylor Hart, DE Oregon
Chip Kelly elected to grab yet another home-cooking favorite from Oregon with this fifth round selection. Brian Baldinger says he’s Brett Keisel without the beard. I love it. He is a lunch pale type of guy who fits right in with the culture of blue-collar Philadephia.
FIFTH ROUND – Ed Reynolds, S Stanford
Another player from a conference that Chip Kelly knows by heart. Reynolds has obviously been a part of a very successful program for the last few years. The Eagles needed a safety pretty badly but their GM Howie Roseman was on the record as saying that the safety crop in this draft class was less than spectacular. This feels like a safe pick and an area of need for the Eagles. I see that his dad was an NFL linebacker for the Giants and Patriots around the time I began to follow the league, but I don’t remember him. Lacks athletic ability and physicality according the scouting.