This 2014 Philadelphia Eagles offseason has not lacked for headlines. From the jettisoning of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, to recent reports that Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy isn’t exactly thrilled with that decision, to news that former New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles might not have been the team’s first choice, well, “interesting” doesn’t begin to describe it.
Now, there are even rumors swirling that the Eagles will trade down, out of the NFL Draft’s first round, in order to amass more picks. This is one of the most dreaded scenarios for fans, who count down the days from free agency to the draft. Certainly, if it’s the best thing for the Eagles in the long run, that’s fine, but that’s debatable. Such a strategy also flies against our understanding of the Eagles’ draft strategy, which Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has said is to select the best player available. Trading out of the first round, and thereby selecting someone rated as a lesser player, would seem to emulate a Reid-ian approach the Eagles are trying to move away from.
Assuming Philadelphia does take someone with that first round pick, here’s the second in our series of mock draft roundups from NFL experts.
A majority of mock drafts out there have the Eagles moving to fill the void created by kicking Jackson to the curb, and Banks is no exception. With the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft, he predicts Philadelphia will select LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham put up solid numbers as a junior, with 59 grabs for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s slightly undersized in terms of height, standing less than 6-feet tall, but weighs in at nearly 200 pounds. He also clocks a 40 time of 4.43.
ESPN rates him as “above average” in most wide receiver traits, with the exception of “ball skills” where he rates “average” with the disclaimer “must improve focus and overall pass-catching consistency…still drops too many catchable balls, especially ones thrown outside of his frame.”
Considering his “frame” isn’t all that impressive to begin with, that’s not a good note.
He is described as someone not afraid to throw a block, which is a trait Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly loves.
You can check out some Beckham highlights here. The first play is a kick return for a score, showing his potential value as a special teams contributor. Beckham looks to have a burst and the kind of size to make him a tough tackle downfield. One of the ESPN notes credits Beckham as a savvy route runner and that is evident in his highlights. He does a nice job finding soft spots in zone defenses and uses his body well to gain position when faced with a man-to-man look.
Brugler is one of the few who see the Eagles going defensive, taking Ohio State corner Bradley Roby.
Considering what happened with DeSean Jackson, I find it hard to believe the Eagles would go down this road.
Forget his very average size (5-11, 194 pounds) and his above-average speed (40 time of 4.39), Roby is rated “below average” for intangibles. Why?
“Arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery following a bar altercation in Bloomington, IN July 2013. Was suspended for 2013 season opener. At Combine, had five bad attempts at three-cone drill and then walked away from drill. Needs to mature and become more accountable,” says ESPN.
Here are his highlights if you’re still interested. Seems like a talented guy, but it’s just hard to imagine the Eagles taking a chance on someone with clear character questions. The Eagles probably will take a corner at some point in the draft, maybe even the first round, but I don’t think this is their man.
Once again, the Eagles are looking for offense in a mock draft world, with Jeremiah predicting Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
This is a legitimate prediction given Kelly’s preference for players with size and skill. Benjamin stands at 6-5 and weighs 240 pounds. His 40 time of 4.61 doesn’t jump out, but considering how big the guy is, that’s pretty quick.
Just a sophomore, Benjamin caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns for the national championship-winning Seminoles. He rates “exceptional” in the “big play ability” measurement because of his “deceiving top-end speed to stretch the field vertically…flashes potential to be a one-on-one downfield matchup nightmare such as the likes of Alshon Jeffery.”
His ball skills are noted as “highly erratic” and he has “too many drops on catchable balls.” But Benjamin is also young and whoever drafts him knows going in he’ll be a bit of a project, probably the least likely of the high-end receivers to be an impact rookie.
Benjamin is the kind of guy who looks like an NFL player in his highlights. He’s a man amongst boys, regularly drawing more than one defender and making defenses pay no matter how many men they dedicate to defending him.
Another thing that stands out in these highlights: Benjamin’s season could have been so much more. He’s often contorting himself to grab poorly thrown passes. Give him a more accurate quarterback and a lot of these clips of Benjamin ending up on the ground probably have him crossing the goal line instead.
If these are the Eagles’ choices, I’d think Benjamin gets the nod. He has the kind of size and skill that doesn’t come around paired like this very often.
Who would you take? (Last week’s poll results: Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, 59 percent; Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks, 39 percent; USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, 8 percent).