Do the Eagles Still Control the NFC East After the NFL Draft?

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Nov 16, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats safety Glenn Faulkner (18) shoves Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Jordan Matthews (87) out of bounds during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium. Vanderbilt won 22-6. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles: Round One (Pick 26): Marcus Smith (Defensive End), Louisville I was watching the NFL draft, and this pick really set me off. I was already frustrated that the Eagles had traded down when they had the chance to take possible top ten pick, former Michigan State and current Cincinnati Bengal cornerback Darqueze Dennard. Then finally it was the Eagles turn to pick, I was hoping for maybe a safety like Washington State’s Deone Bucannon or Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward or even a cornerback like Ohio State’s Bradley Roby. Then I hear the Mar- of Marcus and was thinking “Oh no, not Marqise Lee”, sure enough it wasn’t USC’s top wide receiver Marqise Lee. It was the last name I had expected to hear, Marcus Smith. I knew who Marcus Smith was, and once the initial shock was over I realized that this was in fact a good pick, Smith fills a huge need, and if he was the top pass rusher on the Eagles’ board, who am I to dispute? My problem, along with many other people, is that this was very early to take Smith since many projected him to be available in the third round let alone the first. Why didn’t they trade back further? Why didn’t they wait and take him later? Well, as it turns out, general manager Howie Roseman knew exactly what he was doing. A recent report (See the report here) by John Kelm of ESPN says that had he been available the Washington Redskins would have targeted Marcus Smith. Good job Roseman, you sure knew what you were talking about and got your man.   Round Two (Pick 42): Jordan Matthews (Wide Receiver), Vanderbilt I love this pick. In my previous articles I discussed how Matthews is the most underrated wide receiver in the draft especially when you look at his statistics. When you add to the picture that he played in the SEC, where defense rules, and that everyone knew the ball was going to him, this pick just looks better and better. Matthews not only replaces former Eagles and current Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Jason Avant, but he might even be a replacement or an improvement on Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Matthews will play the slot as that was Avant’s job, but be aware this guy is dangerous and he will find himself catching passes all over the field.   Round Three (Pick 86): Josh Huff (Wide Receiver), Oregon Many people think that this was a bad pick. Many people think this was a great pick. I am going to argue for both sides. Yes, they Eagles had already taken a wide receiver and had other needs. Yes, Josh Huff was not the best wide receiver on the board. Yes, Chip Kelly probably drafted him over someone else because he is from Oregon. Here is why this was a great pick. Josh Huff is not like the other receivers in this draft. He is short, but powerful. He is quicker than fast, and is hard to bring down. Josh Huff is a fit for the Eagles because of this key word, versatility. Chip Kelly lives by this word, he covets guys that can have roles and do more than one thing. Josh Huff has the potential to be an all pro kick returner. He is killer on special teams, and he has experience as a running back. Not to mention, he knows and works in Chip Kelly’s system and Chip Kelly has said that he has as much fight in him as any player he has worked with. This was a solid pick, there may be problems with it, but in the end I like it.

Sep 21, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Jaylen Watkins (14) tackles Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Marquez North (8) during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Round Four (Pick 101): Jaylen Watkins (Cornerback), Florida This half brother of former star Clemson wide receiver and current Buffalo Bill Sammy Watkins was a fantastic pick up. I was hoping to hear the larger Lindenwood standout cornerback Pierre Desir’s name called, but I had a feeling the Eagles were going to pick Watkins. The Eagles had met with Watkins and reports said that the meeting went well. Watkins is unique in that he can play cornerback or safety (another versatile player) and he makes everyone that plays with him look better.   Round Five (Pick 141): Taylor Hart (Defensive End), Oregon Another Oregon man! Hart was a great pickup because he is incredible at stopping the run. He will most likely cycle in and out with first round pick Marcus Smith, who is a pass rusher.   Round Five (Pick 162): Ed Reynolds (Safety), Stanford A very safe and solid pick for the Eagles. Reynolds is an intelligent guy who will work well in Chip Kelly’s system, he helps a position of great need for the Eagles and will compete with safeties Nate Allen and Earl Wolff for the starting job.   Round Seven (Pick 224): Beau Allen (Defensive Tackle), Wisconsin I didn’t like this pick, there were so many better options on the board. Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson has tons of potential, and so does Alabama outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard. Both of them went undrafted. Another option was Rice‘s Kicker Chris Boswell. I do not like Eagles kicker Alex Henery, he is incapable of kicking the ball out of the back of the end zone on kickoff, and is unreliable when kicking field goals. Allen might be good, but with Bennie Logan playing DT and the Eagles running a 3-4 defensive scheme, it was unnecessary. Final Grade: A- Slight reach on Smith and Beau Allen pick pulls the Eagles down from the A that I desperately wanted to give them.

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