2014 NFL Draft: What To Expect From The Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles GM Howie Roseman with OT Lane Johnson (Eagles first-round pick) and HC Chip Kelly pose for a photo at the NovaCare Complex. Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 NFL Draft is finally here. This is what you should expect from the Philadelphia Eagles.
We’re less than four hours away from the start of the 2014 NFL Draft. After countless hours of tape study, thousands of scouting reports and countless debates on scheme fits, potential and work ethic, tonight we’re gonna find out who will be the first 32 prospects to be taken off the board.
The Philadelphia Eagles own the 22nd overall pick of the draft. There has been a lot of speculation on whether they will trade up for a player like Odell Beckham Jr. or for Johnny Manziel, as well as if they are going to draft an offensive or a defensive player. Trying to look through the smoke screens is not easy, but weighing the Eagles’ options leads me to the following conclusions.
1) Nick Foles won’t be traded.
Nick Foles is the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. He is not getting traded – not for Johnny Manziel, not for anybody else. Bill Barnwell can dream, but it is not happening.
Chip Kelly might prefer a different type of quarterback to run his offense, but he knows he has to find another way to do it. He is not going to part ways with Foles, who finished the 2013 NFL season with 27 touchdown passes, two interceptions and a 119.2 QB Rating. Besides, there is no guarantee that any of the quarterbacks of this class is an upgrade over Foles.
2) The Eagles won’t trade up in the first round.
This has been the hot topic of the last week. Personally, I don’t see it. The 2014 NFL Draft is one of the deeper drafts in recent memory, which means that the wise thing to do is try to add more picks. Trading up does the complete opposite – it costs picks.
Additionally, the Eagles currently have six picks (no pick in the sixth round). Moving up means they have to settle for five or even four draft selections. They can always trade players to add more picks, but the players that are most likely to get traded won’t bring more than day-three picks in return. This is why I don’t expect the Birds to try and climb up the draft order in the first round.
During and after the second round, it will be less costly to trade up. With players flying off the board, it makes more sense to try and trade up for a player to feel a need then than in the first round. The Eagles did it last year for Matt Barkley and I won’t be surprised if they do it again in 2014.
3) The Eagles will pick a wide receiver before the end of the third round.
I’ve been saying this on Twitter for quite some time: Philadelphia needs to pick a quality wide receiver. DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant are gone. Darren Sproles might play a lot in the slot, but he is not a wide receiver and he is on the wrong side of thirty. Riley Cooper was reliable in 2013, but he is not a proven player yet. We don’t know if Jeremy Maclin will be the one we remember from the 2012 season.
Even if Cooper and Maclin can carry the offense, the Eagles still need to add a wide receiver. Right now, Brad Smith, Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn are the backups. I don’t think Kelly is comfortable with the idea of having to replace an injured starter with one of them.
4) The Eagles will draft a nose tackle.
Bennie Logan remains the only 3-4 nose tackle on the roster. On the other hand, there are plenty of defensive ends (Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Damion Square, Joe Kruger, Alejandro Villanueva). The Eagles will need to bring in someone to back up Logan. It remains to be seen on which round of the 2014 NFL Draft it will happen.
Don’t forget our live draft chat tonight at 7.30 PM. Join Dave Searles and me for live commentary (no spoilers!) and Eagles talk!