It’s right about that time of the year as the most hyped and anticipated draft in all of sports. The movement of the draft to a later date has given fans and beats that much more time to chatter about it. The draft is on this Thursday May 8th and Eagles fans have had a hard time keeping track of what the team is expected to do, especially with dozens of trade and draft rumors (will they trade up, trade down, defense, or offense). Here’s a preview of who the Eagles could be targeting:
1st Round, Pick 22nd overall: OLB ANTHONY BARR
Barr, out of UCLA, is a very talented pass rusher with really good speed. Every Eagles fan realizes that the team needs an outside pass rusher to replace the aging Trent Cole. Barr ran a 4.56 40 yard dash and his time in the cone drill at the combine was the fastest at his position which shows his lateral quickness. Barr has only played OLB for two years after converting from running back and he shows upside as he has averaged over 20 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles since 2012 in the Pac-12. The only downside is that Barr is regarded as the third best athlete in the draft behind Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller has also gathered some attention as he is known to do everything well. Fuller can tackle, cover, play the run, and was team captain at Virginia Tech. Fuller has an incredible 38.5- inch vertical leap. Mike Mayock has recently put Fuller at the top of the his cornerback list which is saying something.
2nd Round, Pick 54th overall: OLB KYLE VAN NOY
a nice addition out of BYU in case the Eagles miss out on Barr. Van Noy is a linebacker with pass rushing prowess and upside as he led BYU with 39 1/2 tackles for loss and 20 sacks over his last two years at BYU. Van Noy is light on his feet for his size and can keep for tight ends which means he could play inside linebacker (and we all know Chip Kelly loves guys with versatility). Vanderbilt wideout Jordan Matthews is also a possible pick because the Eagles are looking to get a wide receiver with some size after losing D-Jax. Even though D-Jax was lost Matthews is a completely different player at 6’3″ as opposed Jackson’s 5’7″. Matthew runs a 4.46 40 yard dash which is exceptional for his size. Matthew is also 2 time first team All-SEC receiver who has 206 catches for 2,800 yards over the past two seasons.
3rd Round, Pick 86th overall: DEFENSIVE END, WILL CLARKE
West Virginia defensive end Will Clarke is a likely pick because of his versatility which Chip Kelly loves to have on his team especially with his defensive lineman. Clarke played defensive end and tackle for the Mountaineers and has length, size, and toughness which are all attributes the Eagles D-Line could use. The Eagles also worked him out as an OLB showcasing his versatility. Florida State ILB Christian Jones is a good fit as Demeco Ryans is aging as well. Jones stands out at 6’3″, 240 lbs, and runs a 4.7 40 yard dash. Jones stats don’t show his abilities as he’s only got 8 sacks, one interception, and two forced fumbles in 4 years at FSU. Jones is very good at tackling and can play in coverage.
4th round, 122nd overall: WIDEOUT, JARRED ABBREDERIS
Wisconsin wideout Jarred Abbrederis was a stand out with the Badgers as he caught 7 TDs and 1,000 receiving yards without top QB play. Abbrederis is very good at getting behind coverage and has outstanding hands. Abrrederis can be nice addition to wide receiver core but not replacing D-Jax. Oregon defensive end Taylor Hart can be drafted for depth and because knows the players from Oregon. Hart had his best season in his junior year with 11 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. Hart does have the size of a D-Lineman at 6’6″, 281 pounds.
5th round, 162nd overall: CORNERBACK AARON COLVIN
Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin was projected to go in the second round but tore his ACL in the Senior Bowl. This is unfortunate but great for the Eagles as getting him this late would be a nice pickup and can wait for him to get healthy as the Eagles cornerback group has depth. Wyoming defensive back Marqueston Huff is 5’11” and 196 lbs and is very versatile. Huff was moved to safety after 3 years of cornerback and is very athletic. Huff would most likely be put on special teams because of his speed, athleticism, and fearlessness.
7th round, 237th overall: WIDEOUT, DEVIN STREET
Pittsburgh wideout Devin Street is not top speed guy but is similar to the recently released Jason Avant. He’s started for the past 3 seasons and left Pitt as the school’s all-time leader with 202 receptions. He is a good blocker for the run game and catches passes underneath similarly to Avant.