This years draft for the Eagles was highly anticipated as it was for the Eagles to improve their defense and find a replacement for the recently released wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The Eagles had an interesting draft this year as they surprised a little bit and pick players for positions they need help and we’ll see if these players pan out.
1st round, Pick 26 overall: Louisville DE/OLB Marcus Smith
The Eagles traded out of their original No.22 pick to the Cleveland Browns to get move 4 picks down and get a third rounder of this draft. This pick was one of the shockers of the first round. The reason for the shock of this pick was because although Smith fits the position of pass rusher that the Eagles need but the pick was a reach according to most mock drafts. Most of the rankings had Smith as a second or third rounder. CBSSports.com had him ranked 61st in the draft and Scouts Inc. had him as the 80th best player. Smith was really all that productive at Louisville but he did stand out in 2013. Smith was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year as he picked 18.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks last year. Smith has played outside linebacker which means he should fit into the scheme here in Philly and possibly be the replacement of the aging Trent Cole after a season or two.
2nd round, Pick 42 overall: Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
This was another trade by the Eagles but this time it was a trade up as the Eagles sent their sent 4th rounder and their third rounder to the Tennessee Titans. Jordan Matthews was a guy I was hoping the Eagles were going to take and I’m exciting that they traded up to get him. Matthews fills a need as he is 6’3″ and runs 4.46 40 yard dash and is a bigger target for Nick Foles. Matthews’ numbers last year showed his worth as he led the conference in catches with 112 and 1,477 receiving yards. He is also the DeSean Jackson replacement and the complete opposite in size and character off the field. Matthews is described as a professional unlike how Jackson would blow up at teammates on the sideline during a game.
3rd round, Pick 86 overall: Oregon WR Josh Huff
The Eagles stayed put in the third round and you know that the Eagles picking a player from Oregon was bound to happen. Huff played exceptionally well in his senior year as he caught 62 passes for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns. Huff’s measurables are 5’11”, 206 pounds, and runs a 5.41 in the 40 yard dash. This pick is questionable in my view as the Eagles have three good wide receivers before selecting Huff. Kelly must obviously know what he’s getting as he recruited Huff to come to Oregon.
4th round, Pick 101 overall: Florida CB Jaylen Watkins
This was a trade that was made on Friday as the Eagles gave up 3rd and 5th round pick. The Eagles selected first on the third day and Watkins was the guy. Watkins didn’t stand out too much at Florida as he only made 3 interceptions, zero sacks, and zero forced fumbles in four years at the school. Although those numbers aren’t impressive, Watkins has great physical tools as he ran 4.41 40 yard dash and had 22 reps in the bench press. Watkins is at 5’11” and has played all over the defense at Florida which is what Chip Kelly is very big on.
5th round, Pick 141 overall: Oregon DE Taylor Hart
Taylor Hart helps an Eagles need across the defensive line. Hart certainly has the physical ability as he is 6’6″ and weighs in 281 pounds. Hart picked up 6 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2013. Hart is expected to come in to be more about the hard nosed plays that don’t count on the stat sheet. I like this pick as it fills the need off having another big defensive lineman.
5th round, Pick 162 overall: Stanford S Ed Reynolds
The Eagles picked from the their original spot this time. Reynolds is 6’1″ and 207 pounds and this made him one of the biggest safeties in this year’s draft. Reynolds is a pretty good athlete as he ran a 4.57 40 yard dash. Reynolds played very well in 2012 as he had 6 interceptions with 3 returned for touchdowns but in 2013 he only had one interception in 2013. Reynolds can pan out to be a reliable backup.
7th round, Pick 224 overall: Wisconsin DT Beau Allen
The Eagles moved up 13 picks in the seventh round to get Beau Allen. Beau is 6’2″, 333 pounds is a good size for a nose tackle. Allen will most likely be the backup to second year player Bennie Logan and is a viable one if you look at his size. This pick rounded out the draft.
The Eagles also traded running back Bryce Brown during Day 3 to the Buffalo Bills for a conditional fourth rounder or a third rounder in 2016. This draft filled a lot needs for the Eagles especially on the defensive side which was sorely needed. Outside of the shocker in the first round, I thought the Eagles did a good job and I give the Eagles a grade of a B.