The Eagles are in a peculiar position for the 2014 NFL draft. Defensive back is their biggest need, but many people have been mocking a wide receiver to the Eagles in the wake of the DeSean Jackson release. This is a very deep draft for both wide receivers and defensive backs, so they can go either way in the first two rounds. I personally had the Eagles choosing Calvin Pryor out of Louisville in my mocks for the longest time, but that all changed when Jackson was unceremoniously cut at the end of March. This is a talented and deep draft class in general, but the Eagles’ first two picks are actually from the same school. So without any further delay, I present the 7-round mock draft for the Eagles.
Round 1, Pick 22: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Kelvin Benjamin is a 6’5’’, 245-pound titan at receiver that runs with long strides that enables him to outrun all but the fastest defensive backs. Not that it’s a problem, as he has the height to beat them to the ball. He is an excellent route runner and adjusts well for poorly thrown passes. He has been compared to the Bears’ Alshon Jeffery, and as we have seen this past season, Jeffery is a nightmare for defensive coordinators who would demand double coverage if not for the presence of Brandon Marshall. While he isn’t as fast as DeSean Jackson, he is a similar body type to Riley Cooper, who Nick Foles constantly threw to during the 2013 season. He was Jameis Winston’s favorite target at FSU he caught the game-winning touchdown during the national championship game this past season. This is a very deep class of wide receivers and there are several teams in the top 15 with more pressing needs than WR, so it’s entirely possible that Benjamin will fall to the Eagles at 22.
Round 2, Pick 54: Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State
Lamarcus Joyner is among the most versatile players in the 2014 draft and he would be a first round lock if he were bigger than 5’8’’. He has played safety, nickel corner, and outside corner at Florida State and excelled at each role. He is a tough, aggressive player with a knack for creating turnovers, whether it is by interceptions or forcing fumbles. He has natural football instincts and follows the ball with ease. He is a heavy hitter and plays much bigger than his 5’8’’ frame would typically allow for. He is among the most experienced players in the draft and is rarely injured. The Eagles have been looking for someone to make an impact at safety ever since the old regime released Brian Dawkins several years ago, and another late 2nd round pick from the ACC has the energy and skill to be that guy.
Round 3, Pick 86: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
While Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher played well this past season, Cary Williams was inconsistent and he is due for a big bonus after 2014, making him a probable cap casualty for 2015. Stanley Jean Baptiste is raw for a corner (he switched positions from wide receiver), but he is a fast learner, leading the Huskers in interceptions after just one year as a CB. At 6’2’’, he would be matched up with possession receivers and he has the size and athleticism to do so effectively.
Round 4, Pick 122: Marcus Smith, DE/LB, Louisville
You may be surprised that I didn’t mock a pass rusher earlier, but in my opinion, the secondary is a much bigger need. Patrick Chung played much worse at safety than Connor Barwin did at outside linebacker. While Barwin didn’t get that many sacks, he was solid in coverage and against the run. Still, the Eagles should add depth to their pass rushers, since this may be Trent Cole’s last season in Philly. Smith accumulated 14.5 sacks at Louisville last season, but his stock has been falling recently. The Eagles would be getting a steal here, since he was projected to be an early 2nd-rounder before the combine.
Round 5, Pick 162: Tahj Boyd, QB, Clemson
Yes, they are picking a quarterback late. No, Nick Foles doesn’t have to worry. Boyd was among the top passers in college football last season, and he holds the ACC record for most career touchdown passes, with 107. He is also Now that Michael Vick is with the New York Jets, they need a better 2nd string quarterback than Matt Barkley, who has shown absolutely nothing filling in for Foles after his injury during the Cowboys game in late October.
Round 7, Pick 237: Kareem Edwards, C/G, Tennessee
Kareem Edwards reminds scouts of Jason Kelce, who was originally a 6th round pick. He is around the same size and plays in zone blocking scheme, which matches Chip Kelly’s offense. He played both center and guard in school, so he can fill in any interior line spot if Herremans, Kelce, or Mathis leaves a game due to injury.