The Eagles entered the day with many remaining needs. After finding a pass rusher in the first round and addressing the wide receiver position in the second in third round, the day three focus was on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles still needed help at linebacker and in the secondary and it was also believed they may look to add some depth along the offensive line.
Outside of the picks that they made, they also made a trade. They traded running back Bryce Brown to Buffalo for a conditional pick that could be as high as a future third round pick based on performance.
At the end of the day, the Eagles ended up picking four players across the final four rounds. To recap, here are the players they took:
4th round (101st overall) – Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida
5th round (141st overall) – Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon
5th round (162nd overall) – Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
7th round (224th overall) – Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin
The theme here was versatility on the defense. With the first pick, they got a corner who also has the ability to play safety. When they report for their first workouts, I don’t think Watkins will only be asked to learn the system as a corner. He will likely be asked to learn every position in the secondary. After the Eagles see him get on the field a little more, they should get a feel on where they think he’s the best fit. At that point, they’ll likely have him target a position but know that he may be called up to lineup elsewhere.
With Hart, he’s a defensive lineman that can line up in a variety of different places. Although his best fit is probably as a four technique defensive end, he should have the ability to line up in various places along the line. Hart is an Oregon guy that Chip knows well. He fits the mold of the type of size they look for in a defender. With a defensive line that has some young starting talent, Hart will be a great depth addition. They were a bit thing behind the starters so this is a solid addition to the unit.
After taking Watkins, a player who has the potential to play safety, the Eagles took another safety in Reynolds. After a strong junior year where he was playing more of the center field type position and making a lot of plays on the ball, Reynolds played more of a box safety role in 2013. He is a very solid tackler and a smart player. He doesn’t make a lot of wow plays, but he is a fundamental player who should be able to compete for a starting spot alongside Malcolm Jenkins.
Last, the Eagles added a big body for the defensive line in Allen. The Eagles lacked a true nose tackle in the middle, but added a big one in Allen. He’s not a threat as a pass rusher, but he is your prototypical nose tackle that can eat up blocks. Although Bennie Logan has a greater skillset, he doesn’t have the ideal frame for short yardage and goal line situations. Allen should be a situational player that should help the Eagles.
All in all, it wasn’t an overly exciting day for the Eagles but they were able to get some guys in the door on the defensive side of the ball who can contribute. They had some needs and were able to fill them.
Now we’ll have to keep an eye on what undrafted free agents they bring in.