Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top 10 Targets at 22

If Philadelphia stays put at 22, I've compiled my personal list of the top 10 targets. This list doesn't include Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins. This list contains potential targets the Eagles might be able to choose from if they stay put.

1. OLB Anthony Barr (6-5 255lbs)

Once considered a top five pick, Barr has fallen in recent mock drafts. I'd still be surprised if he's available at 22, but there's definitely a chance.

Barr is a freakish athlete. The former running back has only been on the defensive side of the ball for two years, but he's been very productive at UCLA. Chip Kelly covets length and athleticism on defense. Barr was a playmaker for the Bruins' defense, and provides some speed and explosion off the edge, but smooth movement in space. He is raw, but possesses elite upside.

With Cedric Thorton, Vinny Curry, and Fletcher Cox pushing the pocket back, Barr could provide that burst off the edge to force the QB to step up, likely into traffic. Trent Cole just doesn't have the explosion at age 32.

2. ILB CJ Mosley (6-2 234lbs)

Mosley is very close to Barr. The main reason he falls to number two is injury concerns. Alabama players have been damaged goods under Nick Saban and his demanding practices. Mosley definitely has mileage, but he is a heck of a player.

Mychal Kendricks is freed up by the defensive line to fly around the field and make plays. However, the other starting inside linebacker must navigate through traffic, something Mosley excels at. DeMeco Ryans is likely in his last year as an Eagle, and his leadership will be hard to replace. Having said that, Mosley was the QB of the Bama defense. He plays with tremendous football intelligence. He's the type of player who could take the reigns from DeMeco.

Mosley plays the run and pass equally well, showing great movement and awareness in coverage. His intangibles are off the charts, and we all know Chip Kelly places an emphasis on character. Mosley is another top 10 talent who may fall to Philadelphia.

3. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6-1 208lbs)

Clinton-Dix is the best safety in this draft, in my opinion. Fans are clamoring for a punishing force in the middle of the field, like Calvin Pryor. But Kelly seems to really value coverage over hit power. He also looks for a versatile safety who can cover the slot, something Pryor was never asked to do.

While Clinton-Dix isn't going to lay the wood, he is certainly not a poor tackler. He has great playing speed and can handle center field very well. With good size and length, he also is solid in man coverage. I think Clinton-Dix is the least likely of these players to be available at 22, but he'll be tough to pass on if he falls.

T-4. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (5-11 198lbs)

Beckham has made the jump to tie with Marquise Lee as my top receiver target. The Eagles need another playmaker on the outside. If healthy, this Eagles offense is top five without any further additions. However, if Maclin were to somehow go down, Chip Kelly would be lacking a dynamic receiver in his toolbox.

Beckham has long arms, big hands, and a solid build. His athleticism is tremendous. Chip Kelly likes his receivers to get open vs. man coverage. Beckham uses his elite acceleration, speed and solid route running to get free from defenders. He also possesses very good deep speed to stretch the field. He's electric with the ball in his hands.

T-4. WR Marquise Lee (6-0 192lbs)

Marquise Lee is a great player. Chip Kelly said Lee was the toughest receiver to game-plan for while at Oregon. He's a leader and a hard worker. Lee is a competent and willing blocker downfield, but he's absolutely dynamic with the ball in his hands.

While Lee doesn't have blazing timed speed, he plays fast and is a legitimate deep threat. He accelerates in an instant and is a refined route runner. There are some nagging injuries he dealt with in 2013 that cause concern. His hands can be a little inconsistent as well, but he's a true game-breaker.

6. ILB Ryan Shazier (6-1 237lbs)

Shazier is probably a bit of a surprise here, but he has athleticism that's off the charts. It's not like he's a raw player either, he was extremely productive at OSU (39.5 tackles for loss in the past two seasons). He displayed a 42 inch vertical at the combine, topping any player regardless of position. Shazier also ran a 4.38 40 yard dash at his Pro Day, which is just ridiculous.

He does struggle to shed blocks, which could cause problems in traffic. However, it's hard not to salivate at the though of Shazier and Kendricks flying around the field, making plays on the ball. Hand usage is something that can be worked on, which is why I'm high on Shazier.
7. CB Justin Gilbert (6-0 202lbs)

Gilbert is another explosive athlete with good size. He moves well and changes directions smoothly. Gilbert made some big time plays at Oklahoma State, with 7 INTs in 2013, showing great ball skills. His technique could use some refinement and he could play with more physicality, but he has more upside than any other corner prospect.

8. OLB Dee Ford (6-2, 252lbs)

Dee Ford has been a late-riser for me. Barr is my top pass-rusher by a decent margin, but I do see value with Ford at 22. He's very explosive off the snap and while he's only 6-2, he does possess long arms. Many think Ford struggles against the run because he's a little undersized, but he's surprisingly strong.

Ford can bend to turn the corner and is a disruptive player. He will struggle to shed once engaged, and could develop a more varied pass-rush arsenal. His coverage ability is more of a projection, but he learned quickly at the Senior Bowl.

9. CB Darqueze Dennard (5-11 199lbs)

Dennard is a rock solid player. He's strong, physical, and reliable. He's also a team leader. Chip likes corners who can tackle, which Dennard does very well. There are speed concerns, although he does play faster than his 4.51 timed speed. On tape however, Dennard is probably the best corner in this draft, but his physical play downfield could draw flags at the next level.

10. CB Kyle Fuller (6-0, 190lbs)

Fuller is a very good all-around corner. He can play out wide, in the slot, and he can tackle. His ceiling may be limited, but his floor is high. Fuller is a long, tough player who works really hard at his craft. As a team-captain, Fuller has proven to be a strong leader. His athleticism doesn't jump off the page, and he doesn't have that extra gear when he loses a step. Will be a solid player in the NFL.

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