Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Perfect Eagles Draft: First Edition

Every Eagles fan wants the draft to shape up perfectly for Chip Kelly. With only six selections, the Eagles need to bat a high percentage.

Sure, trades are likely to happen. But if highly-touted players fall, Chip Kelly will be content on grabbing six talented guys.

Here's my first edition of the perfect Eagles draft.

1st Round Selection - OLB Anthony Barr

Barr provides pure athleticism that the defense needs. He's a productive speed rusher off the edge, and his upside is through the roof. He could definitely become a more physical player, but he would bolster the pass-rush immediately.

Barr would not only add size and athleticism, but he improves Trent Cole's effectiveness. Less snaps for Cole is a good thing at this point in his career.

2nd Round Selection - WR Cody Latimer

Latimer is generating a lot of buzz recently, but most of the draft analysts point to the media for his apparent rise.'s Daniel Jeremiah still thinks Latimer is a second round pick. Does he slide all the way to 54? Not likely, but there's a chance.

Latimer is a physical player with very good size. His biggest knock was deep speed, but he ran in the 4.4s at his Pro Day, quieting the critics. I think the Indiana product is one of the finest WR prospects in this class, slightly behind Marquise Lee, Odell Beckham Jr, and Brandin Cooks.

3rd Round Selection - ILB Christian Jones

Christian Jones is another intriguing prospect, based on his athleticism, size (6-3, 240) and versatility. I mentioned in an earlier post that Jones played an entire season at DE for Florida State, albeit ineffective. That pass-rush experience improves his effectiveness blitzing from the ILB position. His size is a perfect compliment to Mychal Kendricks.

Chip Kelly reportedly focused a chunk of his attention on Jones. Jones can sit behind DeMeco Ryans and fine-tune his game. Ryans played over 1100 snaps last year, leading the NFL. At 30 years old, Jones could play in sub packages and spell Ryans. Jones has very intriguing coverage ability.

4th Round Selection - OG Brandon Thomas

This is my favorite selection besides Barr in round one. Thomas is an early-second round talent, but tore his ACL while working out privately for an NFL team. He's 6-3, 317 and can move fluidly out in space. With Herremans and Mathis aging, Thomas wouldn't need to contribute in year one.

Mathis and Herremans are still a top duo in their 30's however, Allen Barbre offers great versatility and depth in 2014. Brandon Thomas sitting the year out doesn't hurt the offense, but it makes the offense much better in 2015.

5th Round Selection - DE Josh Mauro

Chip Kelly likes Pac-12 guys, he also likes gigantic defensive ends. Mauro is 6-6, 271lbs. He played all over the Stanford defensive line. He's a tough player who sets the edge and occupies double teams. Billy Davis doesn't ask his ends to rush upfield often, and Mauro provides immediate depth behind the starting unit.

7th Round Selection - CB/S Dontae Johnson

I chose Christian Jones over Jaylen Watkins in round three, leaving some depth issues in the secondary. Johnson can provide depth at corner and safety. He has tremendous size, at 6-2 200lbs. He ran a 4.45 40 at the Combine.

Chip Kelly likes corners who are willing to tackle, and Johnson loves contact. Johnson also played outside corner, safety, slot corner and special teams at NC State. He's a smart player with strong work ethic. All his traits seem to fit the bill of a Chip Kelly player.

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