Philadelphia Eagles 2014 Draft Grades

By on May 16, 2014



eagles_logoGoing into the 2014 NFL Draft, Philadelphia Eagles fans were clamoring for a wide receiver in the wake of DeSean Jackson‘s release. The fact that Jackson had signed with the divisional rival Redskins left an even more bitter taste in their mouths. The Eagles got a player they needed in the first round, it just wasn’t the position the fans were hoping for.


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Below is a complete rundown of each pick the Eagles made in this year’s draft. As a fan myself, I can’t say I’m as disappointed as other fans. But things will be interesting once we start seeing what these rookies can do in training camp.

Round One – #26(26) – Louisville DE/LB Marcus Smith

marcus-smith-louisvilleThis was the pick many thought would be a receiver. But with the receiving class much deeper than the number of edge rushers available, taking one of the top pass rushers was a must for a front seven that ranked 20th in total sacks with 37. Smith played linebacker as a freshman, but played his final three years as a DE/LB hybrid, which fits in perfectly with the team’s 3-4 defense. Smith broke out in his senior season, finishing with 14.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. Smith will see playing time in 2014 as a sub-package player. However, with Trent Cole due a whopping $10 million in 2015, Smith will almost certainly be viewed as his heir apparent. As much as fans wanted offense in this round, defense is still, very much, a work in progress in Philly. It also didn’t hurt that the Eagles gained an extra third rounder from the Browns and only moved down 4 spots.

DRAFT GRADE: B+ (The extra third-round pick helps this grade)

Round Two – #10(42) - Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews

Jordan_MatthewsSetting SEC all-time records in catches (262) and yards (3,759), along with 24 touchdowns, Matthews has experience as both an outside receiver and a slot man. Many draftniks were down on him coming out due to his lack of separation skills, but Matthews boasts toughness and overall receiver experience. That experience gives him added worth as the Eagles still need playmakers, despite the signing of Darren Sproles. Chip Kelly has already gone on record as saying Matthews will start off the 2014 season in the slot. At 6’3/212, Matthews could easily make a push for more playing time than predicted if Jeremy Maclin‘s knee injury caused him to lose his burst. And if Riley Cooper‘s 2013 proves to have been a fluke. If anything, Matthews is a huge upgrade over the departed Jason Avant, who had manned the slot position for the last 8 years before signing with Carolina.

DRAFT GRADE: A-

Round Three – #22(86) – Oregon WR Josh Huff

josh_huffThis pick caused some eye rolls from fans since Kelly had coached Huff in college. But in my opinion, draft talent that you know and can mold. Huff started 36 games for Oregon, finishing his career with 144 catches for 2,366 yards and 24 touchdowns. Huff is a thick 5’11/206 pounds with sticky hands, is physical in the passing game and excels in run blocking. This makes up for his slow 4.51 forty. He’ll compete with Matthews for slot duties, but I don’t really expect much from him this year outside of depth purposes. He could move to the slot if Matthews gets a shot at one of the starting jobs later on in 2014 or 2015. Either way, Kelly’s offense can never have too many receivers for Nick Foles to throw to. Although, Huff is pretty low on the depth chart right now.

DRAFT GRADE: C+

Rest of Draft Recap:

Round Four – #1(101) Florida DB Jaylen Watkins

The younger brother of Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins, Jaylen started 28 games for Florida, and saw time at corner and safety. While he doesn’t have the skill set to be an NFL starter, he should see time in nickel packages and on special teams. He tallied four career picks in college.

DRAFT GRADE: C

Round Five – #1(141) Oregon DE Taylor Hart

One of the best “five-technique” ends in the league, Hart started 39 college games. He totaled 22.5 career tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and 16 sacks. Hart has tremendous athleticism despite his size (6’6/281) and should see time on the field in sub-packages and in running plays as he excels as a run stopper compared to pass rushing specialist.

DRAFT GRADE: B-

Round Five– #22(162) Stanford S Ed Reynolds

Earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors as a redshirt sophomore and junior, Reynolds played free safety at Stanford. Reynolds isn’t very physical or athletic. Not to mention he missed too many tackles at the college level. He’ll need to prove his worth on special teams to make the 53-man squad.

DRAFT GRADE: D

Round Seven – #9(224) Wisconsin DT Beau Allen

At 6’2/333, Allen is a pure nose tackle who finished his college career with 8 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. A better run stuffer than someone who can put pressure on the quarterback, he’ll be a situational player on running plays and could push incumbent NT Bennie Logan for snaps if he makes the team. Although the chances of Allen truly making the final roster are somewhat slim.

DRAFT GRADE: C-

10 Comments

  1. smeags

    May 16, 2014 at 9:21 am

    impossible to grade a draft this early IMO.

    potential is there for another strong class but only time will tell.

    one thing was confirmed by the 1st round pick, foles IS the franchise qb.

  2. DawkinsINT

    May 16, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I would have preferred a little more defense, but I can't say I hate what they tried to do. Fingers crossed.

  3. Kurt Turner

    May 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Jordan Matthews in the second give you a Colston 2.0

    And you went D in the first – good stuff out of the Eagles.

  4. LebaneseFF

    May 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Greg I wrote about the two Ducks. I will copy paste it. They are the only two I can really write about.

    I can only tell you about 2 of the players drafted since I am a ducks fan.

    Huff: Okay I've read too many reporters comparing the guy to DeSean. No he is not Desean, he doesn't have his speed but he is fast, what makes him fast is his separation. Huff started his days as a RB so it explains it a bit.. his biggest challenge with the ducks was dropped balls. Hopefully he has improved.

    Hart: I don't understand this for several reasons. A) it was way too early for him to be off the board B) He is just a big frame, a huge frame. Chip will know how to use Hart, and I expect he will only use him on certain down situations. But god that pick was done way too early for the type of player he is. That's just my 2 cents.

  5. smeags

    May 16, 2014 at 11:14 am

    way too early ??? hart was a 5th round pick … (141st) – players are a shot in the dark at that point for the most part. he adds depth to the d-line and can play both positions (DE/DT)

  6. Greg Brosh

    May 18, 2014 at 9:23 am

    smeags

    impossible to grade a draft this early IMO.

    potential is there for another strong class but only time will tell.

    one thing was confirmed by the 1st round pick, foles IS the franchise qb.

    Agreed 100%, but it's always good for sites to get on the bandwagon while the fans still have interest in seeing what others think of their team's draft.

    Smith could be a bust and Watkins could be fantastic.

  7. Greg Brosh

    May 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

    smeags

    impossible to grade a draft this early IMO.

    potential is there for another strong class but only time will tell.

    one thing was confirmed by the 1st round pick, foles IS the franchise qb.

    I don't know why the hell some fans thought the team was going to waste a first rounder on Manziel or Bridgewater. The thought never even crossed my mind. Receiver, yeah, but do some fans still think Foles is a joke?

  8. DawkinsINT

    May 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Knuckleheads_Greg

    but do some fans still think Foles is a joke?

    Not so much that they think he's a joke, but there are a bunch of fans who think that Chip really desires a scrambling QB. Most of them should be quiet now after this draft.

  9. smeags

    May 19, 2014 at 8:26 am

    greg seems to always take issue with fellow eagles fans even when there isn't one.

    the fans didn't even really fuel the manziel talk, the media did and i never once heard anyone media or fan bring up bridgewater.

    the only real debate was defense vs offense. to me they went the right direction, the only question that remains is was the right player picked.

  10. bigsexyy81

    May 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Wasn’t particularly happy with this draft until it was all done and got to take a look at the end result. Not many sexy picks, but doesn’t mean they won’t pan out. Addressed the needed pass rusher with Smith, Matthews gives us a nice player at WR. I know there were injury concerns with Louis Nix but to know he went three picks before Huff in the third round, we clearly need some NT depth, there weren’t many good NTs in the draft, and I believe we traded the pick to Houston so they could get him, I wasn’t particularly happy with that. Huff could turn out to be a nice player, of course. Watkins was good value, Hart is a big fella that Chip knows well but could just be an Oregon pick, Reynolds is meh, and Beau Allen was a solid pick in the 7th.

    Hoping we get some production like we did out of the 2013 class!

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