Gonna be honest here– the NFL Draft – its whole process – is one of my least favorite sports things of the year. It’s largely moronic, overhyped nonsense with 70% of clueless sports fans relying on the nonsensical bloviations of talking heads for their knowledge and the other 30% being annoying about the fact that they watch 20 hours of football each weekend in the fall. The Draft is now a made-for-TV spectacle that has outgrown its own importance and made celebrities out of assbags like Mel Kiper. But, the end result is seven new players for your favorite football team. How did the Eagles do?
Chip Kelly’s second NFL draft provided its share of surprises, with Louisville end Marcus Smith going in the first round. You’d be hard-pressed to find any analyst who had that kind of grade on Smith — or anywhere close — so that’s one of those “wait and see” picks. The selection of Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Mathews in the second round was right in line, and will help right away. Kelly went back to his Oregon days twice, picking up receiver Josh Huff in the third round and defensive lineman Taylor Hart in the fifth. This draft will hinge on Smith’s ability to provide elite edge rush. That’s an undetermined idea based on his college tape, so the grade has to go accordingly.
Best Pick: I like third-round receiver Josh Huf. He is a guy who will come in and know the offense, having played in it at Oregon.
Questionable move: Waiting until the fourth round to address corner. I like the guy they took there in Jaylen Watkins, so that could work out.
Third-day gem: Fifth-round defensive tackle Taylor Hart will add some depth to the defensive. He was a productive player at Oregon and Chip Kelly knows him well.
Analysis: The Eagles passed on a receiver in the first round to take pass rusher Marcus Smith because the pass rushers were a thin group. That made sense. They did take two receivers in round two and three to make it work.
Overview: It should be noted Philly acquired Darren Sproles from the Saints for a fifth-round pick, supplementing this haul. GM Howie Roseman’s first move of the draft was to trade down after New Orleans leapfrogged him for Brandin Cooks. Roseman secured the Nos. 26 and 83 picks from Cleveland, which turned into Smith and Huff. Although Smith did not commonly appear in first-round mock drafts, he was a highly productive pass rusher at Louisville and possesses plus measurables. Matthews could prove to be one of the draft’s biggest steals, and an eventual upgrade on Riley Cooper. Also keep in mind Jeremy Maclin only has a one-year deal. Hart, Allen, Reynolds, and Watkins all have a chance to be useful role players, with Hart offering the most potential to become a legit starter. Huff was the one pick I didn’t like. I don’t think he’s skilled enough to be a consistent contributor at wide receiver, and I’m guessing Chip Kelly made that pick primarily because he is fond of Huff from Oregon. I expected Huff to be a late-rounder.
The team gets some much-needed help on defense and a pair of DeSean Jacksonreplacements on offense. Of the two Oregon players Chip Kelly picked, Hart might be the bigger steal. Reynolds might not be the best safety in the draft, but he’s a turnover machine.
Grade: Good job, good effort
Assbag Mel Kiper, ESPN.com, via NJ.com because Kiper is hidden behind a paywall:
Kiper gave the Eagles a ‘B+’ for their seven selections in the 2014 NFL Draft, noting the team did an excellent job of filling their needs at outside linebacker, wide receiver and safety. The grade was the highest of any team in the NFC East.
Peter Schrager of the awfully laid out FOX Sports, who appears to have given everyone a high grade: