Mel Kiper released his first 2014 mock draft on Wednesday. He has the Eagles selecting Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with the No. 22 overall pick.
I’d consider this more of a “best player available” pick than an outright need, but Benjamin would fill a distinctive role for the Eagles. Riley Cooper has decent size, but doesn’t create separation with speed (and is a free agent), and DeSean Jackson is exceptionally quick still, but lacks a physical presence. Benjamin combines some of both, with a huge frame for a wide receiver at near 6-5 and a lean 230-plus pounds. He possesses not just speed, but a lot of change-of-direction burst. He can simply overwhelm defenders and make plays, and would be a nice weapon for Chip Kelly.
Kiper joined Tony and Harry on 97.5 The Fanatic to discuss other potential options for the Eagles. Besides Benjamin, Kiper sees USC’s Marqise Lee (6-1, 198) as another possibility at wide receiver. He also has Clemson’s Sammy Watkins (6-1, 205), Texas A&M’s Mike Evans (6-5, 225), Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks (510, 186), LSU’s Odell Beckham, Jr. (6-0, 193) and Penn State’s Allen Robinson (6-3, 210) going in the first round.
“It’s one of the strongest positions in the draft, at least early,” said Kiper.
As for the safety position, Kiper is high on Louisville’s Calvin Pryor (6-2, 208). He projects Pryor to be selected by the Packers at No. 21 — one slot ahead of the Eagles.
"He's tremendously instinctive, he's a ball hawk, he's one of Charlie Strong's all-time favorite players that he's ever had at Louisville. I think he's going in the first round," said Kiper. "I have him going 21 to Green Bay but he's a guy that if he's there, he's going to be interesting."
He also mentioned Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 190) as an option in the second round.
A long way to go before draft time, but some names to mull over, anyway.
In case you're curious, Kiper has Johnny Manziel being taken by Houston with the top overall pick.
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WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Geoff Mosher on the future of Todd Herremans.
Another tough one to figure out. He started every game for an offensive line that helped LeSean McCoy lead the NFL in rushing and Nick Foles lead the NFL in passer rating, but his pass protection isn’t rock solid and he’s slated to make $3 million. He’ll cost $1.2 million against the cap if he’s cut. Pay cut in store? Perhaps. But he’ll get one more season. STAYS
Tommy Lawlor throws out a few names that could potentially replace Lazor as quarterbacks coach.
The Eagles could promote Press Taylor, the offensive quality control coach. The problem is that he was a college QB in 2010, which tells you how young he is. Lazor had worked for the Falcons, Seahawks and Skins before joining the Eagles. He had also been the OC for the University of Virginia. He was a veteran coach. Taylor would be a huge leap backward in terms of experience. I’d be nervous about that with such young QBs.
Scott Frost is the OC at Oregon now and worked under Kelly. He could be a target. Frost spent some time in the NFL so he knows the environment.
Karl Dorrell could be of interest. He was the QB coach for the Houston Texans. He’s been a head coach at UCLA.
Our "Crystal Ball" series continues with a look at Nate Allen.