Wake-Up Call: Kiper Through Eagle Eyes

Mel Kiper Jr. held a conference call with media members Thursday and touched on several subjects that could interest Eagles fans. Some highlights:

(Note: I linked to some film of each of the players mentioned, courtesy of DraftBreakdown, in case you want to study any of them a bit more.)

— Kiper is very high on this wide receiver class. He has nine going in the first round alone, and thinks quality will still be there later in the draft.

“There’s going to be an opportunity I think at wide receiver to see guys in the third, fourth, fifth round get it done. That’s going to be a very deep position with 19 underclassmen coming out at that spot.”

Kiper has the Eagles selecting LSU receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. with the No. 22 overall pick.

He could show off elite straight-line speed at the combine, but he’s particularly explosive out of breaks, creating separation and making him dangerous with the ball in his hands. His speed also translates to the return game. Beckham could be a good fit in Philly not just because he’s a good receiver for a team that could use help in that department, but because he’s versatile, and can work in the slot or on the edge.

— Kiper mentioned Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Auburn’s Dee Ford and Stanford’s Trent Murphy as three of the top 3-4 outside linebackers in the draft.

— Sheil and I wrote about the Eagles’ cornerback situation Thursday. This is what Kiper had to say about the corner crop in this draft: “Cornerback has turned out to be a pretty decent position overall. Not a lot of first-rounders. There’s probably going to be only two to three first-round corners. A lot of second and third-round corners so you can wait a little bit maybe on that spot.”

— Kiper called Louis Nix, III from Notre Dame the best 3-4 nose tackle in the draft. He has him going to Pittsburgh at 15.

— Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward got some love.

“Jimmie Ward is on outstanding playmaker. He’s not the big safety but I think he fits today’s NFL with his coverage ability and the fact that he is around the action so much, makes so many impact plays. I think he could go second or third round. I think he is going to be a fast riser. I like him. The safety position is not tremendously deep. You could argue that he is the third best safety…After Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama and Calvin Pryor of Louisville, you can put him at the third safety spot, and that would be a second-round possibility.”

— He sees Clemson QB Tajh Boyd as being a fifth or sixth-round pick.


Will the Eagles have the same starting cornerback pairing in 2014? Sheil and I discuss.

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Get to know free agent OLB Mike Neal. 


Mayor Michael Nutter said that Philadelphia could host a Super Bowl “better than anyone else.” From NJ.com.

“It would provide a substantial economic benefit to the city and its growing hospitality sector,” Nutter said. “It would mean an international focus on a city that is emerging as a desired destination for international visitors. And it would offer us the opportunity to market Philadelphia to a national audience. When it comes to doing big events and rolling out the red carpet, no city does it any better than the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”

Philadelphia would be the ideal place for NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell to award a Super Bowl for another reason, Nutter said: city residents.

“Philadelphia has some of the most ardent and best informed sports fans in the country,” he said. “And having the Super Bowl at Lincoln Financial Field would be a tremendous development in our city’s sports history.”

Todd McShay sees Michigan State corner Darqueze Dennard going No. 22 to the Eagles.

Defense should be the Eagles’ priority if the right player is available, in particular looking for an edge rusher and improving the athleticism and depth in the secondary. Dennard is a proven commodity with adequate size, good top-end speed and very good instincts and fluidity in coverage, and he was a legit shutdown corner against several opponents’ top targets this season. Louisville’s Pryor could also be worth a look here, and other cornerback options include Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, Ohio State’s Bradley Roby and TCU’s Jason Verrett.


We’ll conclude our offseason outlook series with some thoughts on the safety position.

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