Wake-Up Call: Draft Offers Options At Receiver

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

A record 98 underclassmen have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Within that wave lies  a group of talented receivers that has enriched the position significantly.

“When you talk about the underclassmen, that’s where the guts of this draft is. Last year was more senior-heavy,” said Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Eagles. “This year we’re talking about 9-10 underclass wide receivers that are first, second-round players in my opinion.”


Jeremiah sees seven receivers being selected in the first round, which would be the most since 2004. And they are: Sammy Watkins (junior, Clemson), Mike Evans (redshirt sophomore, Texas A&M), Kelvin Benjamin (redshirt sophomore, Florida State), Marqise Lee (junior, USC), Paul Richardson (redshirt junior, Colorado), Jarvis Landry (junior, LSU) and Davante Adams (redshirt sophomore, Fresno State).

Mel Kiper, incredibly, has nine going in the first round in his latest mock draft. (He projects LSU junior Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Eagles at 22.)

Howie Roseman agrees with the sentiment that this is a strong class of wideouts, and must decide how much -- if at all -- that will impact some key decisions that are before him.

 It's hard to imagine things being more up in the air. Two of their own -- Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin -- are set to become unrestricted free agents. The latter is coming off an ACL tear. Jason Avant, who saw a dip in production last year, is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 15 and is not a lock to back. It's DeSean Jackson at one spot and a bunch of question marks over the rest, in other words.

Jackson is making a base of $10.5 million this season; Avant is owed a total of $3.25 million if he sticks around. Arrelious Benn, Jeff Maehl, Brad Smith and Damaris Johnson are due a combined $3.4M, though it's unlikely all will be back. The Eagles have some $20 million in cap space but have other areas to address (safety, outside linebacker, etc.). How much money do they want to allocate to the position? Can they re-up both receivers without short-changing another spot?

Roseman has maintained that he is open to the idea of bringing both Cooper and Maclin back, and would probably do so if he could score a pair of team-friendly deals. If he can't, he at least knows that a crop of promising, young receivers awaits in the draft.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Peter King mentions the Eagles as one team that likely wouldn't think twice about drafting Michael Sam.

"[W]hat he draws up is definitely not normal." Brad Smith talks Chip Kelly.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Several Eagles gave their thoughts on Michael Sam, including Evan Mathis, who had this to say (via CSN Philly):

"If a team is scared to draft him because he's gay, I think they are overestimating the problem or distraction it would cause. The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year has the confidence and the bravery to come out publicly two months before the NFL draft. If a team takes him off the draft board because of his sexuality, they never deserved a shot at him in the first place. All that matters to me is if the guy can play football or not.

"NFL players shouldn't judge Michael Sam based on his sexuality, but some guys will. MLB players shouldn't have judged Jackie Robinson based on his skin color, but some did. Whether or not the NFL is ready for it, it needs to happen. There are still people on this earth who lived through the prohibition of alcohol and the Civil Rights Movement. They can look back and reflect on how primitive those times were. Current generations will look back at marijuana prohibition and gays having to fight for equal rights and think how primitive those times were."

A few former Eagles found new employment this week. Quarterback Mike Kafka signed with the Bucs, safety David Sims was picked up by the Colts and former Eagles center Hank Fraley was hired to be the Vikings assistant offensive line coach.

COMING UP

Free agency opens up one month from today.

  • http://boyga.com/ joolyen

    Mathis covered a lot of stuff in that quote. I’m glad he has the strength and confidence to say stuff like that.

    • MoreRecentTimes

      Like Marijuana Prohibition!

      • Michael Deen

        I work for a local moving company and have moved Mr. Mathis 3 times now (after he signed his new deal his storage unit was ransacked on an inside job). He is super down to earth, bright, funny, hulking, and all around good guy. However, on every move he would end up in the bathroom for the the first 10-15 mins. At least in the offseason, he’s definitely a fan of the wake and bake…

        • jabostick

          Is he married with kids? Because, speaking from experience, 10-15 minutes in the bathroom in the morning can be used in other ways ha

        • JofreyRice

          I have a similar story about Joselio Hanson and PCP, but I don’t want to blow up his spot.

      • luzzjl524

        my Aunty Amelia got a new blue
        Land Rover LR4 only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints
        B­i­g­4­1­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Johnny Domino

    With so many good receivers out there, you should be able to address other needs and pluck some value late, right? If you don’t see someone so outstanding at #22, wait.

    • GEAGLE

      Or even trade back to like 30 and then take a wr

      • Johnny Domino

        If there is another BPA that fills a need at 22, take them.
        Don’t drop to 30 and pick up a 4th just to look like the smartest guy in the room, we’ve seen that act before.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah I don’t think I was suggesting trading back just for the sake of trading back.,for me two factors dictate if we can trade back or if we have to draft at 22…

          1) the second tier OLB prospects. If guys like Ford,Attaboy and Marcus smith climb into round 1 as the draft process unfolds you may have to take one at 22…if it looks like one will fall to you in round 2, it opens up a lot of options

          2) THe WR prospects. If one of the freak physical specimens like Ebron on Evans are on the board, you have to consider just drafting one…but if the big body round 1 freaks are off the board when you pick, you can probably trade back to 30 and get a WR close to who you are considering at 22, like an Odell Beckham,Drvante Adams, Jordan mathews

          • Johnny Domino

            And a run on WR may leave guys like that exposed. A concurrent QB panic will leave even better guys around at 22.

          • GEAGLE

            Yes sir..I def feel you about not trading back just to look like the smartest guy in the room..you trade back! only if you see that a prospect you love will still be on the board…basically! when it’s time to draft at 22, if you look at your board and see that there are still 8 kids you LOVED at 22, you can comfortably trade back to 29 knowing you will still come away with a kid you were comfortable drafting at 22,,.,

            But I’m getting the feeling that Anthony Barr is going to complicate things. if he happens to be this years star latuluie, great prospect, serious talent who we think of as a top 10 pick, ends up falling to like #16, I think you have to give serious thought to jumping the cowboys and snatching him off the board…kid is a REAL talent that can be molded into a Von Miller type of impact player…

            I think FA is crucial for us this year. I have no interest with adding quantity like last year. but if we can add one QUALITY upgrade we will position us well for the draft.mNeed to use FA to get a long term answer at either Safety or OLB..we CAN NOT be in a position where we have no choice but to draft both safety and OLB in the first 3 rounds. Eliminate one of those needs in FA and you will have a chance at really building a good team this offseason..

          • Richard Colton

            Odell Beckham really doesn’t excite me at #22 or #30

          • GEAGLE

            Like the kid..22 is too high tho

          • Richard Colton

            If he’s lingering in the 40′s or 50′s I’d be happier. I have a fantasy that the day after the draft your first post is something like “the reason we didn’t talk about Sammy WAtkins because I thought we had no shot at him”

          • Tom W

            You bailing on Benjamin already? What about Tuitt from ND .. I’m a bit worried about the bust potential of Sheed. And gotta throw Kony in there once he blows up the combine.

          • GEAGLE

            No, I’m down for Benjamin….basically I’m down for all rare super athletes. The type of athletes you don’t find in round 3. The type of athletes that cost 40million if you want to sign them as FA….Benjamin fits the Bill.
            .l
            But I don’t view either of the Notre dame linemen as realistic options…Shede has bust potential, but he is the type of rare athlete I could see us drafting IF we believe in him…

            Love me some Kony, just didn’t mention him because I didn’t feel like responding to 15 idiots telling me that Missouri plays a 4-3, as if I didn’t know…truth about Kony is, no one on this board has any clue if he can play OLB or just DE..have to wait to see his combine and LB drills during pro day….guys like Aldon Smith played in that system and turned out to be a damn good OLB…I need to avoid mentioning Kony from all the parrots who are going to regurgitate info that they don’t have the intel yet to be able to make that statement….but heck yes I like Kony for us…
            Heck, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Kony is a top 10 pick…I think that highly of him

          • Richard Colton

            You know I love Kony too. KONY2014!!!!
            You may be right with Nix/Tuitt – The Notre Dame lineman I think is a darkhorse to be the Eagles’ pick at #22 is Zack Martin.

        • Tom W

          4th? If a qb needy team comes calling for derek carr at 22 and offers their second and a first or second next year I would do it in a second. Give me a third this year and another conditional 2-3 in 2015 and I would do it as well … very deep draft … We actually have a gm and coach who appear in tuned w the draft prospects so an extra pick excites me doesnt scare me.

          • GEAGLE

            Dude, if Carr is on the board at 22, I actually think that could be a real possibility. KC is picking right after us, I’m sure Andy is going to want to draft a young QB to groom…if a team wants to jump KC for Carr, we would def have to seriously consider it…..problem is the cardinals pick before us! and I could see them wanting Carr…

            Basically I feel like the new model for all these new coaches is! get hired! aquire a veteran QB in Their first year to implement the offense, year two draft a QB….so teams like KC and Arizona who went with Alex and Carson last year will most likely look for QBs in the first two rounds of this draft….Conversly, I think new coaches like Obrien will pass on rookies, trade for his year one veteran(Ryan mallet) and look to draft his QB in next years draft….basically I think that’s the new blueprint for new coaches who get hired by teams with talent who aren’t in total, drastic rebuild…

            If Carr makes it past the cardinals because they might actually want to build around Carson lol(they would draft OT), then I think there is a real opportunity to take advantage of a team wanting to steal Carr from Andy…

          • Johnny Domino

            No offense, but that’s why I find these discussions tedious. You can run all the scenarios you want, but the with number of permutations it makes hitting on something like the way it plays out on draft day so unlikely that my head hurts.

            Would rather spend all day betting superfectas two bucks at a time, it’s at least as good an investment of my time.

          • Richard Colton

            you’re going to hate this place in early May.

          • Johnny Domino

            Draft watch party at PARX.
            Kill two birds with one stone.

          • Richard Colton

            are they really doing that? great idea – considering you spend most of draft day drinking & waiting for the next Eagles pick. My cousin is a Park-ette, so I wouldn’t be able to go without stabbing my eyes with darning needles, but the rest of you should totally have a good time and go.

          • Johnny Domino

            Just spitballin’ here, but I’m sure Birds 24/7 can git er done.
            I smell a remote broadcast with sponsorship opportunities, a sumptuous buffet, much eye candy and fabulous prizes.
            Kind of like Wing Bowl, for adults.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            …..did I hear mention of a breakfast-foods buffet?

  • JofreyRice

    Weird how conflated marijuana legalization and gay rights have become.

    • NickS1

      I basically thought the same thing when I read the quote.

      • JofreyRice

        Lets face it, this dude just wants to get high, legally.

        • Andy124

          I respect that he cares about doing it legally.

        • peteike

          they all do anyway, same with NBA. Sprinkle in a bit of adderal here or there also ha

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, I have definitely heard that rumor. That Seattle team is like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Carroll was talking about how he needed some medical grade marijuana at the Superbowl, right?

          • NickS1

            It’s probably most common in MLB, from what I’ve heard.

          • dislikedisqus

            The least athletic sport, figures.

    • mtn_green

      Civil rights of our time…hard to make generational comparisons. If you take drug policies as a whole, incarceration rates, violence, affect on minority communities especially, there is an element of generational change.

      Prohibition, while similar to harsh drug policies affects on communities, is still kind of a head scratcher.

      • Richard Colton

        Obviously he’s entitled to his opinion. It’s interesting to me that he’s taking an issue that most people support and logrolling it with an issue fewer people support. I understand the tactic from a political perspective – and (if we’re talking football here) I’m glad we have smart O-lineman with the savvy to think three moves ahead. Not sure I love the message though.

      • JofreyRice

        Yeah, I’m not going to get into a drug policy debate here, but suffice it to say, I take a pretty liberal view on both these issues. I doubt we’d disagree on much anyway, sounds like you agree that we should probably stop beating our heads against the wall, as a society, and maybe try something different.

        I just find it weird that Mathis–among many, many others, including large sections of the general populace–is piggybacking one on the other. I guess it speaks to a more liberatarian mindset of modern America, but that’s pretty general. The two issues really don’t seem related, to me.

  • mtn_green

    WR could easily be BPA. Last year it seemed like teams were over drafting OL in some sort of mass hysteria, which happens understandibly every year with QB and QB needy teams.

    I see this year being the year there is a huge run on wr and I’d like the eagles to stay true to there board rather than draft a wr because 8 have come off the board before the 22nd pick.

    • GEAGLE

      While I agree that we will we a run on WR in this draft, that run isn’t going to happen before #22. The position drafted the most in this years top 20 will be the offensive line 6-9 drafted in top 20. Figure 3 or 4 pass rushers come off the board before we pick, 4 QBs could come off the board before we pick..a CB is always drafted in the 9-13 range…I don’t think we will see that run on WR start til #24

  • GEAGLE

    Maclin and Cooper only get to come back if we can reach an agreement with them before March 8. If they need to test the market and see what’s out there, then I’d just let them walk….with that said, I think it’s very important that we keep Coop, for our young developing QB and the run game. I also think this Cooper situation is overblown. I don’t believe there is this Giant big money market waiting for Coop on March 11… 3mil per year plus incentives should get his signature before he hits the market and starts to entertain offers.

    Maclin can stay, but wouldn’t have much patience for negotiating with him. If he wants to stay It would have to be very Eagles friendly, which I don’t rule out since I have a hard time imagining teams throwing big money at a guy with multiple ACL injuries. We get to see Maclin rehab a few hours each day at the Novacare. Teams that are interested in him only can go by what his agent tells them..

    If both want to remain eagles they have to sign a contract extension before March 8. If they even entertain offers from other teams, then just let them walk.
    ,,.
    Whether we bring them back or not, WR is still a position where we need to get younger, and this is a fantastic draft to do so..and if we are fortunate enough to get a serious FA safety or OLB, removing one of those major needs before we reach the draft, then I’d strongly consider draftng two WRs in the first 4 rounds

    • Ark87

      I have pretty high hopes for both. I remember sweating when we let Mathis test the market….Baltimore was the only team that made and offer. Howie asked how much. “Yeah, we can beat that”. It stunned me that only one other team made an offer, and a pedestrian one. So yeah I think it’s always overblown, people want to draft young unknowns to tiny contracts, not give upper-middling players their first big contract. We know these guys, we know how to get production out of them, I don’t see anyone willing to pay them more than us (which isn’t a ridiculous figure either). *Maybe* the Jets might get Maclin away from us.

      Well lets put it this way, people look at all the WR talent in the draft, all the other teams who want a WR want one of those guys. We have maaany other needs. We’ll bring back atleast one of our guys, and it won’t be expensive to do so.

      • GEAGLE

        Agreed.. Good stuff. We are def keeping ATleast one, and like you said, it won’t be expensive the way people think

        • peteike

          I really think Maclin walks, already hints of teams interested. I just think other teams will be willing to gamble a bit and pay him more than were willing to.

          • GEAGLE

            There are NO HINTS about teams being interested, just agents starting rumors…lol am I really supposed to believe that Out of all the healthier WR hitting FA, Decker, Emmanuel Sanders, Nicks, the Jets have a Multi ACL surgery WR who isn’t even healthy yet as number 1 on their wish list? And that they love Maclin soooo much that they couldn’t even contain themselves from leaking it to the world? Lol

            Your guess is as good as mine, but personally, I simply just don’t believe that anyone is making any real commitment To Maclin, and I seriously doubt we would bid on him. I think it I will be a case of trying to work out an extension with him NOW before he ever hits free agency. If we can’t reach a deal with him before teams can bid on him, then I expect us to just let him walk….But even if someone other team “wants” Maclin! I don’t see how they could offer him those awesome contract that Is too good for him to refuse. even if you can assume he will re gain all his speed, can you really expect him to play 5 more,years without another ACL tear?

  • Explorer51

    Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that writers and analysts were saying that drafting a WR in the first round was suicidal? And if you look at the WRs drafted in the first round over the last decade, there are many more busts than stars; what makes this year any different?

    • NickS1

      How many of those first round busts can be accounted for by the Detroit Lions?

      • Explorer51

        They drafted three WRs in the Top 10 picks (four in a five year period) before they got it right with Megatron…that’s nuts! But if the Lions wouldn’t have picked them, they still would have been first round busts.

        • NickS1

          I’m sure in a different situation at least one of them wouldn’t have been a bust. One of the worst franchises for years, man. Be fair to the guys that didn’t thrive with Joey Harrington as their QB.

  • Tom W

    BPA. Eagles draft players not positions. Sign Cooper and a safety before the draft and head in w no pressing needs. If Maclin plays games then let him walk.

    Watkins and almost certainly Evans will be gone. Could see Chip taking Marquis Lee from USC after seeing him beat up oregon during his freshman and sophomore year. However, if Chip sticks to the HWS guys Benjamin could easily come off the board at 22.

    If we go defense w a Kony Ealy, or Sheed Hageman, or Tuitt or Pryor or Dixon, there should be some nice options at wr in rd 2 w Allen Robinson, DeVontae Adams, Landry, Jordan Matthews, Martavius Bryant vs an edge rusher like Atta-Boy, Van Noy, Marcus Smith or Demarcus Lawrence or ILB like Christian Jones vs secondary w Buchanon or Joyner

    • GEAGLE

      Dunno how I feel about drafting Lee at 22. Is he really better than drafting let’s say devante Adams in round 2?
      .
      Would love to add Marcus smith and C Jones…C jones is driving me crazy trying to figure out what rounds he gets drafted in…
      ….
      Wait WHAT??? Hahahaha did Joe banner AND Lombardi just get fired?

      • Tom W

        I wouldn’t be thrilled about it either but Chip is fascinated w pac10 players who beat up Oregon. I think he will have a good combine though and offers the RAC and speed/quickness chip covets.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah I wouldn’t be thrilled, but on multiple occasions I hear we really “like” Lee so I certainly won’t rule it out as a real possibility

      • guest

        The draft is 3 months away. A million things will change. You’ll watch the combine coverage and find a whole new batch of players to salivate over. A guys draft position today could be completely different in May. So for you to say that Christian Jones’s projected draft position in February is “driving you crazy” is a little pathetic.

        But as of now, if the Eagles want Jones, they have to take him at 22. Otherwise, they have to move up in the 2nd round to get him. He wont last until their 2nd round pick.

        I’m fully on board with Marcus Smith though. Give me Louisville/Louisville in the first two rounds…Pryor/Smith. But, its February. Maybe Smith will fall down in the 40 and then slip to the third round. Who knows? Its FEBRUARY

        • Tom W

          Not really — most if not all teams have their boards set before the combine and just use the combine to go back and watch tape on some guys to make sure they didn’t miss someone. But if you are letting the combine affect what you think of a player then you are in trouble as an organization and scout.
          I haven’t seen Christian Jones being graded or projected anywhere near the first round … typically late 2d and more so third round. I certainly think he could be available at 54 but so could someone like van noy attaboy or dee ford potentially

  • GEAGLE

    Hahahahahah hahahahaha Joe “the joke” banner just got fired!!!!

    • NickS1

      Are you serious?!?!?!?!

      • GEAGLE

        Dead serious…basically both need to transition out of their job withing the next two months…they already hired replacement

        • Richard Colton

          link? I’m not seeing it anywhere

          • GEAGLE

            Watching ESPN.. Cleveland cleaned house

          • NickS1

            Reading ESPN. Hasn’t posted yet. That’s awesome, though.

          • GEAGLE

            Go on twitter…I would be surprised if twitter isn’t flooded…basically they already hired a replacement…one of them he to leave immediately, the other has to transition out of the organization within the next two months lol…think two others also got fired but 100% sure about banner and Lombardi

          • NickS1

            Just found the post on the ESPN NFL page. He’s “stepping down” over the next two months.

          • GEAGLE

            Hahahahaha CEOs don’t “step down”
            ..
            Curious to see what job banner gets next. Might have to put his dream of running a SB winning franchise on hold, and take a job getting Howies coffee

          • NickS1

            Love the Goodfellas reference.

      • jabostick

        Tweets I read were Banner to step down, Lombardi to leave the team. I used to listen to Lombardi on the BS Report all the time, I liked him. Cleveland is a goddam sh*t show.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          I bet Simmons has him on next week, in an episode entitled “My Year in Hell: Cleveland and Back Again”

    • Token

      LOL now thats funny. Was there anyone else in football who thought Lombardi should be a GM?

      My god just listening to that guy when he was on NFL network you could tell he was completely clueless.

  • Imix Shish

    Man, I’d love to see us pick up PSU’s Allen Robinson at WR

  • jabostick

    By the way, I looked up that 2004 draft class and, aside from Fitz (3rd overall), it was a lot of disappointment when it comes to WRs.

  • GEAGLE

    With Cleveland,cleaning house I wonder what that’s going to mean for their big money FA’s Mack and Ward?

    Anyone know when the deadline is to Tag players?
    ..
    When is the time when we start seeing cap casualties get cut? Like when would an obvious cut like Saints terminating Will Smiths contract become official?
    ,.
    Anyone know the timeframes or deadlines for when we should expect activity?

    • MoreRecentTimes

      How do you let either of those guys walk and expect to build a team? Trenches, and up the middle on Defense (Tackle, MLB, Safety), gotta have a foundation.

      • GEAGLE

        How do you even let it get to this point with either of those players? Why wasn’t an extension done in October? How do you draft players whom you develop into elite players at their position, and get to the point where they are a month away from being able to sign with whoever they want? It’s not like they are in cap hell, and have to wait to cut a bunch of guys to free up money to sign Mack and Ward, so why the hell weren’t they extended in October? In my eyes, the fact that they let it get to this point means that they are ATleast considering letting them walk and replacing them with a cheaper rookie contract,,.and just considering letting a top player in his prime that you drafted walk away makes you Brain DEAD!!!

        • Richard Colton

          Would you want to stay in Cleveland for any reason? I wouldn’t

          • GEAGLE

            Stay? I wouldn’t want to GO to Cleveland to begin with

          • Maggie

            For a couple of hours. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although I question how it ended up in Cleveland to begin with.

  • MoreRecentTimes

    I really like Odell Beckham in this system, I just dont know if pick 22 is a bit early. Maclin scares me with the 2nd ACL. I’d like to see them sign Cooper and draft a young buck, but in order to do that you have to solidify the safety spot at least in FA. OLB is another area you gotta fill in the next 2 yrs which you’d like to see addressed in the first 3rds.

    • NickS1

      Maclin will be fine after his ACL surgery. After his first tear at Mizzou, he had an allograft, which has proven to have a 20-35% re-tear rate (number varies among the literature) among competitive athletes. He went to Andrews for his recent tear, and used a Patellar Tendon graft, which has about a 5-7% re-tear rate, is generally stronger, and more durable. The allografts tend to stretch and wear over time, which is usually the cause of the re-tearing. The PT graft doesn’t suffer that same fate since it’s your own tissue that’s never been freeze dried, etc. I wouldn’t stress his injury too much. The ACL injury isn’t as decimating to an athlete as it used to be. Not that it’s easy to recover from, but the techniques and rehab process have drastically improved

      • peteike

        what I would stress however is an attempt at a career resurgence on the Jets. Far riskier than any bum knees

  • peteike

    I think some people are forgetting the risk/reward gamble that is drafting players. The biggest risk with Sam being that all the attention (on top of what is already so difficult in just making a team in camp) could cause the man to just go in another direction away from football. That risk is real, that risk is there and more prevalent than with other players. Hes shown strength and courage already which is big in terms of character but its still a gamble that may cause his draft stock to slide. Then again, every little factor already causes that, this is just an added layer that GMs have to account for.