Wake-Up Call: Ducks In the Draft

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Chip Kelly likes him some Oregon players, you may have heard.

From Dennis Dixon to Jeff Maehl, he brought in plenty of familiar faces to play a variety roles as he transitioned from college to the pro game. There are six Ducks currently on the roster (DE Brandon Bair, S Patrick Chung, LB Josh Kaddu, Maehl, LB Casey Matthews and WR Will Murphy), which is the most players from any one university on the squad.


Safe to say Kelly will have some opinions on the Oregon players that have declared for the 2014 draft, seeing as he recruited and coached them in a former life. It's probably a good idea that we become familiar with them.

Below is a list of the top Oregon prospects along with a brief write-up and draft projections, courtesy of NFLDraftScout.

CB Terrance Mitchell
Height/weight: 6-0, 190
Projected Round: 3rd

Mitchell feasted on quarterbacks avoiding Ekpre-Olomu's side of the field in 2013, leading the Ducks with five interceptions, easily the best production of his three seasons as a starter. Rather than risk losing momentum with longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti retiring and Oregon's starting safeties Avery Patterson and Brian Jackson graduating, Mitchell made the decision to leave school early despite a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee that he characterized as "not a fair evaluation."

WR Josh Huff
Height/weight: 5-11, 211
Projected Round: 3rd-4th

Huff has only average height, but is very well put together for his size with the natural athleticism you want at the position, showing explosive cuts and fluid body control to be a dangerous threat after the catch. He catches the ball with his hands, but his ball skills are very average and his streaky focus is the main concern - an early day three draft pick who will prove a steal if he can eliminate the drops.

RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas
Height/weight: 5-9, 170
Projected Round: 6th-7th

Thomas leaves Oregon in the conversation as the best all-purpose player in school history. His 5,345 career yards trail only all-time greats LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, with whom Thomas teamed in the Ducks' most recent Pac-12 championship season of 2011. Thomas holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1), and he's fourth in career scoring (278 points). Also a standout member of the UO track and field team, Thomas anchored the 4x100-meter relay that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championships and ran the sixth-fastest time in school history, 39.89 seconds.

Added Go Ducks: Thomas will be seen as a luxury in the NFL, and it could be argued he was considered that this year for the Ducks. His career could travel in the way of Darren Sproles', which is best case scenario, or Dexter McCluster's, a role player who has not lived up to expectations.

DE Taylor Hart
Height/weight: 6-6, 287
Projected Round: 6th-7th

Hart was a first-team all-state player on the offensive and defensive lines coming out of Tualatin, Oregon. He went on to become a very versatile player for the Ducks, lining up as a defensive tackle, nose guard and even as a standup outside linebacker, on occasion.

OLB Boseko Lokombo
Height/weight: 6-3, 230
Projected Round: 7th-FA

(From Ourlads):  Lokembo is a tools-rich athlete with the frame, length, and speed you want out of a do-it-al linebacker. A quick look at him and he may become one of your favorite defenders in this class. Lokombo became a factor in the Oregon defense in 2012 after consistently grading out as one of the fastest/strongest players on the team in workouts. I want to like Lokombo but he was very average in 2013. He doesn’t seem to click mentally when diagnosing plays. He has poor reaction time which consistently leaves him in poor positions to make plays and/or get off blocks.

TE Colt Lyerla
Height/weight: 6-5, 250
Projected Round: 7th-FA

Lyerla is a physical marvel with excellent athleticism, good hand-eye coordination and toughness after the catch. He possesses impressive straight-line speed, as well as the agility and balance to operate in space...Perhaps due to the incredible talent competing for the ball at Oregon, he never emerged as a statistically dominant player in Eugene. He caught just two passes for 26 yards in an abbreviated 2013 campaign and his career-high 25 catches for 392 yards and six scores in 2012 aren't exactly eye-popping, given his size and athleticism...While he possesses tantalizing upside, NFL teams will certainly have to do their homework on Lyerla, who comes with alarming off-field issues, most important a Dec. 27, 2013 guilty plea for possession of cocaine.

FS Avery Patterson
Height/weight: 5-9, 190
Projected Round: 7th-FA

(From Ourlads): He is a quick decision maker that can reach the sidelines fast. While he isn’t as physical, Patterson has shown reliable tackling ability in space. His versatility in the defensive backfield will earn him a draft-able grade.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Some thoughts on Joe Banner, and what his time in Philly taught the Eagles.

Connor Barwin's role is unlikely to change despite who's playing opposite him, Sheil writes.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Phil Sheridan says the Eagles need to find a stud return man for 2014.

Ideally, the Eagles would be able to draft a player like Cordarrelle Patterson, the rookie wide receiver who burst into the league as an impact return man for Minnesota. Patterson was the guy who prompted the Eagles to kick short to disastrous effect in their game against the Vikings.

Guys like Patterson aren't easy to find, but the Eagles could well find themselves drafting a wide receiver in the first or second round. LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. averaged 26.4 yards per kickoff return and 8.4 yards per punt return. ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. had the Eagles taking Beckham in the first round in his recent mock draft.

Andrew Kulp of the 700 Level looks at Riley Cooper and the receiver situation.

The surprising part about Cooper was he wound up being an adept deep threat, using his 6’3”, 222-pound frame to box out smaller defensive backs. With less than ideal speed though, it’s questionable whether he could match his 13 receptions of 20-plus yards.

The thing is, a team that doesn’t have a viable deep threat may be willing to pay for Cooper’s unique talent. There are multiple teams who didn’t have a single player with 13 receptions of 20 or more yards—the Eagles had three, and Maclin is perfectly capable of doing it as well.

COMING UP

We are adding snow removal to our list of services here at Birds 24/7. If you need to be dug out, email skapadia@phillymag.com.

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

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Huff or DAT drafted, although neither one earlier than the 5th (unless Kelly/Howie draft, say, an OLB-S-CB right off the bat and are looking at WR in the 4th). If this record group of underclassmen we keep hearing about pushes some good seniors into UDFA status, I’d look into the FS Patterson as well.

    And of the former ducks/current Eagles, everyone can be replaced or upgraded this offseason. I like Kaddu the most of that group, but I hope (expect) better players to come in and beat out the following:
    DL Square and Bair (say, a draft pick and Kruger)
    LB caseymatthews (I bet 1 of either Kaddu or Long make it)
    WR Murphy, Maehl, DJ2, Avant* (hope mostly just good draft picks who pan out as 3rd, 4th WR)
    DB chung, coleman, anderson, k. johnson

    • Tikkit

      We’ve got 6 and now rain on the E. Shore. It’s ugly.
      Gotta get a returner. My money is on DAT.

    • BleedGreenJames

      I love Huff and DAT. If we go defense heavy early it’d be cool seeing both come in later rounds.

  • anon

    Lombardi heading to Pats — it’s not what you know it’s who you know

  • GEAGLE

    Terrence Mitchell could be a real target for us if he falls into round 4. we would probably consider him in the 3rd, but would prefer him falling into the “Boykin zone”. Then again their is a low cost FA very similar to Mitchell who I expect to be a REAL target of ours in FA…saving the name for when we do our Mock free agency. I wouldn’t mind Lokombo if we could get him in the 7th….

    Last year I was talking about wanting to draft Colt Lyeria in round two of this draft. The kid is a legit Top Talent. If Chip thinks he can handle the kid and keep him on the right track, I would use a 5th round pick just to ensure we land him…a future pairing of Ertz/Lyeria could be scary.

    I wouldn’t mind DeAnthony if we could get him in the 7th. Huff is someone to keep an eye on depending how far he falls
    ..
    Because of Odell’s return game, I thought he would he someone we consider. I wouldn’t want him at 22,,,but if we trade back to 30, or to the beginning of round 2, he is someone I think we def consider…Just imagine if Chips offense had a return man that allowed us to start drives at the 40yard line?…yikes

    • Token

      Colt has had very little production in 3 years. And hes a off the field problem. If hes there as a UDFA bring him in.

      • GEAGLE

        I expect him to be drafted. Just too much talent

        • Token

          In theory he has talent. He hasnt shown much of it. And hes kind of a mess of a kid. Guess Chip would know him better than most.

          • NickS1

            Is the compared to Hernandez at all? If not, go for it.

          • GEAGLE

            I mean, he shoots coke in his nose..not really the same as shooting other people…but def not a choir boy

    • mksp

      “saving the name for when we do our Mock free agency” LOL

    • NickS1

      Is Thurmond the guy you’re saving for the “mock FA”?

      • JofreyRice

        He was about the only Seahawk that looked bad in the Superbowl. Couldn’t stay on his guy at all, whether it was Welker, or Julius Thomas. Good player, generally, but only an inch or two taller than Boykin, and not as good an athlete.

      • GEAGLE

        Nope. It’s a cheap signing which won’t excite many fans..but someone I really expect to be an eagle. Def not a sexy signing

        • calieagle

          it has to be philly native brent grimes he was #2 corner in the league last year

  • Jarrod

    I would love to pick up DAT in the 6th or 7th round (I’d even be ok with the 5th). Huge boost to both punt and kick returns (allows DJax and Boykin to focus on their primary responsibilities) and gives Chip another weapon on offense. I know he’s not Percy Harvin but I see him having a similar role to what Harvin did for the Seahawks in the Superbowl.

    • ohitsdom

      Agreed. Huge upgrade over Damaris Johnson, with a much bigger skill set.

    • Token

      Id be surprised if he lasts that long. If he puts up the 40 Id expect him to. But yea, Id be down for him in the 6th round.

      • NickS1

        We don’t have a 6th round pick. Would you use the second 5th rounder on him (assuming it’s not traded)?

  • Adam

    I’ve said it before, but I’d have no problems with over drafting DAT by a round or 2. Even in the 4th. I think Chip could do some wonderful things with a RB/WR tweener like him and it would add a complete new dimension to the offense.

    • MoreRecentTimes

      That’s a big missing link in this iteration of the system, that rb/wr tweener, lining up wherever there’s a mismatch to be exploited. Once all the elements are assembled this offense is gonna be silly.

    • Token

      He could potentially be a weapon. But if he drops its for a reason. Hes slight. Not just height but hes skinny. Not a very thick lower body. Not really a full time player. Im curious to see how hed do in the receiving game at the next level. Natural athlete. Hed be a interesting toy to have. Hes got return ability too. The 4th round is probably around where he goes if he has a solid combine.

      • NickS1

        I would certainly agree that he’d be smart to add a few lbs.

    • Eagles4Life

      Exactly what I’m thinking. 6-7th round project, no reason why we couldn’t get him in the 4th or 5th. The kid can play and he’s run between the tackles before. Damaris Johnson’s spot would be gone.

      • NickS1

        “Damaris Johnson’s spot would be gone.” If he’s not shown the door at the beginning of the new league year there’s a problem.

    • Maggie

      New dimension. Yup. Nothing like having a drooling, glassy-eyed cokehead in the locker room.

      • Jarrod

        You know Colt Lyerla was the one caught doing coke, not DAT, right?

        • Maggie

          You are right in that my reply was posted in the wrong place. However, while we’re at it, coke is also highly addictive. If a person has been “caught” oncw , you can be sure they have used many more times without being ‘caught”.

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

        wrong facts, poor conjecture, and failed imagery

        • Maggie

          Exact imagery and facts to fit the foolish users that I used to see every day in my job with Social Services.

          • Will

            Seems like you have some other stuff going on… Where did you see anything about DAT having substance abuse issues? Maybe you are confusing him with Colt.. Yes?

          • dnabrice

            She already said she wasn’t referring to DAT.

  • jackpotsdad

    I follow Oregon closely. Taylor Hart is the most underrated player on that list. Highly versatile, and a defensive player who can even drop back. A less athletic Dion Jordan.

  • Kev_H

    Targeting and thus reaching for Ducks wouldn’t be a sound way to build an NFL winner. It’s a nice read on a snowy morning, but if the Eagles approach is to overvalue guys because their coach knows them, we will be waiting a long time for a title. The most promising thing about Kelly is that he didn’t bring his college game to the NFL.

    • Jarrod

      That’s not going to happen. Last year 5 Ducks were drafted, none by the Eagles. Of the Ducks that were Eagles, Matthews was already on the team, Chung was with Kelly in Oregon for one year (Kelly was the OC) so not really a good link there, Dixon played an important role during camp, Maehl came on late after alot of injuries to receivers (needed someone who already new the system), Murphy was basically a camp body who knew the system, Kaddu was brought in to the practice squad after he didn’t make the cut in Miami and Bair bounced around but has the measurables that Kelly likes. So I don’t think Kelly (or Roseman) overvalued any Oregon players because Kelly knew them and I don’t think they will this year either.

      • Kev_H

        I agree with you 100%, but the premise of the posting is that Eagle fans should be familiar with Duck players because the Eagles value them more than other players, which is total bunk.

        • Tom W

          I don’t see that as being the premise of the article at all. so I think you are creating a strawman to beat up on.

          • Kev_H

            What’s the premise of the article then and why is it different or better than a list of Pac 12 prospects or prospects from national champion Florida St.? If some of those guys don’t get drafted, then the Kelly connection might bring them to camp. Duck players won’t get any more draft focus or priority than any other players. That’s not how you run an NFL team.

    • Tom W

      howie and chip don’t target or reach in the draft. if Colt or DAT is dropping to where there is value, they take them. And yes if our coach knows they are good guys, work hard guys, leaders or whatever … that can only help us vs other teams scouting departments. I dont think the article says a thing about reaching or overvaluing Ducks … its making us aware of players he knows well from Oregon. big difference.

  • Joe L

    There’s a history of college coaches NOT drafting their own players once they get to the NFL. So I’ll believe it when I see it. The real question is what players from the other teams in the PAC 12 will Kelly want, because that’s where the real history of college-to-pro coaches comes in.

    • calieagle

      look at some of chips guys that he didnt draft.. the eagles defensive front 7 would have been unstoppable if we had kiko alonso and dion jordan

  • JofreyRice

    Out of this list, I’m most intrigued by D’AT and Lyerla. As long as Lyerla has learned his lesson–something that Chip will be able to judge, if he talks to him–I’m fine with it. Coke’s just Adderall for guys that don’t know Dr. Feelgood.

    Getting those two late, and an OL that has potential as a future Herremans replacement somewhere in the 3-5, could really make the offense dynamic and deep. Use the rest of the draft to add talented athletes to grow in the defense, with an edge terror at #1.

    • Maggie

      Somehow, I don’t think this would have happened if they had just been popping Adderall.

      from pitch.com
      Early this morning, two men got into a cocaine-fueled fight that ended
      with one man stabbed in the abdomen. A woman reportedly told police that her boyfriend and her brother were “snorting cocaine” in a bathroom
      around 2 a.m. in the 4200 block of East 58th Street. They got into a fight that
      would make Rick James proud.

      The altercation became physical and rolled into the family room, where
      the boyfriend lobbed a plastic jar of jelly at the brother but missed him. The
      26-year-old brother then pulled a knife and stabbed the 27-year-old boyfriend
      in the abdomen.

      The victim staggered out of the house and threw a large rock through the
      back window of the suspect’s sister’s van, which was parked in the driveway.
      The victim stumbled down the street and collapsed.

      Police reportedly found the victim “curled into a ball” and “screaming that he had been stabbed.”

      • JofreyRice

        So you think cocaine is the only factor that made a guy go from dodging a plastic jar to pulling a knife and attempting to murder someone? Plenty of people are addicted to things that make them do outlandish and violent things; beer being one of the biggest offenders.

        • Maggie

          Oh please.

        • Maggie

          2nd reply. I believe I did specify ONE beer after a hard day’s work. When you acquire an actual sense of humor and reread this silly story, let me know.

  • Tom W

    I’d take Colt and DAT in 2 seconds w our 2 fifth round picks.

    Colt put up nice numbers as a redshirt frosh and played sparingly this year before he left school. Whoever is reporting he didn’t produce in college is a nitwit. His athletic ability and potential alone would have got him in the 2-3 rd this year if he didn’t voluntarily leave the program and get busted doing blow. o well. Chip knows him better than anyone. if he likes him, get it done.

    DAT is a nice toy to exploit lbs in our offense. would allow us to stretch the field horizontally and expand the playbook. also really helps on special team.

    Taylor could make a nice backup 5-tech in the 7th or udfa. Same w boseko. Mitchell could be interesting as a dime corner or safety prospect in the 4th round if we aren’t able to get McGill or one of the bigger faster corners like the kid from Clemson and liberty.

    • Joe L

      7 catches his freshman year is “putting up nice numbers?” Having 25 catches in your best season isn’t producing. Bottom line.

      • Tom W

        Bottom line bullshit. He had 5 tds his freshman year in a limited backup role. I’d say that’s pretty damn good. He also averaged 21! yds a catch as a freshman te …. not a stiff redzone fade guy.

        his sophmore yr he had 25 for 392 for 16 yds a catch and another 6 tds … plus o by the way he showed his versatility and uber athletic ability and ran 13 times for 77 yds and a score as a part time player.

        Oregon was putting out good recruiting classes then and has a ton of players and he was an underclassmen and still got on the field and produced ….big plays, tds, different ways. To say he wasn’t productive as a frosh and soph is hilarious compared to other freshman and sophmore tes at big time programs. if he stayed in at oregon his junior and senior yr he woulda put up nice numbers as well.

        And who said pro potential at the te position is based on college production ????? look at jimmy graham in college. tony gates julius thomas …list goes on and on … its about athletic ability and potential and Colt has both. now if his head is straight is up to Howie and Chip to find out. But if you dont realize he woulda been a 2d rounder if he stayed at oregon all year and declared you are crazy.

        • Joe L

          I never said pro potential is based on college production, at all. But you pointed out how good you thought his numbers were, and they just really weren’t.

          John Mundt averaged 18 ypc this year for Oregon from the TE position. I don’t know how hard it is to put up big ypc when you run so much and you can run uncovered down the seam.

          You think he’s got potential. Great. But it’s not based on his numbers, for sure.

  • Fly High

    I agree there are some great opportunities for late round picks. If (and this is a HUGE if) Lyerla can pull his head together, he would be tremendous in the James Casey role, he is a crushing blocker, and he was a power runner in specialized packages at U of O. plus he is a receiver with even more athleticism than Ertz. However his head problems are more than off field, he was brilliant at times and lost focus at others.
    Lokumbo would be a great back up to Barwin, if he can master the mental part of the game. And DAT for 5th round is damn intriguing. However I am not sure it makes sense to have both Maclin and DAT. Chip likes big receivers, So I think DAT fits better on a roster with Cooper or a big receiver like Benjamin from round 1.
    I think Mitchell overrates himself.and am nor sure Hart has the necessary athleticism, though I love his heart.

    • Maggie

      “he was brilliant at times and lost focus at others”. Coke is pretty good for making a user lose focus.

      • Fly High

        He had the focus problems even as a freshman, which I think was before he was using coke.

        • Maggie

          Possibly. You seem to realize at least that “using” is an ongoing verb. Generally means more than once.

  • Fryer

    Oh man I love my Ducks but I think I would only draft DAT and Lyerla.

    DAT has some great highlights, is stronger than he looks and is damn speedy. He has great vision and has potential to take it all the way on every play. One thing that always impressed me about DAT was his ability to avoid big hits. He has a small frame which seems like it could be an issue but I think with his agility and speed he found a way to always go down pretty easy. He would be a great pick up in the 5th as a return man and maybe slot receiver.

    Lyerla has so much potential it’s stupid. He is fast, physical, great hands and a good blocker. He is probably the second best TE in the draft and would be the best TE on our team in a year. All of this is said if he came to work everyday and kept his nose clean. I don’t think numbers reflect his game because Oregon ran often and was usually up by a lot. He is physical and likes to hit people which made him a good blocker and in special packages when he would run the ball always made me smile. If we get him in the 5th id be happy but he is available in the 7th or is undrafted then you have to go for him. I think he is gonna murder the combine and is probably a 1st or 2nd round talent but needs to get his act together. High reward with him and would be worth it late.