Wake-Up Call: Kiper Talks Pass Rushers

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Mel Kiper —  like many of his colleagues — has the Eagles using their first-round pick on a wide receiver. The longtime draft analyst predicts that 6-5 Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin will be the selection at 22.

While the receiver class is loaded in the opinion of most experts, the consensus seems to be that quality pass rushers will be in short supply in this draft. Even so, there will still be some quality options at outside linebacker on Day 2, according to Kiper.

“There are a lot of second rounders that can get after the quarterback that are going to be nice picks for teams like the Eagles [if they take a receiver in the first round],” he said.

Kiper mentioned four edge rushers in particular that could be of interest to the Eagles in the second round.

Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State 

Height/weight: 6-3, 251
2013 stats: 72 tackles (20.5 for a loss), 10.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
NFL.com profile: A loose, explosive, long-limbed athlete, Lawrence consistently pressurizes the edge and harasses quarterbacks. His pass-rushing ability rates among the best in this year’s class, and he holds mass appeal. Lacks ideal stoutness at the point of attack, but could thrive as a 4-3 right end or 3-4 rush linebacker, and should contribute readily on passing downs.

Kyle Van Noy, BYU

Height/weight: 6-3, 243
2013 stats: 67 tackles (17 for a loss), 4 sacks, 7 passes defenses, 2 interceptions
NFL.com profile Good-sized, athletic, smooth-moving stand-up player who projects best as a 3-4 right outside linebacker, but could also warrant consideration from 4-3 teams as a Will or Sam. Is not without flaws, but has unique ability to play up the field, laterally or in reverse.

Chris Smith, Arkansas

Height/weight: 6-1, 266
2013 stats: 36 tackles (11.5 for a loss), 8.5 sacks
NFL.com profile: A weakside pass rusher who could most ideally project to the rush linebacker position in the pros for a 3-4 front, Smith graded more highly as a junior than he did as a senior, yet possesses the tools to earn a starting job in the pros in multiple schemes. Versatility is a plus.

Jeremiah Attaochu,Georgia Tech

Height/weight: 6-3, 252
2013 stats: 45 tackles (16 for a loss), 12.5 sacks
NFL.com profile:  Attaochu is a young, heady, disruptive, relentless edge rusher who profiles as a 3-4 right outside linebacker. Interviewed well and has the look of a trustworthy, long-term starter given his pass-rush ability, motor and makeup. Needs to get stronger, but impressive display of speed, athletic ability and explosion will enhance draft standing.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Jeremy Maclin thinks the offense will be “just fine” without DeSean Jackson.

The latest Twitter Mailbag explores different draft scenarios, plus a scheduling note.

In the most recent installment of Draft Daily, Sheil examines UCLA pass rusher Anthony Barr.

Kapadia offers five thoughts on the schedule. 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Evan Mathis, fresh off a ride to work on this contraption, was asked by Derrick Gunn about his contract.

“If I did ask for a new contract, I’m not going to tell [the media] I want a new contract. How are you going to get me a new contact? Seriously though, for all that type of stuff, the best approach would be to keep it in house.

“I’m here. I’m not holding out. I much prefer reading the articles and the hate tweets and everything from conjecture as opposed to any information that ever came from anybody that knew anything about the situation.”

Todd McShay thinks the Eagles should take Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer with the 22nd pick.

This is a bit of a reach based on where I have Latimer ranked on my board — 34th overall — but the Eagles need a receiver and I’m a big fan of Latimer’s game. He has very good size, toughness and instincts in addition to good straight-line speed, strong run-after-catch ability and a big catching radius. He also has reliable hands — in the five game tapes I watched of his, he didn’t drop a single pass. I think he could be a very good fit in Chip Kelly’s offense.

COMING UP

Less than two weeks away from the draft. We’ll get you there.