NFL Network’s Mike Mayock talked draft during a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. Below are three Eagles-related takeaways.
1. The Eagles have made trades in the first round in three of the past five drafts. Is it possible they make a move again this year? It seems somewhat unlikely, considering they have six overall picks and this is considered a deep draft. But if they were to pull the trigger, who would be the most likely targets?
“Let’s face it. If possible, they need defensive impact players,” Mayock said. “If [Anthony] Barr from UCLA were to start to slide, I think he’d be a guy they could trade up for. They need a 3-4 outside linebacker edge type. I think if Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the safety from Alabama, started to slide, he’d be another consideration. They’re the two that would make the most sense to me if they started to slide.”
Those are two interesting names, largely because Howie Roseman admitted Thursday that this is not a particularly talented or deep group of safeties or outside linebackers.
“This draft is not deep in edge rushers,” Mayock said. “The bottom line with Barr is I think his best football is ahead of him. You might have to wait two years. He only played the position for two years. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack, he needs to learn the position from a perspective of learning how to pass-rush. Every rush can’t be a speed rush. But the kid has great talent. He’s the prototype 34 outside linebacker. I don’t think there’s any way he gets into the 20s.”
Again, I don’t see the Eagles making a move up for Barr, but I’ve been wrong before.
2. As for safety, Mayock indicated that he doesn’t think Louisville’s Calvin Pryor is a fit for what the Eagles like to do.
“Well, I think Clinton-Dix will definitely be off the board. Pryor may or may not. I’m not sure Pryor fits what they do,” he said. “From my perspective, they’re looking for a guy that can play strong or free safety, has to have both those skill sets. Jimmie Ward could do that. Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State, both of whom are going to go in the second round. In the third round, the only safety I have is Terrence Brooks from Florida State. After that there’s a bunch of
guys. Brock Vereen that can play corner or safety. Dontae Johnson from North Carolina State can
play corner or safety. Those guys would be appealing to the Eagles.”
Roseman said Thursday he doesn’t think this is a strong safety group overall. Johnson (6-2, 200) ran a 4.45 at the combine and has intriguing measurables.
But as I wrote previously, indications from the team are that they’d be comfortable going into 2014 with Malcolm Jenkins and Earl Wolff as the starters.
3. One of the more fascinating draft storylines is going to be where the wide receivers go. In ESPN’s TV mock Thursday night, Mel Kiper Jr. had the Eagles taking Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews at No. 22. Here is my write-up on Matthews. I actually like him as a prospect, but in the second or third rounds. I would be stunned if he were the selection with the 22nd pick.
Another guy who has generated some first-round buzz is Indiana’s Cody Latimer. Latimer’s measurables are intriguing, but as I’ve written previously, taking him at No. 22 would be a reach. Mayock seems to agree.
“He’s a big, 6’2″, 220, blah, blah, blah, it’s all beautiful, but he’s a little bit stiff and he’s got a lot to learn,” Mayock said. “People are talking about him in the first round, I don’t see it. I think he’s a second-round guy with a significant amount of upside.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
More from Roseman on the safety class.
The Eagles’ GM says there are 10 receivers in the top tier of the draft.
My breakdown of why Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller could be a nice option at No. 22.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Kiper thinks the Eagles could target Boise State OLB Demarcus Lawrence in the second round:
Trent Cole turns 32 this season, and there just isn’t enough speed off the edge anywhere to be found if he’s not healthy. Lawrence can develop into a solid pass-rusher.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com likes Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief to the Birds in the second round:
Chip Kelly would love to add size and speed to the Eagles’ receiving corps after the departures of DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant. Moncrief would give the Eagles the best of both worlds, as an exceptional athlete with big-play ability.
More nuggets from our chat with Roseman and another Draft Daily.