Draft Debate: Three Targets At No. 22

Marqis Lee
As we count down to Thursday, Tim and Sheil give their takes on how the Eagles will approach the 2014 draft.

Today’s question: Who are the three players most likely to be selected by the Eagles at 22?

McManus: We’re taking trades out of the equation for this exercise. I’m assuming that Anthony Barr and Odell Beckham Jr. are already off the board.

1) Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Following a November shootout between Oregon and USC in 2012 (which the Ducks won 62-51), Chip Kelly had this to say about the Trojans receiver (per the OC Register).

“Marqise Lee may be the best receiver I’ve had the opportunity to coach against.”

That quote has been rattling around in my head during the build-up to this draft. Lee (6-0, 192) had 12 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns in that game. The year prior against the Ducks, he posted eight catches for 187 yards. In his short time on this level, Kelly has gravitated towards players that have had success against him in the past (Zach Ertz, Matt Barkley, Darren Sproles, etc.) and Lee definitely fits into that category. He  had 118 catches for over 1,700 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore. Last season he was hampered by a knee injury and ended with 57 grabs for 791 yards and six scores. That dip may be enough to push Lee into the latter half of the first round. Hard to see Kelly passing on him if he’s there.

2) Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Fuller (6-0, 190) has the size and length (32 7/8 inch arms) that Kelly looks for in an outside corner. The former Hokie has been described as a physical player and a sound tackler who puts in the work in the classroom. And he’s versatile. Fuller can play inside and out and is a special teams contributor as well.

He’s not exactly a turnover machine, posting six picks in four seasons at Virginia Tech, but he’s about as good as anyone in the country at breaking up passes and could be a sound, sturdy cornerback for Billy Davis long-term.

3) C.J. Mosley, inside linebacker, Alabama

Mosley (6-2, 234) is the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and took home the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. He is considered a cerebral player with a strong work ethic and high character who possesses the skills to be a three-down ‘backer on this level. The Eagles could use linebacker depth immediately and need to start thinking about an eventual replacement for the quarterback of the defense, DeMeco Ryans. 


Kapadia: Damn you, McManus. I knew I should have gone first on this question. We have some similarities, but rather than make our audience read the same information twice in a row, I’ll try to play off your thoughts with some other notes.

1) Marqise Lee, WR, USC

I agree with everything you said above. As far as “man draft crushes” go, Lee is mine. I know the measurables don’t jump off the page and he had issues with drops last year, but when I watch Lee, I see a superstar at the next level (full breakdown here). He’s polished, can make plays after the catch, is physical and has good short-area quickness. Lee can line up on the inside or outside and be productive in a variety of roles

I’ve had to answer the question in other public forums, so if you want to know who I have as the Eagles’ most likely first-round option at No. 22, it’s Lee.

2) Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

I look at Fuller and say: “That’s pretty much exactly what the Eagles want in a cornerback.” One question is whether he’ll be there at No. 22. And the other is: What kind of positional value do the Eagles put on cornerbacks?

They seem pretty content with Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. They’ve had a chance to make a splash at this position and have not done so. We know the last regime believed in investing big dollars at the CB position. This regime might be different. My sense is the issues in coverage last year were more on the linebackers and safeties than the corners.

If the Eagles don’t put a premium on the position, maybe they pass on Fuller. But I still think he’s the most likely defensive player at No. 22.

3) Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

I go a different route with my third pick. First of all, I believe that the Eagles’ preference is to go non-WR in the first round and take advantage of the depth later on.

Having said that, the board is the board. And Cooks (full breakdown here) strikes me as the type of player Kelly will fall in love with. Many are quick to make the DeSean Jackson comparison with Cooks. While both are 5-10 and fast (Cooks ran a 4.33), they are different types of receivers.

Cooks may very well be best-suited for the slot. He’s aggressive when the ball’s in the air, was productive in the red zone, can make plays in the screen game and is a vertical threat. Get the ball in his hands and let him go to work.

Cooks is another guy who could be gone by the time the Eagles pick, but if he’s still available at No. 22, expect the Eagles to give him a serious consideration.

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