NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock held his annual pre-combine conference call on Tuesday afternoon to give his thoughts on the 2014 NFL draft class. Mayock touched on a number of topics in a media call that reportedly lasted almost 3 hours. BGN will have more coverage of Mayock's call in the coming days. For now, one note of interest was a question Mayock answered about a potential Eagles first round target at the No. 22 overall pick. According to Mayock, the player the Eagles should look at is... Auburn outside linebacker Dee Ford.
Ford, 6-2, 240 lbs, is coming off a strong senior season where he racked up 10.5 sacks. He was a key player of an Auburn team that went to the BCS championship game (but lost). Ford also put together a strong performance during Senior Bowl week: he dominated in practices and ended up being named the Senior Bowl MVP.
Ford's addition would bolster a below average Eagles pass rush that only accounted for 37 sacks in 2013. It would also give the team a long-term answer at the outside linebacker spot considering veteran Trent Cole will turn 32 this fall.
One of the potential concerns with Ford is his size, or lack of it. Eagles coach Chip Kelly's desire for players with size is no secret. Ford is significantly smaller than the current Eagles' starts at OLB: Trent Cole (6-3, 270) and Connor Barwin (6-4, 264).
Disregarding the player for a second, it's interesting, but not unexpected, to hear Mayock expects the Eagles to target a pass rusher. The Eagles could use help in the secondary and possibly a new body at wide receiver, but strengthening the pass rush could go a long way towards improving the Eagles defense.
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