After a very impressive 2013 season, the Philadelphia Eagles will look to build on their success in 2014 and add even more pieces in the 2014 NFL Draft. Will they actually trade DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis or others for more draft picks? Let's have a look.
Although the Eagles added a few players in free agency, they still have a few holes on their roster. Luckily, none of them are glaring needs that absolutely have to be addressed early in the draft but they should definitely try to address them as soon as possible. I believe the Eagles can go best player available throughout the entire draft like they have done the past two drafts.
But a DeSean Jackson trade would change all of that in my mind. After Jeffery Laurie, Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly all danced around the Jackson rumors when the met with the media, I truly believe it is only a matter of time before Jackson is out of Philadelphia. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and there is a five-alarm fire going on inside the Eagles' facility right now.
With that being said, I believe the Eagles will trade DeSean Jackson to the New York Jets before the off-season workout program begins on April 21st. Here is how I believe the trade will look:
Philadelphia Eagles receive: 104th overall pick (round 4, pick 4) and 195th overall pick (round 6, pick 19)
New York Jets receive: WR DeSean Jackson
Although that may not be the compensation Eagles' fans would like to see the team get in return for Jackson, I believe they have reached the point of no return and he will ultimately be traded. The Jets make sense as a trade partner because they have a ton of picks, cap space and a very good friend of Jackson's in newly signed QB Michael Vick.
I do not believe Evan Mathis will be traded. I think the Eagles will either restructure his contract or just move forward and hope he doesn't hold out. Chip Kelly seemed surprised by the Mathis' rumors and appeared to want Mathis to stick around for the long run.
The Eagles would then have eight total picks heading into the draft. They would have their own pick in rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 and the Buccaneers pick in round 4 as well as the Jets pick in round 6. Here we go!
Round 1, pick 22, 22nd overall:
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Would you look at that? After trading DeSean Jackson, the Eagles go ahead and get what many consider to be the closest thing to Jackson in the draft. Although he is often compared to him, Cooks isn't exactly like Jackson. I personally believe he is a better route runner and much tougher than Jackson. He reminds me of Steve Smith because of his great hands and feisty attitude.
Although he doesn't possess the in-game speed that Jackson does, he is more than capable of making big plays. He isn't afraid to go across the middle of the field and can even run the ball if asked too. Cooks wouldn't take the top off of a defense like Jackson could but he would definitely make a ton of plays in Chip Kelly's offense.
Round 2, pick 22, 54th overall:
Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
After wide receiver, I believe the Eagles biggest needs are safety and rush outside linebacker. Although they could go best player available after drafting Cooks in the first round, Bucannon would be too good to pass up in the second round. He is personally my favorite safety in the draft because he can do it all and has great size.
At 6-1, 211 lbs., Bucannon has the build that Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman love on defense. He is built like a tank and could be that tone setter in the secondary. Bucannon was a play-maker in college and that is what the Eagles sorely need in their secondary. He recorded 6 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles in his senior season. Bucannon will have to work on his hips and coverage ability but he would immediately fill a hole in the Eagles' defense and would make a nice tandem with Malcolm Jenkins.
Round 3, pick 22, 86th overall:
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Jeremiah Attaochu is exactly what the Eagles need at outside linebacker. He is an explosive pass rusher and sets the edge well in run support. Attaochu has a great frame at 6-3, 252 lbs.with blazing speed. He had a very impressive senior season, finishing with 45 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks. He is a freakish athlete and can make plays all over the field. His long arms and chase skills allow him to make plays even when he is trailing behind or the play is ran to the opposite side of the field.
Attaochu does struggle in coverage though, so that will have to be addressed and worked on. But he has the tools to be a good pass rushing outside linebacker from day one. He'll likely be just a situational pass rusher during his rookie year but could easily be Trent Cole's replacement down the line.
Round 4, pick 4, 104th overall (via NYJ):
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
This would strictly be a value pick, in my eyes. Jean-Baptiste is still a raw cornerback and has only played the position for around two years. He possesses incredible size at 6-3, 218 lbs. but isn't as refined as some of the other corners that will be available around this pick. But I believe his size alone will intrigue the Eagles enough and they'll take the risk on drafting and stashing him for a season or two.
With his previous experience at wide receiver, Jean-Baptiste will draw comparisons to Richard Sherman but he has a very long way to go before he can be in that discussion. He shows a ton of potential at times but isn't consistent enough to be a starter just yet. He also needs to work on his tackling fundamentals because he struggled to make tackles in the open field at times. This would be a pick that wouldn't really help the Eagles much now but could really pay off in a season or two.
Round 4, pick 22, 122nd overall:
Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Although Bennie Logan had a promising rookie season in Philadelphia, he will need to put on more weight to be hold on to that starting nose tackle position. I'm sure those Drew Brees' quarterback sneaks in the playoffs really got under Chip Kelly's skin. Daniel McCullers is a mountain of a man at nearly 6-7, 348 lbs.
He has two years of experience as a two-gapping nose tackle and is a very promising player. Although he does play a little too high at times, which will have to be fixed, he commands double teams and would have to be respected in the middle of the Eagles' defensive line. He fits the "big people beat up little people motto" that Chip Kelly loves and would be a welcome addition to the defense.
Round 5, pick 22, 162nd overall:
Tyler Starr, OLB, South Dakota
Tyler Starr is a very fun player to watch. He stands out on tape and is constantly making plays all over the field. Starr has great size at 6-4, 249 lbs. and has three years of starting experience at South Dakota. Starr finished the 2013 season with 71 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 1 interception and 4 forced fumbles.
Starr has long arms and is very athletic for his size. He has great instincts and recognizes and dissects plays quickly. Starr struggles to get off blocks at times but that can be improved with coaching. He can blitz off the edge well and would compete for playing time immediately.
I believe the Eagles will make one more trade and that will be sending Brandon Graham to a 4-3 team. Graham was just a situational pass rusher at OLB for the Eagles and his inability to drop back in coverage was a problem. The Eagles won't get much for Graham but he didn't show too much promise in the 3-4 in 2013.
Philadelphia Eagles receive: 189th overall pick (round 6, pick 13)
Detroit Lions receive: DE Brandon Graham
Round 6, pick 13, 189th overall (via DET):
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Chip Kelly takes a risk here and drafts one of his former players at Oregon. Lyerla's struggles off the field are very well documented and that will have to be addressed immediately. He will have to know what is expected of him at the professional level and I believe Chip Kelly could get through to him.
But when you put the off the field issues to the side, there is no denying how talented Lyerla is as a player. He may very well be the second best tight end in this draft behind Eric Ebron off skill alone, but his off the field concerns will force him to plummet in the draft. Lyerla's experience in Kelly's uptempo offense will help his cause for being drafted by Philadelphia as well.
Round 6, pick 19, 195th overall (via NYJ):
Russell Bodine, G, North Carolina
Russell Bodine mostly played center at North Carolina but has experience at guard as well. That versatility and experience is exactly what the Eagles like to have on their offensive line.
Bodine is athletic enough that he could play both of those spots in the Eagles' zone blocking scheme. Outside of Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, the Eagles' offensive line is up there in age. They'll have to add some depth along the o-line at some point in the draft and Bodine's versatility may be exactly what they're looking for.
Round 7, pick 22, 237th overall:
Cody Hoffman, WR, Brigham Young
Whether or not the Eagles trade DeSean Jackson shouldn't stop them from drafting another wide receiver later in the draft. This draft is incredibly deep at the position and Cody Hoffman is a fine example of just how deep this receiver class is. He has great size at 6-4, 223 lbs. but also had a disappointing combine. Hoffman also had a disappointing senior season with just 57 receptions for 894 yards and 5 touchdowns after a breakout season in 2012 with 100 catches for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In 2013, Hoffman was very inconsistent and also battled quite a few injuries throughout the season. But just because of one down year and a disappointing combine, I wouldn't say Hoffman is a terrible player. The size, skill and potential is definitely there. It's just a matter of a team investing a pick in Hoffman and giving him the chance to show that 2013 was just a fluke and he has a lot more to offer. I believe he could do well in Chip Kelly's offense and stick around on the team or practice squad for quite some time.
That's all for this mock draft. Check back in a week or so to see my updated mock draft for the Eagles. Who knows what could happen? This off-season has been very unpredictable so far, especially for the Eagles!
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