The 2014 NFL Draft is now "only" 11 days away. Mock draft season is in full gear and there's no shortage of opinion as to who the Eagles will be taking with the No. 22 overall pick. So with that said, let's take a look at what the experts are saying.
After releasing DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia could use another wide receiver. Matthews may not be the flashiest wide receiver, but he has very good hands and can high-point the ball.
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.
For those predicting Chip Kelly will live to regret the Eagles' divorce from DeSean Jackson, perhaps you had best wait to see who he replaces him with in the draft. If it's Cooks, Philly might be in for close to the same type of big-play production. Like Jackson, Cooks is a quick and elusive threat with the ball in his hands, and he's capable of stretching the field vertically and creating consistent matchup problems for a defense.
Chip Kelly will remember Su’a-Filo from his Pac-12 days, and no matter what happens with Evan Mathis, Kelly (whose offense is far more run-heavy than most believe) could always use a real mauler on the inside of the offensive line. Su’a-Filo fits the bill, and he’s also agile enough to play tackle. A perfect fit for a Philly offense that strives to balance explosion and physicality.
Rob Rang, CBS - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Chip Kelly is, of course, most known for offense but during his tenure at Oregon, his Ducks featured terrific cornerback play, as well. The Eagles took a significant step in improving upon their 30th ranked pass defense by landing former New Orleans Saints' safety Malcolm Jenkins but more help is needed. Roby struggles a bit with consistency but the tools are there to warrant top 20 consideration.
Pete Prisco, CBS - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
He can fly and the Eagles need that with Desean Jackson gone.
Will Brinson, CBS - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The speedy replacement Chip Kelly needs for DeSean Jackson. He's not a 1:1 swap but he's cheaper and won't be a(n alleged) problem in the locker room.
Dane Burgler, CBS - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Chip Kelly, who watched Roby in person at Ohio State's pro day last week, wants to get faster and tougher on defense and the former Buckeyes' cornerback will help accomplish that with his natural speed and aggressive mentality.
Pat Kirwan, CBS - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Beckham is a very solid citizen and a polished receiver. If the Eagles decide to hold off on receiver and go defense there are a number of solid defenders left on the board. The Eagles reportedly tried to trade for Dion Jordan last year and that should indicate their desire for defensive help at pass rusher.
Charles Davis, NFL.com - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Not the speedster that many anticipate, but it appears that the Eagles are seeking size, too.
Brian Baldinger, NFL.com - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
The Eagles replace DeSean Jackson with a much bigger target, and Chip Kelly wants to get bigger at that position.
Steve Shoup, FanSpeak - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Eagles could go receiver here, but with it being such a deep position they could decide to wait until the 2nd round. Instead they land a good corner, capable of developing into a number 1 guy to match up versus some of the top receivers in the NFC East.
Greg Gabriel, National Football Post - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Eagles cut DeSean Jackson a few weeks ago. Cooks is a similar athlete with speed and run-after-the-catch skills. Chip Kelly is very familiar with his talent.
Ron Burke, CSN Philly - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
The Eagles make a make a concerted effort to strengthen their secondary for the foreseeable future, and they begin by adding this team captain from Virginia Tech. Fuller may not be ready to step in and start right away, but he possesses the leadership, confidence and toughness to develop into a solid NFL contributor. He is an instinctive player that tries to outthink the receiver, which leads to playmaking opportunities. Does a good job of sticking with receivers while keeping his eyes on the quarterback. He can play zone and man coverage with effectiveness. Fuller does not shy away from contact and he has the size and leaping ability to play bigger receivers.
Jared Sherman, CSN Philly - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Even with WRs like Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin and USC's Marqise Lee still available, I am sticking to my guns that the need for defensive playmakers far outweighs the need to replace DeSean Jackson. The Eagles need to improve a pass defense that gave up the most passing yards (4,636) in the NFL in 2013, and boosting the pass rush is one way of doing it. Barr is raw, only playing OLB for the past two seasons at UCLA after switching over from TE his first two years, but still managed to record 23.5 sacks while learning his new craft. With Trent Cole and Connor Barwin entrenched at OLB for 2014, Barr will get the opportunity to learn the nuances of the position while being used to do what he does best - get after the QB. Then in 2015, when Cole is most likely released for salary cap reasons, Barr hopefully is ready to step into the starting role.
As you can see, wide receiver is quote the popular pick among mock drafters. The numbers are fairly split but Brandin Cooks is the favorite by definition. Cooks would be a fun talent to add to Chip Kelly's offense, but I'm having a hard time thinking he lasts until pick No. 22.
WR Brandin Cooks: 3
WR Odell Beckham Jr.: 2
WR Kelvin Benjamin: 2
CB Bradley Roby: 2
CB Kyle Fuller: 2
WR Cody Latimer: 1
OLB Anthony Barr: 1
OG Xavier Su'a-Filo: 1
WR Jordan Matthews*: 1