2014 NFL Mock Draft: Marqise Lee is the Philadelphia Eagles' pick

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

With the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Philadelphia GM jhn selects ...

Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Wide Receiver and Outside Linebacker

Outside Linebacker and Wide Receiver

Wide Receiver and Outside Linebacker

Finkle and Einhorn...

Wait.  What just happened?

As we all know, the Eagles (who were the Super Bowl opponent of the Dolphins in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) have had two team needs identified and talked about ad nauseam by every NFL analyst, talking head and blogger: wide receiver and pass rusher, specifically outside linebacker.

As the BGN Mock Draft began, I had set my sights on Brandin Cooks for the Birds.  As he continued to fall towards pick 22, I was writing the selection up in my head of how he would be a dynamic weapon in the Chip Kelly offensive scheme.  If Cooks made it to 22, I had little doubt he would be the best player available, and a perfect fit for the Eagles.

Pick 16... still there.  Pick 17... still there.  Pick 18 and the J-E-T-S JETS JETS Just Took Brandin Cooks.  Well then...

As I scanned the remaining players and cross-checked multiple big boards and draft profiles, I came down to two players that represented what I believed to be the best fit for the Eagles at this point.  Those two players were Kyle Fuller and Marqise Lee.  While Fuller is neither a wide receiver nor an outside linebacker, he still plays a premium defensive position as a cornerback.  He also checks off a number of criteria that the Eagles look for in their defensive backs with his length and physicality.  However, while Fuller is a quality prospect, I believe Marqise Lee is the best player available here.  His fit in the Chip Kelly offense, his skill set, and his potential ceiling make for a perfect storm.

The argument made by many after DeSean Jackson was released by the Eagles was, "Who are the Eagles going to get to replace DeSean?"  As we at BGN know, Chip Kelly's offense is not focused on any one player.  Certainly, star players make big plays and accumulate big numbers; however, it's about the fit, offensive packages, sub-packages and mismatches.  From Albert Breer:

So, don't look at individuals, look at the group.  The value of the skill position group is greater than the sum of its parts.  It's how Chip Kelly deploys them as a unit that is important.  Adding Marqise Lee to the Eagles wide receiver group will definitely help boost the bottom line.

Marqise Lee was the 2012 Biletnikoff Award Recipient as the nation's outstanding college football receiver as well as the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.  He started 13 games that year for the Trojans and hauled in 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns.  In addition, he also returned kicks, returning 30 kickoffs for 856 yards and one touchdown.  As a freshman in 2011, Lee started 8 games, but appeared in all 12 for the Trojans and had 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns as well as 10 kickoff returns for 285 yards and one touchdown.

Unfortunately, 2013 was a down year for Lee.  As a junior he recorded only 57 catches for 791 yards and four touchdowns.  However, Lee's 2013 season seems to be the exception due to a number of circumstances beyond his control.  Lee was adjusting to a new quarterback, as Matt Barkley was now with the Eagles.  He was also dealing with other issues, as noted by NFL.com, "An extremely motivated, dynamic, playmaking receiver, Lee's junior season was plagued by shoulder, knee and leg injuries and a revolving door at head coach, where he cycled through three. Showed all the traits desired in a No. 1 receiver early in his career and has overcome a lot of adversity in his life to get to this point."

Chip Kelly would be able to make full use of Marqise Lee's skill set.  From Mocking the Draft, "Some receivers are fast off the line of scrimmage, and then there's Marqise Lee, who explodes off the line with such fluid motion that it appears he's not even trying. Lee glides around the field in an efficient manner and it starts when he's getting that initial release off the line of scrimmage."  With Kelly's penchant for shifting receivers and creating mismatches, this plays perfectly for the coach's schemes.  With defenses having to also focus on Jeremy Maclin, Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy, there is good potential to have Lee exploiting a mismatch on the defense.

Lee also has speed to spare.  Again, from his Mocking the Draft profile, "But he has speed to burn, and that will translate to the NFL. It's not just about how fast Lee runs when he's at full speed, it's more about how quickly he's able to get to full speed. Lee will be a deep threat in the NFL. He loves tracking the deep ball and spent most of his college career blowing by defensive backs."

But, it's not all about raw physical ability.  Lee also shows promise as a route runner.  CBS Sports says of Lee, "Remarkably fluid athlete, capable of changing directions quickly and shows developing savvy as a route-runner, often using a hesitation move and shoulder-dip to get defenders off-balance. His vision, elusiveness and acceleration make him a terror after the catch, whether as a receiver or returner."  Chip Kelly is a coach who has all of his receivers learn every receiver position and the routes associated with them.  Having a receiver come in who shows promise and a willingness to progress and improve his route running has to be appealing.  And one other item that is near and dear to Chip Kelly's heart, Lee is noted as, "an attentive, physical downfield blocker," by CBS Sports as well.

Marqise Lee may be the best receiver I've had the opportunity to coach against. -Chip Kelly

The Eagles are doing their due diligence and then some on Marqise Lee.  There is the obvious Chip Kelly/Pac-12 connection, but it seems to go deeper than that.  In a report by Andy Jasner at ESPN.com, he writes, "Eagles coach Chip Kelly coached against Lee while at the University of Oregon. It might help explain why Kelly has met with Lee three times as the draft inches closer. 

‘Lee may be the best receiver I've had the opportunity to coach against,' Kelly recently told reporters. ‘He's impressive on film, but even more impressive [in person].'"

Marqise Lee would be an excellent addition to the Eagles wide receiver group, making an already dynamic offense even more dangerous.  Also, with Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn returning from injury and Riley Cooper coming off of his first big year, of hopefully many more to come, adding Lee makes sense as well.

Adding Lee as an element into the chemistry lab that is the Eagles' offense gives our resident Mad Scientist Chip Kelly even more combinations to create explosive offensive plays.  With all due respect to Steve Smith, we'll be putting our goggles on too.

References:

http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2014/4/24/5638820/marqise-lee-2014-nfl-draft-scouting-report

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/marqise-lee?id=2543475

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1851123/marqise-lee

http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/lee_marqise00.html

http://biletnikoffaward.com/2012-award-recipient

http://www.phillymag.com/birds247/2013/05/14/option-routes-signal-change-for-eagles-wrs/

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/123967/marqise-lee-has-attention-of-eagles

2014 BGN Mock Draft Order

1 Houston Texans (Imp) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - [Explanation]
2 St. Louis Rams (starship 007) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - [Explanation]
3 Jacksonville Jaguars (sports00fan00) - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, SC - [Explanation]
4 Cleveland Browns (InHinkieWeTrust) - Johnny Manziel, QB, TAMU - [Explanation]
5 Oakland Raiders (SleepingDuck) - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - [Explanation]
6 Atlanta Falcons (jimmyrustler) - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn - [Explanation]
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AnthroEagle) - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF - [Explanation]
8 Minnesota Vikings (pot) - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA - [Explanation]
9 Buffalo Bills (wow4444) - Jake Matthews, OT, TAMU - [Explanation]
10 Detroit Lions (kamjam) - Mike Evans, WR, TAMU - [Explanation]
11 Tennessee Titans (NowWhat?) - Justin Gilbert, CB, OK State - [Explanation]
12 New York Giants (Anthony DiBona) - Eric Ebron, TE, UNC - [Explanation]
13 St. Louis Rams (ILL Eagle) - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
14 Chicago Bears (JerkyBoy) - Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville - [Explanation]
15 Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan - [Explanation]
16 Dallas Cowboys (Patrick Wall) - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama - [Explanation]
17 Baltimore Ravens (rohan915) - Zack Martin, OT, ND - [Explanation]
18 New York Jets (del.champion) - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State - [Explanation]
19 Miami Dolphins (HD) - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh - [Explanation]
20 Arizona Cardinals (NCeagle) - Kony Ealy, DE, Mizzou - [Explanation]
21 Green Bay Packers (ablesser88) - Jimmie Ward, S, NIU - [Explanation]
22 Philadelphia Eagles (jhn) - Marqise Lee, WR, USC - [Explanation]
23 Kansas City Chiefs (PeaceVT) -
24 Cincinnati Bengals (deg0ey) -
25 San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) -
26 Cleveland Browns (P_Roach17) -
27 New Orleans Saints (bebin) -
28 Carolina Panthers (MikeKafka) -
29 New England Patriots (Amateur_Hour) -
30 San Francisco 49ers (AndyMcNabb) -
31 Denver Broncos (dceagles) -
32 Seattle Seahawks (eagles0132) -

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