The 2014 NFL Draft is officially over and that can only mean one thing. It's time for everyone's favorite pointless activity: draft grades! NFL draft grades are a funny thing. For one, they're completely meaningless and arbitrary. It often takes several years to be able to accurately judge a draft class. Yet, here we are, giving out grades less than 24 hours after the picks have been finalized. We demand -- no, we need -- instant gratification. Here are your 2014 Eagles draft picks. Click on the link for more detailed write-ups on them.
1 (26) - Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville
2 (42) - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
3 (86) - Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
4 (101) - Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida
5 (141) - Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon
5 (162) - Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
7 (224) - Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin
We will start off with my grade. One thing I really liked about this draft class was that none of the Eagles moves were egregiously perplexing. I can look at each pick and understand the reasoning behind it. Some will say the Eagles "reached" on certain picks and didn't get good "value." Eagles coach Chip Kelly had a really good quote regarding those terms.
"You don’t know how it’s going to pan out," Kelly said Friday when discussing his team’s first-round pick, linebacker Marcus Smith, via CSNPhilly.com. "Just going through the analytics of it, 50 percent of first-round picks don’t make it. That’s through the history of time."
"When you draft someone in the sixth round and you say, ‘Hey, we got a steal,’ my first question is, why didn’t you take him in the fifth, then?" Kelly said. "If you’re so smart and you knew what you knew and you knew everything about the draft and you knew the guy was going to be an All-Pro — the people who brag about, ‘We got a sixth-round pick and he became an All-Pro player’ — then the first question is, well why didn’t you draft him earlier if you were so smart? A lot of times you don’t know."
Hence why terms like "value" and "reach" are overstated. Kelly's real sense of "value" isn't where a player is drafted. Instead, it's about how a certain player fits into the Eagles' scheme and culture. While I wasn't necessarily blown away by this draft class, I find myself genuinely appreciating these picks. My grade: B+.
See below for more hot takes and grades from around the web.
Smith was one of the more questionable first-round picks in the draft. But if he works out as a pass rusher, no one will remember it. After the questionable start with Smith, the Eagles really picked up as the draft rolled on. Matthews is a steady talent at wide receiver and Huff gives them another speed option. Watkins is the cornerback the team desperately needed to find in this draft and he could push for a starting job early. Hart’s fit on the defense is obvious. He’s a brute of a defensive end and can play inside in four-man looks.
Chip Kelly’s second NFL draft provided its share of surprises, with Louisville end Marcus Smith going in the first round. You’d be hard-pressed to find any analyst who had that kind of grade on Smith — or anywhere close — so that’s one of those "wait and see" picks. The selection of Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Mathews in the second round was right in line, and will help right away. Kelly went back to his Oregon days twice, picking up receiver Josh Huff in the third round and defensive lineman Taylor Hart in the fifth. This draft will hinge on Smith’s ability to provide elite edge rush. That’s an undetermined idea based on his college tape, so the grade has to go accordingly.
Chip Kelly received (and earned) a great deal of respect as a coach during his time at Oregon but I don't believe he gained enough as an evaluator of talent. Perhaps after this draft, he and general manager Howie Roseman will get some. Now, let's be clear. I did not expect Marcus Smith to get drafted in the first round. I do, however, like the pick. The former quarterback was one of my favorite players in this draft because of his athleticism, instincts and hustle and he's a good schematic fit for the Eagles. Though neither offers the elusiveness of Desean Jackson, I also like the additions of Jordan Matthews and former Oregon Duck Josh Huff as pro-ready receivers well equipped to be effective in Chip Kelly's offense. Jaylen Watkins flashed talent throughout his career at Florida and was highly impressive at the Senior Bowl. He and former Stanford safety Ed Nelson could fill significant needs. I also like the additions of Taylor Hart and Beau Allen on Day Three, a couple of players who are more athletic than they look and also could surprise.
There was littled to get excited about in this crop, but Matthews and Huff could be solid contributors in this high-flying offense. Getting great trade value during the weekend for Bryce Brown was a nice move that helps, and Taylor Hart was a nice pick in Round 5.
The Eagles did a solid job of adding talent and hitting needs, making up for one questionable decision early with a number of solid ones down the board. Philadelphia moved down and then selected Marcus Smith, the No. 85-ranked player on my board. But while I didn't love the value, again, it came after the Eagles had moved down and accrued a little value. And he hits a need, because they're too reliant on Trent Cole as a pass-rusher and Smith can turn the corner and provide some pressure. The only receivers Philly has under contract past next season are Riley Cooper, Jeff Maehl and Jeremy Maclin (who is coming back from an ACL injury). The Eagles don't just need receivers, they need projectable players that can help soon. I thought Jordan Matthews would have made sense at No. 22, much less 42. I love that pick. Josh Huff offers underrated after-the-catch explosiveness -- he had 24 catches of 20-plus yards in 2013 -- has obvious familiarity with Kelly's methods and he's a guy who really competes and makes contested catches. Jaylen Watkins is a good value in Round 3, and was the first Florida CB off the board in a year where they have a few decent ones. Ed Reynolds is a player I thought could have been a second-round type had he stayed at Stanford another year, but he can give the Eagles a future potential starter and really anticipates well. Taylor Hart is another guy Kelly knows well, and could help the pass rush at some point. The Smith value was iffy, but I understand it, and they did a solid job thereafter.
Grade: "Good job, good effort"
he team gets some much-needed help on defense and a pair of DeSean Jackson replacements on offense. Of the two Oregon players Chip Kelly picked, Hart might be the bigger steal. Reynolds might not be the best safety in the draft, but he's a turnover machine.
Now it's your turn. How would you grade this draft class?