Who should the Philadelphia Eagles draft at No. 22? Should they even stay put? Should they trade up? Or down? The Bleeding Green Nation staff weighs in on what they think the Eagles should do in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Here's a look at what everyone had to say.
I said it on the BGN Radio podcast so I'll say it again. I think the Eagles come away with a really successful draft. Brandin Cooks in the first round would be a great start.
I'm going to predict that the Eagles stand pat and make their pick at #22. For all the talk of moving up or down, it seems to me that the most likely scenario is that a good player at a position of need is going to drop to them at their spot. In some seasons, there aren't 22 players with first round grades, so you'd either want to jump up to get one of the guys you really rate or you trade back if there are none left. That's not going to be the case this season. In Mike's estimation, which is one likely shared by most teams, there are as many as 28 or 29 guys with first round grades. If there's a run on QBs or a few OTs get overdrafted, the Eagles could have their pick of 10 true first round talents. There's really no reason to get cute, just take one and chalk it up as a win.
The Eagles should draft Kyle Fuller based on both his talent and their on-the-surface philosophies. This kid has star potential and size for days at his position. While cornerback may not be an immediate need, Fuller can compete at the position and possibly safety as a rookie. Theoretically, the Eagles could just have Brandon Boykin and Nolan Carroll on the roster after next season. Fuller would be a true No. 1 guy.
The Eagles should take Kyle Fuller. I'm with Mike, he's a very good fit for what they want to do on defense, and his versatility is very appealing. CBs usually take a year to adjust, and CB is a major need for 2015. That he could convert to safety if he doesn't pan out as a CB, similar to Malcolm Jenkins and Antrel Rolle, is a bonus.
At 22, our beloved Eagles should draft Jimmie Ward, safety from Northern Illinois. He is the most complete safety in this class (yes, over Clinton-Dix) and would be perfect for what the Eagles do on defense. Ward has the ability to cover the slot receiver, play centerfield, and is an excellent tackler. But, "big people, little people" may prevent this from happening.
The Eagles should take advantage of other teams' idiocy at #22. It's impossible to predict anyone's exact picks that far down, but you can guarantee that someone will fall in love with a mediocre QB, and that there will be a run on one position, once people start to panic and grab the second and third and fourth best guy at that slot. That position might be CB or QB or WR or OL, but whatever it is, it will cause excellent players to fall. That will tempt other teams to overpay in order to trade up and get Manziel or Bortles or Ha-Ha. The Eagles have wisely set themselves up with no desperate need, so the smart play is to be ready to pounce on the mistakes of other teams, either getting multiple picks in a trade down or grabbing a neglected elite defender.
Granted, a lot depends on what happens before, but at 22 the Eagles should draft defense. With all due respect to Kyle Fuller, Darqueze Dennard would be my likely pick (which may require them to move up... discussion to follow). Dennard plays a physical brand of football, offers gamely run support, and is the versatile type of player coveted by Chip and Billy Davis. The question is whether he'll be there. Dennard is ranked 18th on Brent's TPR board, and according to Bill Burke (Advanced NFL Analytics), Dennard is likely to be gone by pick 14. However, based on the latest chaos sim (which utilizes Brent's TPR and takes into account team needs), Dennard's ADP is 23, selected anywhere between picks 10 and 36. So there's a chance guys!
The Eagles should draft either CJ Mosley or Anthony Barr. They're ranked 12th and 14th, respectively, on the TPR Rankings, and Brian Burke's model shows there's a roughly 30% chance of one of them being available at the 22nd pick. The defense needs talent, and each of these players brings it while filling a big hole. If they're gone, take the best CB on the board and wait to round 2 to take a WR/TE if they must.
Lately, the Eagles have been taking a "best player available" approach which has really worked out for them. But since that makes for a boring response, I'll go with a need pick, and I think their biggest need is at pass rusher. As a disclaimer, the draft is not my forte so my pick might not be as realistic as our "draft gurus" here, but I'm going to go with Ryan Shazier from Ohio State. He was used creatively by the Buckeyes to pressure the quarterback and has a ton of athleticism. He's billed as a 4-3 linebacker and is not as big as Kelly prefers, but players can bulk up if necessary and it is thought that he could excel in the 2-gap 3-4 that Billy Davis runs. In addition, he is more likely be available at #22 than Anthony Barr.
BGN Community Poll
First we asked you to tell us which position the Eagles will draft. Then we asked which player at that position. The results? A majority of the vote (36%) went to Marqise Lee, WR, USC. Cody Latimer (16%) and Brandin Cooks (15%) finished in second and third.