The Philadelphia Eagles entered this offseason with the need to add a pass rusher. NFL free agency didn't provide any solutions to that problem. The market was weak and there weren't many quality options available. The 2014 NFL draft potentially poses the same problem. It's very possible the draft's top three pass rushing prospects (Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, and Anthony Barr) could all be off the board by the time the Eagles pick at No. 22 overall.
All is not lost, however. There are still some quality pass rush prospects who could be available in the first two rounds. Two of the most popular names include Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu and Auburn's Dee Ford. For what it's worth, Ford is often projected to be a higher pick than Attaochu. But that's not the case for Greg Cosell of NFL Films. According to Cosell, Attaochu is the better draft prospect of the two. "I like [Attaochu], and in fact I may be in the minority, I like him as a better prospect as an outside linebacker than Dee Ford," Cosell explained.
Cosell watches a ton of film so it's not like he's just talking out of his you-know-what here. In the interest of objectivity, let's compare the two prospects by the numbers. First, the measurements. These numbers come from their individual pro day workouts since neither participated in the 2014 NFL Combine due to medical reasons.
|Height||Weight||Arm Length||Hand Size||Vertical||Bench Press||40 Yard Dash||10 Yard Split||Broad Jump||3 Cone||Shuttle|
|6-2||252||32 7/8||10 1/4||N/A||29||4.59||1.67||10'04"||7.07||4.73|
*Attaochu's 10 yard split would have been the best of all DE/OLB prospect at the combine.
The measurements don't show a clear difference. Attaochu is a little longer and faster. He's also younger than Ford. Now, a look at the stats. Attaochu obviously played more often than Ford did.
The Eagles clearly need a pass rusher and while Attaochu isn't 6-foot-5, he has size and natural speed. A possible project or rotational player in his first season, Attaochu shouldn't lose his appeal to Philadelphia, as either Cole or Brandon Graham will likely be on the roster in 2014. Billy Davis and Chip Kelly appear to be fantastic teachers, which is what Attaochu needs. If he is there in the second round, the Eagles will probably consider taking him. He may actually be available in the third round, despite the draftnik hype. He is a talent but needs some polish.
Despite his monster numbers and high profile, Ford will likely be selected in the No. 20-35 range. He is an impressive player but does have obvious flaws in his game at this point. The Eagles really need a pass rushing specialist to spell Cole on third downs during this season and Ford could fit that bill. Depending on who is available with him at No. 22, the Eagles could easily bounce on Ford. It all really depends on how the board shakes for Philadelphia.