The 2014 NFL Draft is now "only" 18 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.
Early on, Chip Kelly has shown a tendency to look favorably on his former opponents in the Pac-12. He's been quick to praise Marqise Lee in the past, and with Philadelphia's need at wide receiver, he makes a ton of sense. Lee had a down season as a junior, but injuries definitely played a role. He's still worth a first-round pick, even if he's not the top-10 player we expected preseason.
I consider Benjamin a bit of a project, with his route running and consistency in need of development, but I can think of worse ideas than giving Chip Kelly the developmental keys to a player who stands a full 6-5 and at 240 pounds runs like guys 30 pounds lighter. The Eagles have Jeremy Maclin coming off a serious knee injury, and Riley Cooper remains, but minus DeSean Jackson they could use another matchup threat, and where it was speed for Jackson, it's size for Benjamin. Sometimes, there's not much you can do with him.
Todd McShay, ESPN - Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Lee would give the Eagles' receiving corps a shot in the arm. Right now it's Jeremy Maclin (who is coming off of a torn ACL), Riley Cooper and a few question marks. Lee isn't the burner that DeSean Jackson was for this offense, and he struggled with drops in 2013 much more so than he did his first two seasons, but he has good field speed and is a threat after the catch. Lee did some serious damage to Chip Kelly's Oregon teams in 2011 and 2012, with a combined 20 catches for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
Don Banks, SI.com - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Beckham features both DeSean Jackson's burst and elusiveness, as well as the added element of being dangerous in the return game. There are defensive needs for a pass-rushing end or cornerback that could take precedent in Philly, but Chip Kelly is running this show, and he likes offense. What better way to turn the page on the Eagles' Jackson era than by replacing him with a younger and hopefully better version?
Chris Burke, SI.com - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
DeSean Jackson is over in Washington after an ugly falling out with the Eagles. Chip Kelly wastes little time finding his replacement in the dynamic Cooks, a burner capable of doing it all from the receiver position. Cooks is the type of player who should thrive within Kelly’s system.
Geoff Mosher, CSN Philly - Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Ealy’s stock keeps rising. Scouts feel his upside is through the roof and his best days are two or three years down the road. In that sense, he can be this year’s Lane Johnson, a freakish athlete who will learn the game on the fly. If he’s not ready to start, Ealy can sit behind Trent Cole and Connor Barwin on run downs and come in for pass-rushing situations. By his second year, Ealy will have learned the ins and outs of being a 3-4 outside linebacker and added the necessary weight to play the run and become a starter.
You never know what will happen on draft day. Every year, there are players who unexpectedly fall in the draft for a number of reasons, and, depending on which scenario ultimately unfolds, it’s possible that Barr could fall further than expected and still be on the board in the 13 – 17 range. This would present a great opportunity for the Eagles, who have a history of trading up in the first round, to get the impact edge rusher they desperately need. [...] The price to move up for Barr would likely cost the Eagles their first (22nd overall), third (86th overall) and fourth (122nd overall) round picks. The Eagles only have six picks in this year’s draft, but to get one of the most athletic and dynamic defenders at a position would be well worth the investment.
Evan Silva, Rotoworld - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Dennard's shorts-and-t-shirt measurables aren't on par with Justin Gilbert or Kyle Fuller's, but his game tape is more impressive than both, and his skill set will appeal to the Eagles. Second-year DC Billy Davis combines blitz-heavy concepts with press coverage on the perimeter. Dennard is the premier press-man corner in this year's draft. He would be a Week 1 starter in Philadelphia.
Josh Norris, Rotoworld - C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
I know inside linebacker is not consistently mentioned as one of the Eagles’ needs, but Demeco Ryans can be cut after this season thanks to a large cap number and Mosley offers so much range. He would not come off the field.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Roby is a talented cover man with the speed, athleticism and movement skills to thrive in an aggressive scheme.
Charles Davis, NFL.com - C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
An all-purpose LB who provides speed and thump needed in the NFC East.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
With Desean Jackson gone, they have to get speed outside.
Here's a summary of the picks:
WR Marqise Lee (2)
ILB C.J. Mosley (2)
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (2)
WR Kelvin Benjamin
WR Brandin Cooks
DE Kony Ealy
OLB Anthony Barr
CB Darqueze Dennard
CB Bradley Roby