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Predictions and Roles for the Eagles 2014 NFL Draft Class

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The Eagles added seven new players through the 2014 NFL Draft. How will they fit in during their rookie seasons?

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Over the past few days BGN has spent time reviewing the Eagles post-draft depth chart. We've already taken a look at where the Eagles' seven draft picks will fit in on the roster. Now it's time to evaluate their specific roles and make some stat predictions.

Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville

Role

Heavy rotational linebacker and key backup. With Connor Barwin and Trent Cole as the starters on the outside, Smith will find playing time coming off the bench. Smith could play backup at either position (ROLB or LOLB) but I imagine they will try to rotate him with Cole. Perhaps Cole could be more effective as a pass rusher with less snaps. Another thing to watch with Smith is if the Eagles will line him up on the inside. DeMeco Ryans played almost the entirety of the Eagles defensive snaps last year. He's still a very good force against the run but he just doesn't have the ideal speed in coverage. Smith could come in on third downs in place of Ryans since he can both rush and cover. Just something to think about. In any case, I imagine the Eagles will want to be creative with Smith.

Prediction

~40% defensive snaps, 4.5 sacks, 2 batted passes, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass defensed.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

Role

Starting slot receiver. The Eagles will likely move Matthews around on offense but Chip Kelly even admitted Matthews figures in as the team's starter on the inside. Kelly wants Matthews matched up against smaller NFL slot cornerbacks. Matthews will be a weapon in the red zone and useful as a run blocker in open space.

Prediction

65% offensive snaps, 40 catches, 510 yards, 4 TD.

Josh Huff, WR, Oregon

Role

Offensive role player, fourth receiver, and key special teams contributor. Huff's addition gives the Eagles the flexibility to run more four wide receiver sets. That's not something they did very often in 2013. I'm sure it was related to a lack of personnel. Huff is also no stranger to blocking. He will contribute on special teams on the coverage unit and possibly as a returner.

Prediction

~10% offensive snaps, 10 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD, 15 rush yards.

Jaylen Watkins, DB, Florida

Depth corner, limited role player, and special teams contributor. Most of Watkins' playing time will come on special teams but he could also line up in a number of places on the Eagles' defense: outside corner, nickel corner, dime corner, and even some looks at safety.

Prediction

~10% defensive snaps, 1 pass defensed.

Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon

Role

Rotational defensive lineman off the bench. The Eagles will use Hart in a regular but limited rotation. He may line up in different spots but ideally he'll be the team's 4-technique.

Prediction

~20% defensive snaps, 1.5 sacks, 1 batted pass.

Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford

Role

Depth safety, special teams contributor. Like Watkins, I expect most of Reynolds' playing time to come on special teams. He might not have much of a role in the actual defense right away.

Prediction

90% special teams snaps.

Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin

Role

Situational nose tackle and key backup. Allen will likely rotate off the bench in a limited role with starting NT Bennie Logan.

Prediction

10% snaps, 1 fat guy touchdown.