Football Memo

NFC East Draft Grades: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have swapped picks with the Cleveland Browns, moving down to 26.
Outside linebacker Marcus Smith

Outside linebacker Marcus Smith

Philadelphia Eagles
I think the selection of Marcus Smith surprised many, but I believe he was one of the more underrated players in this draft. Smith is a versatile outside linebacker, and specializes in getting after the passer. Louisville used Smith in a variety of ways, and set him loose on blitzes from all angles. I think Chip Kelly and the Eagles have similar plans for Smith. Philadelphia added a quality and reliable receiver with the selection of Jordan Matthews in the second round. Matthews was productive and consistent at Vanderbilt, never having less than five receptions in a game this past season. While not a burner, Matthews is big (6-3, 212), and a fluid route runner with great hands. I think Matthews will make an impact early for the Eagles. Kelly then added a former player of his in Oregon’s Josh Huff, a dynamic receiver with great upside. Huff is an offensive weapon, and needs to be fed the ball in a variety of ways. He will be used heavily in the screen game, on reverses, and possibly in the return game. Huff will need some time to refine his techniques, but if he ever realizes his potential, the Eagles will have struck gold with the 86th-overall selection. Cornerback Jaylen Watkins (4th round) and safety Ed Reynolds (5th round) were added to bring much-needed help to a thin Eagles secondary. Watkins could challenge for playing time early on as a nickel defender. The Eagles also brought in Oregon defensive end, Taylor Hart, and Wisconsin defensive tackle, Beau Allen, to provide depth along the defensive front. Hart will battle for time as a 3-4 end, while Allen is a nose tackle. The Eagles had a solid draft, and if Huff develops, this grade will end up being too low.
Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles – 2014 Draft Selections
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, DT, Wisconsin

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