I was fortunate enough to do a Q&A with Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com. Check out the interview below:
EG: What are your thoughts on the Marcus Smith draft selection?
JK: Smith is a very athletic, very versatile player at a position where the Eagles had a huge need. He's good in coverage, he can set the edge in the run game, and he has upside as a pass rusher. In his final season at Louisville, Smith had 14.5 sacks, which was second in the nation, and yet, when you look at his overall game in terms of rushing the passer, stopping the run and dropping into coverage, his pass rush ability is probably the thing where he can improve the most.
EG: What are your thoughts on the Jordan Matthews draft selection?
JK: He was basically the only real threat in Vanderbilt's offense, as he was still 4th in the nation both in receptions and yards, so he was able to put up big numbers even though opposing defenses knew where the ball was going. That's impressive. He's a big receiver (6'3) with good speed (4.46 40), and his legend as a guy who puts in the work is growing rapidly.
EG: What are your thoughts on the Josh Huff draft selection?
JK: Chip Kelly obviously knows him well from his days at Oregon, so he obviously felt comfortable inserting him into his scheme at the next level. When the Eagles lost DeSean Jackson, they didn't just lose a guy who caught 80+ catches for 1300+ yards and 9 TDs. They lost their best big play threat. DeSean had 25 catches of 20+ yards last year, which is an enormous total. His last year at Oregon, Huff had a catch of 20+ yards in every single game. Huff goes about making his big plays differently than DeSean. He's better at running after the catch and breaking tackles, whereas DeSean was more of a deep ball threat, but Huff could be a guy who is able to replace some of those big plays.
EG: What can we expect to see from Jaylen Watkins? What does he bring to the table?
JK: I don't think you'll see much of him 2014, but with Cary Williams eating up $8 million of the cap in 2015 and Bradley Fletcher being a free agent after this season, Watkins could eventually take over as a starter down the line. He's another versatile guy who can play CB or safety, but the Eagles will likely use him at CB initially.
EG: What kind of role do you see Matthews playing this upcoming season?
JK: If you consider the slot WR a starter then he'll probably start, although I assume they'll eventually move him outside. My guess is that Matthews will get a lot of snaps right off the bat and they'll try to create mismatches with him against smaller slot corners.
EG: What overall draft grade would you give the Eagles?
JK: A smiley face.