I was fortunate enough to do a quick Q&A with Nolan Hack of Rundown13 to discuss the Philadelphia Eagles upcoming 2014 draft. Check out the interview below:
EG: Who do you think the Eagles should draft with their 22nd overall selection?
NH: Receiver and cornerback are two big needs Philadelphia could address in the first round. Odell Beckham or Brandin Cooks would be great replacements for DeSean Jackson because they both possess similar games as Jackson. Beckham and Cooks are lightning fast and excel in space.
The Eagles could also go after a cornerback. Kyle Fuller would be a fine selection at number 22. He flashed shutdown ability at Virginia Tech and has very fluid hips.
Nose tackle is another possibility. The Eagles played with smaller and quicker defensive linemen in their 3-4 defense last season but they ended up getting out muscled in the trenches in the playoffs. Bennie Logan has the body type of a 5 technique end and not a 0-technique nose tackle in a 3-4. It wouldn't be a bad idea if the team beefed up their defensive line and drafted Louis Nix out of Notre Dame. He's a chore for offensive linemen to block. His presence would allow Logan to move to defensive end.
EG: Who do you think the Eagles will end up selecting in the first few rounds?
NH: I would guess that the team will focus on their receiving core and defensive backfield in the early rounds. Outside linebacker is also a possibility. Carl Bradford would fit Billy Davis' scheme as an athletic and multi talented player at the position. He can rush off the edge, disrupt the run in the backfield and drop back in coverage effectively. Bradford is slated to be taken on the second day of the draft.
Jordan Matthews and Martavis Bryant are both second round options at receiver. Matthews makes plays in the clutch and Bryant is a serious red zone and deep threat.
Cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and Pierre Desir both have starting talent and would be second day targets for the Eagles. Gaines is an aggressive defender who held Mike Evans to 8 yards receiving in a 2013 game. Desir has impressive size for a cornerback and has lots of potential.
EG: Many think Calvin Pryor would be a great pick for the Eagles...what are your thoughts?
NH: Pryor is a great in the box safety prospect with some cover skills and range. He's a hard hitter but lacks the instincts to be an elite deep safety. I'm skeptical that the Eagles would target him with Malcolm Jenkins signed in free agency and Nate Allen brought back. Pryor is a projected late first/early second round pick.
EG: Now that DeSean Jackson is gone, do you see the Eagles drafting a wide receiver in the first round?
NH: Definitely. It's hard to anticipate what kind of production the Eagles will get from Jeremy Maclin, who is coming off a major injury. Riley Cooper had a career year last season but the team is very thin at receiver outside of those two players. Philadelphia could replace Jackson with Beckham or Cooks. They could go another route by drafting play-maker Marqise Lee or physical freak Kelvin Benjamin in the first round.