By Mike Gibson @papreps on May 6, 2014
There are going to be a lot of very good players selected between the first and 21st picks of the NFL Draft on Thursday, just ahead of where the Philadelphia Eagles sit at No. 22. That doesn’t mean a tantalizing name or two won't fall as far as that, and the Eagles must be prepared to do what GM Howie Roseman said they would do—select the best available player, regardless of position.
If any of these five guys fall, the Eagles should pick them.
The so-called draft experts are all over the map on this one, as some of the even more knowledgeable ones have him going from anywhere in the top five picks to falling out of the first round altogether. If he falls to No. 22, though, the Eagles would be foolish not to grab him. Who would you rather have backing up Nick Foles -- Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley or Johnny Football? Backup? Who said backup?
The Eagles solved one safety problem through free agency, but that leaves one substandard safety on the field in Nate Allen. Calvin Pryor, shown here being tackled by Temple's Nick Visco, is an immediate upgrade over Allen, and if he falls to No. 22, the Eagles should grab him.
At the end of last season, Eagles fans were salivating over the prospect of having both Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson on the field at the same time, stretching the field and opening it up for underneath passes to guys like Shady McCoy and Darren Sproles. Chip Kelly made a mistake by getting rid of Jackson. Selecting Cooks would fix that mistake.
While Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher played well on the corners for the Eagles last year, they were not the kind of take-the-ball-the-other-way playmaker Kyle Fuller was for Virginia Tech. There aren’t very many great cover corners who have the ability to take an interception to the house, but Fuller certainly qualifies.
Of all these players, Odell Beckham is the most likely to be gone by No. 22. If, however, the Eagles can get someone like the wide receiver rich Chicago Bears to take former first-rounder Brandon Graham off their hands and sweeten the pot by adding the No. 22 pick for the Bears’ spot, the Eagles can get Beckham. The thing that makes Beckham better than Cooks is that he can be used in the return game as well.
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