The Philadelphia Eagles shifted their focus to defense on the 2014 NFL Draft‘s third and final day. After loading up on offense on Friday night with two wide receivers, the Eagles beefed up the secondary and added depth along the defensive line.
The Eagles started off selecting corner-safety hybrid Jaylen Watkins. Versatility is the key with this kid. He can play either position, and also has the speed to run and mirror any receiver in down-field coverage. Many tabbed Watkins as a second- or third-round talent and the Eagles nabbed him at the top of the fourth round.
They continued re-vamping the defense with a player Chip Kelly is familiar with: Taylor Hart. Kelly coached him in college, and Hart will battle at the five-technique position along the defensive line. He has drawn comparisons to guys like Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith, two stout, solid defensive lineman in a 3-4. Hart has the ability to rush the passer and is solid in stopping the run, something the Eagles, who got gashed in the run game, especially in the playoffs, would welcome with open arms.
Later in the fifth round, the Eagles bulked up the secondary even more with mammoth sized safety Ed Reynolds. At 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, Reynolds is built like a tank at the safety position. He also is no slouch in coverage. Reynolds is a guy who, had he stayed in school another season, could have been a second- or third-round pick. This was another solid pick to improve the Eagles’ leaky secondary and it is possible he can come right in and battle for a starting spot in the back end.
The Eagles rounded out the day by selecting a mountain of a man: Beau Allen. He stands 6-foot-2 and a whopping 333 pounds. Allen is a prototypical nose tackle who clogs up the middle and should help out the Eagles’ run defense immensely. He will battle for the backup nose tackle job behind the ascending Bennie Logan.
This was a productive third day for the Eagles. They bolstered both the secondary and defensive line. They also added a premium pass rusher with their first-round pick on Thursday night. The defense certainly wasn’t ignored over these three days.
They also managed to overhaul their passing attack selecting two explosive pass catchers in the second and third rounds. No doubt the Eagles improved their football team. That is ultimately the goal this time of year — mission accomplished.