By Ryan Wenzell on May 16, 2014
The Philadelphia Eagles had an active draft. Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly's main goal appeared to be stockpiling picks while filling needs with solid, character players along the way. Mission accomplished. While this class may not be filled with impact rookies, there are sure to be some instant contributors.
Having said that, Let's take a look at my predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles 2014 draft class.
Marcus Smith was a bit of a reach to many draftniks at 26. Not to the Philadelphia Eagles. Once a few of their targets fell off the board the Eagles targeted Smith. They were able to drop back to 26, pick up a third rounder and get their man. Smith will learn behind Trent Cole and hone his pass rushing skills as a rookie. Expect Smith to be a major contributor in Year 1, especially on passing downs.
Jordan Matthews was a steal with the 42nd overall pick. Many pegged him going in the late first round. Matthews is a big body, who runs solid routes, and has suprising speed for his size. Matthews will be used primarily in the slot this season as a matchup nightmare for smaller corners and safeties.
One word perfectly describes Josh Huff: explosive. He has a quick burst in and out of his routes and is a crafty enough route runner to get open anywhere on the field. Not to mention his electric athletic ability. He is basically a running back playing the receiver position. Expect Huff to contribute on special teams in Year 1 and eventually be a major slot weapon in Chip Kelly's offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles were stunned to find Jaylen Watkins sitting there for them at the top of the fourth round. The speedy Watkins is versatile enough to play outside and inside at cornerback and even lined up at safety at times.
Watkins will be used for depth purposes in Year 1 but will be groomed as a long term starting solution at cornerback for the Eagles, and a promising one.
Chip Kelly knows Taylor Hart very well. He is the perfect fit at defensive end in Kelly's 3-4 defense. Hart is stout against the run, and has the ability to push the pocket and rush the passer. Hart will rotate snaps in Year 1 as the Eagles already have a strong defensive line, but don't be surprised if Hart is pushing for starting time in the not too distant future.
Ed Reynolds is a big, rangy safety that always seems to be in the right place at the right time. That is due to his high football IQ. Reynolds has the physical skills and mental make up to be a future starter at safety for the Eagles. For now expect him to be a major contributor on special teams and provide solid depth at the safety position.
Beau Allen is a big, mammoth sized defensive lineman that can also move. He has his wrestling background to thank him for that. The Eagles for years have lacked a true big, run-stuffing nose tackle. They may have found a late-round gem in Allen. Expect Allen to push for a major role along the defensive line and be Bennie Logan's main backup at nose tackle come opening day.
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