Grading the Eagles 2014 NFL draft class

Marcus Smith is given his jersey by Philadelphia Eagles team president Don Smolenski (left) and head coach Chip Kelly (right). Credit: Getty Images Marcus Smith is given his jersey by Philadelphia Eagles team president Don Smolenski (left) and head coach Chip Kelly (right). Credit: Getty Images

The 2014 NFL Draft has come and gone, and while the 2015 projections are drawn up, we’ll sneak in a wrap-up of the Eagles picks. Before we do, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The Eagles entered the draft with six picks. They made seven selections, but only two of those (#86, #162) were originally held by the team.

Chip Kelly likes versatile players. It’s hard to blame him, with only 53 roster spots. Almost across the board, the players drafted have experience playing more than one position.

Finally, the Eagles (and they aren’t alone in this) don’t much care where a player was projected to go.

Round One, Pick #26: Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville, Grade: C+

The grade here is as much about the timing of the pick as the player taken. The Eagles traded down from 22 while Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State’s corner projected to go as high as tenth was available.

Smith has the makings of a sound player. He recorded 14.5 sacks last year and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, but he only played linebacker his freshman season and was not expected to be drafted as highly as he was. Expect him to spend a year learning the defense before taking over for Trent Cole.

Round Two, Pick #41: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt, Grade: A

This time the Eagles traded up, and got what we must assume was one of their favorite players in a deep wide receiver class. Matthews set the SEC career records in receptions (262) and receiving yards (3,759.) He has good measurables, with the big frame (6-foot-3, 212) everyone covets and a 4.46 forty.

Round Three, Pick #86: Josh Huff, WR, Oregon, Grade: C-

Huff fills a need, providing depth at receiver, but does not have elite production (over 500 yards receiving once in college, 890 as a senior) or measurables (5-foot-11, 4.51 40-yard-dash.) He does have special teams experience, and should benefit from reuniting with Chip.

Round Four, Pick #101: Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida, Grade: B

Watkins, 4th overall pick Sammy Watkins’ brother, has experience at safety and cornerback. He showed good speed and strength at the combine. Watkins most likely projects as a nickelback, where the Birds appear set with Brandon Boykin.

Round Five, Pick #141: Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon, Grade: C

He started at defensive end and defensive tackle throughout his career in college. He has a large frame (6-foot-6, 281) and was the Ducks’ co-MVP in 2013. He broke his left foot in January and missed the combine.

Round Five, Pick #162: Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford, Grade: B+

Had a great junior season, with six interceptions, and came within a yard of the NCAA record for interception return yardage. This pick makes you question Howie Roseman’s pre-draft comments about a drop-off in the safety position “certainly when you get into Saturday.”

Round Seven, Pick #224: Beau Allen, DT, Wisconsin, Grade: B-

Allen played in 54 games for Wisconsin. He has nice size (6-foot-2, 333) for a nose-tackle.

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