As part of the Fansided community, I was asked by Jared Mueller, who is the editor of Factory of Sadness (Fansided’s Cleveland local site), to take part in their mock draft, by selecting who the Philadelphia Eagles will take with the number 22 in May’s NFL draft.
I understand that there are whispers that maybe Chip Kelly could have interest in taking a receiver in the first-round (Kelvin Benjamin has been the most talked about name), but I think Chip has confidence that he can work with just about any personnel that he has. Adding a big receiver across from DeSean Jackson would be great, but how much better would he any other receiver be in the next couple seasons than Riley Cooper already is?
Chip and general manager Howie Roseman understand that the defensive side of the ball still needs a lot of work as they continue the transition to a 3-4 defense. I see them going defensive with the 22nd pick, and unless Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor fall their way, then they will likely be looking to improve the cornerback position.
My first choice of a corner who COULD be available at this point in the draft would have been Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, but he was selected early in this draft. The main problem with mock drafts is that they can’t take in a team’s ability to trade up to select a player that they could be potentially interested in. That said, I’m not sure that the Eagles would trade up to take Dennard, especially considering that they don’t necessarily NEED another cornerback in the first-round, as both Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams are under contract for next season.
My guess is that Dennard doesn’t go as early as number 10 (as he did in this draft), but that he is off the board before the Eagles can select him. That opens up the door for the Eagles to select Bradley Roby, a corner from Ohio State, who had a disappointing senior season, but has the talent to be taken in the top-15. Not trading up, also keeps ammunition to potentially move into the late first-round or early second-round, to take another receiver.
A year after picking fourth in the draft, the Eagles pick at 22, following an extremely successful first-season under Chip Kelly. Besides Kelly’s fast paced offense, lead by LeSean McCoy, first-year defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ defense, can largely be attributed to the Eagles massive turnaround. This defense embodied the “bend-but-don’t-break” philosophy, which was enough to win a weak NFC East, and make a playoff appearance. To go beyond that and become a Superbowl contender, the defense needs to bend even less, and just make stops. First-year Eagles’ Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher were physical corners, who played at a solid level, and were a drastic improvement over Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Still, they aren’t by any means elite corners, which is why I see the Eagles selecting Bradley Roby of Ohio State, to hopefully be a long-term shutdown corner. That is assuming guys like Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert are off the board at this point (which they are in this mock-draft) and they Eagles don’t fall in love with another corner like LaMarcus Joyner. Expect the Eagles to go defensive with their first pick, but don’t be surprised if general manger Howie Roseman trades into the back-half of the first-round to select a physical receiver like Allen Robinson to compliment DeSean Jackson.
Check out Factory of Sadness’ full mock draft here, and stay tuned to Section 215 for more Philadelphia Eagles’ mock drafts and NFL draft coverage.