The Second Wave: Potential Day Two Targets for Eagles


May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Phialdelphia Eagles fans Anthony Schouten and George Schouten cheer before the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books and the Eagles are shifting their focus to how they will be using three picks over the next two rounds. Friday night, the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft will take place and, after yesterday’s transaction with Cleveland, the Eagles will be entering the evening with an additional pick than what they started off with. At the start of the 2nd round, the Eagles will have the 54th, 83rd, and 86th overall picks. Regardless of how one thinks of first round pick Marcus Smith, there are plenty of strong prospects remaining in the talent pool. Given the team’s track record over the past few seasons of ‘hitting’ on these mid-round picks, one should place just as much importance over the next couple of rounds as the first.

With the pass-rusher on board in Smith, one has to imagine the Eagles can go in a few different directions to bring in starting-caliber talent to improve the makeup of their team. Many still see defensive secondary as a pressing issue and general manager Howie Roseman himself said the team would be bringing in at least one wide receiver. Beyond that, I would not be surprised with the team adding to the depth on either line and even possibly bringing in some more dynamic talent at the running back position. Below are a handful of names that have been attached to the Eagles over the process and might end up with the team by evening’s end.


The Eagles will draft a receiver Friday night. I would say, given the events of round one, the selection is as close to a formality as one could have with the uncertainty of the draft.  Five wideouts were taken in the first round, but there is still a healthy crop of prospects remaining and the Eagles should find themselves to get a good one with any of their three picks. Players such as Cody Latimer (Indiana), Marqise Lee (USC), and Allen Robinson (Penn State) were considered potential first round targets leading up to the draft. I have a hard time thinking the Eagles will draft Lee after passing on him at 22, but the other two are very much in play.

Jarvis Landry (LSU), Martavis Bryant (Clemson), Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt), Davante Adams (Fresno State), and Donte Montcrief (Ole Miss) are all players who had been slotted as 2nd or 3rd round picks, but more due to the influx of players at their position. Don’t be surprised if Howie Roseman and Company come out of Friday night with two pass-catchers from this impressive class. My personal favorite? Bryant from Clemson.


Had the Eagles not been attached to Tripp for nearly the entire pre-draft process, I probably would not include another linebacker to go along with the one they took in the first round. Philadelphia showed serious interest in the self-proclaimed ‘most versatile linebacker in the draft’ and he would continue to strengthen a position that, until recently, had been neglected by the organization for some time. Tripp’s ability to cover in space is what makes him a potential 2nd day pick, and his support in the run game is nothing short of impressive as well. He might be a fringe 3rd rounder for some, but the Eagles seemed very high on Tripp and it should not shock anyone if he is the second linebacker selected by the Eagles in this draft.


Were it not for the emergence of long, physical cornerbacks such as Richard Sherman, Jean-Baptiste might be considered more of a 5th or 6th round pick. Fortunately for the Nebraska product, there is a flavor of the week in the NFL when it comes to the secondary and he fits the bill to a tee. Jean-Baptiste started to make some noise at the Senior Bowl and after more teams looked at the tape, he steadily started climbing draft boards. His ability to engage receivers and use his length to make up for rather pedestrian speed works with the popular trend with defensive backs these days. He is still a bit raw as a prospect, but could end up being one of the best corners in the draft if he reaches his physical and on-field potential. If he’s not gone by the end of the 2nd round, he’ll most likely be an early 3rd round pick.


If there is ONE player I would want Chip Kelly to break his ‘big player’ obsession with, it’s LaMarcus Joyner. As entertaining as Jameis Winston was winning the Heisman trophy last season, I often came away far more entertained by the play of this electrifying talent. It might be the combination of missing out on HaHa Clinton-Dix and the fact that the Eagles never bring in playmakers at the position, but I would be over-the-moon excited if Joyner was any of their day 2 picks. Much like Brandon Boykin, Joyner has a knack for the ball and tends to gravitate toward impact plays on defense. Even up until the National Championship game, where a crucial Joyner fumble recovery turned the tide for the Seminoles, Joyner was the pulse of a defense loaded with NFL talent despite being the smallest player on the field.


Desir is a much more natural athlete than Jean-Baptiste and does not sacrifice much by the way of athleticism and measurements. He had 25 career interceptions at the Division I-AA school, but has settled in nicely into the ‘day two’ wave of cornerbacks. Desir parlayed much of his momentum heading into the draft through the postseason college all-star games. He played in both the Shrine and Senior Bowls, and went from a little-known small school player to a very intriguing defensive prospect. He possesses long arms and fluid hips and shoulders, all very desirable for the type of defensive prospects the Eagles appear to be targeting.


Urban might be a bit of a surprise if the Eagles took him on day two, but that is more based off the fact that they took Smith with their first round pick. This guy was tailor-made to play along the Eagles defensive line and, for that reason, Philadelphia may value to former Cavalier more than other teams. He demonstrated an exceptional ability to bat down passes at the line and can play up and down the defensive front. Virginia played a similar 3-4/4-3 system to the Eagles and defensive line depth is something the Eagles appear to place a priority on. Another thing possibly working against this selection is the fact that last year’s 7th round pick Joe Kruger appears to be developing into a serviceable, similar player.


An apparent failed drug test days before the draft could end up seeing Jones slip a bit further than one might have initially thought. Another member of a loaded Florida State defense, Jones does not have the same physical deficiencies that might cause hesitancy when it comes to taking Joyner. Instead, Jones is a tantalizing specimen with versatility to boot and a mean streak on the field that, if harnessed, could make him one of the most ferocious defenders in the draft. Another player with long arms (nearly 34″) Jones would be among the largest and longest inside linebackers in the league, but has the athleticism and physicality to play the possession without any shortcomings. If the Eagles can take this player with one of their two 3rd round picks, I would hope they pull the trigger.

We’ll have coverage throughout the night of the picks and some of the initial reactions. My guess? The Eagles keep messing with us and don’t take any of these players.