Philadelphia Eagles draft preview: What will Kelly do next?
The Philadelphia Eagles hold the No. 20 overall pick in the NFL Draft. In our 32-team preview series, FOXSports.com takes a look at their roster post-free agency and delivers a plan of attack for the last day in April.
Philadelphia started the offseason with a big structural change as the Eagles gave head coach Chip Kelly full control of the player personnel department.
Months later, Kelly would trade running back LeSean McCoy, be outbid for longtime wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, spend a fortune on cornerback Byron Maxwell and lure a two-headed monster in running bacls DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to town. Oh, and how could we forget? Kelly also traded quarterback Nick Foles to St. Louis for Sam Bradford, who is coming off his second torn ACL.
Things are wildly unpredictable and with the frenetic pace Kelly makes such transactions, many people are on the edges of their seats regarding what the mastermind will do on draft day.
Rumors have circulated that Kelly ultimately has his eye on Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Common sense dictates the Eagles will look to further build in the secondary after signing Maxwell and nickel cornerback Walter Thurmond III. Adding another dynamic pass rusher aside from Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham would help, too, since last year’s first-round pick Marcus Smith barely logged any snaps on the field.
Addressing the wide receiver position could also be an option. While second-year standout Jordan Matthews had great production last season, Riley Cooper is one of the least effective starting options in the league. Josh Huff — sidelined for half of the season with a shoulder injury — has potential but hasn’t shown he can consistently produce at this level. Despite signing Miles Austin and Seyi Ajirotutu in free agency, expect the Eagles to find a long-term solution in the draft.
Positions of need: CB, WR, OLB
Three options to consider at No. 20
Byron Jones, CB: Kelly passed on attending Florida State’s Pro Day to see Jones’ workout in Connecticut. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback is arguably the best athlete at the cornerback position and had a decorated career playing with the Huskies. Jones has a wealth of experience, starting every game of his career until a shoulder injury sidelined him during his senior season.
Jaelen Strong, WR: Strong, who played at Arizona State, is considered to be in the second-tier of wide receivers in this draft class, but the 6-foot-2, 217-pound wide receiver possesses some rare ability. Strong’s basketball background allows him to control his body and go up and get the ball amidst traffic.
Breshad Perriman, WR: Perriman has steadily been climbing up the draft boards since running a blazing sub-4.3 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. Perriman, a big-bodied wide receiver from UCF, reportedly visited with the Eagles earlier this month.