Eagles Draft 2014: Finding the Best OLB and WR Combination in Rounds 1 - 4 | Eagles Addict
Brandin Cooks

Brandin Cooks to the Eagles? Photo: Amanda Cowan/Corvallis Gazette-Times

When it comes to the 2014 NFL Draft, I see the words “Brandin Cooks” and “Eagles” in the same sentence so often it’s nauseating!  If I didn’t know better, I’d think I could walk into the Eagles’ Pro Shop and buy his jersey already.

Between Cooks, Marqise Lee and a few other Wide Receivers, it seems everyone thinks it’s a given that the Eagles will draft that position in Round 1.

The reasoning is simple:

They released DeSean Jackson, only have ACL-challenged Jeremy Maclin signed for one year and don’t have much proven depth at the position.  They have also shown a ton of pre-draft interest in various receivers with most being considered first round prospects.

I get all that, I just don’t agree with the notion of spending a first round pick on any Wide Receiver prospect in this draft sans Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins.  Not that I don’t think other receivers are worth it, I just don’t see them being worth it for the Eagles.

Outside Linebacker is easily the Eagles’ biggest need, but unfortunately this draft is not too deep at that position.  Clowney and Mack are the Evans and Watkins’ of the pass rushing group.  They are the premier players at their position just as Evans and Watkins are of theirs.

However, the drop-off in prospects is faster and further at DE/OLB than it is at WR.  Therefore, logic would dictate two lines of thought…

One is that the Eagles should grab a pass rusher as soon as they can because it’s their biggest need and there aren’t as many good ones available.

The other is that they shouldn’t reach for need and take a better prospect at a different position and hope to get lucky with an OLB prospect later in the draft.

That’s why I decided to look at what OLBs and what WRs the Eagles could have to choose from each time they’re on the clock in Rounds 1 through 4.  Hopefully you can follow my train of thought here…

I’m going to assume that the Eagles will be selecting a WR and OLB within the first four rounds of this draft.  Almost seems like it should be a given at this point, right?

What I’m attempting to do is give my best estimation of which prospects have the most realistic chance of being available to the Eagles at their current slot in each round.  This is based mostly on multiple draft prospect rankings, mock drafts, and research into various draftniks’ opinions on players and where they might go in the draft.

Then, see what would seem like the better combination based on each player’s talent and potential.  In other words, would the pass rusher they get in Round 1 and WR in Round 3 be a better combination than the WR they get in Round 1 and OLB in Round 3 (or any other variations of combinations)?

Hopefully you’re picking up what I’m laying down.  If not, maybe you’ll catch on as we go…

First, let’s identify what receivers and pass rushers have the best chance of being there for the Eagles in each respective round between 1st and 4th…

Round 1:

WR: Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Cody Latimer, Kelvin Benjamin

OLB/DE: Kony Ealy, Dee Ford. Jeremiah Attaochu, Kyle Van Noy

Round 2:

WR: Allen Robinson, Martavis Bryant, Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief

OLB/DE: Trent Murphy, Marcus Smith, Trevor Reilly

Round 3:

WR: Jared Abbrederis, Jarvis Landry

OLB/DE: Will Clarke

Round 4:

WR: Kevin Norwood, Brandon Coleman, Jeff Janis, Josh Huff

OLB/DE: Christian Kirksey, Ronald Powell

*Note: I listed players in particular rounds as being available in that round because I don’t think they’ll be there at the Eagles’ pick in the following round.  I also only listed players that either the Eagles have shown interest in or who I could see them having interest in.

Also, I don’t honestly believe all the receivers I have listed for Round 2 will be there, but I see them as all ranked pretty close to one another and at least one or two should be there.

So, based on the above, what combination do you see as the best?

Cooks in Round 1 and Smith in Round 2?  Ealy in Round 1 and Robinson in Round 2?  Maybe Lee/Clarke?  Attaochu/Coleman?  Smith/Norwood?

My biggest problem is that I’m not really thrilled with taking any of those players in Round 1.  Of those receivers, I’d prefer Latimer.  Of those OLBs, I’d prefer Van Noy.  However, neither of those guys is worth the 22nd pick.

My best combo would be Smith in the second and Coleman or Janis in the fourth.  After that would be Robinson in the second and Clarke in the third.  However, would any of those OLBs in any round be considered an “impact player?”

Are you sold on Attaochu, Ford, Ealy, Smith, Van Noy or Clarke?  Ealy seems more of a 4-3 DE prospect, Attaochu and Ford seem like one-trick ponies (speed rushers), Van Noy is a jack-of-all-trades master of none and Clarke could be a project.

We need impact at the OLB position and someone who can be a cornerstone for years to come.  Unfortunately, they just don’t grow on trees so we have to take what we can get.

All of this leads me to believe, or at least think, that the Eagles will seriously look to trade back or take another position altogether in Round 1.  Or, they could look to trade up in order to get quality over quantity if there is a player they truly covet.

At pick 22, there isn’t a receiver I’ll be happy with nor a pass rusher I’ll be happy with.  Unless someone unexpectedly drops, the value just isn’t there at either position when considering the Eagles’ needs and talent level of the prospects that should be available.


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9 Responses to Eagles Draft 2014: Finding the Best OLB and WR Combination in Rounds 1 – 4

  1. Rod says:

    It’s pretty even but I still think WR is the biggest need due to the great unknown about how Maclin will be coming off an ACL. Both positions have questionable depth but at least we have 2 healthy and productive starters at OLB. An OLB from the draft would be a guy being groomed to replace Cole and mostly a rotational/depth guy as a rookie. I think Cooks could be productive right away as a slot WR and return guy and give us that speed threat that we lack right now. I’d be very happy if we took him in the 1st but I think it’s 50/50 if he’s on the board. The only OLB I’d take ahead of him would be Barr if he slips to 22. I like Trent Murphy in the 2nd and would be OK with Smith. Norwood and Abbrederis could be steals at the WR position on day 2. I like Attouchu in the 2nd, not the 1st.

    • Hey Rod, I just can’t get on board with Cooks, Lee, or Beckham in the first. I *might* be okay with Benjamin but he is hard to project to the NFL. Benjamin’s size is very intriguing and if he can translate into a Plaxico Burress type of guy (without the gun shot!) he’d be worth the pick. But, he’s a gamble that I’m not sure I’m willing to take.

      If we stay at 22, I have to think we’re drafting another position. Maybe a CB (Kyle Fuller), a Safety (Bucannon) or even a OL (Zack Martin). Otherwise, I see a trade back or up.

  2. robert jackson says:

    2nd round- smith-olb
    3rd round- landry- wr

    I think smith has great upside and landry will be a STEAL!
    1st round-fuller-cb
    4th round-steen-og
    5th round-coleman-dt/de
    7th round-jones-wr- san jose st.

  3. headliner says:

    Dude, you have been killing it lately!!! I have to admit that this is the most compelling argument to trading down I’ve heard to date. You just made me that much sicker for next Thursday. Good job.

    • Thanks Headliner, I appreciate that! And I’m with you, I can’t wait until next Thursday to see what actually happens!

  4. tval says:

    Very cool! Thanks for making the time until the draft less pain full..I like cooks some too…very small though for what kelly seems to want..I do think kelvin is worth a 1, on potential alone…and he wont be a bust..if utilized incorrectly he may not be an immediate impact guy…shazier I actually like, rare buckeye true talent..he may play beastly outside for us..I think hes versatile and physical, good worker and guy too..just saw him at vet clinic..:)..

    • Hey tval, I’m really intrigued by Benjamin’s size and potential, but I still see him as a gamble in Round 1. I’ll trust Kelly on that one if he chooses to take him or bypass him. I agree with you on Shazier, but I don’t see him a a target for us unless they planned to move him inside…and in that case I’d be ok with that!

      Huff…former Chip player at Oregon.

  5. tval says:

    Painful…is josh huff wake? If so, real good player

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