Draft Day is upon us and the long wait is almost over. The Eagles sit at pick No. 22, and have several options as the pick nears.
Chip Kelly gets to make his mark on the draft with this first pick that could go to the best available player, a defensive need or to fill the void of DeSean Jackson's release.
Here are some options across the board that could be targets for the Eagles as the time to select approaches.
The Eagles still have a need at safety despite drafting Earl Wolff last season and signing Malcolm Jenkins earlier this offseason. That said, two viable safety options sit in the first round, one very likely to fall to 22.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6'1", 208 lbs, Alabama) - The only way the Eagles get Clinton-Dix is if he somehow slips to 22 or if they trade up for him. By chance, Clinton-Dix has said he wants the Eagles to "come get him." But are the Eagles willing to trade the 22nd pick and possibly their second-rounder for a first-round safety? Probably not, especially after making even a small upgrade in Jenkins. Despite that, Clinton-Dix is the best safety on the board, and if he wants to be an Eagle, it's worth looking into the possibility of making that happen.
Calvin Pryor (5'11", 207 lbs, Louisville) – Pryor seemed like the prime Eagles target, especially at 22. But his stock seems to have slipped in recent weeks. While he is still projected by some as a top-15 pick, he also seems to be in the shadow of Clinton-Dix. While he has potential at the safety position, there may be fear that he could be a draft bust. The added team needs for the Eagles also may force them to stray from the safety pick and go elsewhere.
Jimmie Ward (5'11", 193 lbs, Northern Illinois) – A projected low first-round pick, Ward could be the Eagles final option if both Clinton-Dix and Pryor are off the board at 22. They could also be hopeful that Ward slips to the second round but that would require a lot of work on their part to make sure they grabbed him early second round. Listed as a safety, some have his size compared to a cornerback, which may scare teams away. There is also some question on his ability to read receiver routes, which could be a problem for the Eagles secondary.
It is obvious that the Eagles need a wide receiver in the early rounds to fill the void of DeSean Jackson. That selection will depend on what is available and how desparate the Eagles feel they are. This is a Draft populated with wide receivers, so it may not be in the immediately plans for the Eagles, but that remains to be seen.
Odell Beckham Jr. (5'11", 198 lbs, LSU) – The wide receiver has been all the talk in Philadelphia after being linked to a report that the Eagles were willing to trade up to select him. He was excellent at creating separtion, but still had his struggles that would be rookie mistakes in the NFL. He also is not considered to be an impactful returner for the special teams, another area the Eagles may look to address with a wide receiver. His size at 5'11" may also be an issue, as the Eagles could really use a receiver with size.
Marqise Lee (6'0", 192 lbs, USC) – Lee could fall right to the Eagles at 22. Without a trade to move up, the top wide receivers in Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins and even Beckham will be off the board. So this could be the best wide receiver on the board at 22. And there is a lot to like. He is a solid deep threat, filling what is lost with Jackson. While his catching ability is great, his strenth and size is a question mark and he has an injury history that could be a turn off to many teams.
Jordan Matthews (6'3", 212 lbs, Vanderbilt) – Matthews has the size the Eagles are looking for in a wide receiver. There isn't much to dislike in Matthews, but he isn't a first-round projection. In other words, he'll definitely be there at 22, but even that might be too high for him. The Eagles should hold out on Matthews being one of the many wide receivers available in the second round.
Kelvin Benjamin (6'5", 240lbs, Florida St.) – Again, the size is very noticeable and that appeals to the Eagles. But this was another high-end prospect that slipped in mock drafts across the board. Originally projected to be the Eagles first-round target – in the 15-25 range – he isn't even making some first-round mocks anymore. Size is great, but his speed is not and he could have a problem fighting for the ball at the NFL level. Again, hold out for the second round on his. At that spot, the Eagles would be getting a steal.
Cody Latimer (6'2", 215 lbs, Indiana) – The Eagles did a lot of extended scouting on Latimer and for where they are looking to take him, it would be an excellent move. The Eagles are not using their first pick on a receiver like Latimer, but in the second round, he could be the perfect pick for the Eagles. Good size, good hands and he's a good two-way player. His speed is a minor issue, but for a high-to-mid round projection, he could be the perfect guy for the Eagles.
Allen Robinson (6'2", 220 lbs, Penn State) – It could be a homecoming for Allen Robinson. The Penn State product could be what the Eagles need at the receiver position. He has average speed but very good size and breaks from the line well. He also has great elevation vertically that can help him make catches above the secondary. As a second-to-third round projection, he'll be a solid Day 2 pick for the Eagles if they want him.
With safety being a limited position, especially in the first round, the Eagles may address another part of the secondary with the first round pick. Several cornerbacks are available in the first round and right where the Eagles will need them.
Kyle Fuller (6'0", 190 lbs, Virginia Tech) – One of the highest rising players in Draft stock, Fuller has shown up on the Eagles radar as a potential cornerback pick. In some mocks, he is the best cornerback on the board and he could fall to the Eagles at 22. He reacts to the ball well and can intercept a few passes throughout the season. But his tackling ability and strength is a problem so that could turn a few teams away.
Bradley Roby (5'11", 194 lbs, Ohio St.) – If cornerback is the position to target, the Eagles may have to look at Roby as the lower first-round option. He has good size and speed and plays a physical game, especially when tackling, but he has trouble containing receivers. His recovery ability is good but he can often times get pushed around by bigger and taller receivers.
Jason Verrett (5'9", 189 lbs, TCU) – A late first-round, early second-round projection, Verrett could be a mid-round, Day 2 option for the Eagles if they want to address the cornerback position. He possesses good ball skills, is quick and athletic. But his durability is a concern and struggles with tackling at times.
In the event that the Eagles don't go with one of the three above positions, there are a couple of other players projected in the first round that could be prime targets if they are available in the best-available scenario.
Anthony Barr (6'5", 255 lbs, OLB, UCLA) – The chances that Barr is on the board at 22 are slim to none. But in the event that he slipped to 22, the Eagles would be foolish to let him slip further. He's a top-10 player in this Draft and likely the best linebacker on the board. Keep an eye on him if he slips out of the top 10.
Dee Ford (6'2", 252 lbs, DE, Auburn) – A top-50 player projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, Ford is one of the top defensive lineman available in the Draft. He provides good pressure on the quarterback and is very athletic. His size is a concern and he struggles with blockers. Health has also been a problem throughout his college career.
C.J. Mosely (6'2", 234 lbs, ILB, Alabama) – Another top prospect projected to go high in the Draft, Mosley is another steal for the Eagles if he's on the board at 22. The Eagles could use a player that knows how to accelerate quickly and apply pressure to the quarterback while being a physical presence over the middle. Mosely is the total package in that regard. The only negatives to his game are an injury history and an understanding of when to tone down his hard-hitting side. His coverage in man-to-man situations is also questionable at this point.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.