On PhillyDailyNews.com: Rate the Eagles' draft and pick who you think will be in the starting lineup come Week 1.
As I do every year, I sought out an NFL player personnel executive and asked him for his thoughts on the Eagles’ draft. He was largely complimentary of the first Howie Roseman-Chip Kelly collaboration. His opinions of their eight selections:
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: “It’s hard to find fault with this pick. We had him as the third guy on our board. He’s a really good athlete. He’s only played the position for a couple of years, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he plays or by his knowledge. We had him in for a visit and he was very impressive. Really smart. They can plug him in at right tackle now, and when (Jason) Peters eventually leaves, he can move over and replace him and they won’t miss a beat.
“He manhandled most of the people he went up against at Oklahoma. The one reservation I have is that, at Oklahoma, you’re never in a third-and-13 situation. They got the ball out fast and played fast. It’s hard to analyze his pass-protection in situations where you need three seconds to throw the ball because they were rarely in those kinds of situations. It’s going to be a bit different facing the likes of Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Pierre-Paul. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles some of those guys. But you can say the same thing about (Eric) Fisher and (Luke) Joeckel.’’
Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: “He’s a very good receiving tight end. He and (Tyler) Eifert were the two best receiving tight ends in the draft. He needs to improve as a blocker, but he wasn’t terrible at Stanford. Two years ago, when (Andrew) Luck was there, Coby Fleener was the guy they threw the ball downfield to, and Ertz was the blocker. He was a good point-of-attack blocker.
“I was a little surprised they took him only because it wasn’t a big need. But (Brent) Celek’s getting older and everybody in the league is going to two tight ends. The flexibility that they have with him and Celek and (James) Casey, being able to move them around, being able to send them down the seams, I think it gives them a lot of versatility. It’s going to be interesting to see how Kelly uses all of them.’’
Bennie Logan, DT, LSU: “I was down there for LSU’s Pro Day. Bennie was by far the leader of that defensive group. He had to push (Sam) Montgomery through the workout. You maybe expect a little more out of his play at times, but they had so many guys there. But he’s got the right attitude.
“He’s not real tall, but he’s a good athlete who can move around. He’s pretty versatile. He can play the 1-technique. I wouldn’t count him out as a 3 either. And he can play the 5-technique (end in a 3-4). He can be a productive rotational player for them right away.’’
Matt Barkley, QB, USC: “I understand why they took him. He’s a second-round talent that they got in the fourth round. But I have my doubts as to whether he’’ll ever be a productive player in this league.
“He doesn’t have a very strong arm, which is why he slid to 98. Can he make all of the throws? More or less. He doesn’t have a noodle arm. It’s not as bad as Chad Pennington’s was. But when you have a guy who has to throw the ball with such timing and anticipation, you can’t always do that. You’re not always going to have a clean pocket and be able to step into your throws. You’re going to have to throw the ball off-balance and off your back foot and all that kind of stuff. That’s where Matt really struggles.
“When he’s on the field, their offense is going to be restricted somewhat. Chip will play to his strengths and have him throw a lot of short and intermediate stuff. But NFL defenses are going to squeeze the field on a guy like that.’’
Earl Wolff, S, North Carolina St.: “This was a good pickup. Wolf has good size and speed. He was a boundary safety at NC State. He’s got good hands. He can play up in the box or be a centerfield safety. He’s a good wrap-up tackler, which is something the Eagles have been lacking in their secondary.
“He’s a tough guy who can come in and be their third safety and make a contribution on (special) teams. Eventually, I think he can be a starter, which is something you can’t say about a lot of fifth-round picks.
“More and more teams are using three safeties down in the red zone to counter the mobile tight ends. That’s what the Giants have been doing the last few years, and I could see (defensive coordinator) Billy (Davis) using Wolff in that role. With three safeties, you have one guy at the line of scrimmage who handles the run, another guy who sort of has the tight end, and another guy in the middle of the field.’’
Joe Kruger, DE, Utah: “I’m not sure what this guy was thinking coming out early. If he had stayed in school one more year, he might’ve had a shot at being a Day 2 (second or third round) pick next year. But that’s water under the bridge. Hard to argue with taking him in the seventh round. He’s got good length. Has long arms. I’m not seeing him as an outside linebacker, so he’s going to have to put some weight on to be a 5 (technique). But he’s got the frame to do that. Needs to get a lot stronger too. He’s got good bloodlines, but so does (Casey) Matthews and that hasn’t meant much. If I had to guess, (he’ll end up on the) practice squad.’’
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State: “This is a helluva value pick here. We had him as a late-five. Some teams I talked to had him higher than that. Speed was the obvious concern. Ran a 4.65. But he plays faster than that. Tight in the hips and doesn’t have great recovery speed. But he’s got really good hand-eye coordination. Had seven interceptions as a nickel last year, which is where he’s going to play at this level. Eventually, I could see him being moved to safety. He’s going to help them right away on special teams. He was a gunner on their punt coverage unit and also can return kicks. He needs to get a little stronger. He only did the 225-bench eight times. I know he’s a corner, but that’s still pretty bad.’’
David King, DE, Oklahoma: “He was a good player at Oklahoma. Played at a high level there. He’s not a star by any means. But he can be a rotational player in this league. He’s got good natural strength and long arms. He’s an athletic five-technique (d-end) with 4.6 speed. Even with the speed, he won’t give you much as a pass-rusher. But he’s strong at the point of attack against the run.’’