In his most recent mock draft, Mel Kiper of ESPN had Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin going to the Eagles at 22nd overall. This was Kiper's reasoning:
Analysis: I consider Benjamin a bit of a project, with his route running and consistency in need of development, but I can think of worse ideas than giving Chip Kelly the developmental keys to a player who stands a full 6-5 and at 240 pounds runs like guys 30 pounds lighter. The Eagles have Jeremy Maclin coming off a serious knee injury, and Riley Cooper remains, but minus DeSean Jackson they could use another matchup threat, and where it was speed for Jackson, it's size for Benjamin. Sometimes, there's not much you can do with him.
Benjamin most definitely has great size. However, his workout numbers do not show a player who "runs like guys 30 pounds lighter," as Kiper is suggesting. Here is how Benjamin's NFL Combine performance compares with other WRs who have competed at the Combine since 1999.
As noted, Benjamin's size metrics are outstanding. Everything else, not so much.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah said last week that Benjamin could be a player of interest to the Eagles (via the Inquirer's Zach Berman):
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former Eagles scout, says to keep an eye on Kelvin Benjamin for the Eagles.
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) April 17, 2014
The Eagles had Benjamin in for a visit and reportedly met with him at the Combine. Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur also attended Florida State's pro day. The Eagles have certainly done their homework on him.
Interestingly, one player who has very similar measurables to Benjamin is Eagles TE Zach Ertz. Here is how they compare.
It's also worth mentioning that despite Benjamin's status as a redshirt sophomore, he's only 87 days younger than Ertz.
However, that's where the comparisons stop. In his final season at Stanford, Ertz was 1st in the NCAA among TEs in receptions and yards, and 7th in TDs.
Benjamin was absolutely a potent red zone threat in his last season at FSU, hauling in 15 TDs (3rd in the nation). However, he was 96th among NCAA WRs in receptions and 40th in yards. To be fair, Florida State had a few blowouts, which may have hurt Benjamin's numbers some, but the TDs aside, his overall numbers aren't exactly eye-popping.
If Benjamin were a TE, he'd be extremely intriguing. But he's not. He's a raw WR prospect, and one that is neither fast, nor agile, nor a consistent pass catcher. He's just... big.
Zach Ertz was drafted with the 35th overall pick in a weak draft. As a pass catching TE with room to grow as an in-line blocker, Ertz is a more valuable commodity than a raw WR prospect with size, like Benjamin. While the Ertz pick looks like it may be a steal, if Benjamin were drafted 22nd overall in a loaded draft, that would be disappointing.
In other WR prospect news, LSU WR Odell Beckham will be visiting the Eagles this week. Beckham has excellent hands, very good ability to get yards after the catch, and he's a very dangerous kick/punt returner. If Beckham, Marqise Lee, or Brandin Cooks are available at 22, sign me up.
Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com did a great job updating his list of players the Eagles have shown interest in. Among the players who have visited the NovaCare Complex, here is how it shakes out by position:
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski