The first three rounds of this year's NFL Draft are in the books with four more left to go this Saturday afternoon. Even though the Eagles only had one scheduled pick in each round heading into Thursday night's first round, general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly kept fans on the edge of their seats by trading down to add picks only to trade them away again as the draft wore on. The end result was the addition of three new players and an extra pick in Saturday's fourth round. The following is a brief look at the newest additions to the team.
1st Round (26)- OLB Marcus Smith, Louisville
When Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks came off the board at No. 20 of the first round to New Orleans the Eagles decided to move down the board from 22 to 26 through a trade with Cleveland. This added some additional leverage with another second round pick. The Eagles went on the clock at 26 and they selected outside linebacker Marcus Smith from Louisville. While this pick is already being called a "head scratcher" by many, I am beginning to see a method to the madness of both Roseman and Kelly's approach to the college draft.
Since they did not see the value in any of the wide receivers and or defensive backs that were available with their first pick, the Eagles decided to fill a specific need on a defense that still has some major holes to fill. Smith proved to be a very versatile player with the Cardinals the past few seasons and at 6-foot-3 and 25l lbs. his specialty became rushing the passer. Philadelphia already have Trent Cole and Connor Barwin at the outside linebacker position so defensive coordinator Billy Davis will most likely use Smith in some sort of rotation or special package situations. It seems like a first round pick is a high price to pay for a part-time player, but if Smith can bolster a pass rush that put tremendous pressure on an already sub-par defensive secondary, his addition could actually end up being better than adding a top-flight cornerback with this selection.
2nd Round (42)- WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
It was no big secret that the Eagles needed to add a wide receiver to the roster after the sudden departure of DeSean Jackson, but many people (including myself) thought it would be USC's Marqise Lee, who was still on the board when the Eagles were on the clock in the first round. They decided to trade up with Tennessee in the second round with the selection of Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews. The main reason I like this pick is Matthews' size (6-foot-3, 212 lbs). The Eagles have been lacking a big target downfield with the exception of their tight ends, so this gives them another weapon over the middle and in the red zone. The main knock on Matthews is a lack of explosive speed, but he there is little doubt in his ability to contribute from Day 1 at the next level.
3rd Round (86)- WR Josh Huff, Oregon
Kelly has already shown his affinity for players from the Pac-12 simply because of his recent experience coaching in this conference, but he really hit home with the selection of wide receiver Josh Huff form his old team. This pick should finally firm up the Eagles' receiver corps with another reliable target. At 5-foot-11, 206 lbs, he has the size and proven ability to catch the ball in traffic. He has also excelled in yards after the catch and he is a solid blocker on running plays. Huff has average speed and will need to develop better rout running skills, but he should prove to be an excellent addition as a possession receiver when the Eagles need to move the chains on third down.