Eagles Notes: Birds see lots to like in draft at receiver

Posted: February 22, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - Longtime Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert called this year's draft the deepest he has ever seen, and while Eagles GM Howie Roseman stopped short of agreeing with his colleague, he said he did see the wide receiver class as "unique."

"When you look at this class and you compare it to classes the last few years, I think we'll be sitting there in every round and there's going to be a receiver we like," Roseman said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine.

Could that mean the Eagles will be sitting at the No. 22 spot in the first round with a receiver they like enough to take? While Clemson's Sammy Watkins is expected to go in the top 10, big receivers such as Mike Evans (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 235) could still be on the board for the Birds in May's draft.

Southern Cal's Marqise Lee (6-0, 195) is smaller but no less talented, according to many scouts.

The Eagles first have decisions to make on free-agent wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, but Roseman said the draft will have little to do with filling needs as the team sticks to drafting the best available players with each pick.

The offensive line, particularly at tackle, is also considered a position of strength in the draft.

"There are certain position groups that are extremely strong, probably stronger than we've seen probably in the last decade," Roseman said. "And then I think there's other positions where you look at it and you feel like basically it's in line with the talent level of the last couple of years. It's all based on the guys you pick."

Roseman on Banner. The Eagles initially had no comment after the Browns announced last week that Joe Banner would step down as CEO, but Roseman responded when asked if he had any reaction to the former Eagles president's unceremonious end in Cleveland.

"You wish the best for him and his family," Roseman said. He was "a person that we had success with for a long time. An extremely smart guy, and we have no doubt based on his track record that he's going to continue to land on his feet. Talented guy."

Banner hired Roseman as an intern around 14 years ago and was one of his mentors as he rose through the ranks with the Eagles. Roseman was named GM in 2010, but after two seasons owner Jeffrey Lurie decided that he wanted to streamline the front-office operation, and Banner stepped down in June 2012.

Banner was hired by Jimmy Haslam in October of that year, but after almost 16 months, the Browns owner announced that Banner would be phased out of the operation by May.

Roseman had no comment when asked if the Eagles would consider bringing Banner back to the Eagles in some capacity.

Kicker competition. The Eagles' search for competition is expected to include kicker. Alex Henery was uncontested for a roster spot last spring and summer, and he followed with his worst season in three years in Philadelphia. Henery made only 82.1 percent of his field-goal attempts, and also missed one of two kicks in the postseason.

"If there's an opportunity to get a guy with the right price and the right value and could add competition, we would do it at any time," Roseman said.

The Eagles could also bring in a rookie kicker. One of the top kickers in this class is Texas' Anthony Fera, who was born in Philadelphia and started his college career at Penn State before transferring after the NCAA levied sanctions against the Nittany Lions.

High on Logan. When Roseman was asked if the Eagles need to get bigger at nose tackle, he used the opportunity to tout Bennie Logan. The 2013 third-round pick started the final eight games last season at nose tackle even though his listed size of 6-2 and 309 pounds is not the prototype for the position.

"He has a frame that can easily withstand 320 pounds," Roseman said. "He's got 34-inch arms. He has really big hands. His wingspan is actually six inches bigger than his height."

Roseman said those measurements help offset the smaller size. He added that Logan is strong and athletic and has a bright future in Philadelphia.

Boykin to slot. It doesn't sound as if the Eagles will move Brandon Boykin to outside cornerback after he thrived as the nickel cornerback in 2013. Boykin is one of the team's top young players, although he played only 51 percent of the snaps.

If he played on the outside, Boykin could play almost every defensive snap. Roseman said most teams play three-receiver sets about 60 percent of the time, and that's the amount that Boykin would typically play.

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