Philadelphia Eagles: Marqise Lee

Eagles stuck to board, avoided temptations

May, 9, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA – Time will tell whether the Philadelphia Eagles made the right choice in selecting Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith with the No. 26 overall pick in the NFL draft.

It’s also natural to wonder if they passed on other quality players.

Manziel
Lee
The Eagles originally held the No. 22 overall pick, but traded down with the Cleveland Browns.

And the Browns took Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Was Manziel a consideration for the Eagles?

“We're always going to go by our board,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “I love him, I think he's a dynamic quarterback. I think we have a very, very good quarterback situation, not only with Nick (Foles), but you add Mark Sanchez in, Matt Barkley, we think quarterback is a strength for us right now. We felt like the pass-rusher who we had rated higher was the guy we were going to take.”

The Eagles have a major need at wide receiver since they recently released three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant. Deciding to pass on USC wide receiver Marqise Lee had to be difficult.

“Yeah, I think Marqise is an outstanding player,” Kelly said. “I wouldn't be surprised if by the time I get back upstairs he's not there. But I think we spend so much time on ordering it, so that when you get into the situation like 'where do we go,' it's a simple thing. We've had them all rated for a long time, and our board is our board. When you get in there you don't turn around and go 'oh, I kind of like him.' Well, we've had since last year to stack the board the right way.

“If we liked him, that should have been a discussion a while ago. So we were going to follow up. That's what you do rationally. You can't let emotion get into it. I think Marqise is a special kid. I tried to recruit him coming out of high school, and [he] had a tremendous career at USC. But for us, we think Marcus was the right pick.”

Marqise Lee has attention of Eagles

April, 11, 2014
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Todd McShay’s latest mock draft on ESPN.com has the Philadelphia Eagles drafting USC wide receiver Marqise Lee with the No. 22 overall pick.

It sure looks like a distinct possibility.

Lee visited the Eagles this week for a third time at different venues, according to a report on FoxSports.com.

Lee registered 248 receptions for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns in a stellar three-year career at USC.

After releasing DeSean Jackson, the Eagles have met with a litany of wide receivers in advance of the NFL draft.

Lee put up huge numbers with the Trojans despite a coaching change and a shuffle at quarterback. Through it all, Lee continued to produce even if his numbers dipped as a junior.

Lee recently performed at USC’s pro day in front of a number of NFL coaches.

“The main thing I really tried to focus on was my position drills,” Lee told the L.A. Times. “Getting in and out of breaks, catching the ball no matter where it’s at — just showing them that I still got that in me.”

If the Eagles pick Lee, he would likely be third on the depth chart at wide receiver behind Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly coached against Lee while at the University of Oregon. It might help explain why Kelly has met with Lee three times as the draft inches closer.

“Lee may be the best receiver I've had the opportunity to coach against,” Kelly recently told reporters. “He's impressive on film, but even more impressive [in person].”

Combine prep: Wide receivers

February, 21, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA -- It is the position with the highest diva-per-capita ratio in football. That makes it tougher for the Eagles to shop for wide receivers, general manager Howie Roseman said.

“Being able to block -- obviously, we run the ball in Philadelphia,” Roseman said. “When you look at that, it’s an inherent toughness and willingness to do those little things that help. A lot of these guys in college, because they get the ball so much, they’re big-time guys, they’re not asked to do the dirty work. They’re asked to do the things that are fun. … For us, the receiver position in Philadelphia is going to be a well-rounded guy.”

There is plenty of tape of wide receivers running deep routes and making great catches, Roseman said. The combine gives the Eagles' decision-makers a chance to figure out which players are willing to do the “dirty work” that make Chip Kelly’s offense tough to defend.

Here are a few receivers the Eagles will likely focus on. A complete list is impossible, since Roseman said the position is so deep this year, there could be a receiver the Eagles like in every round. And since they are likely to be gone before the Eagles’ 22nd pick, we’re leaving Mike Evans of Texas A&M and Sammy Watkins of Clemson off this list.

Marqise Lee, USC. Some well-respected analysts, including ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Mayock of NFL Network, have the 6-foot, 195-pound Lee rated ahead of Evans. Lee has excellent speed and very good hands. He’s also a kick returner, which could appeal to the Eagles.

Lee caught 57 passes in 2013. The year before, with a quarterback named Matt Barkley, Lee caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. Against Kelly’s Oregon Ducks that year, Lee caught 12 balls for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

Odell Beckham Jr., LSU. In his second first-round mock draft, Kiper had Beckham going to the Eagles at No. 22. At 5-foot-11, 208 pounds, Beckham has good speed and is also a potential return man.

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State. It’s hard not to be intrigued by the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Benjamin, who was a sophomore in 2013. His perceived flaws -- less-than-elite speed, inconsistency in route running and occasional drops -- are mostly fixable with coaching.

His upside? As Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com puts it: “A monster-sized, intimidating, big-play receiver, Benjamin has the overall strength, length and wide catching radius that will demand extra coverage be rolled his way.”

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State. Another guy who will be familiar to Kelly, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Cooks put up remarkable numbers as a junior in 2013: 128 catches, 1,730 yards, 16 touchdowns. The Eagles would probably like a little more size -- they already have the diminutive DeSean Jackson -- but it’s hard to argue with that kind of production.

Other names to watch: Jarvis Landry, LSU; Davante Adams, Fresno State; Josh Huff, Oregon; Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Allen Robinson, Penn State.

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