Next up on the list of NFL teams in our WVU Pros mock selections is the Philadelphia Eagles. Home to Najee Goode, the Eagles have made some changes in personnel and let go some familiar faces. But in this year’s NFL Draft, will Goode and the defense get a boost?
Goode found a home last season in Philly, getting some added playing time due to injuries at the linebacker position. Goode came over prior to the regular season after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason. The move worked for him, picking up 21 tackles and scooping up a fumble for a touchdown.
But overall, the defense of the Eagles has been struggling in recent years. They’ll likely look for some help in that department. But where?
The Eagles have a pair of six-year veterans at the corner back position in Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. But a young gun like Gilbert would do nothing but help a secondary which was dead last in the league in passing yards allowed, giving teams 289.8 passing yards per game.
The popular pick at No. 22 is a wide receiver after the departure of DeSean Jackson but the Eagles return Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper at receiver and this year’s draft is deep enough to find a third wheel.
What Gilbert provides is an NFL-ready frame at 6-feet and 202 pounds. Gilbert is a game-changer. He wreaks havoc in the secondary and can create turnovers easily, as he proved at OK State, picking off seven passes and returning two for touchdowns last season in the pass-happy Big 12 to go along with 42 tackles.
Last season the Eagles had 19 interceptions, a testament to what Chip Kelly wants his defense to do. Brandon Boykin led the way with six playing primarily in the nickel position. If Gilbert comes to the Eagles, he could see some time there but, with elite speed, Gilbert will likely take on a role on the outside, likely getting the task of covering Jackson twice a season.
According to NJ.com, draft analyst Todd McShay had this to say about Gilbert going to the Eagles:
Gilbert is a good value at this spot who also fills a need. He is not very physical but has an excellent combination of size and speed to go with very good ball skills and playmaking ability.
Gilbert can also help the Eagles in the return game, a threat they once possessed with Jackson. Gilbert had six kick returns for touchdowns over his term at Oklahoma State.