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Mayock: Eagles need to forget receiver, go defense at No. 22

After listening to everybody doubt he could succeed in the NFL, Chip Kelly was smirking all the way to playoffs last year.

While Kelly certainly found wins early on in his career at the professional level, what comes next will be just as difficult for him: sustaining success.

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That starts with the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. The Eagles don't have a ton of picks in such a deep draft, but they do have options to improve as a football team. Several pundits have been talking about the team going for a wide receiver in the first round to replace DeSean Jackson, but that could be a tough sell with so much talent in later rounds.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah makes it clear that Philadelphia should go defense early in the draft and knows exactly who they should target at No. 22 overall.

"If one of (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor) is there, they'll probably turn in the card," Jeremiah said on "Path to the Draft." "They have a lot of bodies in the secondary, but they don't have elite players in the secondary. I think these two safeties classify."

It remains to be seen if either Clinton-Dix or Pryor will even be around by the time the Eagles are on the clock. Recent NFL.com mock drafts have both players going to teams in the 13 to 21 range in the first round, so it would take a bit of maneuvering for Kelly to be in position to grab either one.

That puts the team in a tough position with not a ton of ammunition to make a move.

"If they're going to move up aggressively from 22 to 14 or 15, it's going to cost them more than they want, which could include next year's number one," analyst Mike Mayock added. "Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be long gone, trust me. I was at his pro day, and there were some defensive back coaches that would give anything to have him. Pryor could be there. If he's there, he could very well be the pick."

The hard-hitting Pryor would be a nice upgrade to a secondary that has to deal with a number of big-time passing offenses in the NFC East. Cornerback is another area of need that could be an option, with Ohio State's Bradley Roby and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller being alternative targets.

"I happen to think Fuller is the second-best corner in the country," Mayock said. "If he's there, sprint up (to hand the card in). He can play outside, inside, special teams. He tackles, he's tough, and I think you know what you're getting with that kid.

"Forget wide receiver and the whole DeSean Jackson thing," Mayock said. "Whoever is the highest-rated defensive player on their board, they have to draft him."

The Eagles might not have a ton of maneuvering room in the draft but they're still in line to land an impact player. Just don't be surprised if the offensive-minded head coach opts to go for a starter in the secondary before addressing other needs.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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