Nick Sirianni’s Eagles are a compelling ballclub. A roster expected by many to occupy the cellar of the NFC East this fall, at 5-7, Philadelphia remains in the hunt for a playoff spot as we approach the home straightaway of the season.
While many questions loom around the quarterback spot and current signal-caller Jalen Hurts, who the jury is still out on when attempting to solidify his status as the Eagles’ next franchise signal-caller, the Eagles have been better than anyone thought this fall. While Hurts—behind an impressive front five—2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith, running back Miles Sanders, and in-line threat Dallas Goedert headline the offense, Philadelphia has found themselves in as opportune a spot that general manager Howie Roseman could hope for as the button-pusher for a roster with youth-infused, high-impact talent needed in abundance.
With three first-round picks scheduled before the middle of day one is through, Philadelphia represents the belle of the draft ball as we near Christmas. A team in need of immediate defensive pop and fresh legs in the trenches, a draft headlined by the defensive side of the ball should prove fruitful for a unit looking to finish above .500 for the fourth time in the last five campaigns.
Using our Mock Draft Machine, I looked at which prospects the Eagles could target this April when the annual NFL draft rolls around. Here is my seven-round mock, including scheme fit, on each prospect:
Round 1 (No. 9 overall): Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
As the Eagles search for their future defensive cornerstone, Booth represents everything that is Philly. An in-your-face shutdown talent with exceptional ball skills, excellent man cover ability, and an unrelenting motor, Booth, opposite Darius Slay, could quickly progress into one of football’s elite boundary defenders. Within a division loaded with pass-catching talent, the onus on Roseman to get this pick right is paramount. With Booth, it’s a home run.
Round 1 (No. 10 overall): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
With Jason Kelce nearing the tail end of his career, I envision Linderbaum stepping in right away to take over duties as the nucleus of Philadelphia’s offensive line. Arguably the top pound-for-pound prospect in the entire class, Linderbaum has the chance to be an All-Pro from the onset of his NFL tenure. While the initial plan was to move Landon Dickerson back to center once Kelce is gone, the unit of Dickerson, Linderbaum, and a healthy Brandon Brooks could progress into one of the league’s best interior units. A prospect with elite athleticism for the position, a nasty streak, and a wrestling background that saw him pin current Tampa Bay Buccaneers RT Tristan Wirfs in high school—no, seriously—Linderbaum is everything you’d hope for in a center on Sunday. He’s a culture changer.
Round 1 (No. 14 overall): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Although the Eagles recently extended their ‘MIKE’ linebacker in T.J. Edwards, Lloyd is a talent too special to pass up here. While he could slip a few spots due to helmet scouting, Lloyd’s thump from the second level can be felt on tape. The clear LB1 in the class, Lloyd can track sideline-to-sideline, cover in space, and rush the passer with fluidity due to his long, powerful arms and quickness to jump to the inside. He’s a tad overaggressive at times, often becoming fooled on counters or misdirection concepts, but it’s an easy fix, and I’d much rather have someone looking for action than the opposite way around. He’ll be a machine at the next level.
Round 2 (No. 38 overall): John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
I know, I know, more wideouts. This was a tough spot. With EDGE defender Travon Walker (Georgia) still on the board, I was tempted to select the Bulldogs’ standout 5-tech threat, but if Sirianni eyes Hurts as his future under center, he needs more talent on the outside, and Metchie III provides that and more. Pairing up with his former teammate, the group of Smith, Quez Watkins, and Metchie III presents an awfully enticing group of versatile talents on the perimeter. An intermediate target hog with excellent contact balance and the physicality to win in tight confines and in the air downfield, his addition into Shane Steichen’s offense could be a match made in heaven. Yes, Jalen Reagor is still there, but as of now, he’s been a massive disappointment and there’s no reason to believe he’ll take a massive jump heading into next summer.
Round 3 (No. 73 overall): Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
The weakest link in Philadelphia’s chain, I’m doubling down early on the LB spot with one of the class’ freak athletes in Smith. A talent who will best fit on the outside, the ceiling is truly the limit for Smith who will clock under 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. One of the rangiest, most physical talents there is in this year’s pool of prospects, if Smith slips to No. 73 on draft night, Roseman should sprint to the podium. He, alongside Lloyd, would present two heat-seeking missiles at the core of the Eagles’ defense.
Round 4 (No. 108 overall): Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M
With Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris set to enter free agency after his one-year prove-it deal, the addition of Bell, a former 4-star recruit who’s shown the ability to press up near the LOS and cover the roof as a MOF safety, would be ideal here in the middle of the selection process. Placed within a Rattlers defense that incorporates a blend of multiple fronts and coverages, Bell is a downhill enforcer in run support with ideal versatility. Experienced in all areas of the defense in coverage, he has the flexibility to turn and run in man coverage, but also has the awareness in zone to remain engaged on routes entering and exiting his areas.
Round 5 (No. 145 overall): Ali Gaye, EDGE, LSU
We all know how much Roseman values the trenches, and with Gaye, a 6-foot-6 prospect with raw tools, he has an immense ceiling as an edge threat. With a litany of players in front of him on the depth chart, Gaye’s role in subpackages and long down-and-distance situations could be ideal for him to grow into the player he can ultimately become. An opportunity to learn from the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham (when healthy), and Ryan Kerrigan (if re-signed) could serve him well along the front four.
Round 5 (No. 151 overall): Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
Dallas Goedert is TE1, but following the departure of Zach Ertz, the Eagles don’t have the necessary bodies to operate the vision of Steichen in 12-personnel at this point in time. Opposite the recently extended Goedert, Kolar would provide ideal traits in the pass game and experience as a run blocker after multiple seasons leading the way for Breece Hall. A downfield threat with more than 150 catches the last three seasons, his catch radius and ability to snatch passes over the head of smaller linebackers make him a nightmare to game plan for.
Round 5 (No. 174 overall): Dare Rosenthal, OT, Kentucky
Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson look to be the bookend tackles for at least the next few seasons, but behind them, it’s the injury-prone Andre Dillard, aaaaaaaand... no one else. Rosenthal would provide ideal depth and could start if need be. A transfer from LSU, Rosenthal touts heavy hands and a mean streak, similar to Mailata, where he looks to punch and staple defenders to the dirt.
Round 6 (No. 190 overall): Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana
A talent who has the ability to jump Zech McPhearson as the starting nickel corner, Mullen, the cousin of Lamar Jackson and 2020 First-Team All-American corner, has the fundamental ability to play both outside and inside with pop. A ball magnet with excellent short-area burst and a hunger for contact, he’s a hard-nosed defender who will immediately challenge for snaps.
Round 6 (No. 206 overall): Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest
I don’t envision Roseman investing a day-one or day-two selection on a signal-caller this spring, but it would be far-fetched to imagine he doesn’t add a dual-threat talent like Hartman on day three to add competition to Hurts. The first quarterback to throw for 30 or more passing touchdowns and rush for 10 or more scores in a single season since Lamar Jackson (Louisville) in 2016, if Hurts ends the season on a downward spiral, a talent like Hartman could win the job if granted an opportunity.
Should Joe Burrow Be The NFL MVP?
- Jan 07, 2022
Steelers Hit A Home Run With Najee Harris
- Jan 07, 2022