Jump to content

Potential Eagles replacements for Rodney McLeod in 2022 NFL Draft


Recommended Posts

Potential Eagles replacements for Rodney McLeod in 2022 NFL Draft



The Eagles have some interesting safety options in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Time flies huh? Doesn’t it feel like New Year’s Eve was a week ago? It won’t be long before we’re hours away from the 2022 NFL Draft and asking ourselves questions about what the Philadelphia Eagles might do with the three selections they’ll have in the first round (or if they’ll trade one of them).

As of right now, there seems to be no reason to make said trade unless it leads to landing a franchise-altering quarterback because Philadelphia’s offseason questions extend far beyond who lines up behind center.

They have a lot of holes. There are needs all over the roster, and Philadelphia will have decisions to make about everyone scheduled to become a free agent, including one of their best players on defense, team captain Rodney McLeod.

As is the case with many of the Eagles’ other impending free agents, arguments can be made for keeping McLeod and moving on. No one should be surprised if he leaves or stays, but if both sides do move on, there’s a huge void at Philadephia’s safety position. Keep in mind the fact that Anthony Harris is at the end of his deal with the Eagles as well.

Thankfully, the Birds will have options in the NFL Draft if they look for help there. Kyle Hamilton appears to be the cream of the crop, but with Philadelphia selecting at 15,16, and 19, it seems doubtful that he’ll be available when the Birds are on the clock.

With that being said, there may be a need to look elsewhere. Here’s a ranking of the best safety options available once we get past Hamilton. Any of these guys would look great in an Eagles jersey.



Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Yusuf Corker

Who would have thought? They play football in Lexington Kentucky now folks!

It took them a while, but the Wildcats are inching their way towards being a consistent contender in the SEC East. Sure, they aren’t on the level of the Georgia Bulldogs, but Mark Stoops has this program headed in the right direction. Guys like Yusuf Corker are big reasons why that’s the case.

This six-foot, 197-pound safety prospect racked up 241 total tackles, two sacks, three interceptions, 14 pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown in 43 career games at the collegiate level. That’s pretty good work for a guy playing at a ‘basketball school’ in the NCAA’s best conference and best NFL farm system.

Once we dig into the draft process, the expectation is that Corker will be one of the top ten safeties on everyone’s draft board. A huge Pro Day, scouting combine, and/or Reese’s Senior Bowl will improve his draft stock, but in the meantime, expect for there to be some buzz that builds around this 2021 Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist.



Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Brad Hawkins

It may not have ended how the citizens of Ann Arbor hoped it would, but it was quite the ride for the Michigan Wolverines during the 2021-2022 college football season. Now, they have to prove that they’re up for the task again as they attempt to replace a ton of defensive starters and, possibly, their head coach.

The Maize and Blue has to replace everyone from Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo at the EDGE to Brad Hawkins in the defensive secondary. You can best believe the six-foot-one, 221-pound Hawkins will be one of the more sought-after prospects in the coming NFL Draft.

Like Yusuf Corker, Hawkins is one of the ten best safeties entering the NFL. Unlike Corker, Hawkins played in the Big Ten.

Some debate whether or not the football played in the Big Ten is on par with what we see in the Southeastern Conference. That tail kicking the Bulldogs gave the Wolverines in the semi-final round of the College Football Playoff would suggest that it isn’t. Still, after 178 total tackles, eight pass breakups, and two forced fumbles, Brad Hawkins has placed his name on a lot of NFL radars.

Might the Eagles be one of them? We won’t have to wait too much longer to find out if they’re interested.


Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Isaiah Pola-Mao

Throughout his career, Yusuf Corker proved that he had a nose for the football and could force a few turnovers. You wonder how he’ll fare versus fleet-footed receivers in space or big tight ends that can catch and run at the professional level, however.

Brad Hawkins is a sure tackler for the most part, but he hasn’t ever proven to be the guy that can force turnovers with any consistency, and let’s face it. There’s certainly more to playing in the NFL than that, but every team loves seeing that component from the guys that provide the last line of defense.

Hawkins isn’t a ball-hawk. That’s been evidenced by the fact that, in 42 career games at the collegiate level that span five NCAA seasons, he’s never hauled in an interception.

In Isaiah Pola-Mao, any team that acquires him gets the best of both worlds. He didn’t rack a single interception in his final season with the USC Trojans, but he has five for his 32 game career to go along with the 178 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and eight pass breakups.

Write his name down, and circle it.  You’re going to hear it with more frequency as we move through February, through March, and into April.


Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Daxton Hill

Remember when we talked about all of that talent the Wolverines need to replace? Yeah, we may have forgotten to mention Daxton Hill. Former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would have loved this guy. He’s one of those guys that has the skill set to suggest that he can be one of those ‘positionless players’ Schwartz couldn’t stop going on and on about.

With proper coaching and a good teacher, Daxton Hill has the potential to be what Eagles fans thought they were supposed to be getting with K’Von Wallace.

Remember when we said Wallace lined up everywhere for the Clemson Tigers and might be able to do that at the pro level for Philly? Well, that hasn’t happened yet, at least not right now. We have seen Hill do that for the Maize and Blue though. We slot him slightly ahead of his former teammate Hawkins for two reasons.

One, Hill seems to pop off of the screen more. Second, Hill can play deep, or he can line up closer to the line of scrimmage to play a little slot corner if need be.

The NFL is an entirely different game. We all know that, but it will be interesting to see if Hill’s skill set translates to the NFL. Heaven help opposing offenses if it does. This young man and his former teammate should be joys to watch at the pro level.



Potential Eagles 2022 draft prospect Jaquan Brisker

Here’s our initial theory on Jaquan Brisker. He’s the best safety prospect entering the NFL Draft not named Kyle Hamilton. In 34 career games at the NCAA level, he tallied 151 tackles, including ten for a loss of yardage.

Add that to five interceptions and 14 pass breakups. Expect his name to be called during Round 1 of the selection meeting in April.

The Eagles have both won and lost when fishing in Penn State’s pool of talent. Miles Sanders qualifies as a win. Shareef Miller, a Philadelphia native, was a huge miss (and he’s out of the NFL after only three seasons and failing to register a single statistic in an NFL game).

Honorable mention: R.J. Roderick (South Carolina Gamecocks), Kenderick Duncan (Louisville Cardinals), and Lewis Cine (Georgia Bulldogs) 

Here’s a list of three guys to pay attention to, though all three might be drafted after Round 1. R.J. Roderick tallied 199 total tackles in 41 career games with the Gamecocks. Kenderick Duncan, after a nice ride with Georgia Southern, transferred to the Louisville Cardinals and proved to be pro-ready. Lewis Cine has a lot of eyes on him after winning a College Football Playoff National Championship with the Georgia Bulldogs.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

No doubt Safety is a big need for this team. I'm guessing Epps will be one of the starters? Which is a slight concern but right now he's the only recognised safety on this roster and he's not exactly top level. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’d like an INT threat.  Run defense, tackling…the guy doesn’t need to be some 6’3” thumper.  But with how handcuffed defenses are these days…an INT is still a decisive dagger that ruins games.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am almost 100% certain we won’t be taking a S in round 1 … even if Hamilton falls to one of our picks.  Brisker would make a nice consolation prize in round 2.  I don’t buy for a second that it is a lock he goes round 1.  We’ve seen too many times over the last few years where safeties that were early prospects go much later.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/24/2022 at 6:53 AM, UK_EaglesFan89 said:

No doubt Safety is a big need for this team. I'm guessing Epps will be one of the starters? Which is a slight concern but right now he's the only recognised safety on this roster and he's not exactly top level. 

I can see them bringing McLeod back for another year - provide some continuity and not having to replace both spots at once. Harris will get replaced.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, kiwieagle said:

I can see them bringing McLeod back for another year - provide some continuity and not having to replace both spots at once. Harris will get replaced.  

I'd agree although I am 50/50 between them bringing back Harris or McLeod to be honest. I do think they'll bring one back though. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, kiwieagle said:

I can see them bringing McLeod back for another year - provide some continuity and not having to replace both spots at once. Harris will get replaced.  

I've been thinking the same.  Bring back McLeod on another 1-2 year deal, draft a S on day 2, and let the rook compete with Epps and Wallace for the starting spot opposite McLeod.  

It would be huge to have some young talent plugged into both DB spots (CB and S) and let them play a season or two alongside a vet (McLeod, Slay).  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would love to have another Brian Dawkins-type of player at S.  Malcolm Jenkins was good.  Still feels like it's been forever since we've had an impact player at S (and LB, for that matter...the 2 positions we never draft in round 1).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want to make the mistake of building an entire roster around the single-focused goal of winning that Chiefs/Bills game...but with that in mind....no DB is going to stop that absolute aerial WW3 carpet bombing of a shootout.  But what would be the absolute killer in that game?  A timely INT.  

If the best defense in the NFL can't stop it, then at least find a couple guys that can take it away.  (That's also the reason we came out on top in the SB).

So if you are going to draft a safety early, they better be an INT threat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...