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Mock draft heavy hitters load up Eagles with defense


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Mock draft heavy hitters load up Eagles with defense


The Eagles' season is over and even though the next big item on the list is free agency in March, it’s never too early to get ready for the NFL Draft.

With picks Nos. 15, 16 and 19, the Eagles are stocked entering this draft and have a chance to land some cornerstones.

What will they do with these picks?

Let’s take a look at some of the latest mock drafts, including a couple of first attempts from some heavy hitters:

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

15. George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

What they said: "The Eagles need to add some young talent to their defensive line; Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham can’t play forever. I wish Karlaftis were longer, but I love his leverage and power as a rusher, and he has some inside/outside flex."

16. Drake London, WR, USC

What they said: "London gives the Eagles a big-frame wideout with an enormous catch radius to complement Devonta Smith’s pristine route running. London reminds me of Mike Williams coming out of Clemson. It’s almost impossible to overthrow him, and he dominates 50-50 balls."

19. Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

What they said: "The Eagles will likely need to replace future Hall of Famer Jason Kelce, who's 34 and set to become a free agent. They already have his heir apparent in the building in Landon Dickerson, last year's second-rounder, whose move to center would create room for Green at guard. Green is an outstanding athlete with ideal size (6-4, 325) and temperament."

My take on the haul: This would definitely work. I really like the Karlaftis pick but I’m skeptical he’ll last this deep into the class. It’s worth noting that Jeremiah had Georgia’s Travon Walker go at No. 13. But if Karlaftis is available, he’s a pick that makes a lot of sense. After that, it’s tough to draft a WR in the first round in three straight years but the Eagles still have a pretty clear need. It’s interesting that DJ compared him to Mike Williams, who is set to be a free agent this offseason and would be a good add for the Eagles. Then there’s the Green pick. This is an interesting one because player-for-player, I get taking Green over Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa (who DJ has going 29th) but if the plan is to draft Green and then move Dickerson, I’m not so sure about it. Dickerson really settled into his spot at left guard and he’s a giant. I might go Linderbaum here instead.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

15. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

What they said: "Obviously, this selection is based on the future of Kelce, who just earned his fourth All-Pro nod. Even if he returns for his age 35 season in 2022, Kelce would be the ideal mentor for Linderbaum, who has exceptional quickness and a nasty streak to dominate defenders."

16. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

What they said: "With Steven Nelson headed for free agency, cornerback could be a need for the Eagles this offseason. Booth is a terrific athlete and can make plays on the ball -- the two most important traits when scouting the position. Booth also has above-average downhill skills to drive and blow up plays near the line of scrimmage."

19. George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

What they said: "The Eagles’ defensive end depth chart will likely look wildly different next season, and Karlaftis would be a welcomed addition. The Purdue pass rusher doesn’t have elite length or twitch, but he is relentless and strong with handwork that is not only violent but also well-timed and strategic to defeat blockers."

My take on the haul: This is a home run. I really like all three of these picks and if the first round worked out like this for the Eagles, I think it would be a big win. I like Brugler’s thinking that even if Kelce is back in 2022, it shouldn’t prevent the Eagles from drafting a center and beginning that transition process. I know there’s a general thought about not drafting centers too early but I just don’t get why. We’ve seen in this city what having an All-Pro center can do for an offense. How is that less valuable than a top-tier guard?

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

15. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

What they said: "This is the first of three Eagles picks in the next five, this one coming from the Dolphins in last March's order-busting trade. And I know that some folks are going to connect Philly with a quarterback, but I'm not buying that; Jalen Hurts earned the 2022 job by his play down the stretch, even if he didn't have a great playoff game. This team needs more talent on defense, so that's where I'm going with the first two of these picks.

"I had to dive deep back into my research to find the last time the Eagles took a linebacker in Round 1, going all the way back to Jerry Robinson in 1979. I was 18 years old at the time of that draft. This is both a need and value pick, as Lloyd is coming off a tremendous season. I've compared him to Tampa Bay's Devin White -- he's an off-ball linebacker with speed, versatility, range and run-and-hit ability. He had eight sacks and four picks last season. This would be a major boost to the Philly D."

16. Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State

What they said: "The Eagles finished the regular season with wins in six of their final eight games powered by their running game, but again, this defense showed several holes. One of those was the pass rush -- they finished 31st in the league in sacks with just 29, 11 of those coming from the tackle duo of Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox. I see edge rusher as a priority, even if 2017 first-rounder Derek Barnett, a free agent this offseason, returns to the team. He has never quite put together a consistent season, and he had just two sacks in 2021. So let's use the pick from the Carson Wentz trade on a rising pass-rusher.

"Ebiketie, a transfer from Temple, is coming off a stellar season for the Nittany Lions. He had 9.5 sacks, 19 total tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He has long arms and is explosive at the snap, and he's strong enough to set the edge in the run game. I'm a big fan."

19. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

What they said: "Let's finish out the Eagles' picks with another wide receiver, which would make back-to-back-to-back drafts that Philly went wideout in Round 1. This is still an issue, though. DeVonta Smith had a good rookie season and looks to be the clear No. 1, but 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor underwhelmed and might never be more than a decent third option. Going back to the 2019 draft, the Eagles took J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Round 2, but he has just 16 catches over three seasons. Jalen Hurts has to get some more help.

"Olave was a touchdown machine at Ohio State -- he had 35 in four seasons -- and he's one of the best deep threats in this class. At 6-foot-1, he can play inside or outside. He's a player who looks better and better when you watch all of his snaps in a game, because even if he didn't catch 10 passes, he was always open."

My take on the haul: If ever there was a year for the Eagles to draft a linebacker in the first round, this might be it. There are a few who would fit in their range and with three picks, perhaps they’d be more willing to use one on a "luxury” pick. Not saying any of these prospects are Micah Parsons, but you don’t have to look too hard to see that a top linebacker can still completely turn around a defense. As for the other two picks, the Ebiketie pick surprised me some. For reference, neither Jeremiah nor Brugler had him in their first round and Brugler had him going 61st overall. The Olave pick would be fine. If the Eagles want to go the receiver route, they will have options. Just different flavors.

Trevor Sikkema, PFF

15. David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

What they said: "With their first selection here, I have them taking Michigan’s high-ceiling pass-rusher David Ojabo. He’s green to the game and green in terms of starting experience, but his natural explosiveness and strength give him the rare combo teams just love to bet on. He’s not quite a plug-and-play guy, as he still needs more consistency in his game — especially with run defense — but the payoff could be huge."

16. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

What they said: "Yes, I am well aware that this Eagles decision-making group just does not draft linebackers early. But when two of your starting linebackers are grading in the 50s and 40s, I’m going to look to upgrade in a mock draft.

"Few players in college football made more money than Lloyd this past season. He was a reliable tackler in years past, but he improved as a blitzer and as a coverage player this season. He’s the total package for a team looking to upgrade at linebacker in Round 1."

19. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

What they said: "For the Eagles' last of their three first-round picks, I have them grabbing one of my favorite players in this entire draft. McDuffie was a starter at Washington since his true freshman season. His understanding of the game, habit for film work and improvement and mentality toward versatility all check the boxes of a first-round player. As a high school track guy who also ran a 10.8 in the 100-meter and reached 23-feet, 9-inches in the long jump, he brings the needed athleticism, too."

My take on the haul: This is about as fun as a draft haul can be without taking a skill guy. Because these are three really high-ceiling players who could change the future of the Eagles’ defense. Opinions are split on where Ojabo should go but he’s a first-round talent who has just scratched the surface. There’s some debate about Lloyd vs. Nakobe Dean for the top linebacker designation but Lloyd might end up going before him as this mock suggests. And then there’s McDuffie, who is a really talented cover corner. Don’t let the Sidney Jones pick stop you from enjoying another Washington corner.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

15. Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

What they said: "Walker is something of a tweener, which is odd to say about someone who stands 6-foot-5, and weighs 275 pounds. But he can line up as the 3, 4 or 5-tech and that versatility, coupled with his nonstop motor and consistent playmaking ability, makes him an attractive option for several teams in this range looking to bolster their defensive line."

16. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

What they said: "Lloyd is a twitched up, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league over the last decade. The Eagles might not have a history of taking off-ball linebackers in the first round but that doesn't mean they shouldn't consider it here."

19. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

What they said: "This likely won't be a popular pick because the Eagles have used first-rounders on wide receivers the last two years, but they'll only have four wideouts under contract after the season, and that includes J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Williams tore his ACL in the national title game but he's still one of the best players in this draft class and should be ready to contribute next October."

My take on the haul: The Walker pick is an interesting one because I’m not exactly sure where he’d fit best in the Eagles’ defense. My guess is we’d see him more on the edge but then also lining up inside. He has that inside-outside flexibility we saw from Milton Williams this year. But at this position, I’d probably opt for Karlaftis, who is still on the board. We’ve talked about Lloyd already. And then there’s Williams. The ACL tear adds a layer to this. We’ve seen the Eagles use second-round picks for injured players before so maybe if they think the value is good enough here, they’d do it again. It’s risky but with three first-rounders, they might be in a better position than anyone to gamble.


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Out of those, I like Brugler's the best.  I'd love Linderbaum, but would also love swapping him out with Devin Lloyd.  Would absolutely love to address all 3 levels of the D with our 3 first rounders.

Won't happen, though. <_<

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26 minutes ago, EaglesAddict said:

Out of those, I like Brugler's the best.  I'd love Linderbaum, but would also love swapping him out with Devin Lloyd.  Would absolutely love to address all 3 levels of the D with our 3 first rounders.

Won't happen, though. <_<

That's the only one I like quite a bit.  I'd like Sikkema's more if it included Booth (or Sauce or McCreary) instead of McDuffie.  Wilson's would be more attractive if it included Wilson instead of Williams (IF we go WR again which I'm kinda hoping we don't and focus on defense and possibly moving one for a 2023 1st + 2022 2nd).  

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