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A mock draft heavy hitter loads up Eagles with defense


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A mock draft heavy hitter loads up Eagles with defense


NFL draft season will really start to speed up next week when the NFL converges on Indianapolis for the annual combine.

With about two months before the draft, that leaves plenty of time for the internet’s favorite thing: Mock drafts!

Let’s take a look around at some possibilities for the Eagles’ three first-round picks, starting off with one of the biggest mock draft heavy hitters around:

Todd McShay, ESPN

15. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

What they said: "The Eagles have a chance to get a whole lot better in a short period of time here; this is their first of three picks in the next five. Buckle up, Philly fans. Let’s get started with Dean, who is my No. 6 prospect. He does it all, from using his speed and sideline-to-sideline range to match with running backs in coverage, to blitzing through gaps and pressuring quarterbacks, to stopping the run and wrapping up ball carriers. His motor never stops, and his instincts make him a true game-breaker. The Eagles have taken just one linebacker in the first round over the past 40 years (Marcus Smith in 2014), but the middle of their defense covets someone like Dean."

16. Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

What they said: "An NFL team has never taken college teammates with back-to-back picks, but the Eagles’ pass-rush was atrocious, and Walker is incredibly disruptive. Philadelphia’s 29 sacks were 31st in the NFL last season, Derek Barnett is a free agent, and Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are both north of 30 years old. Plus, Graham is returning from an Achilles injury. Walker, meanwhile, is a power-based edge rusher who keeps getting better. It’s time to stock the pass-rush cupboard a bit."

19. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

What they said: "So no quarterback change via the draft. I think the Eagles stick with Jalen Hurts unless they find a way to make the massive deal for a big-name QB. But Hurts could use another target, even after Philadelphia drafted receivers in the first round in each of the past two drafts (Jalen Reagor and DeVonta Smith). The only team to take a first-round receiver in three straight drafts was the Lions in 2003-05, but consider that the Eagles were 25th in the league last season in pass-game yardage — and 30th when reduced to just wide receivers.

"Burks has 6-foot-3 size, great hands and a wide catch radius. He’d be a mismatch in the slot for coach Nick Sirianni and has the ability to tack on extra yards after the catch with smooth acceleration upfield. Burks, Nakobe Dean and Travon Walker make for a great draft class."

My take on the haul: It would be pretty cool to see the Eagles draft teammates with back-to-back picks and after watching that Georgia defense this season, it might not be a bad thing. There’s no consensus top linebacker in this draft: Some thing it’s Dean, some think it’s Utah’s Devin Lloyd. While Lloyd is the hotter name and will likely test through the roof next week, Dean’s tape speaks for itself. He was an incredible playmaker at Georgia and, who knows, maybe he’ll be the linebacker to break the Eagles’ streak. As we all know, they haven’t drafted an off-ball linebacker in the first round since 1979. (Smith was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.)

The Walker pick would be fascinating. He’s a very good player but he’s 6-5, 275, so is he an edge player or an interior lineman? We know the Eagles value versatility and we saw them use that with Milton Williams in 2021. So maybe they don’t care that Walker doesn’t seem to clearly fit in just one box. But he’s certainly not the typical Eagles edge player body type, at least what it used to be, in their 4-3 scheme. But there's going to be teams that fall in love with him.

Finishing it off with Burks, who is a really fun player to watch. He’s huge but he’s not just a 50-50 guy. Arkansas used him in a variety of ways and he’s great with the ball in his hands, something Nick Sirianni would probably value a ton.


Austin Gayle, PFF

15. David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

What they said: "There’s no debating that Michigan edge defender David Ojabo had an absurd 2021 campaign. Having started his football career in 2017, he played just 26 defensive snaps for the Wolverines in 2020 before exploding with 41 pressures and an 88.2 pass-rushing grade this season. He’s a raw prospect who will need to test through the roof at the combine to go in the first round come April, but that’s well within the realm of possibility for the young superstar."

16. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

What they said: "Booth, a former five-star recruit, is an aggressive tackler and smooth athlete who improved his PFF grade every year of his Clemson career. The 6-foot, 195-pounder closed the 2021 season with a 78.7 PFF coverage grade, having allowed just 29 receptions for 312 yards on 46 targets. He also allowed just two touchdowns while logging three pass breakups and three picks."

19. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

What they said: "Draft Twitter will fall in love with Devin Lloyd. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Utah off-ball linebacker was a heat-seeking missile and an every-down impact player for the Utes. He earned a 91.1 PFF grade as one of college football’s top defenders in 2021."

My take on the haul: The Eagles clearly need an infusion of talent on the defensive side of the ball and this would be it. Adding Ojabo, Booth and Lloyd in the first round would give the Eagles a chance to add a few cornerstones to that side of the ball for the next five years or more. There are more polished rushers in this draft class than Ojabo but his ceiling is very high and he was overshadowed some by Aidan Hutchinson in Michigan but Ojabo is a star himself. The Eagles will have some options at cornerback but Booth is a good one. And Lloyd is the other flavor of linebacker if it’s not Dean. He has the potential to be a dynamic player in the NFL and you could argue his ceiling is higher.


Kyle Stackpole, CBS Sports

15. George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

What they said: "The Eagles pride themselves on having a stout defensive front, and adding Karlaftis will surely help a defense that inexplicably finished second worst in the NFL with 29.0 sacks in 2021. Karlaftis won't beat offensive tackles with his athleticism, but his high motor and power will allow him to consistently get pressure on opposing quarterbacks."

16. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

What they said: "The drought is over. For the first time since 1979, the franchise selects a linebacker in the first round. In addition to his ideal size (6-3, 235) and versatility, Lloyd stuffed the stat sheet this past season with 111 tackles (22.0 for a loss), 7.0 sacks, six pass breakups, four interceptions and two touchdowns. It'll feel like Lloyd is everywhere for a defense that should take another step forward after a solid 2021 campaign."

19. Drake London, WR, USC

What they said: "Do Jalen Hurts a favor and get him another No. 1-caliber wide receiver to pair with DeVonta Smith. With two capable wideouts, a top-notch tight end and a successful running game, Philadelphia would then be able to better evaluate if Hurts is the long-term answer at quarterback."

My take on the haul: Karlaftis is considered by many to be one of the top edge players in this class. He was a popular name for the Eagles in early mock drafts but that has tailed off some more recently. Overall, this is a position the Eagles should prioritize in this draft and there will likely be a very good player available when they’re on the clock with these picks in the teens. Whether it’s Karlaftis or Ojabo or Walker or Jermaine Johnson II, the Eagles have a chance to land a franchise defensive end if they get it right. We’ve already talked about Lloyd, so let’s look at London. He’s a big-bodied receiver who plays the position the way you’d expect for a big guy. He’s a former basketball player and that shows up in his highlight reel. If the Eagles want to add a complementary player for DeVonta Smith, London would be a nice fit.


James Fragoza, ProFootballNetwork

15. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

What they said: "With the first of three first-round picks, the Eagles address their cornerback room in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Andrew Booth Jr. has the best feet in the class and can fit any scheme. That’s good news for DC Jonathan Gannon, who likes to vary his coverages. However, Philly ran some of the most zone looks in 2021."

16. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

What they said: "Linebackers typically aren’t worth high draft picks due to their positional value. Yet, Devin Lloyd is worthy of a top-16 selection. Lloyd’s an all-around LB with few, if any, holes in his game. Need him to drop back in coverage? Done. How about a linebacker blitz? Easy. Stuff the run? Yup. Lloyd is the most complete LB in the class and instantly transforms Philadephia’s defense."

19. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

What they said: "There are reports that the Eagles are interested in Jimmy Garoppolo at QB. Why do they want to move on from Jalen Hurts for a guy who has proven he does little more than drive the bus? I don’t know. But what I do know is they need more firepower for whoever is under center.

"Jameson Williams is still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in the national championship, but he put enough on tape to warrant a first-round selection. Williams can be the deep threat the Eagles hoped Jalen Reagor or Quez Watkins would be."

My take on the haul: First, let’s pump the brakes on that Garoppolo nonsense. Our own Adam Hermann explained last week why that whole thing wasn’t really true. But aside from that, this is another defense-defense-receiver haul for Eagles; that has become a popular formula for them in these mock drafts. Booth and Lloyd have also become popular picks. The Williams one is somewhat interesting because he’s coming off the ACL and will be behind. But the Eagles drafted an Alabama kid with an ACL tear last year in Landon Dickerson and that has worked out pretty well. If the Eagles draft a receiver, it would mean they’ve taken one in the first round in three consecutive drafts. That seems odd, but receiver is still a pretty obvious need.


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