Alex Kielar | February 29th, 2020
The Philadelphia Eagles had an up and down season but still wound up sneaking into the playoffs in the lowly NFC East. Or in the words of Patrick Star, NFC “Weast”. The Eagles were subject to many injuries throughout the year. In their 17-9 wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, they were down their starting right tackle, right guard, their entire original starting receiver core, and lost Carson Wentz in the first half. All season, their glaring weaknesses at receiver and secondary were exploited. The two together made burnt toast with butter.
In this mock draft, I will go through the selections the Eagles need in order to make a deeper run in the playoffs this upcoming football season. To help with this mock draft I used Fanspeak Mock Draft Simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team mock drafts here.
Round 1, Pick 21: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
The Eagles can go a number of different routes here, including receiver as I mentioned earlier. But with the number of solid receiver options available throughout the draft, I say they go with a cornerback. In Henderson, they get a very athletic and speedy player who plays well in press man coverage. He is a guy that can get leverage off the line against a receiver, has great recovery speed, and has quick feet and fluid motions. With the Eagles commonly getting burned deep, this is the type of player they need.
Round 2, Pick 21: KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
As I mentioned, the Eagles are in extreme need of receivers in order to give Wentz some weapons. Their receivers had several drops last year and didn’t have a deep threat other than DeSean Jackson, who was out most of the season. With Hamler, they get almost a young Jackson; he even said he models his game after him. Hamler won’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine because of a tweaked hamstring, but he has clocked at 4.27 before. He had five touchdowns on catches of 20 yards or more and 11 catches of 20-plus yards at Penn State.
Round 3, Pick 21: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
Another position the Eagles are in dire need of is at linebacker. They let go of their best one last year in Nigel Bradham, not picking up his option. Harrison is a very hard hitter who flies all over the field. He has impressive reaction quickness and has some juice off the line of scrimmage. The former Buckeye hits the gap and goes straight to the ball. He would very much fit right into the Eagles run-stopping defense.
Round 3, Pick 39: Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
The Eagles are always in need of adding more depth to their defense at every position. Defensive tackle is not a pressing need but is definitely a position they could use more depth at. Starter Fletcher Cox turns 30 this year while the other starter, Malik Jackson, played in just one game in 2019. Beyond them, Timmy Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway are free agents in March, while other guys haven’t shown that much. Jennings would be a big upgrade to the depth, and he has been given first-round grades. While he will play a lot on the edge, he is strong enough to slide inside on passing down. He can disengage from blocks with excellent hand position to get to the quarterback; he also has a great point of attack in the run game.
Round 4, Pick 21: Antoine Brooks Jr., S, Maryland
Malcolm Jenkins is 32 but does still give solid production and is the captain of the defense. However, he is looking for a new contract and is set to be a free agent after next season. Rodney McLeod will hit free agency this year, so the Eagles definitely need to add to this position. Brooks is very versatile and the Eagles could use him in a similar way as they do Jenkins, all across the defense. The safety from Maryland has solid ball skills and can do great work up in the box with 8.5 tackles or more in each of the last three seasons. He would be a great addition to the Eagles defense and could add to their depth at multiple positions.
Round 4, Pick 37: Davon Hamilton, DL, Ohio State
To add more depth to their defensive line, the Eagles grab a big and powerful guy who is still very athletic for his size in Hamilton. He can run through blocks very well and bursts through double teams. He doesn’t get much pushback at the line, using his hand movements to get leverage and penetrate the line. On passing downs, he can bull rush and get pressure on the quarterback.
Round 4, Pick 43: Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
Cephus was seen as a day three or undrafted player in some profiles. But watching his tape, he made the most of what was given to him in a run-heavy Wisconsin offense. He should fly up draft boards with a show-out performance at this week’s combine. He already impressed at the bench press, getting 23 reps at 225 lbs; his impressive strength helps him in contested catch opportunities. The Eagles could use as many receivers they can get their hands on (no pun intended); Cephus has great ball skills and creates separation past the line of scrimmage.
Round 5, Pick 22: Cam Brown, LB, Penn State
As mentioned earlier, the Eagles linebacker depth is suspect. Kamu Grugier-Hill is also a free agent and probably won’t be re-signed with his injury history. Right now they have Nathan Gerry as really the only linebacker that they look at as a starter. T.J. Edwards is more of a third or fourth guy off the bench, Duke Riley plays more special teams but does give great production, and Alex Singleton isn’t much of a player. Brown shows range and versatility, playing up in the box and in the flat. He is a great tackler and is solid at the point of attack; he does need to improve his footing and control to push through more blockers and get more tackles.
Round 6, Pick 11: Yasir Durant, iOL, Missouri
Wentz doesn’t just need receivers, he needs more protection, especially to avoid any more injuries. The Eagles have solid starters for their offensive line, but they seem to never be fully healthy. Lane Johnson all but makes their O-line and when he’s out, it’s all out of whack. Durant would be the perfect late-round candidate to add much needed depth, he is a great run-blocker with solid lower-body movement and strength. He had an impressive career at Missouri and is catching the attention of teams looking for depth.
.@MizzouFootball OL Yasir Durant speaking on the development that took place at #Mizzou, that helped him get to this point.#NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/yam3tAVOnv— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) February 26, 2020
Round 6, Pick 21: Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
Not that Wentz is injury-prone (he started every game last season before a dirty hit by Jadeveon Clowney took him out of the playoff game), but he needs solid back-up who can slide in and perform like Nick Foles did. Josh McCown won’t be back, not like he was anything great anyway, and Nate Sudfeld will hit free agency. McDonald is the perfect guy to back-up Wentz, as he is almost another Wentz. He has a strong arm, knows how to push the ball downfield, and he can sense pressure, knowing when to get out of the pocket and scramble.
Questions and comments?
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images