Mike Mulhern

2020 NFL draft profile: Trevon Diggs could become a star corner in the NFL

2020 NFL draft profile: Trevon Diggs could become a star corner in the NFL

Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs certainly has the profile of someone who figures to be a star at the next level. He’s an elite athlete with the bloodlines and college production to match. Diggs hopes to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Stefon, a Pro Bowl wide receiver now on the Bills. In fact, the younger Diggs started his career with the Crimson Tide as a wideout, before making the switch to defense full-time as a sophomore. 

A former five-star recruit coming out of high school, Diggs earned second-team All-SEC honors in his senior season. He picked off three passes on the season, but was picked on by LSU and presumptive first overall pick Joe Burrow in Bama’s loss to the eventual national champions.

Diggs did not do any testing at the combine in Indy but likely would have been among the most athletic. While Nick Saban’s football factory has produced endless first-round picks, the unknown measurables could cause Diggs to drop to Day 2.

Current roster at CB: Entering the offseason, you could argue corner was a bigger need for the Eagles than any position on the roster, receiver included. They’ve upgraded big time with the trade and subsequent contract extension for Darius Slay. Swapping a third and fifth rounder for the Pro Bowler reunites Slay with Jim Schwartz and finally gives the Birds’ defensive coordinator a No. 1 corner. As for who else starts outside, it appears it’s Avonte Maddox’s job to lose, but he’ll have competition from Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas. That’s assuming both are still on the roster come the season opener. Nickell Robey-Coleman was added in free agency to bolster the nickel position and figures to have the inside track over Cre’Von LeBlanc.

How he would fit: The hope would be that Diggs would come in Day 1 and start opposite Slay, finally giving the Eagles elite, athletic cornerback play. However, having already added a pair of veteran corners this offseason, it’s possible Howie Roseman thinks his work at the position is done. It doesn’t seem likely the Eagles would simply pull the trigger on Diggs at 21 without at least exploring the possibility of moving down to recoup some picks first. 

Eagles history at drafting CB: Not coincidentally, the Eagles have a need at the position because of their struggles in finding corners every April. They’ve spent a plethora of premium picks trying to address their issues. Eric Rowe (second round in 2015), Jones (second round in 2017) and Douglas (third round in 2017) all failed to fill the void. The only capable starter they’ve found via the draft at the position, Jalen Mills (seventh round in 2016), will make the move to safety this season.

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2020 NFL draft profile: Kenneth Murray would be worth a mindset change

2020 NFL draft profile: Kenneth Murray would be worth a mindset change

There is no doubt a gaping hole at linebacker on the Eagles roster, and when they're on the clock, the best player left on the board could very well could be Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray. Would they actually pull the trigger on a position that they've devalued significantly? It would be worth it for Murray. He's got the tape, tools, and makeup that all 32 teams should be looking for in a first-rounder. 

As a junior last season, Murray earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. He’s a three year starter who racked up over 100 tackles in each of his last two seasons playing inside. Murray might project more as an outside linebacker at the NFL level, but either way, he'll be on the field for every down. 

At 6-foot-2, 241 pounds, Murray has the ideal size for the position and the athleticism to match. He posted some of the best numbers at the combine for his position in the 40 (4.52 seconds), the broad jump (129 inches) and the vertical jump (38 inches).  

Murray served as a team captain in both his sophomore and junior seasons. The son of a pastor, he literally saved a motorist’s life last year by performing CPR. Simply put, his character is off the charts. 

Current roster at LB: After letting Nigel Bradham (unsigned) and Kamu Grugier-Hill (Dolphins) flee the nest, the cupboard at this position is extremely bare. The Eagles have swung and missed on bargain basement linebackers like Corey Nelson and Zach Brown in each of the last two offseasons. They hope that changes with Jatavis Brown, though he isn't exactly starter material. Ditto for Nate Gerry, who has a some play-making juice but lacks the bulk to be a factor on every down. The Birds are expecting big things from T.J. Edwards in his second season out of Wisconsin, but relying on an undrafted player who didn't exactly flash when his role expanded late last season is a gamble. After that it's just special teamers Duke Riley and Alex Singleton

How he would fit: Murray would be a Day 1 starter. While fans clamor for a receiver in the first round, the track record for how that position transitions to the next level is hit or miss. Murray's sideline-to-sideline speed would offer a much more immediate impact for the Eagles in 2020. A natural leader, he called the defense for three seasons in Norman and could continue that at the next level.

Eagles history at drafting LB: The past indicates there's almost no shot they'll draft a linebacker in the first round. The Eagles haven't done so since they used the 21st pick (how ironic) on Jerry Robinson in 1979. In fact, they rarely use premium draft capital on the position. The only two times they've done so in the last decade have been hits, though. Both Mychal Kendricks (2nd round in 2012) and Jordan Hicks (3rd round in 2015) played prominent roles here in Philly and remain productive starters in the NFL. Kendricks had three sacks and a pick in 14 starts for the Seahawks last season while Hicks finished 3rd in the league in tackles for the Cardinals. 

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2020 NFL draft profile: WR Jalen Reagor comes with an intriguing set of skills

2020 NFL draft profile: WR Jalen Reagor comes with an intriguing set of skills

For the next few weeks before the NFL Draft on April 23-25, we’ll be looking at some viable options for the Eagles and the No. 21 pick. 

By the time Howie Roseman phones in the 21st pick from the confines of his own home on April 23, there’s a good chance the top four receivers will have already come off the board.

So who offers the most potential after Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson? Enter TCU’s Jalen Reagor. His electric, yet erratic tape matches up with the explosion (42-inch vertical, 138-inch broad jump) he displayed at the combine. But the speed you see on the field runs counter to his disappointing 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, especially after he boasted that he would be the fastest man in Indy. Still, he has a knack for making big plays with the ball in his hands, although securing the catch has been his bugaboo (9 drops in 2019). Reagor is a force in the open field, and offers added value in the return game, running back a pair of punts last season.

The big question is if his massive upside can outweigh the inconsistency. Reagor (5-foot-11, 206 pounds) was held to 15 or fewer yards in four games last season, though his stat line no doubt suffered because of poor quarterback play. He saw a precipitous drop in production overall in 2019, managing just 43 catches for 611 yards and 5 scores, nearly half of his output from the previous season (72/1,061/9).

He has NFL bloodlines and familiarity with the organization, as the son of former Eagles defensive tackle Montae Reagor.

Current roster at WR: Plain and simple, the Eagles need weapons to grow with Carson Wentz. While JJ Arcega-Whiteside shouldn’t be written off entirely, they can’t afford to come away empty-handed in back-to-back drafts this flush with talent at receiver. What’s worse, they’re devoting $24 million in cap space to a pair of wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery who are on the downside of their careers and couldn’t stay on the field in 2019. An infusion of youth and big-play potential is a necessity.

How he would fit: Pairing Reagor with a healthy (fingers crossed) Jackson on the outside would put opposing defenses in a bind. But the chances of Reagor being a plug-and-play starter from the jump seem slim, especially considering the condensed offseason he’ll likely be facing. There is no grace period anymore for a rookie wideout, especially on a team retooling (not rebuilding) in the hopes of getting its hands on another Lombardi Trophy. Reagor is a project who profiles more as a gadget guy than a player who could serve as the focal point of your passing attack. That should give the Eagles plenty of pause with the 21st pick. If he manages to still be on the board in Round 2, that’s a different story.

Eagles history at WR in draft: Their struggles drafting wideouts of late are well documented. As is the recent and sordid past of receivers coming out of the pass-happy Big 12. Guys like Justin Blackmon, Tavon Austin, Josh Doctson, Kendall Wright and Corey Coleman were picked based on measurables and potential but turned into first-round flameouts. However, the last time the Eagles turned to the Big 12 for a wideout in the opening round they nabbed Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri with the 19th pick in 2009. I think they’d sign up for that level of success this time around.

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More draft profiles 

2020 NFL draft profile: Speedy Ruggs III could be perfect for the Eagles

2020 NFL draft profile: Justin Jefferson at 21 for Eagles?