With three picks in the top 20, the Eagles have a chance to revamp their roster in a hurry. Now that the Senior Bowl is complete and with every head coaching job filled, figuring out who might be available to them should get just a little bit easier.
1. Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Back in 2017, Doug Pederson was singing the praises of Carson Wentz to 49ers GM John Lynch prior to a game and famously finished with “as long as we don’t screw him up.” Entrusted now with Trevor Lawrence, Pederson and the Jags must do everything they can to avoid turning another franchise quarterback into a flop. If you don’t want to screw up Lawrence, start by not screwing up the first pick. Neal should give them a decade of top-notch protection.
2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Hutchinson is the human embodiment of Dan Campbell’s daily coffee intake (40 ounces and 4 espresso shots). He plays like an over-caffeinated Watt brother, relentless through the whistle every single play. This is the jolt the Lions organization needs.
3. Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Jack Easterby’s career in standup was an unmitigated disaster, but he’s succeeded in turning the Texans into a complete joke. Their coaching search was directionless, and they’ve shed talent like no other team over the past couple offseasons. Thibodeaux should help quiet the laughs. He’s got all the physical tools to become a perennial Pro Bowler.
4. Jets: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
The Jets have essentially told former first round pick Mekhi Becton that he’s out of a starting spot at left tackle. George Fant is fine as an interim option, but they need long-term answers to protect Zach Wilson. Ekwonu is huge and nasty, a big part of the reason he’s now in the mix to be the first overall pick in the draft.
5. Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
If the Giants’ new duo of GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll hope to turn Daniel Jones into anything remotely approaching Josh Allen, they will have to beef up the protection around their quarterback. Cross spent the past two seasons in Mike Leach’s air-raid offense so he’s more adept as a pass blocker at this point, which should mesh well with what Daboll and Schoen plan to bring with them from Buffalo.
6. Panthers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The most talented of the passers in this year’s class, Willis has a long way to go before being NFL-ready. But the skillset that was on display in Mobile during the Senior Bowl is clearly elite. The ball zips out of his hand and his running ability isn’t far off from Lamar Jackson’s level. Matt Rhule has taken some swings at the quarterback position and come up empty (Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Cam Newton’s Carolina reunion). Rhule finally lands a franchise-changer. The question becomes will he be able to stick around long enough for this pick to pay dividends?
7. Giants (via Bears): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Sticking with their Bills blueprint, the Giants get a souped-up version of first-team All-Pro Jordan Poyer at safety. Hamilton’s got more pedigree (Poyer was a 7th round selection by the Eagles in 2013) and size (he’s 6-4, Poyer is 6-0) than his counterpart with the Bills. He’ll make an immediate impact and can play all over the field.
8. Falcons: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
Atlanta was dead-last in the NFL in sacks last season with just 18. Enter Ojabo, who was a force up front for the Wolverines, racking up 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles last season playing opposite Hutchinson.
9. Broncos: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
With former Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach and a need at quarterback, this pick will surely be on the table should Aaron Rodgers make himself available via trade. Failing that, the Broncos use the 9th picks for a second straight year on a defensive stud. Patrick Surtain II looked like a Day 1 Pro Bowler before getting hurt. Lloyd should have the same level of impact.
10. Jets (via Seahawks): Derrick Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
After shoring up the offensive line, Joe Douglas can go outside the trenches with his second first rounder. Stingley has had injury issues but when healthy looks like a can’t miss prospect. The Jets were second-worst in the NFL in creating turnovers on defense. Stingley should bring some big-play ability.
11. Commanders: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Yes, it looks extremely weird to see the name Commanders in print. No matter their name, Washington needs a quarterback. Pickett feels like a high floor, low ceiling prospect. He lacks the upside of some of his draft classmates but feels like a safe bet to at least be a solid starter.
12. Vikings: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Vikings think turning their offense over to Kevin O’Connell will take it to great heights, so they focus on trying catch the defense up. Minnesota still has Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr but with both set to make over $10M this upcoming season they might need to go the younger, cheaper, yet just as effective route. Dean was a monster in the national title game and will be a plug-and-play starter.
13. Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
After setting Odell Beckham, Jr. free, the Browns have a huge hole at receiver. Wilson is a big play waiting to happen and will give Baker Mayfield a top target as he enters a crucial fifth (and final?) season in Cleveland.
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14. Ravens: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
No one as big and strong as Walker should be able to move like he does. He might be better suited to play in a 4-3, but the Ravens have a knack for picking great players and making it work. They surprisingly replaced defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale this offseason. He’s replaced by Mike McDonald who comes from Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan but has previous experience on John Harbaugh’s staff in Baltimore. He’s also a Georgia Bulldog himself so surely, he’ll love this pick.
15. Eagles (via Dolphins): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Howie Roseman is sure to be working the phones like crazy come draft night, but if Gardner falls into his lap when the Eagles are on the clock, they should rush that pick to the podium. “Sauce” has the size, swag, and shutdown abilities to become one of the best in the game. A consensus All-American, he scored more touchdowns (two) than he gave up (zero) in three years for Cincy. While this surely won’t influence their decision, the Eagles have had some big-time success drafting Bearcats (Trent Cole, Jason Kelce, Brent Celek).
16. Eagles (via Colts): Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
It’s simply in Roseman’s DNA to fall in love with a prospect at the Senior Bowl every year. This time around it’s Jermaine Johnson, a Georgia transfer who lit it up in Mobile. And there is plenty to love: his power and strength are off the charts, and the production from his senior season (12 sacks, 18 tackles for loss) earned him ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors. It’s a testament to how stacked the national champs were that Johnson couldn’t crack the starting lineup at Georgia. Yet he still managed 7.5 sacks in two seasons as a part-time player in Athens before transferring to FSU. Johnson plays hard and tough and would bring an edge to a defense that was way too passive under Jonathan Gannon.
17. Chargers: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
A player who seems like the perfect fit in a Chargers defense that was third-worst against the run a season ago. At 6-5, 350 pounds, Davis can eat up blockers, potentially freeing Joey Bosa from double-teams. Brandon Staley has some great individual pieces on his defense. Davis could be the one that brings it all together.
18. Saints: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Perhaps the impending uncertainty under center played a part in Sean Payton’s decision to step aside as head coach in New Orleans. Jameis Winston is set to become a free agent and coming off a torn ACL while the Tayson Hill experiment may have run its course. So, the Saints opt for Corral who lacks ideal size for the position but has the athleticism to make up for it.
19. Eagles: Drake London, WR, USC
I can’t fathom the Eagles using all three of these first-round picks on defense, so they go for a weapon to put opposite Devonta Smith. The organization wants to build an elite offense and to do so they need more weapons. London played in just 8 games before a season-ending ankle injury but racked up 88 catches and over 1,000 yards. He topped 130 yards in all but two contests. Surely there are concerns that he simply out muscled smaller defenders with his 6-4 frame and won’t be able to separate at the NFL level, but I don’t buy it. London is a high-volume target, not just a jump ball guy.
20. Steelers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Whoever takes the reins from Ben Roethlisberger is going to need better protection up front. Drafting Penning would be a great place to start.
21. Patriots: Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson
Bill Belichick typically doesn’t need the most talented corners to turn them into stars (see JC Jackson and Malcolm Butler) but Booth gives him a complete player who won’t need much seasoning. Here’s hoping any congratulatory texts he sends on draft night go to the expected recipient.
22. Raiders: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Josh McDaniels gets his second shot as a head coach and the Raiders immediately look to improve the weapons around Derek Carr. With Hunter Renfrow blossoming into a Pro Bowler in the slot and Darren Waller serving a matchup nightmare, Olave gives them a clean route runner who will make their passing game extremely tough to defend.
23. Cardinals: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
The Cardinals current defensive ends are both future hall of famers, but J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones aren’t going to play forever. Karlaftis represents the best value on the board at a position that could become a priority really soon.
24. Cowboys: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Dallas’ defense took incredible strides in 2021, so now it’s the offenses turn to catch up. They simply could not keep Dak Prescott clean in their playoff loss to the 49ers, so they get some added protection up front.
25. Bills: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Bills already have one of the best corners in the entire NFL in Tre’Davious White, but he spent the end of last season on IR. Without him, their defense had no answers for the Chiefs in the divisional round. McCreary had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and may have cemented his status as a first-rounder.
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26. Titans: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
If Tennessee could keep AJ Brown and Julio Jones healthy their offense could become downright dominant. But Jones’ best days clearly seem behind him. Pairing Burks with a hopefully healthy Brown for the foreseeable future will put defenses in an absolute bind. Good luck matching up with two big-bodied receivers and the biggest-bodied running back in football in Derrick Henry.
27. Buccaneers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
With Tom Brady’s retirement, I doubt the Bucs will pay Chris Godwin as he enters free agency off a torn ACL. Instead, they draft Williams who is coming off the very same injury but will cost significantly less. He’d easily go in the top 15 if not for his injury.
28. Packers: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
There are some major questions facing the Packers this offseason. Will Aaron Rodgers force his way out? Will he take free agent wideout Davante Adams with him? If the band is back together, Dotson will add a big play element that could make them even more high-powered on offense. If they leave, he can quickly become Jordan Love’s top option.
29. Dolphins (via 49ers): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Mike McDaniel takes over in Miami with an emphasis on getting the most out of Tua Tagovailoa. Giving him a center who can control a game from the line of scrimmage would go a long way toward helping their young quarterback.
30. Chiefs: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
When in doubt, Big Red will look to the trenches. Leal offers some inside-outside versatility up front. Pairing him with Chris Jones, Frank Clark and Melvin Ingram would be an absolute nightmare for opposing offenses to block.
31. Bengals: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
There’s no doubt the Bengals need to improve the protection for Joe Burrow. Some have projected Kinnard as a guard in the NFL but he was a consensus All-American for the Wildcats playing outside.
32. Lions (via Rams): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Matthew Stafford trade couldn’t have worked out worse for the Lions in terms of draft pick value. They use the final selection of the first round to nab Ridder who they hope can do something Stafford never could in Detroit: Win a playoff game.