As the Dolphins and Colts continue to win (6-0 and 5-1 respectively in their last 6 games), the Eagles draft picks have been dropping dramatically.
The good news is that the pick from Indy is a lock to become a first rounder as Carson Wentz has made it through 14 games unscathed. As of right now, Howie Roseman would pick 10th, 12th (via Miami) and 23rd (via Indianapolis).
1. Jaguars: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Could this be Doug Pederson’s next landing spot? If the Jags end up with the top pick and an offensive-minded head coach, I suspect they’ll look to trade down and fix things around Trevor Lawrence (perhaps Alabama OT Evan Neal). As it stands now, I’ll give them the player expected to be atop most draft boards come April.
2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
The Lions tab the hometown kid to continue their rebuild. Hutchinson went to Divine Child High School, a mere 15 miles from Ford Field. That’s all just an added bonus on top of getting an elite pass rush prospect who has been referred to as the long-lost Watt brother. His 14 sacks this season made him the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.
3. Texans: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Texans are rumored to be considering Davis Mills as the long-term answer at quarterback. They did use an early 3rd-round pick on the Stanford product, but I just don’t buy it. Corral gives them much greater upside at the position.
4. Jets: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Joe Douglas gives Robert Saleh a blue-chip piece to work with on defense while they continue to cross their fingers that Zach Wilson was the right choice in 2021. LSU has produced four All-Pro defensive backs in the last decade. Stingley could very well make it five.
5. Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Giants need help pretty much everywhere but left tackle, where former 4th-overall pick Andrew Thomas looks like decade-long starter. But the value and need for help elsewhere along the offensive line is too good to pass up. Neal gives them another monster bookend to build around.
6. Giants (via Bears): George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Using the pick they acquired in a trade down with the Bears during the 2021 draft, the Giants stay in the trenches and add a true power rusher. While more suited for a 4-3 than a 3-4, Karlaftis gives the Giants an influx of talent. Lining him up next to Leonard Williams will give opposing offenses problems.
7. Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Pickett was once poised to play for Matt Rhule when he committed to Temple in 2016. Once Rhule left for Baylor, Pickett changed course and ended up on the other side of the state at Pitt. He’ll be 24 years old by the time he plays in an NFL game, but the production was next-level during his 5th collegiate season (4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns). Rhule finally gets his guy.
8. Jets: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa
The Jets have already invested heavily along the offensive line, using first rounders on Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker in the last two drafts, but why stop there? Between Hall of Famer Kevin Mawai and Nick Mangold, the Jets had elite play at the center position for most of this century. It picks back up with another stud in the middle of the offensive line in Linderbaum.
9. Falcons: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
I remain committed to keeping Davis in my top-10. Humans with his size and ability don’t come around often. He won the Outland and Bednarik trophies this past season, anchoring one of the best defenses in the country. Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees has had great success with monsters at nose tackle in the past (see: Vince Wilfork (Patriots) and Haloti Ngata (Ravens).
10. Eagles: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
When things eventually shake out on draft day, I expect Hamilton will slip down a little from his current projections. That slide stops with the Eagles, who would seem unlikely to use a pick this high on a position they don’t typically prioritize in the draft. Yet this organization has seen the impact an elite, play-making safety can have on a defense. Brian Dawkins’ No. 20 jerseys still litter the stands at every home game and Malcolm Jenkins helped bring a Lombardi trophy to Philly. With three picks and a talent this special, Howie Roseman zigs when he typically zags.
Hamilton was a consensus All-American this season, despite playing in just seven games due to a knee injury. He’ll sit out of the Fiesta Bowl as he continues to prepare himself for the NFL, but had the Irish made the College Football Playoff, there are rumblings he might have played. With two more picks and still plenty of talent in the trenches on the board, the Eagles can afford to wait to address other needs.
11. Washington: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Many have touted Washington as being “a quarterback away” from contention. I wouldn’t go that far, but they are certainly in need of an upgrade at the position. Willis closed out his college career with a five-touchdown performance in the Lending Tree Bowl. The evaluation process surrounding him will be interesting considering the lack of talent he played with at Liberty.
12. Eagles (via Dolphins): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
It might seem crazy to triple-down on receivers with first-round picks, but Jalen Reagor’s lack of productions leaves a void at the position. Plus, the organizational ethos is that a top offense is the best way to win in the NFL. Enter Williams, who teams with DeVonta Smith to give the Birds a pair of elite weapons for the foreseeable future.
Despite coming out of Tuscaloosa a year after Smith, the two were never teammates. In fact, Williams transferred in this year after not getting on the field for Ohio State. He hung 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Georgia’s highly-touted defense in the SEC championship game, so Williams might be gone by the time this pick rolls around. If he’s there, Howie Roseman should pounce.
13. Raiders: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Raiders have major needs across the board but finding Derek Carr someone to replace Henry Ruggs would be a good start. In his last three games alone, Wilson has racked up 371 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s played both in the slot and outside for the Buckeyes, but has big play potential in either role.
14. Broncos: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Surely the Broncos will be in play for any big-name veteran quarterbacks looking to change teams, but failing that, they select Ridder. His stock has a chance to sink or skyrocket in a big way with the Bearcats in the College Football Playoff.
15. Steelers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Steelers will be eyeing a replacement for Ben Roethlisberger this offseason but they also have to do something about an offensive line that has given up 33 sacks and produced the 2nd worth rushing offense in football.
16. Browns: Drake London, WR, USC
Odell Beckham, Jr. didn’t live up to his billing in Cleveland and after being released this season, there is a major need for a playmaker on the outside. London is a huge target at 6-foot-5, but his season was cut short by an ankle injury.
17. Ravens: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, North Carolina State
The Ravens have been absolutely ravaged by injuries this season, yet still remain in the playoff hunt. Regardless, they need to upgrade their offensive line. Ekwonu has played both guard and tackle in college and brings a toughness that would fit right into the Ravens culture.
18. Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Saints haven’t taken a skill position player in the first round since Brandin Cooks in 2014. In fact, they’ve only used one second rounder on a skill player in that same timespan, Michael Thomas in 2016. With Thomas’ future in New Orleans murky at best, they nab another Buckeye wideout to replenish the receiver position.
19. Vikings: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
If Mike Zimmer is back for a 9th season as Vikings head coach, he’s going to want some difference makers up front on defense. Leal can play outside or push the pocket from the inside, registering 8.5 sacks this season. He was a three-year starter for the Aggies and one of the most heavily recruited players in the country out of high school.
20. Bills: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Bills offense has come back to earth in a bit in 2021 and a lot of it has to do with the protection up front for Josh Allen. He’s been sacked 18 times in their last 7 games. Current left tackle Dion Dawkins has played well, but he was originally drafted out of Temple as a guard and could be elite if he moves inside.
21. Dolphins (via 49ers): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
With the success of Devin White and Micah Parsons at the next level, Lloyd could find himself coming off the board earlier than this. He’s been even more productive (20 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 interceptions and a forced fumble) than those linebackers who came before him, but he’s not quite in their class athletically.
22. Chargers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
With Mike Williams set to become a free agent and Keenan Allen turning 30 in April, the Chargers invest in a long-term weapon for Justin Herbert. At 6-3, 225 pounds, Burks fits the Williams mold as an X-receiver who could flourish in Joe Lombardi’s offense.
23. Eagles (via Colts): David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
This might be a bit of a reach to have Ojabo fall this far, but there’s no way the Eagles are entering this draft with three first rounders and not using at least one in the trenches. They grab a defensive end to help replenish a group that is sure to have some turnover heading into next season. Derek Barnett is a free agent and Brandon Graham is coming off a torn achilles.
Ojabo offers major upside as a prospect, having never played football until his junior year in high school. This past season he and tag-team partner Aidan Hutchinson wrecked opposing offenses, with Ojabo contributing 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. He’s slight, weighing in at just 250 pounds, but at 6-foot-5, he figures to have the frame to be able to bulk up. He relies a lot on his speed off the edge but should develop enough counter moves to become the total package.
Ojabo’s story is very similar to Ravens rookie sensation Odafe Oweh. Neither one really played the sport until they got to their junior year to Blair Academy in New Jersey, where they were teammates. Both parlayed that into successful careers in the Big Ten, and now Ojabo will join Oweh as a first round pick in the spring based on freakish physical abilities.
Overall it’s quite the haul for Roseman as he lands Kyle Hamilton, Jameson Williams and David Ojabo.
24. Lions (via Rams): Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
After getting Hutchinson 2nd overall, the Lions stay on defense with their second selection. Dean is a little undersized but is an elite athlete for the position. He gives Dan Campbell another culture setter in the locker room.
25. Bengals: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The Bengals need all the help they can get along the offensive line. Joe Burrow has been sacked a league-high 44 times. He’s got the weapons to throw to and now he just needs the time to get it to them.
26. Titans: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Titans used their first round pick on cornerback Caleb Farley in 2021, but injury ended his season before it ever got started. Gardner is a first-team All-American and would be a steal at this slot.
27. Cardinals: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Cardinals are limping to the finish this season. Jared Goff just lit them up for 3 touchdowns. Suffice it to say they could use some help in the secondary.
28. Buccaneers: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Chris Godwin tore his ACL and is heading toward free agency. Antonio Brown is not exactly reliable. Give Tom Brady a burner to go opposite Mike Evans and watch the big plays happen. As Bruce Arians loves to say, no risk it, no biscuit.
29. Patriots: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
Bill Belichick went crazy in free agency for the first time back in March, including splurging on Matthew Judon. He’s paid dividends racking up 12.5 sacks. But they could always use more pass rushers. This just feels like a Belichick pick.
30. Cowboys: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Trevon Diggs has already reached double-digits in interceptions, but the Cowboys could certainly use some help on the other side. Anthony Brown has been picked on by opposing offenses all season long. Elam gives them a potential shutdown corner to line up opposite their big playmaker.
31. Chiefs: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
The Chiefs defense has certainly turned things around this season after a historically bad start. But Steve Spagnuolo could use a piece at the second level. Harris played safety and receiver in high school but has easily made the transition to linebacker for Nick Saban.
32. Packers: John Metchie, WR, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers sticks around for one more year under the guise that he gets to play General Manager and select a receiver in the first round. Metchie would make it three straight seasons that Alabama has two receivers taken in the first round (Ruggs/Jeudy in 2020, Waddle/Smith in 2021, Williams/Metchie in 2022).
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