As we creep toward the 2022 NFL Draft, the Eagles’ three first-round picks creep down the list. Not long ago, the Birds had three top-8 picks. As of now, the Eagles will select 19th (their own), 20th (from Miami), and 23rd (from the Colts).
1. Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Hutchinson has worked his way up draft boards everywhere; his spot at the top is well-earned. The first-team All-American and Heisman runner-up has already broken the school single-season record for sacks with 14, with a playoff matchup looming vs. Georgia Friday night.
2. Lions: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Another proud alum of DBU, Stingley hasn’t played since mid-September due to a foot injury. But his talent is far too much to pass up for a team that ranks next-to-last in the NFL is passing yards allowed per play.
3. Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Houston needs help everywhere. Thibodeaux was the consensus No. 1 pick for months. So barring a trade down to add picks, the Texans will run, not walk, to the podium if the All-American is on the board here.
4. Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
If the Jets are hitching their wagons to Zach Wilson (and it looks as though they have), Neal is the right pick here. They can plug him in at right tackle, and along with Mekhi Becton, they could have bookends for the next decade.
5. Giants: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Like Stingley, Hamilton is highly talented, and missed a chunk of the 2021 season due to injury (knee). But he is being touted as a game changer in the defensive backfield, one who can make a big impact against the run as well as the pass.
6. Jets (via Seahawks): George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The Jets get help in the trenches on both sides of the ball early with the selection of Karlaftis, who is forgoing Purdue’s appearance in the Music City Bowl later this week.
7. Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
This is Carolina’s only pick in the top three rounds, so it’s primed to be dealt. For our purposes, they take the homegrown Ekwonu, who is shooting up draft boards.
8. Giants (via Bears): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi St.
The Giants are expected to make a change at GM and the new boss gets a difference-maker on both sides of the ball in the top-8 picks with Hamilton and now Cross. Gotta figure Saquon Barkley would love to see a blue-chipper in front of him pan out for once.
9. Washington: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
McDuffie is the latest alum from what I like to call “DBU Jr.” He may be the quickest defensive player in the draft, and he’s a willing tackler, a hallmark of U-Dub’s DBs.
10. Falcons: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Matt Ryan seems ageless, and he’s a kid (36) compared to Tom Brady (44), but the Falcons need some fresh blood in the QB room. Corral is the most talented from a draft that doesn’t really boast a franchise-changing signal caller.
11. Broncos: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
An intriguing prospect here for Denver, a team that prides itself on its defense. A bit undersized for the position at the pro level, but he is always in the right place and the right time to make a play.
12. Vikings: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
It was a struggle to not have Denver select Pickett, but I feel there’s no way he gets past this spot in the draft, either by Minnesota or another team trading up to snatch him.
13. Saints: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
New Orleans could go QB here, but their real star in their offense is Alvin Kamara, and protecting him is Job 1. Green is listed as guard, but he got significant experience at tackle this past season in College Station.
14. Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Eagles fans are seeing what a difference an undersized playmaker can be in Devonta Smith. Wilson, who officially declared Monday for the draft, didn’t put up monster numbers this season. But if you watch him play, it won’t take long to fall in love.
15. Steelers: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Very solid cover corner. His tape against Alabama last month was really outstanding. He was a big reason why Alabama took 59-plus minutes to score a touchdown.
16. Chargers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
After two forgettable seasons with Ohio State, Williams put himself firmly on the map with a huge season in Tuscaloosa - 68 catches, 1,445 yards, and 15 TDs in 13 games. Justin Herbert paired with Williams is a scary tandem.
17. Raiders: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Vegas has caught a run of cold cards in the draft, but they can begin to turn things around with the selection of Elam, a long, rangy corner with the anticipation that could lead to plenty of takeaways at his spot.
18. Ravens: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
This versatile linebacker will be a dynamite weapon in Baltimore’s defense. The 6-3, 235-pound monster is straight out of central casting, and not many franchise value the linebacker spot as highly as the Ravens.
19. Eagles (via Dolphins): Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
Jason Kelce’s place in Eagles legend is cemented, but the Iron Man of the offensive line can’t last forever. Enter Kelce 2.0 in Linderbaum – same height (6-3), nearly same weight (295 vs. 291) and on tape the similarities continue.
20. Eagles: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
The Eagles need some big time help in the defensive backfield and Brisker is a great place to start. A super-athletic safety with ball skills galore, he could be gone by the time this spot comes up in the draft if he does what he’s expected to at the Combine.
21. Dolphins (via 49ers): David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
He only started to play organized football a few years ago, but Ojabo has caught up mighty quickly. Don’t get caught up in the fact that he’s getting easy matchups from playing on the same line as Aidan Hutchinson. He’s as athletic as they come. The guy runs 100 meters in less than 11 seconds.
22. Patriots: Drake London, WR, USC
London was having a great season before he broke his ankle. While he isn’t Olympic sprinter speedy, he’s 6-5 and I like his odds on any 50-50 ball and so will Bill Belichick.
23. Eagles (via Colts): DeMarvin Leal, EDGE, Texas A&M
The Eagles’ pass rush has been suspect this season, and the future is cloudy – both Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham could be gone. If Ojabo is off the board, Leal is a fine consolation prize.
24. Cardinals: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
The Cardinals are always looking for players to fortify their defensive front, and Enagbare is a prime candidate. At 6-4, 265 pounds with room to add more weight, he can play any spot along the line, and even drop in to coverage if the situation calls for it.
25. Bills: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
Buffalo needs help in their defensive backfield, and there’s no division in football where a team will need a player who can shut down tight ends like the AFC East. Battle can do that and much more.
26. Bengals: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Cincinnati is building around Joe Burrow. That’s clear. Tee Higgins has already established himself as a stud. Drafting Olave gives the Bengals the ability to force the defense into a difficult decision as to who to clamp down on.
27. Buccaneers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Tom Brady wants to play until he’s 85. That’s not as realistic as it seems. Imagine a solid QB who can use all the weapons in Tampa’s arsenal, along with the mobility to keep the defense guessing.
28. Lions (via Rams): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
After drafting Stingley at No. 2, Detroit gets the other bookend CB late in the first round. The AAC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American has all the tools to clamp on any receiver and immediately give Detroit a pass defense any NFL team would envy.
29. Titans: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Currently without a second-round pick, Tennessee could trade down here and add picks, but for our case, they snatch up a receiver that could round out their pass attack nicely. It’s a dated reference, but Michael Irvin had Alvin Harper to run 9 routes to keep defenses occupied. Burks is a great Harper to AJ Brown’s Irvin in Nashville.
30. Cowboys: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
Davis is a stopper in the Ndamukong Suh vein – 6-6, 340 pounds. You will need two linemen to keep him in check on every play, and even then, he’ll still get through. Dallas already has a strong defense, this will go a long way to fortify their front four.
31. Chiefs: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
The 3-4 OLB hasn’t officially declared for the draft, but he signed with an agent this week. He runs a 4.5 40 at 6-4 and 250 pounds; add to that the length of a small forward and you have a versatile chess piece Kansas City can use to its advantage.
32. Packers: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
Emerson just opted out of Mississippi State’s bowl game. He’s a converted safety who allowed just one receiving TD against him all season in 10 SEC games, against the best of the best.