Mock draft: Eagles level up RB, secondary in first round


Folks, the Eagles' season is unfortunately over without a ring which means we're officially allowed to look ahead to the next league year.

The 2023 NFL Draft is gonna sneak up on all of us considering the Birds played until the second week of February, so let's strap those Mock Draft helmets on and start digging in these YouTube mines. We need to learn about roughly a zillion college football players by the time the first round kicks off in late April.

Let's start with a sweep around the Football Internet in the 48 hours after Super Bowl Sunday to gawk at some mock drafts - a gawk draft, if you will:

10. RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

"If Miles Sanders finds a new home in free agency, the Eagles could have interest in adding Robinson as a dual-threat weapon in their prolific attack. He slaloms through traffic inside and displays an upfield burst in the open field."

30. S Ronnie Hickman, Ohio State

"Philadelphia has not picked a defensive back in the first round since 2002 (cornerback Lito Sheppard), but the Eagles could end that drought if Chauncey Gardner-Johnson departs in free agency. Hickman lines up all over the field and brings a physicality to the position that will endear him to Philly fans."

CBS Sports

10. DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

"Kancey can learn so much from Javon Hargrave early in his Eagles career, another undersized but explosive up-the-field defensive tackle."

30. RB Bijan Robinson, Texas 


"Robinson running behind the league's best offensive line? Sounds like a blast for Philadelphia. Not so much for Eagles opponents."

SB Nation

10. CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

[No entry]

30. DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

[No entry]

Yahoo! Sports

10. CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

"You can’t make a mock draft happen, you can only project, but I SO want to give the Eagles Texas RB Bijan Robinson here. Unfortunately, he’s a luxury for a team that’s going to need defense. Lots and lots of defense. The Eagles need to get less expensive in a big hurry with the personnel losses to come."

30. RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

"The Eagles need lots and lots of defense considering what they’re likely going to lose in free agency, but there’s also the possibility of losing some of the backs in the rotation, too. Again, defense and more defense, but … here’s the call. The Eagles go Texas RB Bijan Robinson at the 10 and defense here, or defense with the earlier pick and the perfect fit of Gibbs here."


10. CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

"Could Witherspoon be this cycle's first cornerback taken? The upcoming NFL Combine is huge for him and others he's battling near the top of the first round. According to Illini Inquirer, Witherspoon had 41 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, three interceptions and 14 passes broken up this season. Witherspoon was one of the nation’s top players at his position and according to Pro Football Focus had the ninth-highest defensive grade of all players in the country who played at least 100 snaps."

30. EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

[No entry]

We've got a lot of repeat names here: Bijan Robinson, Devon Witherspoon, and Calijah Kancey all got multiple shout-outs. I imagine we'll start to see mock draft consensus ossify around a few names in particular over the next few weeks and months, especially for their pick at No. 10, considering the Eagles are a roster with clear and specific needs. There will be more variability at No. 30.

MORE: An early look at Eagles’ pending free agents in 2023

A few thoughts:

1. I definitely like the idea of Witherspoon. James Bradberry was great this year but he's almost certainly priced himself out of the Eagles' range this offseason. Adding a young, cost-controlled player at CB2 in the final year of Darius Slay's deal would be a home run: Witherspoon could learn from a Pro Bowl talent as a rookie while adding blue chip talent to the roster. Witherspoon had three INTs and 14 passes defended last year with the Illini. He also stands 6 feet tall. I like those numbers.

2. We've been over this: the Eagles are not taking Bijan Robinson at No. 10 overall. People - smart people, even - will continue to mock it. That doesn't mean it's happening. The Eagles are going to have way too much roster turnover this offseason and Howie Roseman (and the NFL at large) places way higher value on basically every other position. The only intriguing option here is if Robinson is still on the board at No. 30. He's clearly a stud and could take this Eagles offense into the stratosphere. At No. 10 it's obviously not happening. At No. 30? Okay, yes, Howie will at least think about it.


3. This is the first I've heard of Calijah Kancey (great name) because I've been too bogged down in the Eagles' Super Bowl run. In his last 23 games for Pitt he put up 27.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, and 64 total tackles. He has my attention! Sports Reference only has him at 6-foot, 275 pounds, which is absolutely undersized for an NFL defensive lineman, so his Combine will likely go a long way towards deciding his draft fate. But Howie Roseman is no stranger to Pitt football and he loves a D-lineman more than just about anything, so this is a name to keep in your back pocket.

Overall, a fun start to the offseason mock draft process. The Eagles have plenty of decisions to make over the next 10 weeks. This will be a very different football team by next season. I think Roseman will target defensive line and cornerback in the draft, with an eye towards offensive line if someone like Peter Skoronski falls in his lap, but he's surprised us before. We'll see.