After a playoff run that took the Eagles all the way to Super Bowl LVII, it’s all of a sudden draft season.
The combine kicks off in a week and we’re a little over two months from the start of the 2023 draft.
As a reminder, the Eagles have two picks in the first round this year. No. 10 from the Saints and No. 30. There are just 31 picks in the first round this year after the Dolphins forfeited their pick.
Let’s take our first spin around the internet to see what some experts have the Eagles doing:
10. Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
What they said: “A guy who can play up and down the line, Bresee (6-5, 300 pounds) fits the profile of a Philly first-rounder – and especially in a year when the team's defensive tackle depth will likely be decimated with Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph ticketed for free agency.”
30. Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
What they said: A sizable corner (6-2, 205) with the ability to press, he could potentially plug into a secondary that probably can't afford to keep CB James Bradberry.
My take on the haul: It’s never a bad idea to give the Eagles a lineman in the first round. They don’t try to hide that philosophy and if it’s close between a lineman and another player, guess where they’re going. Bresee is an interesting name because he’s extremely talented but his production at Clemson won’t blow you away. But Bresee also had some injuries and missed a game after the death of his younger sister this season so he’s been through a lot. But like Davis mentioned, the Eagles will need to restock the position. So this should be in play. And Bresee is flexible enough to play at a few spots on the line.
And the Banks pick is interesting and is another position of need entering the draft. I too believe that Bradberry will be gone because the Eagles can’t afford him. Banks has the type of size you don’t see every day at the position and if he tests well at the combine, could punch his ticket to the first round.
10. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
What they said: “Gonzalez, a Colorado transfer, is a big-time athlete who is still growing into the position. He has the size, strength and speed to line up against NFL wide receivers; he just needs to improve in run support.”
30. BJ Ojulari, Edge, LSU
What they said: Ojulari, whose brother played at Georgia and plays for the Giants, had a solid campaign for the Tigers, and he has many of the same explosive qualities that made his brother so hard to block for the Bulldogs. Ojulari could end up being better than Azeez, and that's saying something.”
My take on the haul: The Eagles haven’t taken a cornerback in the first round since they drafted Lito Sheppard out of Florida in 2002 and they haven’t taken a defensive back with a top 10 pick since 1969. So this would be bucking a trend. But if you look around the league the last couple years, you’ll see cornerbacks stepping in and playing at a high level immediately. Hard to watch guys like Sauce Gardner and Patrick Surtain II and not want to give it a go. Gonzalez is consistently the top cornerback going in most mock drafts but he’s second here behind Joey Porter Jr., who goes to the Lions at 6.
As for Ojulari, I have always been a fan of his brother’s game and BJ has a chance to be a really good pro too. He would fit that SAM linebacker role for the Eagles and could play immediately as a rotational player behind Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat.
Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated
10. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
What they said: “Witherspoon has put himself into the CB1 mix, although he’s the second off the board in this mock. The three-year starter is a confident, smart and physical cornerback with outstanding ball skills. He finished last season with three interceptions and 14 pass breakups. Given that James Bradberry is scheduled to become a free agent in March, and Darius Slay will be a free agent after next season, cornerback is a position that the NFC champs could address with one of their first-round picks.”
30. Keion White, Edge, Georgia Tech
What they said: White played tight end for Old Dominion in 2018, transitioned to defense in ’19 and then ODU didn’t play football in ’20. He transferred to Georgia Tech for the ’21 season and had his most productive season (14 TFLs and 7.5 sacks) in ’22. While he’s relatively new to the defensive side of the ball, he’s extremely athletic for a 280-pound edge defender. Considering the way the Eagles rotate their defensive linemen, Philly would have the benefit of utilizing White in a way that maximizes his development.
My take on the haul: In this mock, Witherspoon is the second cornerback off the board following Gonzalez, who goes at No. 6 to the Lions. That’s what we’re seeing in most of these mocks: Gonzalez as the first corner off the board and Witherspoon as the second. There’s a lot to like about Witherspoon, though, and it’s not crazy if some people think he’s the best corner in this draft. He was a menace in man coverage and his body of work this season was pretty crazy. According to PFF, he was targeted 63 times and gave up just 22 catches for 206 yards and 0 touchdowns.
While is an interesting name. He began his career as a tight end at Old Dominion and didn’t flip to defense until 2019. But he’s big (6-5, 280) and that size should give him the kind of position flexibility the Eagles have really valued on the defensive line since Nick Sirianni became their head coach.
10. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
What they said: Witherspoon is a highly confident, ball-hawking cornerback with the type of energy that will fit right in with the Eagles and their fan base.
30. Jordan Addison, WR, USC
What they said: Like DeVonta Smith, Addison is thin-framed with outstanding ball skills. Adding Addison to the Eagles' receiver room will force defenses into even more pick-your-poison scenarios.
My take on the haul: Since we already talked about Witherspoon, let’s focus on Addison. Do the Eagles need to use a first-round pick on a receiver? No. But adding a first-rounder to a group that already includes A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith is dangerous. Addison has the flexibility to play inside and outside so he’d come in and immediately be the Eagles’ third wideout, playing a lot in the slot. At 6-0, 175 pounds, the Smith comparison is hard to avoid. Addison put up big numbers at Pitt but then he went to USC and still had solid production. Although some will worry about the drop-off from his really impressive sophomore season.
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