Eagles

A popular position emerging for Eagles in mock draft roundup

Eagles

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL combine begins this week as draft season kicks into high gear.

The Eagles have the No. 10 pick (from the Saints) and the No. 30 pick (their own) in the first round this year.

Here’s the latest stroll around the internet to see what some experts have the Eagles doing:

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network

10. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

What they said: An edge rusher wouldn’t surprise me here, but I think Witherspoon is the best corner in the draft. He reminds me a lot of former Eagles Pro Bowler Asante Samuel.

30. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kanas State

What they said: The way the Eagles do business, I’d be shocked if they left the first round without an offensive or defensive lineman.

My take on the haul: The Eagles haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since they took Lito Sheppard out of Florida back in 2002. So it’s been a very long time. But there’s an obvious need at what really is a premium position. And even if the top cornerback still isn’t available, one of those top players — between Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr. and Christian Gonzalez — is likely to be on the board when the Eagles pick. We just have to see if the Eagles pull the trigger.

And I agree with Jeremiah on the likelihood of the Eagles’ drafting a lineman if they indeed take two players in the first round. It’s just how they operate. And I think getting an edge player to rotate in behind Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat makes plenty of sense. But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them draft an interior defensive linemen even after taking Jordan Davis a year ago.

 

Damian Parson, The Draft Network

10. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

What they said: The Eagles proved they can score with any team in the league, even a Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs unit. That said, losing James Bradberry will be a sizeable void to fill. Devon Witherspoon brings physicality, toughness, and versatility to this secondary. His tape is outstanding and he fits the tough/gritty city that is Philadelphia.

30. Josh Downs, WR, UNC

What they said: The Eagles’ offense is one of the best in the league right now. The one area they can improve is the WR3 or slot position. Quez Watkins is a solid WR4/deep threat but not a reliable or consistent weapon. Josh Downs slides in the slot with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith flanking on each side. Downs is an outstanding route-runner with knowledge of leveraging and pacing. This would make Philadelphia’s offense as potent as any in the league.

My take on the haul: Another pick of Witherspoon. The difference here is that he ends up as the second corner off the board after Gonzalez goes to the Falcons at No. 8. Sure, though, makes sense.

And then Downs is an interesting pick. The Eagles are in a pretty good spot with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith but if they want to improve the No. 3 receiver position, upgrading from Quez Watkins, it’s not crazy to think they might use another high-round pick on a wideout. Downs (5-10, 175) isn’t very big but he’s a shifty inside receiver who has shown off his quick change of direction ability in college. And he’s clearly a slot receiver, having taken 89% of his college snaps inside. The Eagles usually like their receivers to show some versatility inside and out but with Brown and Smith so established, the thought of drafting a plug-and-play slot like Downs is intriguing.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

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. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

What they said: Robinson is special, and while he is probably one of the best players in this class, he could still be around late in Round 1 because he's a running back. Do the Eagles NEED him? No, but this offense, which was unstoppable for most of the season, would be even better in '23 with him in the backfield. Put another way: There are worse things than adding a Saquon Barkley-type talent to this offense.

 

My take on the haul: In this mock, Porter is the first corner off the board and the Eagles go with Gonzalez instead of Witherspoon. Hopefully, these players will start to distinguish themselves a little bit at the combine. But nabbing a player who might be the top corner at pick 10 would be great and worthy of bucking a long trend from the organization.

It’s probably unlikely the Eagles use a first-round pick on a running back but never say never. Robinson is a really dynamic player and if the Eagles ever were to draft a running back this high, this year could give them reasons to. This would be their second first-round pick, so maybe they can use it on a luxury position. Miles Sanders is about to leave the team as a free agent and Robinson would offer a cheaper replacement. And the Eagles are coming off a Super Bowl, which doesn’t mean they mortgage their future but they can make some short-term moves to try to get back. And drafting a running back to play immediately would qualify.

Natalie Miller, USA Today Sports

7. Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech (trade with Raiders)

What they said: The Eagles have been aggressive in the draft before, and are once again making the leap to find a young edge rusher to help with their already ridiculous defensive line depth. The Raiders are eager to move down with all the quarterbacks off the board, and the Eagles give them an offer they cannot refuse to snatch up a physical dynamo in Wilson.

30. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

What they said: The Eagles don’t truly have a ton of draft needs, but getting younger at cornerback can’t hurt. Ringo was an impressive starter on an elite Georgia defense, and should have little trouble developing into an impact player on the outside in Philly.

My take on the haul: We don’t know what it took for the Eagles to move up three spots to draft Wilson, but I like where Miller’s head is at. We know Howie Roseman is never shy about making draft day trades and getting a player some think might be the best edge player in the draft at No. 7 makes some sense. If the quarterbacks come off the board early, then it pushes good players down the board. And if the Eagles see a player they love fall into their range, they never hesitate to pounce.

The Ringo pick is interesting because he’s one of the more polarizing players in this draft. He’s a physical freak at 6-2, 210 and he’s going to put on a show at the combine. He’s also known as a press-man corner with a specific set of skills. He might not be a fit for every defense but some team is going to fall in love with his athleticism.

 

Trevor Sikkema, PFF

10. Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

What they said: The Eagles have made a living out of using their priority picks in the trenches. With their bonus first-round pick, that’s where I think they look. They have Landon Dickerson and Cam Jurgens to give them depth and versatility on the interior, and Paris Johnson Jr. can do the same at offensive tackle.

30. Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

What they said: There’s a lot to like about Kancey's pass-rush profile. The 6-foot, 280-pounder has some of the fastest hands and burst off the snap you’ll see. But that’s because he is smaller in overall size, which goes into some of the give and take of his scouting report. Putting him next to a space eater like Jordan Davis might form a magical pairing.

62. Josh Downs, WR, UNC

My take on the haul: While it’s true that the Eagles build in the trenches, it’s hard to think of something that would be more unpopular than taking an offensive tackle in the first round. The Eagles still have Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson locked up for the next few seasons so this would be a backup player on a team that just went to the Super Bowl. And unlike drafting Jordan Davis last year, offensive linemen don’t play unless something goes wrong. Of course, the Eagles did draft Cam Jurgens last year to redshirt him. But unless the Eagles really think Johnson is special, it’s hard to see them going that route.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube