How patient are the Eagles willing to be with their 2019 first-round pick?
If the answer to that question is “very” then I have the pick.
Jeffery Simmons is widely considered one of the top defensive tackles in this draft class. He had 18 TFLs in his junior season at Mississippi State. He was likely on his way to becoming a top-15 pick.
Then he tore his ACL.
So there’s some potential for a team picking in the late first round or early first round to take a player considered to clearly be a first-round talent. But any team that takes him will have to live with the fact that 2019 will likely be a redshirt season for the talented defensive lineman.
At the very least, the Eagles are still showing some interest:
Jeffery Simmons told me he dined with #Eagles last night. Also meeting with #Jaguars, #Browns, #Colts, others here around Mississippi State pro day. Leaves April 1 for about 11 visits. Teams playing catch-up after Simmons missed combine for ACL surgery. More later on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/sxgeyV8NJR— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 27, 2019
Just a couple years ago, the Eagles gambled by drafting Sidney Jones with the No. 43 pick after he tore his Achilles during the pre-draft process. While some fans are getting restless about his contributions so far, it’s too early to say whether or not that gamble will pay off. But gambling at 43 is a lot easier to stomach than gambling at 25. Perhaps the Eagles would feel more comfortable taking Simmons in the second round.
Just from a player/fit standpoint, Simmons would definitely be a match with the Eagles’ defensive scheme. He was an early mock draft favorite for the Birds for easy-to-see reasons.
Current roster at DT: The Eagles have Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson as starters. Their top backups are Treyvon Hester and Bruce Hector.
How he would fit: Well, he likely wouldn’t play in his rookie season. If he did, it would be late in the season. But after using a first-round pick, the Eagles certainly wouldn’t rush him back on the field. He would be a rotational player in Year 2 and would hopefully become a starter soon after.
Eagles history at DT in draft: The last time the Eagles used a first-round pick on a defensive tackle was in 2012, when they took Cox at No. 12. That has worked out. The Eagles have drafted six DTs in the first round: Cox, Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Corey Simon, Leonard Renfro, Jerome Brown.
Since the 2012 draft, the Eagles have taken three interior defensive linemen: Bennie Logan in the third round back in 2013, Beau Allen in the seventh round in 2014 and Elijah Qualls in the sixth round in 2017.
The more important history here, though, is that the Eagles always try to find value and they tried to find it just two years ago with an injured Jones.
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