Now that the Eagles’ season is over, we’re in full draft mode.
The full draft order isn’t out just yet, so we’ll have to wait to assign numbers to all of these picks, but we’re going to take a stab at an all-Eagles mock draft assuming the Birds will have nine picks including compensatory picks.
Round 1: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Wilkins (6-4, 300) is one of three possible first-round defensive linemen from Clemson. He’s not a super dynamic pass-rusher, but has the ability to beat 1-on-1s and create some havoc and can also stuff the run.
The one thing that stands out about Wilkins is his motor. We know Joe Douglas loves high-motor guys and Wilkins fits that bill. I like his effort. He would make a great complement to Fletcher Cox inside.
In four years at Clemson, he piled up 16 sacks and 40 1/2 tackles for loss. He had a tackle for loss and a half a sack in the championship game a couple weeks ago. Sure, he had a lot of talent around him, but I’m not going to hold that against him.
The Eagles are in a state of flux at interior lineman. Cox is the centerpiece of the defense, but the spot next to him was a mess during the 2018 season. Tim Jernigan is under contract, but with a $13 million cap hit, he’ll need to restructure or he won’t be back. Then Haloti Ngata is a free agent and Treyvon Hester might be nothing more than a deep rotational piece. Getting a guy like Wilkins could really be a game-changer next to a game-wrecker like Cox.
Round 2 (from Ravens): Joe Jackson, DE, Miami
Jackson (6-5, 258) piled up 22 1/2 sacks in three seasons at Miami, including a team-high 8 1/2 in 2018 as a junior.
He has good size and seems to have the type of bend the Eagles really liked when they drafted Derek Barnett in the first round a couple years ago. Unlike Barnett, Jackson is probably a little raw but is more athletic.
Take a look for yourself:
I know this has the Eagles going to the defensive line twice with their top two picks, which might seem strange given that this is a deep draft for defensive linemen. So you might think they can afford to get them later. The problem with that is we’ll probably see a run. I think Jackson would be a first-rounder in a draft that wasn’t so deep. Because of that, I like the value.
The Eagles definitely need pass-rushers. Brandon Graham is set to be a free agent, Chris Long might retire, Michael Bennett is 33 and Barnett is coming off a season-ending shoulder injury. Time to shore up that position.
Round 2: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Just a few years ago, Dillard (6-5, 306) wasn’t a very big high school prospect, but he has grown into a pretty good prospect at Washington State. He started the final 39 games of his college career at left tackle and was a two-time All-Pac 12 lineman. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one sack as a redshirt senior.
He’s long and seems to move well, staying with pass rushers in pass pro. Check out this game against Wyoming. He didn’t see a ton of prospect Carl Granderson, but when he did, he handled him well.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9OqnedMkk8
The Eagles are in need of offensive tackle help. Jason Peters is about to turn 37 and has struggled to stay healthy and Halapoulivaati Vaitai might not be the answer. And it’s too early to tell what they have in Jordan Mailata. I’d expect them to select a tackle at some point during this draft.
Round 4: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
There’s not a lot of straight-line speed in this class of receivers outside of the top couple rounds, but I like Ridley (6-2, 200). Maybe he should have stayed for his senior season, but he declared for the draft and now we’ll see where he goes. He’s notably the brother of Falcons’ receiver Calvin Ridley, who just had a great rookie season.
Here’s a closer look at some Ridley highlights:
Ridley’s numbers aren’t eye-popping, but I think that’s more of a product of Georgia’s offense than it is an indictment of Ridley. He caught 43 passes for 559 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior in 2018.
Round 4 (comp): Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky
I like both safeties from Kentucky (also Darius West), but Edwards’ versatility is what stands out. Edwards (6-0, 200) just finished his senior season. During his four years at Kentucky, he had 10 interceptions, 21 TFLs and 23 passes defensed.
Edwards has some ball skills and some cover skills, something that’s important. I also think he could play some nickel in the NFL if the Eagles ever needed it. No, he’s not huge, but he's still a pretty good tackler.
Even if the Eagles bring back Rodney McLeod at his high cap hit, Corey Graham is still likely to retire and Edwards could fill that third safety spot and could possibly be an eventual replacement as a starter.
Round 5: Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple
The Eagles have brought in a local running back in each of the last three years. Who am I to tell them to stop it? This time, I have them taking Temple’s Armstead, who comes from Millville High School in South Jersey, where he was a track star in addition to being a standout football player.
Armstead (5-11, 215) is definitely an NFL talent as folks around this area have seen for a while. During his senior season, he carried the ball 210 times for 1,098 yards and 13 touchdowns. He didn’t catch the ball a ton at Temple but has some ability there.
The Eagles need help at the running back position. Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are free agents and Corey Clement is coming off a significant knee injury. Waiting until the fifth round might not be wise, but the Eagles haven’t drafted a RB in the first two rounds since 2009 when they took LeSean McCoy. Maybe it’s time, but if not, a guy like Armstead in a later round would work.
Round 6: Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State
No, the Eagles aren’t drafting Wentz’s replacement, but there’s something to the idea of drafting young quarterbacks to develop in the system, especially with Nick Foles on his way out of town and with just Nate Sudfeld left as a backup.
Rypien (6-2, 202) is the nephew of former NFL QB Mark Rypien, just FYI. Rypien had a really solid four-year career at Boise State. In his senior season, he threw for over 3,700 yards and 30 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. It was his best collegiate season.
Round 6 (comp): Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
At 5-10, 190, Isabella projects as a slot guy, but he’s certainly a fun guy to watch. In his senior season, he caught 102 passes (!) for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also got a few carries during his time in college as well.
He’s quick, shifty and a ton of fun to watch. He also has some kick/punt return experience.
At this point in the sixth round, getting a productive and intriguing college player like Isabella would be worth it.
Round 6 (comp): Byron Cowart, DE, Maryland
He was once the top-ranked prospect in the nation in 2015, but his college career definitely didn’t go according to plan. He went to Auburn to JUCO to Maryland and didn’t have a stellar season with the Terps. He had 3 sacks, 5 TFLs and 2 INTs.
But the talent is there and the Eagles always look for value late in the draft. This could be a prime example.
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