Since most of the big-name free agents are off the market, let’s turn our attention to the draft.
We’re a little over a month away from the 2019 draft, so here’s my latest attempt at a full Eagles-only mock draft.
Round 1 (25): Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
I don’t think anything the Eagles have done during this free agency period should really affect what they do in the draft. So, yes, I know the Eagles signed Malik Jackson. But that doesn’t mean they won’t still use their first-round pick on a really good interior pass rusher. Tillery definitely fits that description.
At 6-6, 295 pounds, he’s not one of the true freak athletes who will go in the first half of the first round, but Tillery is still plenty athletic. He ran a 4.93 time in the 40-yard dash, which is still really good at his size. And more importantly, his 7.45 time in the 3-cone drill was up there among the best at his position in the class. Last season at Notre Dame, he had 10 1/2 TFLs and eight sacks. He improved a lot during his time in college. There are some character questions from his past, but it’s up to the Eagles to figure them out. Take a look:
The Eagles will start Fletcher Cox and Jackson at their defensive tackle spots in 2019, but they’re not married to Jackson long term and the Eagles rotate a ton on their D-line, so depth is always important. So is interior pass rush in today’s NFL.
Round 2 (53): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
I didn't spend a lot of my fall watching Alabama State, but Howard has quickly become a big-time prospect and the Eagles have shown interest. We all know how much the Eagles respect the opinion of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and he seems to have taken to Howard, who is a former tight end just like Jason Peters and a former quarterback just like Lane Johnson.https://twitter.com/Ria_Martin/status/1104919353936543744
The Eagles reworked Peters' contract for the 2019 season, so he'll be back. But the Eagles need to plan for life without Peters. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is still under contract, but there are concerns with him. And Jordan Mailata might be the future, but that would be asking a lot right now.
Round 2 (57): Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
The Penn State standout has firmly planted himself among the second-round running backs and the Eagles have shown a ton of interest in him. Sanders has a ceiling as a true three-down back in the NFL and would fit what the Eagles do offensively. He's quick, he's elusive, he's shifty and he can catch the ball out of the backfield.
The most intriguing thing about Sanders is that there is plenty of tread left. He sat behind Saquon Barkley for two seasons, so he has just 276 college carries. Not a lot of wear and tear. But his tape is good and his performance at the combine backed that up.
The Eagles didn't get one of the top free-agent running backs on the market, so this is setting up for them to bring back a lower level FA, but to draft a running back higher. They haven't drafted a running back in the top two rounds since Shady McCoy in 2009. I think there's a really good chance that changes this year.
Round 4 (127): David Sills V, WR, West Virginia
We know the Eagles love players from West Virginia, so here they go in the fourth round. Sills is a former quarterback and was once offered a scholarship to USC at the age of 13. When he got to WVU, he became a WR. In 2017 and 2018, he caught 60 and 65 passes for 980 and 986 yards. He caught 33 touchdowns in those two seasons too.
At 6-3, 211 pounds, Sills ran a 4.57, but his length and jumping ability make him a big target for 50-50 balls.
The Eagles have a great trio of starting receivers in Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor, but they still need some depth. Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson are their top backups right now.
Round 4 (138): Carl Granderson, DE, Wyoming
Granderson has work to do as a run-stopping defensive end, which is an important trait for Eagles defensive ends, but he has impressive pass rush ability. He's 6-5, 254 pounds, so he can fill out his frame a little more. His best season came in 2017, when he had 8 1/2 sacks.
The Eagles bring back Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett as defensive end starters and they hope Chris Long will be back too. But they need more depth and we don't know what they have in second-year player Josh Sweat.
Round 5 (163): Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
This guy is a new-school linebacker. He's 6-0, 230 pounds, so he sounds a lot more like a safety. But this is exactly what the Eagles have done. They've gotten undersized guys like Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill in recent years.
He can cover but his size means he might give up something in terms of being strictly a linebacker. But he can play (94 tackles as a senior) and if the Eagles are willing to experiment, he could help them.
Round 6 (197): Sheldrick Redwine, S, Miami
The signing of Andrew Sendejo should not prevent the Eagles from drafting a safety this year. And Redwine checks the boxes. He has five interceptions for the Hurricanes over the last two years and has a history as a cornerback. He also ran a 4.44 at the combine.
The Eagles will start Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod in 2019 and will have Sendejo and Tre Sullivan coming off the bench. Redwine would fit into the mix nicely.
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