We still have a few months to go before the NFL draft and the combine in Indianapolis will go a long way to deciding where all these prospects will end up.
But for now, it’s fun for everyone to guess and I don’t want to be left out of the fun.
Here’s my latest shot at an Eagles’ seven-round mock draft:
Round 1: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
With how much talent there is in this draft at defensive line, I don’t think the Eagles should wait to take one. Allen would be a good pick at the bottom of the first round out of BC. Allen (6-5, 285) had 6 1/2 sacks as a senior, but also proved to be very good against the run and creating negative plays. In his last two college seasons, Allen had 30 1/2 TFLs. The Eagles love pass rushers who get after the quarterback, but they need their ends to stop the run too and Allen can do both.
Allen’s best game of the season came against Temple. He had two sacks, four TFLs and two batted passes. The one thing that stands out about Allen is his effort. It’s always there.
Brandon Graham is set to be a free agent, so if he leaves this offseason and if Chris Long retires, the Eagles need to replenish their defensive end rotation. Sure, they have other needs, but getting a pass rusher should be up there.
Round 2 (from Ravens): Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
There’s a chance Cajuste will already be gone when the Eagles make this pick, but there’s a chance he lasts into the second round and then if the Eagles want to make a move to get up there and get a borderline first-round talent, why not?
A three-year starter, Cajuste (6-5, 308) missed his 2016 season with an ACL tear, but came back to start 24 games over the last two seasons as he enters the draft. He’s a big and powerful offensive tackle and the Eagles are never shy to take players from West Virginia.
Even if Jason Peters is back for the 2019 season, the Eagles need to start thinking about life after he’s gone. This would be a good time to draft his replacement. If they don’t get an OT in the first round, they ought to think about snagging one in the second.
Round 2: Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
He’s just 5-10, 190, so I understand the hesitance about Hill, but he’s been an extremely productive player in college at that size. In three years, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and also showed the ability to be a receiver out of the backfield, something obviously important to the Eagles.
I’m looking forward to seeing what he does at the combine, but he’s an elusive, quick player in space. He has a burst and lateral quickness the Eagles have been missing at running back.
The Eagles haven’t taken a running back in the top two rounds since they took Shady in the second round back in 2009. So maybe it’s still not likely. But they definitely need an infusion of talent at that position, so maybe this is the year — with two second-round picks — to make it happen. Same goes for another running back too, so if David Montgomery is still on the board and you like him or Devin Singletary, fair enough. It’s about finding the right one. The Eagles haven’t had luck doing that with the running back position recently.
Round 4: Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois
At the Senior Bowl, Saunders made headlines as his fiancee went into labor while he was in Alabama. Saunders was thrilled to be a father but stayed in Mobile and it paid off because he reportedly had a pretty good week there, being named a Player of the Week.
You might know him as the big defensive tackle who can do a backflip, and he can.
Today at work i made a quick $20 bucks off this pic.twitter.com/d4Ags90WTL— Khalen Saunders (@khalenNOTkaylen) July 28, 2018
But he can play too. Saunders (6-1, 320) is a great athlete for his size and would be a great fit in Philly. Maybe he performed too well and will be long gone by the fourth round. That’s possible, but with such a deep defensive line class, some guys are going to fall.
Round 4 (comp): Terrill Hanks, LB, New Mexico State
Another small school guy, Hanks was apparently one of the big standouts from the Senior Bowl, where he put himself on the radar for several NFL teams. He weighed in at 6-2, 234, which might sound small, but he’s a linebacker built for this NFL. He has a defensive back background and the cover skills to match. Based on reports out of Mobile, he consistently impressed with his ability to cover running backs out of the backfield.
Remember, the Eagles like the idea of linebackers with cover skills like this. Just a couple years ago, they drafted Nate Gerry to play linebacker after he played safety at Nebraska. Getting a guy like Hanks would make sense, because he’s at least already been playing LB in college. We have to remember he played at a lower level, but his highlights are really fun to watch.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IgqOuB77zc
The Eagles are going to be forced to make a decision with Jordan Hicks this offseason as he faces free agency. After that, they still have Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill, but they could use some more talent in that room.
Round 5: Terry Beckner Jr., DT, Missouri
There was a time not that long ago when Beckner (6-4, 305) was a much more sought after prospect. But he had two knee surgeries in college, so it’ll be interesting to see what teams find in their medical exams at the combine. I wanted to see what he would have done at the Shrine Game, but he skipped it.
The good news is that after those two knee injuries earlier in his college career, he played in 26 games in 2017 and 2018 and played well. He has 10 1/2 sacks as a junior and senior and 22 total TFLs.
Beckner wouldn’t likely come into the NFL as a starter, but he could sure be a rotational player.
Round 6: Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson
I’m not exactly sure what to make of Renfrow. He’s tiny (5-10, 185) and doesn’t explode athletically, but he’s a good player. He was productive at Clemson and catches everything thrown his way, even with his 7 3/4-inch hands. It’s pretty impressive.
He’s a really solid player and he had a good week at Senior Bowl. Does he fit the Eagles’ need for top-end stretch-the-field speed? No. But they could do a heckuva lot worse in the sixth round than a receiver I’m confident could at least play a role. He projects as a slot guy because of his size, but he could be a productive slot guy.
Round 6 (comp): Lukas Denis, S, Boston College
After picking off seven passes as a junior, Denis (5-11, 181) decided to return for his senior season. It was a good year, but he had just one interception and missed a few big tackles. But he still seems to have a knack for making plays and is a football magnet.
Sometimes when a team is watching one prospect, another guy pops up. That’s sort of what I’m thinking could happen here. Allen is a player who would make a ton of sense for the Eagles, but Denis keeps showing up on the film.
Round 6 (comp): Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State
I think the Eagles are going to bring in a developmental quarterback this draft season. They haven’t drafted one since Carson Wentz in 2016 and with Nick Foles’ likely departure, they could afford to use that roster spot on a young passer. How about a guy they should have plenty of intel on?
Stick, who took over for Wentz at NDSU is a mobile passer, who put up impressive numbers through the air and on the ground during his college career. At 6-2, Stick isn’t nearly as big as Wentz and he’s a different kind of player, but having him in the QB room wouldn’t be a bad thing.
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