We still have a couple months until the 2019 NFL draft, which means we have two more months of mock drafts!
The Eagles are expected to have nine draft picks (including compensatory picks) in this spring’s draft. As for now, they have two second-round picks after trading out of the first round last year and two fourths. They lost their third when they traded it to Detroit for Golden Tate during the 2018 season.
Let’s get to it:
Round 1: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
There’s some sneaky offensive tackle depth at the top of this draft class. There are as many as five or six offensive tackles who could go in the first round and Little is one of them. At 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, Little has all the physical attributes and athleticism to make it as a starting left tackle in the NFL. He’s the kind of guy Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland would love to get his hands on.
I think Andre Dillard from Washington would be a great fit too, but I have a feeling he’ll be gone by the time the Eagles pick at 25.
The Eagles have a big decision coming up. Even if Jason Peters is back for the 2019 season, he’s not going to be around forever. We don’t really know yet what they have in Jordan Mailata, so the Eagles probably need to draft an offensive tackle with one of their first three picks. Unless you think Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the answer … I do not. Little could step in and start immediately, but would still be a work in progress. Still, I think he could be the future of that position in Philly.
Round 2 (from Ravens): David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
The Eagles haven’t taken a running back in the first two rounds since LeSean McCoy back in 2009, but this could be the year. They absolutely need some help at the RB position and Montgomery (5-11, 219) is a great prospect. In his last two college seasons, he rushed for over 2,300 yards and also showed some ability as a receiver. That’s a heavy workload, but that shouldn’t scare off NFL teams.
He’s the kind of back that I think would fit really well in the Eagles’ offense and could take over as the featured guy in their rotation. He projects as a true three-down back.
Jay Ajayi is going to be a free agent, Darren Sproles might retire and Corey Clement is coming off a serious knee injury. The Eagles need to solidify the running back spot. It might not come in the first two rounds, but I’d be pretty surprised if they don’t draft one this year.
Round: 2: Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
In this mock draft, I have the Eagles waiting a bit to get some value from this deep defensive line class. I think there’s still a good chance they use their first-round pick to take a defensive lineman, but they can still find talent after the first round. Some think Ferguson might be a first-round pick, but I’m not sold on that.
It’s hard to argue with his production, though. Ferguson filled up box scores in college. He had 17½ sacks his senior year to go along with 26 TFLs. In four years at LA Tech, he had 45 sacks and 67½ tackles for loss. That’s pretty incredible. At 6-5, 259, he’ll probably need to fill out some more, but I think his frame can handle it.
It’s a good time for the draft to be deep with edge rushers because the Eagles might need a couple. Brandon Graham might leave in free agency and we don’t know what’s going to happen with Chris Long. The Eagles should bring back Michael Bennett and Derek Barnett, but they need more “fastballs,” as the team calls them.
Round 4: Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama
The 6-3, nearly 300-pound Buggs had a big week at the Senior Bowl, being named the top defensive lineman of the week.
The junior college transfer had a big senior season, picking up 9½ sacks to go along with 13½ TFLs. He might be gone by the fourth round, but the DL depth in this draft and his lack of elite athleticism could possibly drop him into this range. He’s a big defensive tackle inside and would help fill the void next to Fletcher Cox, especially if Tim Jernigan isn’t back.
The Eagles need to upgrade the DT spot next to Cox. They can’t have another season with guys like Destiny Vaeao, Haloti Ngata and Treyvon Hester.
Round 4 (comp): Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
There’s a pretty good chance Hall goes to the combine and runs his way into the third round or even into the second, but for now, this would be great value. During his college career, he averaged 20.8 yards per attempt and in the last two seasons was at 23.5 yards per reception. That’s the exact kind of deep threat the Eagles need.
For the last two seasons, the Eagles have tried to find deep speed in any way they can. They’ve signed Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace, and they’ve drafted Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. I don’t know if Hall would definitely be the answer, but I’d say it’s a safe bet that the Eagles are going to be looking for that speed guy again this offseason.
Round 5: L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
Another dip into a deep defensive line class for the 6-2, 272-pound defensive lineman. Not a huge body of work but had a good 2018 season, picking up six sacks and 11½ TFLs for the Horned Frogs. The Eagles will probably like his motor and relentlessness. He’s probably a rotational player, but sometimes that’s OK.
Round 6: Chase Hansen, LB, Utah
We’ve seen the Eagles like these safeties-turned-linebackers and Hansen could be another one. He moved to linebacker as a senior, so he’d have a jump on a guy like Nate Gerry, who didn’t make the switch until he got to the NFL. In recent years, the Eagles have rightfully prioritized finding linebackers who are athletic and can cover. Hansen would fit that requirement.
Round 6 (comp): Alex Wesley, WR, Northern Colorado
A bit of a surprise addition to the Senior Bowl, Wesley has a track background and could offer a team a late-round shot at finding cheap speed. In 2018, he averaged 18.4 yards per catch and went over 1,000 yards receiving on the season. At 5-11, 191 pounds, he doesn’t have the prototypical long body for a stretch-the-field receiver but his history in the 400 meters (he was a two-time Big Sky Conference winner) makes me think his speed will intrigue NFL teams.
Round 6 (comp): Mark McLaurin, S, Mississippi State
While his teammate Jonathan Abram could be a Day 2 pick, McLaurin could be a late-round guy. He had a better junior season, when he had 79 tackles and six interceptions. He didn’t have a pick in his senior season, but he did have eight over a two-year span in his sophomore and junior seasons. Reports on him say he misses some tackles, but he made big plays in college. In the sixth round, prospects won’t be perfect.
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