NFL mock draft 2019 roundup 4.0: Some new names enter mix for Eagles

NFL mock draft 2019 roundup 4.0: Some new names enter mix for Eagles

Is there anything the internet loves more than mock drafts? 

No, probably not. 

And we are well into mock draft season even though the draft is still more than a couple months away. Heck, we’re still a few weeks away from the combine. 

No, there has never been a mock draft that’s right, but they’re fun to look through. Here’s a sampling of the latest picks for the Eagles at No. 25: 

NFL.com, Chad Reuter

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Here’s what they said: If Haloti Ngata, who's due to become a free agent, doesn't return, Lawrence would be a good replacement.

My take on Lawrence: This has been a popular name for the Eagles recently, but I still think a different Clemson defensive lineman, Christian Wilkins, would make more sense for the Eagles. Lawrence is known as a bigger guy and more of a run-stuffer. The Eagles could use that, but I’d imagine they’ll want a more well-rounded type of player who can also get after the passer. Remember, with Fletcher Cox playing at an All-Pro level, it’s extremely important the Eagles find someone who can beat a 1-on-1. And I can’t imagine Ngata is going to return. He didn’t play up to his contract and the Eagles need to get younger there. 

CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson

Gerald Willis, DT, Miami

Here’s what they said: Willis didn't attend the Senior Bowl but he remains one of the best defensive tackles in a ridiculously deep class of them. His ability to wreak havoc in the backfield will upgrade an Eagles unit that ranked 26th in pressuring the quarterback.

My take on Willis: Willis will be at the combine, so the Eagles might need to sit down and have a chat with him. There are definitely some character concerns after he took a leave of absence in 2017 and transferred from Florida after reported altercations with teammates. On the field, Willis has the traits the Eagles want; he can definitely beat a 1-on-1 and had a good 2018 season with the Hurricanes. One thing we know about Joe Douglas is he likes to draft players who have shown great production at the college level; for Willis, he produced for just one season. Still, if the Eagles look past that, there’s a lot of upside. 

San Diego Union-Tribune

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Here’s what they said: The Eagles are not the same offense without a consistent run game. Jacobs is the total package with a lot of tread left on his tires — only 300 total touches in three years at Tuscaloosa. 

My take on Jacobs: I agree the Eagles need to solidify the running back position, but it’s hard to imagine them drafting a running back at No. 25. They haven’t drafted a running back in the first round since they took Keith Byars in 1986. They haven’t drafted one in the first two rounds since LeSean McCoy in 2009. So it seems unlikely. As for Jacobs, he is a really good prospect, who had really good production at Alabama. He has good vision, is definitely shifty and has shown some ability to catch out of the backfield. He would fit with the Eagles, but they aren’t likely taking a running back here, especially with needs on both lines.  

NBC Sports Washington

Greg Little, OT, Mississippi 

Here’s what they said: Left tackle Jason Peters turns 37 in January and battled knee injuries in recent seasons. The Eagles cannot afford to mess up the investment made in quarterback Carson Wentz. Little is one of two tackles with a projection planted in round one.

My take on Little: Drafting an offensive tackle in the first round would make plenty of sense. Even if Peters is around this season, they’ll need to find his replacement soon. At 6-5, 325 pounds, Little is someone I could see as someone Jeff Stoutland would really like to get his hands on. Little needs to grow, but he has all the physical traits teams normally look for in tackles. 

CBS Sports, Chris Trapasso

Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Here’s what they said: Abram ahead of Deionte Thompson from Alabama? It could happen. Abram is bigger, more physical safety with plenty of dynamic physical traits, and Philadelphia has to build its secondary.

My take on Abram: Safety is a possibility, although history tells us the Eagles are more likely to take a lineman. They simply haven’t taken safeties this high. But there is a need there to some extent, even after Rodney McLeod restructured his contract to return in 2019. There’s no guaranteed McLeod will be back in 2020 and Malcolm Jenkins isn’t getting any younger. And aside from that, the Eagles use three safeties quite a bit. As for Abram, I don’t know much more than what I’ve read, but the Eagles don’t have size as a requirement for their safeties. Just think about McLeod and Avonte Maddox.

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Dan Snyder is reportedly taking over Washington's draft

USA Today Images

Dan Snyder is reportedly taking over Washington's draft

For months, we’ve been so focused on the Eagles’ plan going into the draft without even thinking about another huge factor that should help them: 

The rest of the division might be an inept mess at the front office level.  

Let’s check in on Washington: 

Oh, really?

So the Eagles have a power structure with a supportive owner in Jeffrey Lurie who has delegated power to a front office with Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas. Both seem to get along great with each other and with head coach Doug Pederson, creating a sound and cohesive environment. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles share a division with two overbearing and meddlesome owners in Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones, not to mention a general manager in New York’s Dave Gentleman, who doesn’t seem to know what the hell he’s doing. 

At least you have to give the Cowboys a little credit. Jones is meddlesome, but they’ve had plenty of good draft picks over the last few years. 

But the Giants have picks No. 6 and 17, while the Skins have No. 15 and might move on up into the top five. Neither of those fanbases should have a high level of confidence those front offices will nail those picks. 

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Eagles' Nelson Agholor reportedly viewed as trade option around NFL

Eagles' Nelson Agholor reportedly viewed as trade option around NFL

Nelson Agholor survived speculation he could be released by the Eagles in March, but that doesn’t mean the club won’t part with the wide receiver in a draft-day trade.

At least, that’s what NFL teams believe might happen. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, front offices around the league view Agholor as a player who could be “available” and wind up on the trade block — if the Eagles take a receiver in the draft.

Rapoport cites Agholor’s guaranteed salary of $9.4 million in 2019 as reason why the Eagles would consider a move.

The possibility for a trade makes sense from several vantage points, including money. The Eagles have quite a bit invested in the position already between Alshon Jeffery, with his $14.7 million cap hit for 2019, and DeSean Jackson, due $12 million over the next two seasons. Agholor is also in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

Acquiring another receiver in the draft, presumably early, creates a logjam for playing time as well, with 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson among the prospects still in the mix. Braxton Miller has also earned praise from the organization, while the Eagles recently signed AAF standout Charles Johnson as well.

It’s easy to connect the dots and see how the Eagles could be motivated to deal Agholor, which would create cap space and a roster spot, all while netting an asset before he reaches free agency.

Such a trade would not be without some downside, however.

Agholor only turns 26 in May and is coming off back-to-back 60-reception/700-yard receiving seasons with 12 total touchdowns. He’s a versatile weapon who can work the short and intermediate areas of the field and run with the ball in his hands, but is a threat to take the top off the defense, too.

Perhaps greater than Agholor’s on-field ability — the full potential of which he perhaps hasn’t reached — is his work ethic and presence in the locker room. A former first-round choice himself, this is somebody who has worked to shake the dreaded draft “bust” label, and in the process earned the utmost respect of the Eagles’ coaching staff and front office.

In February, Eagles coach Doug Pederson gushed about Agholor’s attitude while discussing how a mid-season trade for fellow wideout Golden Tate impacted his production.

“Nelson, oh man. Love this guy,” Pederson said. “He’s the first one in and the last one out. He’s a hard worker. Spends time before and after practice. Can’t say enough good things about Nelson Agholor and what he’s brought to the table and what he will continue to bring. I think last year, you look at the amount of guys we had, and then we added Golden (Tate) midseason.

“I’m not going to stand up here and say it didn’t affect Nelson. I think it did. The question was asked earlier about getting everybody the ball. In this league, it’s a challenge … And yet Nelson didn’t complain. He came to work every single day. He put in the time, he put in the work. He was a huge part of what we did … I’m excited, I love working with him.”

If the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Agholor, it doesn’t sound like a decision that will be made lightly.

It’s impossible to say what the Eagles should do without knowing the return or how the draft will unfold. Agholor is even more valuable than his numbers suggest, though, so one would expect he’d fetch a nice price.

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