After drafting just five players in each of the last two drafts, the Eagles are expected to hold 10 picks in 2020 once compensatory selections are announced.
This is pretty exciting for Howie Roseman.
Now, will the Eagles really use all 10 picks? That’s debatable.
“As we sit here, we would love to say that we’re going to be having 10 picks, but there were moments in the last two drafts, when there were guys within reach, that we would want to move up [for], and we just didn’t have the ammunition to do it,” Roseman said at the combine.
“So if there is a guy still that we thought was an incredibly highly valued, and we could go up and go get him, we couldn’t take that off the table.”
So there’s a very real chance the Eagles don’t select 10 players — something they haven’t done since 2011 — if there are trade possibilities in the draft.
Anyway, here’s my Eagles-only mock draft, assuming the Eagles make all 10 picks:
Round 1-21: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
In my first-round mock last week, I had the Eagles taking Jefferson in the first round and I’m going to stick with that here. Maybe he’s not with the top trio of CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III but he’s close. I’d almost include him in that group. Sure, maybe his best work has come in the slot but Jefferson, to me, is a versatile enough player to play inside and outside.
There was a thought Jefferson might slip to the late first round but he had a really good combine. Running a 4.43 at 6-foot-1 is really solid and he looked great in the field drills as well.
Sure, Jefferson was on a dynamic offense in college. His college quarterback is about to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, his passing game coordinator took an NFL offensive coordinator job and his fellow receiver Ja’Marr Chase will probably be a top 10 pick next year … but when the games mattered most, Jefferson came up huge.
Check out his numbers down the stretch:
SEC Championship Game vs. Georgia: 7 catches, 115 yards, 1 TD
Peach Bowl (CFP semifinal) vs. Oklahoma: 14 catches, 227 yards, 4 TDs
CFP National Championship vs. Clemson: 9 catches, 106 yards
Jefferson has it all and would be a big addition for the Eagles in 2020. Check out a sampling of his highlights:
Round 2-53: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Even if the Eagles go out and sign a big-name corner in free agency, the position pretty much needs a big overhaul, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of them drafting one early too.
Gladney (5-10, 191) had a really impressive college career with the Horned Frogs. In his four years after redshirting, Gladney had five picks and 37 pass breakups. Those 37 breakups rank him seventh in DI CFB since 2016.
At the combine, Gladney ran a 4.48 and described his style of play: "I'm just a physical corner, a physical speed demon. I'm a man corner for sure."
Here’s what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said about Gladney:
”Press cover irritant who plays an extremely competitive brand of football from snap to whistle. He has the twitch and route anticipation to stay close. Possesses ball skills to contest a good percentage of throws. His coverage traits should allow him to thrive in man or zone, but his desire to make every play on the ball could lead him into occasional bait-and-switch traps by smart quarterbacks. He's slender so teams will need to decide whether to play him outside or in sub-packages, but no matter where he plays, this ball-hawking alpha has the talent to help his team on all three downs if needed.”
So he’s an undersized competitor who can play in zone and man? He also played outside and nickel at TCU? And he likes being physical in the run game? Sounds like that will work for Jim Schwartz.
And Zierlein’s NFL comparison is an interesting one: Sidney Jones (before injury). The Eagles drafted Jones despite the injury for a reason.
Round 3-85: Darrell Taylor, DE, Tennessee
I understand that another Tennessee defensive end might not make the anti-Derek Barnett faction of Eagles fans happy, but I’m not worrying about his school. I’m just looking at the player. And Taylor has a ton of upside. Taylor had solid numbers at Tennessee, picking up 16 1/2 sacks in his last two years but he didn’t set the school’s sack record like Barnett.
This is a player who is extremely athletic and is far from a finished product but we’re already seeing what he can do.
I believe Tennessee EDGE Darrell Taylor has as much upside as any pass rusher in college football. His ability to bend and flatten is special. pic.twitter.com/iZxu95LGZM— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) July 22, 2019
It’s clear that Taylor goes to the line with a plan and I like that. He does his work to set up multiple moves on a pass rush and is athletic to pull them off.
Taylor had surgery on his leg in January and skipped combine workouts. According to NFL Network, he’s expected to hold a pro day before the draft if the recovery is going well. I suspect that Taylor would have performed very well at the combine, so his missing it might help him slide a little further to a team like the Eagles in the third round.
At Tennessee, Taylor played in a 4-3 as a defensive end and a 3-4 as an outside backer. While he played more recently in a 3-4 and said at the combine that’s where he sees himself in the NFL, he also said he’d prefer to simply be a pass rusher and not drop into coverage much. If Taylor ends up in Philly, he’ll be a pure pass rusher and would get most of his chances on third downs, at least to start.
Round 3 (projected compensatory): Nick Harris, C, Washington
Jason Kelce is 32 now and contemplates retirement after every season, so it’s probably time to start thinking about life after Kelce. The Eagles have Isaac Seumalo in house but they seem to like him at left guard. And the only other candidate to eventually replace Kelce is Nate Herbig, who was an undrafted rookie last year and learned how to play center during training camp.
Why Harris? Well, because he’s an awful lot like Kelce. Check out this Philly.com story from Paul Domowitch about Harris, who former Eagles OL coach Howard Mudd compared to Kelce.
According to the story, Eagles current OL coach Jeff Stoutland spoke to Harris at the Senior Bowl and at the combine last month. At 6-1, 302 pounds, the physical comparison to Kelce is pretty unavoidable. As you can see, he’s an undersized center with plenty of athleticism.
Harris isn’t quite as athletic as Kelce was at the 2011 combine:
Harris in 2020:
Bench: 20 reps
Kelce in 2011:
20-yard shuttle: 4.14
But aside from the athletic makeup, Mudd also stressed Harris’s football smarts, which is something that has really made Kelce’s career.
“The intelligence that Nick has as far as processing things around him in stressful times is impressive,” Mudd said to Philly.com. “And he’s done that since he was a freshman.’’
Round 4: Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
The Eagles will bring back Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson in 2020 but they don’t really have any good, young depth pieces at defensive tackle. With 10 picks in the draft, they should have a chance to find a guy to groom. Enter Lawrence.
Lawrence (6-2, 308) is a versatile interior lineman who said he played 5-technique, 3-tech and even some 1-tech at LSU. At LSU, they did a lot of two-gapping and read and reacting, but at his size and with his burst, he should be able to play in a one-gap scheme like what he’d get in Philadelphia.
Lawrence missed some time in college with injuries but claims he’s healthy now. At LSU, Lawrence didn’t pile up sacks — he had 9.0 in four seasons — and he won’t come to the NFL and all of a sudden become a great pass rusher. But as a rotational player, he’d make sense.
Here’s his scouting report from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
“Plays with dog mentality and is ready to turn any rep into a street fight if he needs to. Lawrence's leadership and toughness stand out on the defensive side of the ball. He plays with pain and never shortchanges teammates in the effort department. He needs to play with better control of his feet and motor to improve consistency and balance at the point of attack. He can get some pocket push going from time to time but is likely to come off the field on passing downs. If his medicals check out, he could become a solid rotational defensive lineman.”
Round 4 (projected compensatory): K’von Wallace, S, Clemson
There’s some real uncertainty for the Eagles at safety this offseason. Malcolm Jenkins wants a new deal and Rodney McLeod is set to be a free agent. Wallace would be an intriguing option.
At 5-11, 206, Wallace had a really nice career for one of the top programs in the country. He had five INTs and 156 tackles in four years. He would probably need to drop a tad more than expected to be available here but it’s possible.
Wallace’s 40 time at the combine (4.53) at 206 pounds was solid and he has a pretty athletic profile:
I really liked this answer from Wallace at the combine. He was asked which DB in the NFL his game most closely mirrors.
“Tyrann Mathieu. His versatility, instincts, his tenacity to play the game, his physicality, his brains. He's always pointing at his head, talking about, you know, how smart he is. I feel like I got a high FBI --football intelligence --and with that just the way he just plays the game with passion and love and his, teammates love him. He's a captain. He's a leader in that locker room. I definitely want to model my game after him.”
Round 4 (projected compensatory): Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
Here comes the double dip at an extremely deep position. If the Eagles could pick up Jefferson in the first round, the idea of getting Davis (6-2, 216) later in the draft would be good.
Davis is coming off an impressive junior season at UCF. He caught 72 passes for 1,241 yards (17.2) with 12 touchdowns. He’s a big-play machine and has the size to thrive as the X receiver in the Eagles’ offense the way J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was supposed to.
At the combine, Davis showed off his size/speed combo, running a 4.54 at 216 pounds. He also put up solid numbers in the jumps (35” vert, 124” broad) and a good time in the three-cone (7.08), especially for someone of his size.
Round 5: A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
You might think this is too low for Dillon and maybe it is but I’m not sold on him being a Day 2 pick or even in the fourth round. I do, however, like the idea of the Eagles taking a flyer on him if he ends up in this range because at 247 pounds, Dillon would be quite a complement for Miles Sanders in a rotation.
His 4.53 time in the 40 was eye-popping and understandably drew comparisons to Derrick Henry. Well, Dillon isn’t that good. But the size/speed is there.
After catching just 21 balls at BC, Dillon would need to work with Duce Staley on that part of his game. He would mostly be a battering ram but the Eagles wouldn’t want to get too predictable.
And his 845 carries in three seasons at the collegiate level are somewhat concerning — how much did that wear him down? That’s something that might concern the Eagles; they really liked how little wear and tear Sanders had last draft.
Round 5: Shaun Bradley, LB, Temple
You might want the Eagles to use a higher-round pick on a linebacker but their history suggests they won’t. The Eagles have used two draft picks on linebacker in the last four years: a fifth for Nathan Gerry and a seventh for Joe Walker. So they’re always looking for bargain bin options. Here’s one in their backyard.
Bradley met with the Eagles at the combine and then went out and had a good performance. His 4.51 time in the 40 was a top-five time among all linebackers.
Sure, at 6-1, 235 he’s an undersized linebacker but that’s what the Eagles want. And the Rancocas Valley (South Jersey) product would love to stay at the Linc and play for the hometown team.
Round 6: Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State
The Eagles tried to find their developmental quarterback last year in the draft and it didn’t work. Clayton Thorson didn’t even stick on the practice squad. They went out and got Kyle Lauletta and maybe they’re happy with that for now, but with 10 picks, there’s a chance to get another young QB into the building.
Gordon (6-2, 205) put up crazy numbers in his one year as a starter after taking over for Gardner Minshew, which is understandable in that offense. He threw for over 5,500 yards and 48 touchdowns (with 16 interceptions) in 2019. We all know that Air Raid offense lends itself to big numbers so take them with a grain of salt.
Gordon is far from a finished product but he has some tools and would be an intriguing late-round pick.
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