We have finally made it to draft week!
Sure, this isn’t exactly what we all expected draft week would look like, but at least we’ll have a virtual NFL draft beginning on Thursday night. It’ll be a much-needed distraction in the COVID-19 era.
The Eagles have eight picks in the upcoming draft and have No. 21 on Thursday night.
Here’s the latest roundup of mock drafts, trying to figure out how the Eagles will use their first-round pick:
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
What they said: Maybe Eagles GM Howie Roseman will find a taker for Alshon Jeffery and his hefty salary (maybe by paying a good chunk of it), or maybe the Eagles have to play with Jeffery and his injury bug for one more season; when he’s on the field he’s effective if not a star. But the thing I heard about the Eagles in the last few days is, Henry Ruggs will not get past 21. So here we are. Ruggs and his 4.27 40-speed are obviously tempting, and 24 touchdowns on only 98 career catches is explosive stuff. But a couple of things make me wonder. Three years, 41 games, 2.4 catches per game, 41.9 receiving yards per game. The most dangerous weapon in your offense gets 42 yards a game? The other side of that is some very smart offensive minds—Sean Payton, Andy Reid—love Ruggs. He’s competitive, and he doesn’t drop many. If he goes to Philadelphia, he’ll be the deep weapon Carson Wentz has imagined with DeSean Jackson.
My take: King is about as plugged into the NFL world as anyone, so when he talks we listen. And it’s definitely noteworthy that he has Ruggs falling all the way to No. 21. I totally buy what he’s saying about Ruggs’ not getting past 21. The Eagles would virtually run this pick in. Ruggs has been defined by his 4.27 speed during this pre-draft process and it’s understandable … because he’s really fast. But he’s more than just straight-line speed. There have been some other track stars in recent seasons but Ruggs is a good football player too. He has good hands, great focus and plays really tough. He’d be a great pick at 21 if he somehow lasts that long.
Side note: King, in his column, twice mentions the possibility of Alshon Jeffery getting traded. He listed him among the list of players most likely to get moved during the draft. Keep that in the back of your mind.
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
What they said: Opinions are all over the board on Jeudy. Some believe he'll go to Denver or Dallas well before the Eagles are on the clock. Others believe he'll slide down. I try to identify some surprises in my mock, so I'll say Jeudy falls a few spots like Marquise "Hollywood" Brown did last year. The Eagles luck into finding a very talented receiver at 21.
My take: A few things had to happen in Reuter’s mock to allow Juedy to fall to the Eagles. CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs were both chosen before him and Jeudy was the third receiver off the board — that’s not crazy. But Reuter also had the Saints’ trading up to No. 10 to take a QB, which would kind of throw off the entire first round. And then he has the Broncos, a team we think could take a receiver, going with Kenneth Murray. Having a player like Ruggs or Jeudy slide to 21 would a best-case scenario for the Eagles.
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
What they said: In this scenario, GM Howie Roseman could decide to trade down. Alshon Jeffery is on his way out and Nelson Agholor is gone, so a 6-foot-3, 207-pound fast-rising alpha dog with swag and 4.38 speed for Carson Wentz.
My take: In this scenario, the top four receivers are already off the board. Justin Jefferson goes to the Jaguars at No. 20. So Mims would be the next-best receiver at No. 21. It’s a similar scenario to the NBC Sports Philadelphia mock draft we went through. A scenario like this makes me think it would be worth it for the Eagles to move up and get one of the top four receivers. Because I’m not sure the value with Mims is great at 21. Perhaps if this is where the Eagles find themselves, they might try to trade down to a later pick in the first round or out of it altogether.
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
What they said: The Eagles are starting over at a safety spot after releasing veteran Malcolm Jenkins last month. McKinney can play either safety spot and in the slot, the kind of versatility more valuable than ever in today’s NFL.
My take: Curveball! I like McKinney and I agree that the Eagles haven’t figured out the safety position long-term yet, but I just can’t see a scenario where they take a safety over Justin Jefferson, who goes next to the Vikings at 22. Imagine if the Eagles take a safety over a top receiver. It’s also worth pointing out that the Eagles have never drafted a safety in the first round and there will be decent options at the position still available on Day 2.
Trade to 16: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
What they said: Reasonably speaking, one of those top three wide receivers could fall a little bit and it is clear that the Eagles need another dynamic pass catcher. The Falcons add No. 103 overall and a future fourth-round pick.
My take: So in this roundup, we are seeing just about every possibility for the Eagles to end up with all the top receivers. Lamb is considered by many to be the top receiver in this class, but he’s going third in this mock by Edwards. And after the Broncos pass on him, the Eagles move up and land him. In my most recent Eagles-only mock, I had the Eagles trading up with Atlanta too. My reasoning was that because there’s smoke around a trade-up for the Falcons, if they can’t get it done, they might be willing to move down. I had the Eagles moving up to get Justin Jefferson but if any of the top four receivers are available, this might make sense.
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
What they said: Everyone's thinking wide receiver -- no matter what -- at No. 21 for the Eagles, but that's not how Howie Roseman typically rolls. Queen is viewed even higher than Kenneth Murray on some teams' boards, and I could see Philadelphia going with an immediate game-changer on defense. Despite just one big season at LSU, Queen tore it up, and can roam sideline to sideline with ease. This would be a big swing -- especially with Justin Jefferson still on the board -- but I think the linebacker group is a lot thinner than the receiving corps.
My take: We all know the history of the Eagles and linebackers in the draft. They haven’t taken one in the first round since 1979. Like the McKinney pick above, the Eagles take Queen over Jefferson, who goes at 22. That’s a tough sell for me.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
What they said: The Eagles could go cornerback here, but we give them Jefferson because Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are fading.
My take: Yup. Makes sense. We’ll see if he’s there.
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