Eagles

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 2.0: Some new names linked to Eagles

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 2.0: Some new names linked to Eagles

As the football world takes over Mobile, Alabama, this week for Senior Bowl, we’re now in full mock draft season. 

We still have months before the 2020 draft but that hasn’t stopped the internet from doing what it does best: mock drafts! 

Here’s the latest roundup of possibilities for the Eagles with the 21st pick in April: 

NBC Sports Washington, Tyler Roman

Xavier McKinney, CB, Alabama

What they said: It’s no secret that the Eagles had one of the worst secondaries in the league this year, so it would make sense to rectify it this off-season. McKinney is a versatile chess piece for a team that really needs talent on the backend. McKinney can cover the slot and hold his own against the run, he’s the prototypical safety prospect for today’s NFL.

CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson

Xavier McKinney, CB, Alabama 

What they said: 32-year-old safety Malcolm Jenkins would like a new deal and Rodney McLoud could be headed for free agency. The Eagles would love to upgrade the cornerback position but three of the top CBs are already off the board. McKinney is a top-flight safety, and could possibly emerge as the top safety in the class by draft night.

My take on McKinney: The Eagles definitely need help at the cornerback position. Their two starters from 2019 (Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills) are both set to become free agents in March and it’s not exactly like the Eagles have a bunch of talent waiting in the wings. But they might need safeties too. Malcolm Jenkins said he won’t play on his current contract and Rodney McLeod is going to be a free agent. 

I listed McKinney as a cornerback because both Wilson and Roman did, but he’s really more of a versatile safety who can play everywhere. McKinney is an impressive athlete and the Eagles could plug and play him at a few different spots. In some ways, it’s hard not to see similarities to former Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick because of the versatility. And we’ve seen how Jim Schwartz has been able to use Malcolm Jenkins over the last few years. I think this would be a solid pick. 

San Diego Union-Tribune, Eddie Brown

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

What they said: The Eagles wide receiver corps is in shambles. The inconsistent Nelson Agholor faces free agency while DeSean Jackson isn’t getting any younger (or healthier). Higgins is a big-play machine with elite size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and speed. He has an “above the rim” mentality as a former basketball player and would be a steal this low in the first round. 

SB Nation, Dan Kadar

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

What they said: Higgins may have only had three receptions in Monday night’s national title game, but he still profiles as a No. 1 receiver option in the NFL. As the season wore on, it was obvious that the Eagles need weapons on offense. A receiver like Higgins should be the first of a few added in this draft.

My take on Higgins: He’s been the most popular name mocked to the Eagles in the early mock draft season. It’s obvious the Eagles need receiver help and there are plenty in this draft, especially in the first round. We’ll probably see at least a half dozen receivers go in the first round and Higgins is likely going to be one of them. 

Higgins is big and fast. He really does have a good size/speed combo and there’s a lot to like about him. He’s coming off a great junior season when he had 59 catches for 1,167 yards (19.8) and 13 touchdowns. That’s great production, which used to really matter for the Eagles when Joe Douglas was here. But at his year-end press conference, Howie Roseman noted that production doesn’t always translate and there were successful rookie receivers who weren’t as productive in college. That doesn’t mean production at the college level is a bad thing, but it’s maybe not as important for the Eagles this time around. 

USA Today, Luke Easterling

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU 

My take on Fulton: There were no explanations in this mock draft but we don’t need an explanation of why the Eagles need cornerbacks. They desperately need help at that position. And Fulton is a really good one. He has the potential to be a great man corner in the NFL and he’s coming from a school that has produced a ton of great DBs. He had just two interceptions in his time at LSU, which is noteworthy because he doesn’t appear to be a ballhawk. But he can cover. And the Eagles need guys who can cover. 

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Eagle Eye podcast: The biggest news from the combine

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USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: The biggest news from the combine

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank is joined by Dave Zangaro from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to go over the biggest storylines of the day. 

Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Tuesday about a wide range of topics. 

Will Jason Peters return? Have the Eagles changed their free agent philosophy? And what will the coaching staff really look like in 2020? 

• One more year of Jason Peters? 
• Eagles might change free agency approach
• More details about the coaching structure
• The rise of Press Taylor 
• What will Rich Scangarello do?  
• Breaking down Duce Staley’s role in the organization 

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Eagles leave open possibility that Jason Peters returns in 2020

Eagles leave open possibility that Jason Peters returns in 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Jason Peters is 38 years old, will become a free agent in less than a month and the Eagles already drafted his replacement in the first round a little less than a year ago.

This seems pretty simple, right?

Yet, as Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Tuesday at the NFL’s Scouting Combine, neither man was ready to say the team is moving on.

“I think as it pertains to all of our free agents, it’s important that we keep an open mind with everyone and try to figure out as we get more information,” Roseman said.

“A big part of this week is accumulating information. That’s what we do here. Obviously, when you’re talking about Jason Peters, you’re talking about a Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame person, someone that’s very special to us and played at a really high level last year. We’ll go through all those decisions this week.”

Pederson gave less of a politician answer.

“Heck yeah,” Pederson said when asked if he wants Peters back next season.

So that leads us to this: Is there really a chance the Eagles would re-sign a 38-year-old left tackle instead of playing a first-round pick they traded up to get less than a year ago?

It seems crazy.

Coming into Tuesday, I thought there was a chance Roseman would get to the podium and use the forum as a chance to make a statement about Peters. I thought, maybe, he would get up there and tell us all that the Eagles were planning to let Peters hit the free agent market, thank him for his time and give a vote of confidence to Andre Dillard as the left tackle of the future.

That didn’t happen.

In fact, Roseman and Pederson actually invited more speculation and I walked away thinking there’s actually a chance they try to bring back Peters for next season, even though it sounds pretty crazy.

Maybe they just haven’t talked to Peters yet. That’s possible. In a case like this, if the Eagles want to move on, they wouldn’t want to do anything to disrespect a guy who has been here a decade and will likely end up in Canton. Even Roseman admitted that it’s important to treat guys of this magnitude a little differently.

“There’s no question,” Roseman said. “When you talk about guys who are historic players in the National Football League, guys who are going into the Hall of Fame, guys who are going into the Eagles Hall of Fame, those guys are special people and special players and you don’t have a lot of those during the course of your career.

“So you try to make decisions first that are best for the football team and at the same time have respect and appreciation for what guys have done and what guys have done going forward and have been a part of your organization for a long time.”

Peters played the 2019 season on a renegotiated one-year deal that he signed in March. And while Peters didn’t play at an All Pro level last year, he was still pretty good.

But throughout last season, it seemed like the Eagles were going to let Peters play and groom Dillard. And, sure, Dillard struggled at right tackle in his one start at the position, but acquitted himself quite well at left tackle when Peters missed a three-game stretch.

On Tuesday, I asked Pederson about the possibility that bringing back Peters could stunt Dillard’s long-term development. I mean, what would it say about a first-round rookie if the Eagles didn’t start him in Year 2 and instead re-signed a 38-year old to play in front of him?

“Andre is the guy we selected,” Pederson said. “He was our top pick a year ago. We feel like he has a bright future. Again, this is where that fine line comes in. We have to have some difficult conversations, not only for us internally but with the players.”

Pederson said his feelings about wanting Peters back are similar to the way he felt about Darren Sproles. Well, the Eagles brought Sproles back in 2018 and 2019 and he got hurt both seasons. It seems like a cautionary tale.

And unlike Sproles, who was a rotational player, if Peters returns, he’ll be the starting left tackle.

“It is that simple when it comes down to it,” Pederson said. “It’s either JP or it’s Andre and those are decisions we have to make.”

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