Eagles

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 3.0: Some heavy hitters weigh in

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 3.0: Some heavy hitters weigh in

The Senior Bowl is over and the next big event in the pre-draft process will be the combine in Indianapolis that begins in less than a month.

That’s when the pre-draft season will kick into high gear.

But we’ve already seen dozens of first-round mock drafts with different possibilities for the Eagles with that 21st pick. Here are a few more, starting with a couple mock drafts from heavy hitters in the industry:

ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr.

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

What they said: Philadelphia has to upgrade at wide receiver — its two top pass-catchers in 2019 were tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert — and the depth and talent in this class could set up perfectly for the Eagles to have several options here. At 6-foot-4, Higgins is the biggest wideout of the first-round talents, a jump-ball specialist and touchdown machine (25 the past two seasons). He's not super explosive like Lamb, Jeudy or Ruggs, but he'll box out cornerbacks in the red zone and pick up first downs, not unlike Alshon Jeffery, who struggled to stay on the field this season. The Eagles would have liked more from second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Year 1, and I still like his upside, but Higgins has No. 1 receiver talent. As is always the case for Philadelphia, this is another spot to watch for an edge rusher.

My take on Higgins: Higgins has been the most popular pick in these early mock drafts for the Eagles and it’s easy to understand why. He’s a solid, do-it-all receiver who had a very good college career. It’s worth noting that Kiper has Higgins as the fourth receiver off the board, after CeeDee Lamb (12), Jerry Jeudy (13) and Henry Ruggs III (15). In other years, I’d imagine a player like Higgins would go earlier but this is a really good receiver class. He has an impressive size/speed combination and getting him at 21 would probably make most fans pretty happy.

NFL.com, Daniel Jeremiah 

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

What they said: Speed! The Eagles are focused on getting faster this offseason, and Ruggs is the most explosive player in the draft.

SI.com, Kevin Hanson

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

What they said: Given the depth at receiver in this year’s draft class, one of the best in recent memory, it’s possible some of them get pushed down a bit. A top-12 prospect on my big board, Ruggs would provide the Eagles with the vertical element their passing attack has lacked. A legitimate threat to the NFL combine’s 40-yard dash record, Ruggs scored on one of four touches over his collegiate career.

My take on Ruggs III: I’m not very convinced Ruggs will be on the board when the Eagles pick at 21 but if he is, this would be an exciting selection. It’s worth noting that Jeremiah used to work in the Eagles’ front office and his expectation is that the Eagles will focus on getting faster this offseason; that should be an obvious goal. And Ruggs would certainly help with that.

In recent years when Joe Douglas was around, the Eagles really prioritized college productivity. But at his year-end press conference, Howie Roseman noted that some of the receivers who had good rookie seasons in 2019 didn’t have incredible college production. So when we look at Ruggs’ stats, they’re not as impressive as some of the other receivers in this class:

2018: 46 catches, 741 yards (16.1), 11 touchdowns

2019: 40 catches, 746 yards (18.7) 7 touchdowns

That is something that might have mattered more to the Eagles in years past. Not sure they’ll care as much this time around.

CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson

Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama

What they said: Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry were the Eagles' two most efficient pass rushers, according to PFF, but Graham is 31 and Curry appears headed for free agency. Lewis was able to stay healthy in 2019 after suffering injuries in the two previous seasons and he looked pretty good. He looked even better at the Senior Bowl last week, and that will only help his draft stock.

My take on Lewis: It’s probably never a crazy idea to mock a lineman to the Eagles in the first round. Since 2010, the Eagles have had nine first-round picks and seven of them have been used on the OL or DL (four of those seven on DL). The Eagles will return Graham and Barnett as their starters in 2020 but Graham is on the wrong side of 30 and Barnett hasn’t developed into a star. Perhaps they will look for some edge help in Round 1. The part of Wilson’s mock draft I’m having a hard time with is that Ruggs comes off the board with the next pick at 22. If that happened, Eagles fans wouldn’t be very happy.

Baltimore Sun, C.J. Doon 

Grant Delpit, S, LSU

What they said: With DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery returning from injury, the need for a wide receiver isn’t as strong as the need for help in the secondary. Delpit was hit-and-miss in 2019, but his coverage skills would be a welcome addition to a beleaguered group of defenders.

My take on Delpit: I really like Delpit and in my first mock draft last week, I had him going to the Eagles too. Safety might not be as pressing a need as receiver or cornerback but it’s an important position in the Eagles’ defense and one in question right now. In my mock, I had the top four receivers off the board, which left the Eagles in a position to take BPA and Delpit was that for me. But in this mock draft, Higgins is still available and he goes to the Bills at 22. Again, another situation that probably wouldn’t make Eagles fans very happy.

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1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

Inflated Super Bowl ticket prices, your favorite Eagle who wore No. 21, an Eagles draft trend and much more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Points!

1. Maybe he’ll be another Byron Maxwell, another Nnamdi, another DRC. I have a good feeling about Darius Slay, though. I think the Eagles may have nailed this one. The price in draft picks wasn’t too high, and his contract is big but it’s also smart and along the lines of what top corners are getting and has an out after three years. Maybe he’ll be another cornerback bust. There’ve been enough of those. But with his personality and his confidence and his playmaking ability, he reminds me of Asante Samuel, who was the last elite corner the Eagles have had. I remember the day the Eagles drafted Tra Thomas in 1998, he shouted into the phone during a conference call, “I’m not going to be another Eagles first-round bust!” Slay all but guaranteed the same thing. I could be wrong, but I think this time they got it right.

2. Doing some research this week I found a preview story on Super Bowl XV between the Eagles and Raiders from Jan. 25, 1981, by a legendary sports writer and cartoonist Murray Olderman that included this line: “Defense makes all coaches salivate but doesn’t do much to excite the guy paying that inflated $40 ticket (up from $10 last year).” Imaging having to pay an inflated $40 for a Super Bowl ticket! Outrageous.

3. Zero interest in Brandin Cooks. 

4. The last Eagles quarterback to throw the first pass of the regular season and the last pass of the postseason was Michael Vick in 2010. The last Eagles quarterback to start and finish 16 regular-season games and finish a playoff game was Donovan McNabb in 2003. Only 17 years ago.

5. It’s just weird to me that Halapoulivaati Vaitai gets a five-year, $45 million contract just a few hours into free agency, and here we are three weeks later and Jason Peters is still unsigned. I get that Big V is younger, but he’s started four games over the last two years and as we’ve all seen, he isn’t the world’s most consistent lineman. J.P. has been banged up, and he’s 38, but he has started 32 of 35 game the last two years. And let’s be honest: Even at 38 he’s way better than Big V. I wrote the other day about some of the reasons Peters is still on the street. But I’m still surprised. It might not be till after the draft till he finds a home, but I still feel like he’ll be playing somewhere next season.

6. The Eagles have drafted nine Pro Bowlers in the first round since 1990, and six of them were linemen — Fletcher Cox and Corey Simon on defense, and Lane Johnson, Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberry and Shawn Andrews on offense. The exceptions are Lito Sheppard, Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz.  

7. I’m fine with the Eagles not landing a receiver in free agency. But, man, they better land the right guy in the first round of the draft. And the second or third round. They simply can't afford to mess this up.

8. The first-round running back trend really tells you a lot about the way the NFL game is changing. As more and more running backs fail to be productive over a number of years and limp out of the game at a young age, first-round running backs have become more and more rare. Only 16 were drafted in the first round this past decade, less than a third of the number taken in the first round during the 1980s and half as many as the previous decade. In the last seven drafts, only nine of 223 first-round picks were running backs.  


2010-2019: 16

2000-2009: 32

1990-1999: 34

1980-1989: 50

9. Interesting to compare Dallas Goedert’s first two seasons in the NFL with Zach Ertz’s:

Ertz: 94-for-1,171, 7 TDs

Goedert: 91-for-941, 9 TDs

10. On our last Eagle Eye podcast, Dave Zangaro and I were talking about Ronald Darby, and Dave asked what player I think of when I see jersey No. 21. I immediately answered … Joselio Hanson. But in all seriousness, it’s Eric Allen. My theory is that we associated jersey numbers with the first player that stuck out to us when we first started watching the Eagles. I think of 55 as Mike Reichenbach, not Brandon Graham. I think of 96 as Clyde and not Derek Barnett. And I even see No. 20 and think of Andre Waters and not Dawk. If there’s nobody significant that wore that number in the 1980s, it’s different. No. 36 is definitely Brian Westbrook (and not Robert Drummond, Stanley Pritchett or Michael Zordich). And No. 27 will always be Malcolm Jenkins (and not Siran Stacy, Eric Zomalt or Norman LeJeune. But for all the numbers that were worn by key guys the last few years of the Buddy Era, that’s where my brain goes. I can’t help it.

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Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey died on Saturday of complications from the coronavirus. Dempsey was 73.

Dempsey contracted the coronavirus in March at the Lambeth House, a retirement home in New Orleans, and is one of at least 15 residents to die from the virus, according to The Times-Picayune.

Dempsey was an Eagle from 1971-1974, but also played for the Saints, Rams, Oilers and Bills.

Born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot, Dempsey was known for his small flat kicking shoe. That shoe now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

The year before he joined the Eagles, Dempsey gained fame by kicking a 63-yard field goal to give the Saints a last-second 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in 1970. It broke the previous NFL record for longest field goal by 7 yards.

That was the NFL record for 43 years until Matt Prater hit a 64-yarder in 2013. Others had tied the record but it took over four decades to beat it.

In his four seasons with the Eagles, for whom he played the longest, Dempsey kicked in 47 games and made 66 of 108 field goals (61.1%). He also made 84 of 90 point-after attempts. Dempsey is 18th on the Eagles’ list of all-time scorers with 282 points.

Dempsey retired to New Orleans where he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 1969. He had been battling dementia since 2012. 

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