With 10 total picks in his arsenal, Howie Roseman will be a busy man come next week. He’s already made one major trade and more are surely on the way. I took the liberty of making one deal in the second round. Here’s how I see the whole draft shaking out for the Eagles.
Round 1-15: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The centerpiece of the best defense in college football. A captain of the national champs. The Bednarik award winner as the country’s top defensive player. A prospect with that resume alone is a slam dunk first-round pick. And that’s BEFORE you get to the absurd size (6-6, 340 pounds) and absolutely freakish athletic profile (4.78 40-yard dash).
Jordan Davis simply has no direct NFL player comp. There has never been a player this big, this strong, and this fast. Davis will be a one-man wrecking crew in the run game and not just by eating up blocks. He makes a habit of steering offensive linemen two yards deep into the backfield before the hand-off has even happened. Plus, he’s got the speed and agility to shoot gaps and blow plays up.
Yes, there are concerns that Davis won’t ever be more than an early down player based on his limited snaps (25.2 per game) at Georgia. He made way for fellow Bulldogs defensive tackles Devonte Wyatt and Jalen Carter on passing downs. Wyatt’s also likely to hear his name called in the first round this year and Carter is already generating top 10 buzz for 2023. Give Davis more pass rush opportunities, it’s a safe bet you’re getting more pass rush production. Even if he doesn’t become an every-down force, you’re getting Vince Wilfork. And if Davis gets anywhere close to his ceiling? That’s just scary to think about.
Round 1–18: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
I’m banking on a receiver run early in Round 1 that could leave the Eagles without an ideal option. Garrett Wilson and Jameson Wiliams seem very likely to be off the board by this point. Ditto Drake London and possibly Chris Olave. I’m not sold on Treylon Burks and, as you’ll see below, prefer some of the 2nd round options at the position just as much or more. So, Booth is the pick to fill another major need.
The Clemson corner plays with a ferocity and energy that jumps off the highlight film. He’s got elite ball skills and makes big plays in big spots. Some project him more as a man corner but he excelled in zone as well. While the Eagles need someone opposite Darius Slay in the short-term, you could argue the bigger need is a someone to eventually replace the 31-year-old Pro Bowler long-term. Booth would serve both purposes.
The 6-0, 200-pound corner didn’t work out at the combine and recently underwent sports hernia surgery, but will have a clean bill of health by camp. Despite not having official times, Booth plays fast, but his physicality sets him apart. He can manhandle the opposition at the line or play off and deliver hits to separate receiver from ball. It might even be possible to trade down slightly and still land him, but the Eagles pull the trigger on a first-round corner for the first time since Lito Shepard in 2002.
Round 2-44: George Pickens, WR, Georgia (via trade with Browns)
Eagles receive: 44th pick (2nd rd)
Browns receive: 51st pick (2nd rd), 124th pick (4th rd), 166th pick (5th round)
After missing out on the top receiver talent in round one, the Birds are still able to land a former five-star recruit who profiles as a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. They make a minor move up to secure another member of the national champs, sending the 51st, 124th and 166th picks to the Browns, who can use more ammo following their trade for Deshaun Watson. True to his surname, Pickens catches everything. At 6-3, 200 pounds, he’s got an elite catch radius and vice grips for hands. Put the ball up and he’ll get it. He’s a true game-breaker with 4.47 speed that would pair perfectly with Devonta Smith. In fact, the Eagles reportedly had a top-30 visit with Pickens.
The only thing preventing Pickens from being a consensus first rounder is a torn ACL suffered last spring. He worked his way back to play the final four games for Georgia and contributed a 52-yard catch in their National Championship Game win and declared for the draft as a junior. His best season came as a freshman in 2019 when he had 47 catches, 727 yards and 8 TD, but the Bulldogs didn’t exactly have elite quarterback play during his tenure.
Pickens just recently turned 21 and is a fluid athlete with a thin, but strong frame that could fill out even more. Even so, he prides himself on his blocking and plays with a nastiness that Eagles fans would absolutely adore.
Round 3-83: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
Cross, a true centerfield safety, can cover a ton of ground on the back end thanks to his blazing 4.34 speed. A product of DeMatha Catholic (which also produced Brian Westbrook and Rodney McLeod), Cross was a highly coveted recruit with offers from every big school in the country, but he opted to stay close to home in College Park.
He was a Day 1 starter for the Terps, racking up six interceptions across his three seasons. Cross declared for the draft following his junior campaign and won’t turn 21 until the NFL season starts, so there is still plenty of room for growth as a player. Despite his speed, he still has good size and toughness for the position (6-0, 212 pounds) and is extremely willing and able to deliver a hit with his strong build.
The Eagles have a huge need at the position and Cross would give Jonathan Gannon a tremendous chess piece to work with. Cross stacks up favorably to just about every safety in this class but is projected as a third-rounder behind some bigger school talent. It reminds me a little of another Maryland product, Stefon Diggs. He was also a top-notch recruit out of high school who chose Maryland but didn’t go until the 5th round in 2015. Cross could end up being a huge steal in that same mold.
Round 3-101: Alex Wright, DE, UAB
The Birds wait until the tail end of the third round to tab a defensive end. Wright projects as a strong-side defender who is stout against the run but has untapped potential to become a monster off the edge as a rusher. The Eagles have rarely had someone at the position with this size (6-5, 270 pounds) and length (83-inch wingspan). Wright also moves well for his size and has shown some pass rushing prowess (6 sacks last season). Overall, ProFootballFocus graded him as the fourth-best edge defender in the country last season.
However, the 21-year old is far from a finished product and is entering the league after his junior year. He’d slot nicely into the Eagles’ rotation and offer a nice complement to more pure pass rushers like Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick. You’re really drafting on upside with this pick, but late on Day 2 feels like a good time to gamble, especially after playing it somewhat conservatively so far in the draft.
Round 5-154: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
The Eagles take another big swing here, drafting a player who could miss the entire 2022 season. Clark was projected to be a 2nd round pick before doctors at the combine discovered a neck issue that required spinal fusion surgery. The Eagles quite infamously took DK Metcalf off their board for a similar red flag, so it might take a relaxing of their medical standards. However, Clark is expected to make a full recovery. His character and work ethic are considered off the charts, so if you’re going to bank on any player to make it back to full strength, Clark is a good bet.
As the heartbeat of the LSU defense, Clark wore number 18 for the Tigers, which is always awarded to a team leader. He followed in the footsteps of former first round picks Devin White (5th by Buccaneers in 2019) and Patrick Queen (28th by Ravens in 2020), becoming an all-SEC first-teamer in 2021 with 135 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
At 6-2 and 239 pounds, Clark has ideal size for a middle linebacker and sideline to sideline speed (4.57 in the 40). For a team that seems averse to investing heavily in the position, this is one way to potentially end up with a high-end starter without using premium resources.
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Round 5-162: Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
I’m a big proponent of using mid-round picks on running backs year after year, and Haskins is exactly the kind of player to target. He was a work horse for the Big Ten champs last season, racking up 1,327 yards on the ground and 20 touchdowns, but as a one-year starter there is still plenty of tread on the tires. Haskins had a career day in one of the biggest games in Ann Arbor in recent history, carrying 28 times for 169 yards and 5 touchdowns in a win over bitter rival Ohio State.
One of the bigger backs in the class at 61, 228 pounds. Haskins runs with a punishing style. He repped 225 pounds on the bench press an astonishing 27 times (1 fewer than Aidan Hutchinson and 6 more than Jermaine Johnson and George Karlaftis). He finishes through contact and is always pushing the pile forward. He didn’t do any other work outs at the combine due to an ankle injury, so there are certainly questions about his speed and athleticism. Most scouting reports downplay both, but I see a player with solid burst and enough wiggle to make a defender miss when he can’t just run through them.
Haskins is very patient to set up blocks and didn’t fumble once on 452 carries at Michigan. He only had 6 negative runs in 2021 which would make him a nice complement to (perhaps the exact opposite of?) Miles Sanders. Haskins is good in pass protection and while he wasn’t used much in the passing game, I’m not sure that means he can’t. He can assume the Jordan Howard role for the Eagles and offer extra upside.
Round 7-237: Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College
Lindstrom is a three-year starter who doesn’t have ideal size or athleticism for the position. He makes up for a lot of it with his intelligence and rugged style of play. A two-time All-ACC first-teamer, Lindstrom comes from a football family. Both his father and uncle played in the NFL and his older brother Chris was a first round pick by the Falcons back in 2018. The younger Lindstrom also played alongside another potential first rounder in Zion Johnson at BC.
The Eagles have a lot of linemen with positional versatility, but Lindstrom is specifically a center. He gives them another option to eventually succeed Jason Kelce at the position.