Eagles

NFL mock draft 2019 roundup 7.0: First edition for Eagles since free agency

NFL mock draft 2019 roundup 7.0: First edition for Eagles since free agency

With the initial flurry of free agency moves over, it’s time to take a closer look to see if it’s changed mock drafts. 

The Eagles have pick No. 25 in the first round. 

Let’s take a look: 

The Draft Network, Benjamin Solak

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston 

Here’s what they said: “We have to begin by acknowledging that Oliver is going to fall. I'd be shocked if he goes Top-10. There's too much smoke from plugged-in media members for there not to be fire.

“So where does he go? To the short list of teams who are willing to take big gambles in the Draft; who color outside of the lines and chase competitive advantages. Oliver will be an outlier if he's successful, and many NFL teams are willing to miss on outliers and adhere exclusively to the orthodox. C'est la vie.

“It sounds like something Philadelphia would do, even with the addition of Malik Jackson: Oliver's penetration quickness and flexibility won't be valued anywhere more than they will be with the Eagles, and Fletcher Cox's gravity will free Oliver up. That'll be a new luxury for him.”

My take on Oliver: In an Eagles-only mock draft not long ago, I mocked Oliver to the Eagles and many folks disagreed that Oliver would still be there. I understand that. But even if he doesn’t make it to 25, the Eagles might be in play for a modest trade up to get a really talented player in the late teens or early 20s. Oliver’s size is a big reason for his slide, but he can flat-out play. If the Eagles get him at 25, that would possibly be the steal of the first round. 

NFL.com, Charles Davis

DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia 

Here’s what they said: "Wasn't the best combine for him, but his tape shows an ultra-competitive CB who contests all passes thrown in his area."

CBS Sports, Chris Trapasso

DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

Here’s what they said: "As a rookie, Baker can step in as a full-time player in a needy Eagles secondary."

My take on Baker: I will partly forgive Davis and Trapasso because their mock drafts were up before the Eagles re-signed Ronald Darby. But even before Darby was brought back for the 2019 season, the Eagles still have a defensive back room stacked with young and cheap cornerbacks they’ve drafted. It’s hard to believe they’d just their first round pick on another one. 

Walter Football, Charlie Campbell

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington 

Here’s what they said: "Murphy (6-1, 185) played well as part of a loaded Washington secondary that was likely comprised of future NFL talent. In 2018, he totaled 58 tackles with 13 passes broken up and four interceptions. In his freshman season, he notched three interceptions with seven breakups and 16 tackles. Sources say Murphy is a polished corner and they really like what he put on tape. They like his instincts, awareness, ability to play inside or outside, and the excellent coaching/preparation he received from former NFL defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake. Their concerns with Murphy are with his size and him having average playing speed."

My take on Murphy: Again, with a cornerback!?! This came out after the Darby news too. I like Murphy. Think he’s a good prospect. I don’t think the Eagles will be drafting him or any other cornerback in the first round. 

CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson

Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Here’s what they said: "Adderley is a converted cornerback who can cover in the slot or play centerfield. His athleticism makes him a great fit in Philly's defense."

My take on Adderley: Adderley is one of the top safeties in the draft and the Eagles could use a safety in this draft. Check. But I kind of doubt they’ll use their first-round pick on one, especially after bringing back Rodney McLeod and not really knowing where Avonte Maddox projects long-term. I wouldn’t hate this pick, but I think there are other players who will be there who make more sense. 

SB Nation, Dan Kadar

Greg Little, OT, Mississippi 

Here’s what they said: Little has as much pure talent as any offensive tackle in the draft, but the technical aspects of his game need work. Going to Philadelphia, where he can sit a year behind the great Jason Peters, would be the ideal scenario. Few blockers set their base as well as Peters, and that’s exactly where Little needs to improve.

My take on Little: Using pick No. 25 on an offensive lineman makes a lot more sense than a defensive back. The Eagles brought Jason Peters back for 2019, so he’s going to be the starter at left tackle and Lane Johnson will start at right tackle. So Little would need to sit on the bench, but could learn from a Pro Bowler and a future Hall of Famer. Jordan Mailata might be the future left tackle, but Little is more of a sure thing. 

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Eagles add veteran safety Andrew Sendejo on 1-year deal

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Eagles add veteran safety Andrew Sendejo on 1-year deal

The Eagles have found their next veteran safety, agreeing to a one-year deal with veteran safety Andrew Sendejo. 

Sendejo, 31, has played nine NFL seasons with 95 games played and 58 starts. 

With the expected retirement of Corey Graham (who is a free agent), Sendejo can fill that pretty important third safety role with the Eagles. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod will start (if McLeod is ready for the season opener) and Sendejo can be the next safety off the bench. In 2018, Graham split that role with Tre Sullivan, who is still on the roster. 

The Eagles use three safeties quite a bit to utilize Jenkins’ versatility. Often, Jenkins will move up into a linebacker role and the third safety gets on the field. Sendejo will be in that mix and can help on special teams. This signing makes plenty of sense. 

After coming into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Rice, Sendejo spent one season with the Cowboys before joining the Vikings and working his way up from a special teams player to a starter on defense. 

In 2018, Sendejo actually hurt his groin in the Eagles game and played just five games last season. He has played all 16 games just twice in his career. But from 2015-2017, he started 40 games in a three-year span. 

The Vikings declined his option for the 2019 season, making him a free agent.

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With few options at RB, Eagles might have to get creative

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With few options at RB, Eagles might have to get creative

Maybe hold off on declaring the Eagles “winners” after the NFL’s initial free agent rush, unless you’re comfortable with the idea of Wendell Smallwood as the team’s lead ball carrier.

Running back was arguably the Eagles’ biggest need entering the offseason, yet so far the front office has come up empty-handed here. Worse still, there appear to be few great options remaining on the market, which means executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman may need to get creative.

You can understand why the Eagles might avoid a volatile, high-priced Le’Veon Bell type or somebody with Kareem Hunt’s baggage. More unclear is why the club wasn’t in on an established back like Mark Ingram or high-upside prospect Tevin Coleman, both at affordable prices.

Regardless, the top free-agent runners are spoken for, and the Eagles likely must look elsewhere to obtain a true feature back.

Is a trade on the horizon?

I wouldn’t be too quick to criticize the front office quite yet. The appearance the Eagles weren’t serious players for any of the big names on the market may be a sign Roseman has something — or somebody — else in mind.

For example, the Eagles have been linked to Bears running back Jordan Howard since before last season’s trade deadline. I’m not sure why another team is itching to get rid of a 24-year-old averaging 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns rushing in his first three seasons, but Howard would certainly fill the void here.

There are no official reports confirming the Eagles’ interest in Howard. However, if he is available, one can surmise Roseman has been on the phone.

Arizona’s David Johnson and Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette were also mentioned as potential Eagles targets in the past six months, though both backs are currently believed to be staying put.

Perhaps there is a deal out there that’s not yet been rumored or even imagined in the sports media landscape. Nothing seems impossible with Roseman at the helm.

Looking to the draft?

The Eagles are almost certainly going to take a running back at some point in April’s draft, and with three picks in the first two rounds, it could happen early. But while nobody would balk at the idea, that doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.

It’s always a leap to assume a rookie will immediately fill a feature role in an NFL offense, which is what the Eagles need. Furthermore, the cupboard is bare in the backfield, with only Smallwood, Corey Clement — who ended last season on injured reserve — Jamal Adams and Boston Scott under contract. One new body may not be enough.

So while this draft could contain the Eagles’ running back of the future, it shouldn’t be treated as a given, either.

Another year of running back by committee?

If Roseman doesn’t have a trade up his sleeve, it’s looking like the Eagles will be back to relying on a committee in 2019.

There are some borderline lead backs on the market, granted in short supply. Were the Eagles to pair the likes of Isaiah Crowell, C.J. Anderson or Spencer Ware with a promising rookie, such a tandem might not electrify the fan base, but it would create some semblance of stability at the position.

The Eagles could even re-sign Jay Ajayi, provided he’ll be healthy. Were it not for a torn ACL, Ajayi probably would’ve been one of the top runners on the market, even with a chronic knee issue.

Free agent T.J. Yeldon and Browns running back Duke Johnson have also been mentioned as possibilities, but more as potential replacements for Darren Sproles.

Any of these additions is a strong indication the Eagles will once again go without a feature back, an all-too-familiar situation for the offense since LeSean McCoy’s departure in 2015. If that turns out to be the case, it makes you wonder what Roseman was thinking when the top free agents all chose to sign elsewhere.

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