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April 28, 2023

10 players who make sense for the Eagles in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft

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032323BrianBranch Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports

Bama S Brian Branch

Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Philadelphia Eagles somehow landed Georgia DT Jalen Carter as well as his college teammate, edge rusher Nolan Smith. Here are 10 players who make sense for the Eagles in Round 2.

• Brian Branch, S, Alabama: Branch is just a really good, instinctive player with no obvious holes in his game who brings Chauncey Gardner-Johnson-like versatility as a safety / slot corner hybrid. 

• Joey Porter, Jr., CB, Penn State: Porter is the son of former Steelers great Joey Porter Sr., and he plays with a similar type of passion and edge as his dad. He has outstanding length at 6'3, with 34" arms, and in addition to his God-given size, he is also a good athlete. On the downside, Porter only has 1 career interception (20 pass breakups) and he is grabby (to put it mildly).

• Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee: Hyatt had a breakout season out of the slot for Tennessee in 2022, catching 67 passes for 1,267 yards (18.9 PYC) and 15 TDs. He is a speed receiver with deep ball tracking skills and run after catch ability. Hyatt would not require a ton of targets, but could be counted on to make the big plays when those opportunities present themselves. He would also theoretically help keep safeties from creeping up into the box to stop the run, fearing his deep speed to beat them over the top.

• Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia: Ringo is 6'2 and he runs a 4.36, which is a good start. He is probably best known for his pick-six that sealed Georgia's National Championship win over Alabama in 2021. He uses his size to his advantage, both in press coverage, on contested catches, and as a tackler. He also has good awareness in zone coverage. While Ringo is gifted with size and athleticism, the knock on him is that he gives up too much separation at times. His route recognition will have to improve at the NFL level, but the tools are certainly there.

• Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas: Sanders had a stellar season after transferring to Arkansas from Alabama, where he didn't get much playing time in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He is a versatile, athletic off-ball linebacker / edge defender hybrid with great size who filled up the stat sheet in 2022. In 12 games, Sanders had 103 tackles (13.5 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 pass breakups. He is also a big hitter. Sanders is an intriguing player and a potentially valuable piece for any defense that seeks to be "multiple."

• Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State: Jones was Ohio State's starting RT, and he is a massive human being at 6'8, 374 pounds with 36 3/8" arms and a set of mammoth 11 5/8" paws on him. Jeff Stoutland tends to prefer offensive linemen that bring something to the table that other offensive linemen cannot match. With Jones, it's his size. Jones was inconsistent early in his career, but he became a more reliable player for OSU in 2022. In Philly, he'd have time to grow under Stoutland and eventually take over for Lane Johnson in, sayyyy, 2025, whereas he might be thrown to the wolves as a rookie with another team and have some ugly struggles early in his career.

• Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M: Johnson is a versatile defensive back who plays slot corner, safety, and some linebacker. He lined up all over the field as sort of chess piece in Texas A&M's defense. He's a physical tackler who can match up against bigger slot receivers as well as tight ends on obvious passing downs. He also has some value as a blitzer from the slot. Johnson does a lot of the same types of things as Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and he is just always around the football.

• Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina: Smith is an aggressive, twitched-up press man corner who likes to get physical with receivers. The downside is that he is also grabby in coverage, and he'll whiff on some tackles when he goes ankle diving. Still, the athletic traits are there, as he is sticky in coverage and he is good at locating / making plays on the ball. He'll benefit from landing with a good DB coach in the NFL, but there could be some early growing pains as he will be forced to clean up some of his bad habits.

• Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State: Brents is a lesser-known CB prospect in the 2023 draft class, but he'll probably go Day 2 because he has some ball skills (4 INT in 2022), he's a physical tackler, and he has extreme length (6'3, 198, with 34" arms). 

• Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss: Mingo is a big-bodied receiver at 6'2, 220 with impressive speed and athleticism for his size. His route running needs some work, but he makes contested catches and has obvious run-after-catch ability. Easy fit in the Eagles' offense as a backup outside receiver, or a big slot.

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