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January 30, 2024

15 potential Eagles draft targets we'll be watching at Senior Bowl practices: Defense edition

A look at 15 players in the Senior Bowl who could help the Eagles next season.

Eagles NFL
091623JavonBullard Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Georgia DB Javon Bullard

Senior Bowl practices will begin on Tuesday, and since the Philadelphia Eagles are currently projected to have 8 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, this is an event that should be of high interest to their front office. Here are 15 players we'll be watching on defense.

Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA: Latu suffered a serious neck injury while playing at Washington, and his football career was seemingly over. He transferred to UCLA, where he thrived. In 2022, he had 10.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. In 2023, he had 13 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 INTs. When you watch his highlights, it's easy to see that Latu has an extensive repertoire of pass rush moves, and he can win either on the edge or from the interior on obvious passing downs. He's going to be a first-round pick.

Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama: With Will Anderson out of the way, Braswell became more of a regular in the Bama defense in 2023, and he contributed 41 tackles (10.5 for loss), 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and a pick-six. Braswell is raw, but has high upside, and the Eagles aren't as set on the edge as previously thought.

Justin Eboigbe, DL, Alabama: Eboigbe suffered a serious neck injury in 2022, but he has rebounded and had a really nice season in 2023. He was mainly thought of as a run stuffer throughout his Bama career, but he turned it on as a pass rusher in 2023, as he had 7 sacks to go along with 64 tackles. Eboigbe has some inside-outside versatility, and some nasty in his game. I like him as a versatile Day 3 rotational guy.

Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina: Gray put up monster stats over the last three seasons, racking up 365 tackles (29 for loss), 8.5 sacks, 5 INTs, 13 PBUs, and 5 FFs. He's a solid all-around linebacker, but isn't thought to be special at any one thing.

Jaylan Ford, LB, Texas: Over the last two seasons, Ford has racked up 220 tackles (20.5 for loss), 3 sacks, 6 INTs, and 4 forced fumbles. In addition to his impressive production, Ford is thought of as an instinctive linebacker, which shows up in his spacial awareness in zone coverage.

Trevin Wallace, LB, Kentucky: Wallace is an athletic freak who is a good run defender and blitzer. I like his fit in the Eagles' defense as a WILL linebacker, and an immediate contributor on special teams. Day 3 guy.

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo: Mitchell finished second in the nation both in 2022 and 2023 with 19 pass breakups each season. As a freshman in 2021, he had 8, which is still a good number, just not in comparison to his 2022 and 2023 seasons. In other words, he gets his hands on a lot of passes. He also had 5 INTs in 2022, two of which he returned for scores. He is expected to run a fast 40, and if he does he could be a first-round pick. Mitchell can play inside or outside which would be particularly useful for the Eagles, who need a slot corner in the short-term and outside corners long-term. He'll be a major player of interest at the Senior Bowl, since he didn't get to play against top-tier talent at Toledo, but will in Mobile.

Kris Abrams-Draine, CB, Missouri: Abrams-Draine enrolled at Missouri as a wide receiver, but he flipped to the defensive side of the ball following his freshman season. He became an immediate contributor in the slot, collecting 37 tackles, 3 INTs, and 7 PBUs in 2021. In 2022, he had 48 tackles and 14 PBUs. In 2023, he had 51 tackles, 4 INTs, and 13 PBUs. That's pretty consistent production.

Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan: Like Abrams-Draine, Sainristil initially played wide receiver at Michigan (for three years, actually), catching 37 passes for 539 yards (14.6 YPC) and 5 TDs, before moving to defense for his last two years. On the other side of the ball, Sainristil quickly became a playmaking slot corner. At 5'10, 182, Sainristil doesn't have ideal size, but he's feisty, tough, and just a good football player.

Kalen King, CB, Penn State: King doesn't have great size, but he's a physical run defender and he got his hands on a ton of passes a season ago (3 INTs, 18 PBUs in 2022). His 2023 season was disappointing. Still, King has talent, and he reminds me a little of a poor man's Devon Witherspoon, just in terms of style of play, but he is far less consistent.

Josh Newton, CB, TCU: Newton is a transfer from Louisiana-Monroe who helped TCU get to the National Championship Game last season. He had 3 INTs (including a pick-six) and 12 PBUs in 2022. Newton has good speed, but like Mitchell above, it's his inside-outside versatility that should appeal to the Eagles.

Javon Bullard, S, Georgia: Bullard is a slot corner / safety hybrid who tallied 46 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and 2 INTs (both in the National Championship Game) in 2022. In 2023, he had 56 tackles and 2 INTs. Bullard is a hitter with athleticism. He makes plays and then lets you know about it. His swagger gives me some Chauncey Gardner-Johnson vibes. The Eagles need more players who can play in the slot, and Bullard would give them some safety versatility on top of that.

Tykee Smith, S, Georgia: Smith is a Philly product who originally enrolled at West Virginia but transferred to Georgia, where he played the star position (safety / slot / linebacker hybrid) in the Bulldogs' defense. He's a big hitter with instincts, and he became more of a ball hawk this season (4 INTs).

Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami: NFL defenses are now prioritizing limiting explosive plays, so we may see rangy centerfielder types become more valuable in the draft. Kinchens is a ballhawking deep safety who can get sideline to sideline on the back end and make plays on the football. In 2022, Kinchens had 59 tackles, 6 INTs (one was a pick-six), 6 additional pass breakups, and a forced fumble. In 2023, he had 5 INTs, including another pick-six.

Cole Bishop, S, Utah: Bishop is a tough, instinctive safety with good size. He is a good tackler and run defender who is at his best near the line of scrimmage, though he can cover tight ends and even some bigger slot receivers. I like him in a dime linebacker role.

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