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April 26, 2019

20 players who make sense for the Eagles in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft

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030319AJBrown Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown

The first round of the 2019 NFL Drfat is in the books, and the Philadelphia Eagles found themselves trading up for a player in Andre Dillard who even they didn't think would be available.

With their two second-round picks, the Birds could go in all different kinds of directions. Here are 20 players I that I think would make sense for them.

• Cody Ford, OG/OT, Oklahoma: Most saw Ford as a first round pick, and some even projected him as the Eagles' first round pick. He played LG at Oklahoma initially, but moved to RT in 2018. In my view, Ford can be a great guard in the NFL. He moves defenders off the line of scrimmage against their will, and he has enough athleticism to have played on the edge in Oklahoma's spread offense. He would bolster the Eagles' already sturdy offensive line by filling in for Brandon Brooks in the short term, and playing LG long-term, with Isaac Seumalo transitioning from an average starter into a great reserve who can play all five positions.

• Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: Williams is a natural athlete with good speed (4.37) and height (6'2, 185). He also has good ball skills, and experience playing on the inside and outside. The biggest knock on him is his penchant for making business decisions in the run game. A neck issue likely scared teams off in the first round.

• A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss: Brown is a receiver whose game best translates to the slot at the pro level. He put up big numbers over the last two seasons at Ole Miss, topping 1,250 yards in each of the last two seasons. At 6'0, 226, Brown has a thick body type, and while he doesn't have elite speed (though he did have a solid showing at the Combine), he breaks tackles and gets yards after the catch. Brown reminds me a lot of a more gifted Golden Tate, for his competitiveness and unwillingness to go down once he has the ball in his hands. If the Eagles liked Tate, they'll love Brown.

• Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida: Gardner-Johnson played the "Star" position in the Florida defense, which the follow video describes as "a nickel corner on steroids," who toggles back and forth between corner, safety, and linebacker. That is a role similar to that of Jenkins in the Eagles' defense, and Gardner-Johnson is very logical successor.

• Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia: As we note here constantly, Jim Schwartz likes his safeties to have cornerback experience in their backgrounds, and that's true of Thornhill, who moved to safety as a senior at Virginia. Thornhill was also a very productive player in college, which is something the Eagles seem to be prioritizing over the last three drafts. He also lit up the Combine, vaulting himself into a position to be taken early on Day 2.

• Taylor Rapp, S, Washington: Rapp is an all-around good player who tackles well, makes plays on the football, and can move around from one position to the next. In watching highlight reels of him, what stood out to me is his ability as a pass rusher. He's dipping and bending around the edge like a polished defensive end, which tells me he cares about being as good as he can be in every facet of the game. Rapp is just a really good, invested football player with the versatility to handle a lot of different assignments, which is obviously something that Jim Schwartz has repeatedly said he values in his defense.

• Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State: Sanders' 2018 season was his first as the lead back for PSU, as he sat behind Saquon Barkley for a couple years. In his lone season as "the guy" at Penn State, Sanders ran for 1,274 yards and nine TDs on 220 carries. While it's not fair to compare Sanders to an elite player like Barkley, it's noteworthy that Sanders' career yards per carry (6.0) were better than Barkley's (5.7), though obviously, Barkley was the focus of opposing defensive game plans every week, and Sanders was not. Sanders has good feet, change of direction, and balance. He has a knack for picking his way through traffic, while also running with some power, and he had an outstanding Combine. On the downside, he had just 32 career receptions at PSU.

• Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: Adderley has cornerback in his background, which will no doubt appeal to Jim Schwartz. Also, while Adderley comes from a smaller program, the Eagles have had success dipping into that pool, as evidenced by their successful selections of Carson Wentz and Dallas Goedert.

MORE: For Delaware's Nasir Adderley, a Hall-of-Fame name was never going to be enough

• Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State: Jones is a very light interior defensive line prospect who is forced to win with quickness. Unfortunately, while Ed Oliver above put some size concerns to bed by destroying the Combine with an extremely athletic showing, Jones did not. When you watch him in games, Jones has a quick first step and was a penetrating force with Ohio State in 2018, collecting 8.5 sacks. In the Eagles' scheme, which favors up-field disruption, he could be a good fit.

• Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech: Ferguson has 45 sacks over his collegiate career, an FBS record. In 2018, he had 17.5 sacks, which led the nation. He is also regarded as a good run defender, and his tackle for loss numbers (67.5 in four seasons) back that up. Ferguson did not participate at the Combine because he was convicted of battery during his freshman year in college, and his pro day workout numbers did not impress. Still, the production is difficult to overlook, and Ferguson should be a starter at the next level.

• Amani Hooker, S, Iowa: Hooker played a similar version at Iowa that Gardner-Johnson (above) played at Florida, in that he played some slot corner, safety, and linebacker. In that sense, once again, he would an eventual replacement for Jenkins. In 2018, Hooker had four picks and seven pass breakups.

• Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis: Henderson is a home run threat every time he touches the ball, as he averaged 8.9 (!) yards per carry in each of the last two seasons. As an added bonus, Henderson is a good receiver out of the backfield, as he had 63 catches and a 12.0 YPC average in three years at Memphis.

• Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina: Throughout his college career, Samuel was more potential than production, as his college stats weren't particularly impressive. Unfortunately for Samuel, in 2015, he missed seven games with a soft tissue injury, and he missed 10 games in 2017 with a broken leg, so there are durability concerns. But the talent is there. Samuel is a sure-handed receiver with a thick build who breaks tackles and gets yards after the catch. He is also a good kick returner, which the Eagles still need.

• Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama: As a freshman in 2016, Wilson's impact was mainly felt on special teams, where he produced a lot of big hits on kick coverage. When he got his chance to start in 2017, he responded by intercepting four passes. In 2018, he had two picks, and was an enforcer at times (but a shaky tackler at other times) in the middle of Bama's imposing defense. At one point, Wilson was thought of as a potential first round pick. Somewhere along the line, his stock fell, as many have concerns about his ability to read and react. I believe his ability in coverage alone should get him drafted in the second round.

• Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame: Love's biggest strength, by far, is his ability to get hands on the football. In 2017, he had a highly impressive 20 pass breakups. In 2018, he had 16. He also has three career return touchdowns (two on INTs, one on a fumble recovery). However, while a confident player (Jim Schwartz alert), he doesn't have ideal speed (4.54), and he's not a particularly physical player.

• Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State: Butler is a 6'5 monster with obvious red zone ability who can also make plays down the field, as evidenced by his 22.0 yards per catch average in 2018. He also displays impressive body control for his size, and tested better than anticipated at the Combine. He is a very intriguing height-weight-speed prospect, and one many think is worthy of a first-round pick. However, his hands and route-running are concerns that will likely cause him to be drafted on Day 2. 

• Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State: One of the more fun running backs to watch from this class is Hill, who is a smaller, shifty runner who makes guys miss. Despite his small size, Hill has carried 632 times for Oklahoma State over the last three years, and has put up good numbers. However, one area where his production is deficient is in the receiving game, as he had just 49 catches for 304 yards (6.2 YPC) and one TD in his college career. He is also susceptible to getting steamrolled in pass protection. Ideally, you would prefer a 5'10, 198 pound back to have ability as a receiver, or at least in pass protection, so that they can be used on third down. Hill still has to prove he can do both of those things to become a more complete back in the NFL. As in, Hill would still be an intriguing complementary speed guy to the powerful Jordan Howard.

• Joe Jackson, DE, Miami: Jackson was an immediate force as soon as he got to Miami, as he had 7.5 sacks his freshman season. He finished his three-year career at Miami with 22.5 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss. At 6'4, 275, with plenty of power, he won't get pushed around as a rookie in the NFL, and his relentless style of play would fit well in a rotational role in the Eagles' defense. He's a guy who can play DE on base downs, and be an interior rusher on obvious passing downs, somewhat like Michael Bennett. I believe Jackson is one of the more underrated defensive ends in this class.

• Zach Allen, DE/DT, Boston College: At 6'4, 281 pounds, Allen isn't going to be mistaken for a speed rusher like Von Miller, but he offers inside-outside versatility and has the ability to push the pocket with his sheer strength. Over the last three seasons, he has 40.5 tackles for loss (good) and 16.5 sacks (meh). With the Eagles needing depth both at DE and DT, Allen is a player who makes sense in their rotational front.

• David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State: Montgomery isn't an explosive, speedy runner, but he runs hard and breaks a lot of tackles. The lack of consistent big plays and a crappy offensive line have led to a low yards per carry average over his college career. Montgomery is also a threat out of the backfield as a receiver, as he had 71 career catches. 

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