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May 05, 2021

Eagles 2022 mock draft roundup

Eagles NFL

Is it completely ridiculous to publish a 2022 mock draft, seeing as there's a good chance it will be 100 percent inaccurate? Yeah, probably, but it's at least sort of worth taking an initial look at the projected top players in next year's draft. Eh, whatever, I won't try to sell it. I clicked, and you already have as well. Thanks for putting my kid through college. 😉

Quick note: The Eagles currently have their own first-round pick, and Miami's first-round pick. They'll also have Indianapolis' first-round pick as long as Carson Wentz (a) plays 75% of the snaps, or (b) Wentz plays 70% of the snaps, plus the Colts make the playoffs. It feels more likely than not that the Colts' pick will convey to the Eagles, and yet, every single one of the mocks below has the Colts making their pick.

Anyway, on to the mocks:

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty, and George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue (Dane Brugler, The Athletic)

Willis (pick 6, Eagles' own pick)

Jalen Hurts has a “prove it” season coming up, and if he doesn’t take command of QB1, then the Eagles will likely be in position to draft a different quarterback in the top 10. If the draft were tomorrow, Willis probably isn’t a first-round pick. But if he makes key improvements, scouts believe he could climb this high. Check out Bruce Feldman’s recent article on his exciting talent.

Karlaftis (pick 19, from Miami)

Although he was injured during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Karlaftis was dominant as a freshman in 2019, leading the team with 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. His heavy-handed attack and GPS for the football should translate well to the next level.

#JimmySays: Willis is a name that everyone should begin to familiarize themselves with. 

He was a 64.2% passer in 2020, 20-6 TD-INT, 8.5 YPA, 944 rushing yards, 14 rushing TDs. Obviously talented.

Evan Neal, OL, Alabama, and Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State (Ryan Wilson, CBS)

Neal (pick 5, Eagles' own pick): 

Unless there are glaring needs at, say, quarterback heading into the season it's hard to predict what those needs will be by next January. But the Eagles have had injuries along the O-line torpedo their chances in recent years so it's never a bad idea to upgrade the unit. Neal played guard early in his Alabama career, kicked out to right tackle last season and he'll move to left tackle in 2021.

Harrison (pick 19, from Miami): 

Harrison looks the part, without question, but he'll need his production and consistency to match that to work his way into the first-round conversation.

#JimmySays: Neal may make sense next year depending on (a) how Jordan Mailata / Andre Dillard play, and (b) how well Lane Johnson's ankle holds up.

Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M, and Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida (Vinnie Iyer, SportingNews)

Wydermyer (pick 11, Eagles' own pick):

The Eagles still may try to move Zach Ertz but it's unlikely as they didn't draft a tight end with any of their nine recent picks. They should be more comfortable moving on from his next year with Wydermer about to shoot up his stock as a receiver.

Elam: (pick 20, from Miami)

The Eagles did address their secondary a little this year but they should be more in the reliable starting cornerback market. This big ballhawk could be huge for them outside.

#JimmySays: Vinnie is seemingly unaware that Dallas Goedert exists.

Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State, and Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida (Brent Sobleski, b/r)

Ekwonu (pick 7, Eagles' own pick):

How the Philadelphia Eagles actually feel internally about quarterback Jalen Hurts remains a mystery. But ownership seems to back last year's second-round pick. 

Ultimately, Hurts' performance this fall will determine whether the Eagles will be searching for another quarterback next offseason. Until then, the front office should heed Jeffery Lurie's mandate and build around the young signal-caller. 

North Carolina State's Ikem Ekwonu isn't a well-known name entering the next draft cycle. But he should be. 

"To me, he's the most feared offensive lineman in the ACC," an offensive line coach told The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. "He's similar to [Mekhi] Becton but more of an interior guy. He's got so much short-area power and explosiveness. He's violent. You'd go watch him on film: 'Oh, wow, he's destroying people.'"

Ekwonu received second-team All-ACC honors from the Associated Press as a tackle and guard. Like Rashawn Slater this year, don't let slightly less-than-ideal height (6'4") and length take away from the prospect Ekwonu is, especially since Andre Dillard hasn't quite worked out to date.

Elam (pick 18, from Miami):

The Philadelphia Eagles started to plan for their secondary's future with the addition of Zech McPhearson in this year's fourth round. But the cornerback's addition is only the starting point. 

Darius Slay, who turns 31 next year, has salary-cap charges exceeding $22 million in 2022 and 2023. The likelihood of him staying on the roster at those numbers are slim to none. Plus, Avonte Maddox is entering a contract year. 

Basically, the Eagles could be without their top two corners a year from now. 

Florida's Kaiir Elam became a full-time starter in 2020. The 6'2" cornerback showed excellent ball skills and the ability to play through the catch point with 11 defended passes and a pair of interceptions. 

Elam has the natural skill set to take over as the Eagles' CB1 if the organization chooses to move on from Slay or be a wonderful complement to the veteran (at a reduced price). 

#JimmySays: Dillard gets a mention, but no Mailata. The bet here is that Mailata is the Week 1 starter.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon, and Thayer Munford, OT, Ohio State (Jason McIntyer, FOX)

Thibodeaux (pick 3, Eagles' own pick)

He isn't in the Chase Young/Bosa Brothers stratosphere, but Thibodeaux’s size (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) and speed make him the most terrorizing pass-rusher in the draft.

Munford (pick 11, from Miami)

Pro Football Focus gave Munford a 91.8 grade at left tackle last year, which would be the fourth-best in the Big Ten of any left tackle in the past five years.

#JimmySays: If Thibodeaux isn't on the Young / Bosa brother level, then why would they take him at pick 3?

Sam Howell, QB, UNC, and Zion Nelson, OT, Miami (Trevor Sikkema, TheDraftNetwork)

Howell (pick 5, Eagles' own pick)

Even if you’re a big Jalen Hurts fan, if the Eagles are picking this high, quarterback will surely be their top target. Sam Howell is one of the most fearless passers in college football. 

Nelson (pick 20, from Miami)

Outside of having a fantastic name for an offensive tackle, Zion Nelson started all 13 games of the 2019 season at left tackle as a true freshman. He started another seven games the following season. At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he has the size and the experience to make his way into the first round.

#JimmySays: We'll probably profile all the top quarterbacks early on in our "Grocery Shopping" series.

Christian Harris, LB, Alabama, and Zion Nelson, OT, Miami (Derrik Klassen, Yahoo)

Harris (pick 7, Eagles' own pick):

Philly’s LB situation is embarrassing. They did sign Eric Wilson this offseason, but he is really more of a coverage specialist than a legit three-down player. Harris is a former four-star recruit who earned a starting job as a freshman at Alabama. At 6-foot-2 and 232-pounds, Harris could use a couple more cheeseburgers to fill out the frame, but the speed, processing, and understanding of how to take on blockers is fantastic.

Nelson (pick 19, from Miami): 

There is still a chance Andre Dillard turns things around in 2021. However, his play to this point has been poor and it’s fair to think the Eagles could be thinking about replacing him. Nelson, a former three-star recruit, will have three years of starting experience in as many seasons at Miami by the time he comes out. Nelson is not the strongest or most violent OT, but the movement skills are just wonderful.

#JimmySays: OMG, still with the LBs?

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