January 18, 2022
On Monday, we published our first Philadelphia Eagles-only mock draft of the offseason. Today we'll take a peek around at some of the national guys and see who they have going to the Birds at 15th, 16th, and 19th overall. Because the season hasn't ended yet, the Kipers and the Jeremiahs of the world have not yet published one.
Update: A couple of the heavy hitters — Mel Kiper (ESPN) and Dane Brugler — published mocks this week, so let's go ahead and add theirs in.
Pick 15: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: This is the first of three Eagles picks in the next five, this one coming from the Dolphins in last March's order-busting trade. And I know that some folks are going to connect Philly with a quarterback, but I'm not buying that; Jalen Hurts earned the 2022 job by his play down the stretch, even if he didn't have a great playoff game. This team needs more talent on defense, so that's where I'm going with the first two of these picks.
I had to dive deep back into my research to find the last time the Eagles took a linebacker in Round 1, going all the way back to Jerry Robinson in 1979. I was 18 years old at the time of that draft. This is both a need and value pick, as Lloyd is coming off a tremendous season. I've compared him to Tampa Bay's Devin White -- he's an off-ball linebacker with speed, versatility, range and run-and-hit ability. He had eight sacks and four picks last season. This would be a major boost to the Philly D.
Pick 16: Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State: The Eagles finished the regular season with wins in six of their final eight games powered by their running game, but again, this defense showed several holes. One of those was the pass rush -- they finished 31st in the league in sacks with just 29, 11 of those coming from the tackle duo of Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox. I see edge rusher as a priority, even if 2017 first-rounder Derek Barnett, a free agent this offseason, returns to the team. He has never quite put together a consistent season, and he had just two sacks in 2021. So let's use the pick from the Carson Wentz trade on a rising pass-rusher.
Ebiketie, a transfer from Temple, is coming off a stellar season for the Nittany Lions. He had 9.5 sacks, 19 total tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He has long arms and is explosive at the snap, and he's strong enough to set the edge in the run game. I'm a big fan.
Pick 19: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State: Let's finish out the Eagles' picks with another wide receiver, which would make back-to-back-to-back drafts that Philly went wideout in Round 1. This is still an issue, though. DeVonta Smith had a good rookie season and looks to be the clear No. 1, but 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor underwhelmed and might never be more than a decent third option. Going back to the 2019 draft, the Eagles took J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Round 2, but he has just 16 catches over three seasons. Jalen Hurts has to get some more help.
Olave was a touchdown machine at Ohio State -- he had 35 in four seasons -- and he's one of the best deep threats in this class. At 6-foot-1, he can play inside or outside. He's a player who looks better and better when you watch all of his snaps in a game, because even if he didn't catch 10 passes, he was always open.
#JimmySays: Olave looks a lot like DeVonta Smith as a player. Having two DeVonta Smiths wouldn't be the worst thing, but in my opinion, the Eagles could use a little diversity in their receivers' skill sets.
Pick 15: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa: Obviously, this selection is based on the future of Jason Kelce, who just earned his fourth All-Pro nod. Even if he returns for his age 35 season in 2022, Kelce would be the ideal mentor for Linderbaum, who has exceptional quickness and a nasty streak to dominate defenders.
Pick 16: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson: With Steven Nelson headed for free agency, cornerback could be a need for the Eagles this offseason. Booth is a terrific athlete and can make plays on the ball — the two most important traits when scouting the position. Booth also has above-average downhill skills to drive and blow up plays near the line of scrimmage.
Pick 19: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue: The Eagles’ defensive end depth chart will likely look wildly different next season, and Karlaftis would be a welcomed addition. The Purdue pass rusher doesn’t have elite length or twitch, but he is relentless and strong with hand work that is not only violent but also well-timed and strategic to defeat blockers.
#JimmySays: Karlaftis is probably going to be a very polarizing player in this year's draft.
Pick 15: Trevon Walker, DL, Georgia: Walker is something of a tweener, which is odd to say about someone who stands 6-foot-5, and weighs 275 pounds. But he can line up as the 3, 4 or 5-tech and that versatility, coupled with his nonstop motor and consistent playmaking ability, makes him an attractive option for several teams in this range looking to bolster their defensive line.
Pick 16: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: Lloyd is a twitched up, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league over the last decade. The Eagles might not have a history of taking off-ball linebackers in the first round but that doesn't mean they shouldn't consider it here.
Pick 19: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn: McCreary was the most consistent cornerback in college football this fall, and that's all you want from that position, so while he lacks the high-end athleticism of some of the other names often mentioned as first-round talents, he's rarely out of position and almost always making positive plays for his team.
#JimmySays: Bleh. I like Lloyd, but the other two guys here are reaches, in my opinion.
Pick 15: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa: Going from Jason Kelce to Linderbaum would be the natural progression at center for the Eagles.
Pick 16: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson: Booth is lightning quick and has tremendous ball skills. Nice combination for a cornerback.
Pick 19: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue: Karlaftis is a grown man up front with a complete skill set. He'll replace Derek Barnett in Philadelphia.
#JimmySays: This would be a haul that would match need with value.
Pick 15: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: The Eagles have not selected a linebacker in the first-round since Jerry Robinson in 1979, but after all of these years, it may finally be time to revisit the well. Philadelphia has not received enough from its current linebacker corps -- Alex Singleton and Genard Avery both have PFF grades below 50 -- and Lloyd is one of, if not the best prospect at the position in the class. His length, versatility and coverage ability will allow him to become an impact off-ball backer at the professional level.
Pick 16: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa: Some of you may be asking: Why would the Eagles draft a center in the first round when their center just made his third straight Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro from 2017-19? Yes, Jason Kelce has been a model of consistency, dependability and excellence since arriving in Philadelphia in 2011, but he's 34 years old and set to become a free agent. Meanwhile, Tyler Linderbaum is CBS Sports' top-ranked offensive lineman regardless of position, which is rarely the case for a center. Linderbaum could replace Kelce right away, leaving the Eagles without a worry there for perhaps another decade.
Pick 19: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson: What a spot to be in if you're the Eagles. Jalen Hurts leads you to the playoffs while the two teams you received first-round picks from (Dolphins and Colts) miss out despite postseason expectations. With its third selection in five picks, Philadelphia bolsters the secondary by pairing a first-team All-ACC selection with Darius Slay. Booth has everything defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon could want in a starting outside cornerback.
#JimmySays: All three of these picks make sense, however, I can't imagine a scenario in which the Eagles use all three of their first-round picks, and none of them are on a defensive lineman.
Pick 15: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M: Leal is a versatile disruptor who can thrive lining up inside and outside in Jonathan Gannon's four-man front given tackle Fletcher Cox is fading with age and Derek Barnett will be a free agent. Leal has shown off his interior pass-rushing skills with 8.5 sacks but he also is a stout run stopper. He will need answer questions about his recent arrest for minor possession of marijuana, but in the end, it shouldn't affect his stock that much given it no longer carries the same stigma for a prospect as it once would have.
Pick 16: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan: The Eagles, beyond Barnett's pending free agency at defensive end, also know Josh Sweat was so-so filling in for Brandon Graham, who is entering his age 34 season coming off a ruptured Achilles' tendon. They need reinforcements for the tone-setting strength of their defense. Ojabo would give them a flashy freakish edge player who can contribute well situationally at first. His speed, explosiveness and energy added up to his big rise behind his end-mate Hutchinson.
Pick 19: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson: The Eagles are getting nice late-career play from Darius "Big Play" Slay and Avonte Maddox has been good, too, but they could use a further boost in the secondary from Booth. He is a strong, active corner who has the speed and ball skills to become a worthy successor to Slay as their top cover man.
#JimmySays: Booth would be a slam dunk pick at pick 15, much less pick 19, but I don't think he'll last that long. Sweat didn't "fill in" for Brandon Graham (he was always going to have a prominent role this season regardless of Graham's injury), but ultimately the sentiment is correct that the Eagles need pass rushing reinforcements.
Pick 15: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: The Eagles made the playoffs against the odds this year, but they could easily return in 2022 by hitting on each of their three picks in Round 1. They use their first on Utah LB Devin Lloyd. An explosive athlete that can rush the passer, defend the run, and drop back in coverage all the same, Lloyd was a menace in the Pac-12.
Pick 16: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida: Next up for Philly? Retooling the secondary. Kaiir Elam has been a standout of Florida’s secondary for the past three years. His length and physical tools allow him to thrive in man coverage, though he can also produce in zone. Elam and Darius Slay would be a nightmare for opposing offenses.
Pick 19: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama: Unfortunately, Jameson Williams tore his ACL in the national championship, but he already put enough on tape to earn a Round 1 selection. In fact, this should be his floor on Day 1. Regardless, Williams joins Alabama alumnus in WR DeVonta Smith and QB Jalen Hurts to form a deadly trio.
#JimmySays: Williams' value after tearing his ACL will be a debate among Eagles fans this offseason. I think he'll still go in Round 1, assuming his knee injury isn't more extensive than just a garden variety ACL tear. I'd have happily snagged him at pick 15, pre-injury, but at pick 19, post-injury? That's a tough call, since Williams' game is so dependent on his elite speed. I don't hate it, but patience will be required to take a prospect like Williams, and his medical checks have to go well. Otherwise, I'm not a fan of Elam in Round 1.
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports
Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader