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March 08, 2023

Eagles 2023 mock draft roundup, version 2.0

What will the Eagles do with their two first round picks?

On Monday we published our second Philadelphia Eagles-only mock draft of the offseason. If you missed that, go read that first, please and thank you. Done? Cool. Today we'll take a peek around at some of the national guys and see who they have going to the Birds at 10th and 30th overall.

Todd McShay, ESPN

Pick 10: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: I know, I know. It's a running back in the top 10, and the Eagles' defense is littered with free agents. Call it a luxury pick, but this wouldn't be surprising. Philadelphia leans on the run, Miles Sanders is a free agent and Robinson is a special kind of prospect. He put up 1,580 rushing yards, 20 total TDs, 91 broken tackles and 19 catches last season, and then ran a 4.46 in Indy. He has the contact balance and burst to make defenders miss and move the chains, and I know every other NFC team would be struggling with how to stop an offense that houses Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Robinson. Who do you take away there? There's no right answer.

As for defense, the Eagles have another first-rounder at No. 30.

Pick 30: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh: Eagles GM Howie Roseman loves building his roster up from the trenches, and after landing an impact running back in Robinson earlier in Round 1, he can pick up one of the biggest combine standouts here. Kancey ran the fastest 40-yard dash for a defensive tackle at the combine since 2006, turning in a 4.67. He's a disruptive player with explosive traits, and he had 14.5 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. But he's a bit of a 'tweener at 281 pounds, meaning he might move around Philly's defensive line. With Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Robert Quinn, Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph all entering free agency from that line, Kancey's versatility would be welcomed.

#JimmySays: Ugh, right off the bat with Bijon Robinson. It's not just "running back in the top 10." It's "running back in the top 10 to a team that very clearly knows not to draft a running back in the top 10." It would 100 percent be surprising.

Lance Zierlein, NFL Network

Pick 10: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon: With such a loaded roster, Philadelphia is a challenging team to mock for. That said, cornerback is a need. Gonzalez has the size, speed and athleticism to match up against any flavor of wideout in the league.

Pick 30: Brian Branch, DB, Alabama: I could easily see explosive RB Jahmyr Gibbs being the pick here, but I'm going with an Alabama product from the other side of the ball. Branch is a very smart, very consistent player with the versatility to man multiple spots in the secondary.

#JimmySays: This is a loaded cornerback draft, and I don't think it would be crazy for the Eagles take a couple of defensive backs. Gonzalez is going to be a commonly mocked player to the Birds after they lose James Bradberry in free agency, and Branch — who has corner/safety versatility — will soon be as well if/when the Eagles lose C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Mike Sando, The Athletic

Pick 10: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois: With Carter falling this far and the Eagles needing to fortify their defensive front with young talent, it was tempting to slot the Georgia pass-rusher here. But with criminal charges pending against Carter, the decision was made to set him aside for the time being. Clemson’s Murphy would make sense if the defensive line priority and Murphy’s talent outweigh the boost the Eagles would get in their defensive backfield.

“If there is not a defensive lineman there for Philly, that is where I would put Witherspoon,” a GM said.

#JimmySays: This was an interesting exercise, as Sando spoke with three general managers as well as some other "top execs" about how they think the first 10 picks will unfold. Interestingly, they had the Eagles passing on Georgia DT Jalen Carter for Witherspoon because Carter is facing two criminal misdemeanor charges.

Those GMs are wrong. I'm a huge fan of Witherspoon's game and think he would be a fine pick at 10, but the Eagles aren't going to pass on the best player in the draft — who also plays a position that (a) the Eagles heavily prioritize and (b) is a need — because there might be a few early bumps in the road as he goes through the legal process.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

Pick 14: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: Talking to league folks in Indianapolis, it was almost unanimous: No one sees the Eagles drafting a running back at No. 10. However, several mentioned the possibility of a trade back and how it would make the RB idea more palatable for general manager Howie Roseman.

Last year, Philadelphia used the No. 13 pick on a nose tackle (Jordan Davis), a position many believe can be found outside of the first round. The Eagles saw the value because of Davis’ unique talent. This could be a similar situation.

Pick 30: Darnell Wright, OG/OT, Tennessee: The Eagles are going to draft a trench player with one of their first-rounders, right? Most would assume that move up front would come on defense, but don’t rule out an offensive lineman, if the fit is right.

Wright would be able to step right in and compete for starting reps at guard, while also being the long-term answer at right tackle. He checks a lot of boxes for what Philadelphia covets at the position.

#JimmySays: Even at 14, I just can't see the Eagles taking a running back. If they trade back into the 20's, then sure, but in this scenario they're passing on CBs like Devon Witherspoon and Joey Porter.

As for Wright, I spent a fair amount of time during the season looking for offensive linemen who fit the "RGOTP, RTOTF" (RG of the present, RT of the future) mold in our weekly Saturday prospects series. Wright was one such candidate. 

If Jason Kelce returns (as I assume he will), then the transition to Cam Jurgens at center will be delayed, but it's likely that the Eagles will still want to get Jurgens on the field. That would be at RG, if they lose Isaac Seumalo in free agency. Wright (or some other "RGOTP, RTOTF") could cross-train at RG/RT while redshirting as a rookie, and the Eagles have certainly proven that they'll spend high picks on offensive linemen who don't have a clear path to starting. In that sense, it would be an unpopular pick. If Kelce retires and Seumalo leaves in free agency, there would be an open starting spot, and you'll begin to see more people mocking these types of players to the Eagles.

Kyle Stackpole, CBS

Pick 10: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: Yes, the running back position has been devalued over the years, but Bijan Robinson is that good of a player -- and the Eagles are that good of a fit for his skill set. With Miles Sanders set to hit free agency, Jalen Hurts gets an even more dynamic running mate in the backfield.

Pick 30: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland: The Eagles have a lot of free agents, and they can't pay them all. Philadelphia selects the athletic and explosive Deonte Banks to fill James Bradberry's role.

#JimmySays: I'm debating whether or not to even include mocks in future roundups when they have the Eagles taking a running back at 10. I do like the idea of Banks at 30, though. Spider chart goodness:

Jaime Eisner, TheDraftNetwork

Pick 10: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois: Devon Witherspoon would be a great fit for the city of Philadelphia and for the NFL team that calls it home. Witherspoon is a tone-setter who isn’t afraid of the man-to-man spotlight. He can have success outside or inside and will allow the Eagles to keep a talented secondary on the field despite the number of free agents to be as we sit here pre-free agency.

Pick 30: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh: Sit back and think about pairing Calijah Kancey with Jordan Davis on the defensive front and what that means for opposing offensive lines. Yeah, that’s exciting. Kancey would see a ton of one-on-one blocks and can use his athleticism to the fullest extent.

#JimmySays: These are two sensible picks, and I think the logic of Davis freeing up a smaller, explosive player in Kancey makes sense, but we also have to see Davis actually become a good player himself though, too.

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