February 24, 2023
On Monday during the week of the Super Bowl, we published our first Philadelphia Eagles-only mock draft of the offseason. Many of you chose to skip any draft-related articles at the time, so in case you missed that, go take a look. 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.
Pick 10: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois: An edge rusher wouldn’t surprise me here, but I think Witherspoon is the best corner in the draft. He reminds me a lot of former Eagles Pro Bowler Asante Samuel.
Pick 30: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State: The way the Eagles do business, I’d be shocked if they left the first round without an offensive or defensive lineman.
#JimmySays: Witherspoon is also who I had the Eagles selecting at 10th overall, but he doesn't much remind me of Asante. Witherspoon hits.
Pick 10: Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson: Adding another pass rusher to a lineup loaded with sack artists should be part of general manager Howie Roseman’s plan to build strength on strength.
Pick 30: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama: With Miles Sanders and Boston Scott set to become free agents, the addition of an explosive runner/receiver with big-play ability would undoubtedly enhance an offense that is always in attack mode with Jalen Hurts at the helm.
#JimmySays: Kenny Gainwell came on at the end of the 2022 season, and while Gibbs may very well have the better NFL career, he has a similar skill set. I believe this would be a bad pick at a devalued position where the Eagles may already have an improving player.
Pick 10: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: If Miles Sanders finds a new home in free agency, the Eagles could have interest in adding Robinson as a dual-threat weapon in their prolific attack. He slaloms through traffic inside and displays an upfield burst in the open field.
Pick 30: Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State: Philadelphia has not picked a defensive back in the first round since 2002 (cornerback Lito Sheppard), but the Eagles could end that drought if Chauncey Gardner-Johnson departs in free agency. Hickman lines up all over the field and brings a physicality to the position that will endear him to Philly fans.
#JimmySays: The Eagles haven't drafted a running back in the first round in 37 years (40 years if you want to quibble about what Keith Byars was). They haven't ever drafted a safety in the first round.
Pick 10: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson: The loaded Eagles went to the Super Bowl for good reason, and GM Howie Roseman's focus on building out from the trenches proved valuable. But now, they could lose three of their top four defensive linemen in terms of snap counts to free agency, including Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox up the middle. Roseman drafted Jordan Davis in Round 1 last April, and bringing in Bresee to pair with him could shore up an important unit for the team. Bresee has fantastic upper-body strength to slow down opponent run games and work through blockers as an interior pass-rusher.
Philly might have had 14 wins, but it will have a lot of offseason concerns to address, mainly on defense. Joining Hargrave and Cox with expiring contracts are James Bradberry, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Brandon Graham, Robert Quinn, Kyzir White, T.J. Edwards, Marcus Epps and Isaac Seumalo, so there are a lot of directions to go here. I also still like the idea of Texas' Bijan Robinson in Philadelphia, with Miles Sanders headed to free agency, but it's really, really early for a running back, and the defense is going to have all those holes to plug. Remember, the Eagles also have a second first-rounder.
Pick 30: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma: It has been a while since the Eagles were first on the clock at No. 10, when they took a defensive tackle (Bryan Bresee). Now Philadelphia pivots to the other side of the ball but stays in the trenches. The Eagles have Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata under contract for three more years, but Harrison could provide depth and perhaps help out on the interior, where the team might lose a couple starters this offseason. He walls off defenders and has allowed just two sacks over three seasons. And perhaps more importantly for Philly's offense, he has blown just seven run blocks over that time.
#JimmySays: During the college football season, I looked at maybe profiling Harrison a number of times for our prospects series, but never did. If the Eagles are going to select an eventual replacement for Lane Johnson with a premium pick, that player should fit one or both of the below criteria:
Harrison pretty much only played LT at Oklahoma (with one career start at RT), so it's not an easy projection to guard (or even RT for that matter), and he isn't viewed as a special athlete. I just don't see the urgency in taking this type of player.
As for Bresee, he is a player I like, but a lot of notable draft dudes have him rated as a late first-rounder, if that, so I probably need to watch him some more. But it feels like he isn't going top 10.
Pick 10: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon: The rich get richer. The Eagles can add an uber-talented, physical corner to make their defense even better than it was this past season.
Pick 30: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: Jalen Hurts and Bijan Robinson is too tempting of a pairing for the Eagles to pass on here.
#JimmySays: Gonzalez feels like a pretty good possibility for the Eagles' pick at 10 if they stick and pick. If Robinson is still there at 30, then... yeah.
Pick 10: Joey Porter, Jr., CB, Penn State: Porter Jr., the son of retired four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter, has high-end physical traits for a cornerback, standing at 6-foot-2 while weighing 194 pounds. That type of size and strength will allow him to physically match up with some of the NFL's best wide receivers starting in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season since he takes advantage of his frame well in press man coverage. That length also allows for him to quickly reach around potential pass-catchers to knock the football away, something he did 11 times in 2022, tied for the third-most in the Big Ten Conference. He would be a strong replacement for pending free agent cornerback James Bradberry.
Pick 30: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt: An undersized defensive tackle out of Pitt ... where have we heard that before? Cough ... Aaron Donald. No, it's not fair to compare Kancey to one of the best defensive linemen of all time, but he's got a quick get-off at the line scrimmage and is stronger than the measurables suggest. With Fletcher Cox, Robert Quinn, Javon Hargrave, Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph all set to become free agents this offseason, grabbing Kancey here would go a long way to restocking the cupboard on the defensive line.
#JimmySays: If the Eagles can trade back into, saaaay, the late teens while adding some extra picks and they take Porter there, great! But I don't think I can justify a top 10 pick on a cornerback with one career interception and zero career forced fumbles.
Pick 10: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon: Gonzalez, a Colorado transfer, is a big-time athlete who is still growing into the position. He has the size, strength and speed to line up against NFL wide receivers; he just needs to improve in run support.
Pick 30: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, Clemson: Ojulari, whose brother played at Georgia and plays for the Giants, had a solid campaign for the Tigers, and he has many of the same explosive qualities that made his brother so hard to block for the Bulldogs. Ojulari could end up being better than Azeez, and that's saying something.
#JimmySays: I'll take Azeez on the "better Ojulari brother" debate.
Pick 10: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: The Eagles came up just short in the Super bowl and played well offensively. The one part of their game that did not perform as well as they would like is their run game. So with this pick, the Eagles chose to improve that by adding one of the best running backs to enter the draft in years. Robinson is a game-changer and the Eagles embrace the fact that they are simply going to have to be able to outscore any opponent to win the Super Bowl.
Pick 30: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt: The Eagles have made it clear to the NFL that they value the defensive line position. This philosophy has proven to work as they had one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and made it to the Super Bowl. Last year they drafted one of the biggest defensive linemen in the draft Jordan Davis and this year, I think they draft Calijah Kancey. Kancey is an undersized defensive lineman, but he makes up for it in explosiveness and will have a true impact along the defensive front. Kancey has non-traditional size but I believe he will have a big impact for the Eagles.
#JimmySays: In the Year 2050 people will still be projecting the Eagles to take a running back with an early first-round pick.
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