April 18, 2023
On Monday we published our fifth 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.
Pick 10: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa: There is a decent chance we see Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman jump around a little with this pick (either up or down), which would make things interesting. No trades here, so the Eagles stay put.
Van Ness plays with the explosive power of a grizzly bear, and he is still figuring out just how good he can be.
Pick 30: Brian Branch, S, Alabama: Despite his lack of elite size (190 pounds) and speed (4.58-second 40-yard dash), Branch has a near-universal approval rating around the league because of his tape and football IQ. Whether he plays safety or nickel, he’d be an immediate upgrade in the Philadelphia secondary.
Pick 62: Tyrique Stevenson, S, Miami
Pick 94: Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pitt
Pick 219: Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers
Pick 248: Sala Aumavae-Laulu, OG, Oregon
#JimmySays: Dane went seven rounds (259 picks), which I'm guessing took a whole lot of time to do. I'm not a Van Ness guy at all. He's gifted with great size and athleticism, he plays hard, and many believe that he has inside-outside versatility. However, aside from a bull rush, he has no pass repertoire at all, his production the last two seasons was just OK, and there should be legitimate concerns about his ability to line up inside on early downs, making his inside-outside versatility suspect. There are just too many projections for him to be considered a top 10 prospect, in my opinion.
I'll forgive it here because Dane acknowledges that the Eagles will very likely move one way or the other at pick 10, and because he has them taking a punter.
Pick 10: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: I know the Eagles haven't drafted a running back in the first round since the 1980s. I also know there aren't many elite players in this class. Robinson is one. Pure and simple.
Pick 30: Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State: The Eagles are always on the hunt for trench talent, and Nick Sirianni has a strong link to Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, his former college teammate at Mount Union. McDonald is a first-round talent.
Pick 10: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa: The Eagles never skimp on acquiring players who can affect opposing quarterbacks. Van Ness is a forceful piece to add to Philly's D-line stable.
Pick 30: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee: GM Howie Roseman brings in some big-time speed to serve as WR3 behind A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. If there's a surprise and a second running back goes in the first round, Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs could be a fit for Philadelphia.
#JimmySays: Hyatt is a rare offensive skill position I could get behind in this draft with a high pick. He could fit in perfectly as a low volume, big play receiver capable of playing in the slot who won't much disturb A.J. Brown's and DeVonta's Smith's targets while also providing home run potential. He would be a more dynamic and much more reliable version of Quez Watkins.
Pick 10: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia: Motor and off-field concerns send a steal Howie Roseman’s way.
Pick 30: Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State: Doubling down on the defensive front is Howie Roseman’s M.O.
#JimmySays: Carter is known to take the occasional a play off, which is my red flag for him. I do think that the Eagles are a landing spot where an established defensive line will help make him more accountable.
Pick 10: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: I’m not buying that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman refuses to take a running back here. The Eagles have already hosted Bijan Robinson on a private Top 30 visit, which indicates legitimate interest. Robinson is a generational ball-carrier that could transform Philadelphia’s backfield alongside Jalen Hurts.
Pick 30: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland: Roseman did well to retain Darius Slay and James Bradberry this offseason, but the long-term outlook of the position still hangs in the balance. Deonte Banks is an aggressive and physical cornerback with man-coverage abilities. Banks’ ball skills would quickly get him on the field in Philadelphia.
#JimmySays: I agree with Justin that Robinson's pre-draft visit to Philly indicates some level of interest. I do not think the Eagles had him in to waste his time or their own time with some nonsense smokescreen. However, the Eagles have two first-round picks! If Robinson falls deep into the 20's — a real possibility — and there's a chance he can be stolen at pick 30, you don't want to be sitting there in the war room thinking, "Shit, we should have done more homework on this guy."
Pick 10: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia: Amid uncertainty about how teams view Carter after he pleaded no contest to charges of racing and reckless driving in connection with a fatal car crash in January, agent Drew Rosenhaus declined to have the Georgia standout visit with teams outside the top 10. Even if Carter does tumble slightly on draft day, Philadelphia makes for a sensible floor. The Eagles demonstrated their interest in Bulldog defenders last year with first-round defensive tackle Jordan Davis and third-round linebacker Nakobe Dean – who could help the front office fill out its picture of Carter – and defensive tackle is one of the few areas where the Eagles are due for an immediate upgrade.
Pick 30: O'Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida: Philadelphia seems like a strong candidate to trade out of this slot, but if the team stands pat, Howie Roseman doesn't need to be sold on adding more talent along the offensive line. The 6-5, 330-pound Torrence would help the Eagles prepare for the looming post-Jason Kelce future by solidifying the right guard spot and allowing Cam Jurgens to eventually take over at center.
#JimmySays: In his Monday morning column, Peter King said there was potential for the Steelers to trade up to pick No. 9 with the Bears to take Carter.
Best rumor of the week: Steelers trading up from 17 to nine if Carter’s there. There could not be a more perfect coach for Carter than Mike Tomlin.
Elsewhere in his column, King noted that he had spoken with Carter's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, which is maybe where that rumor originates? I'll throw out some unsubstantiated speculation here — Maybe Rosenhaus knows the Bears don’t want Carter and he (or the Bears) are trying to get the Eagles to jump them.
Pick 10: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois: The Eagles could choose to go EDGE here but the top three are already off the board, and maybe even running back Bijan Robinson is a consideration. Instead, Philly restocks the secondary with Devon Witherspoon, who will be in the running for CB1. He played at 180 during the fall but he came in a 185 and blazed a 4.40 at a recent workout, solidifying his place as one of the best defensive players in this class.
Pick 30: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia: Nolan Smith missed part of the 2022 season with a pectoral injury but he's is an electric pass rusher when healthy. He's also a freakish athlete -- he ripped off a 4.39 40 at the combine (and was mad about running too slow!). That motor is all over his tape and he'd fill a huge need in Philly.
#JimmySays: I hate to be the "There's no chance that guy is going to be available at that pick" guy, but there is a near zero percent chance Nolan Smith will be available at pick 30. The Witherspoon pick at 10 might have made sense in January, but it doesn't now.
Pick 10: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa: Philadelphia will always build through the trenches, and they do so again here (after trying to trade down, given they only have six draft picks). Van Ness needs development, but he hits the athleticism thresholds the Eagles like. His odds of going 10th overall are +750... His expected draft position: 12th.
Pick 30: Trade back with the Lions to 48 (we don't get to see who that pick is).
#JimmySays: Hayden's mock is thoughtful, and worth the read on the rest of the teams.
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