January 17, 2019
This year, like last year, mock draft season had to wait a little longer for Philadelphia Eagles fans. I'm sure you've all survived without it. As a reminder, the Eagles are projected to have nine draft picks this year, with two in the second round, and none in the third.
Polite had a breakout season for the Gators in 2018 with 45 tackles (19.5 for loss), 11 sacks, and best of all, 6 forced fumbles. He is one of the funnest prospects in this draft to watch, because of his combination of speed, pass rush feel, and relentlessness. A taste:
Polite is a game-changing playmaker, and in any other draft, I would say there's no way he could possibly make it to pick No. 25. However, in a draft that Howie Roseman called "historic" for it's overabundance of defensive line prospects... maybe?
I do also think that a trade up for a high-level, immediately-contributing defensive lineman prospect is possible, as the Eagles potentially have some outgoing pass rushers this offseason:
• Brandon Graham will be a free agent, and he is going to test the market.
• Michael Bennett was a good player in 2018, and he'll be under contract in 2019 at a reasonable cost of $7 million, but he's 33.
• Chris Long is also under contract, but he'll be 34 in March, and he almost retired last year.
Beyond that trio, the only defensive end on the roster with any legitimate NFL production is Derek Barnett. A defensive end in the first round is, in my opinion, by far the most likely position to be addressed.
If there's any concern with Polite, it's that he's undersized, at 6-foot-2, 242 pounds. If bigger offensive tackles get a hold of him, they can drive him back in the run game. That said, he plays with a violent, nasty demeanor, and is far from passive as a run defender. He'll make his share of plays for loss, which is what Jim Schwartz prioritizes.
The Eagles' need for help at running back is obvious, and Jacobs is a physical, fast runner who dishes out punishment, flashes versatility as a receiver out of the backfield, and is a good kick returner. Here's a highlight reel. Note some of his big-time blocks, in addition to plays he makes with the ball in his hands:
Jacobs is a less-heralded Alabama prospect, however, because he simply hasn't gotten as much playing time as Bama backs in recent years, because their offense is so ridiculously loaded. His numbers:
He also has 48 catches for 571 yards and 5 TDs as a receiver over the last three years.
The lack of production can also almost be looked at as a good thing, in that he'll be a 21-year old prospect with very low mileage.
Like Isaac Seumalo, Jenkins is rare lineman capable of playing every spot along the offensive line, though his best positions in the pros will be at guard and center. In his first three seasons at MSU, Jenkins appeared in 36 career games, with 21 starts. He started 13 games at center, five at left tackle, two at left guard and one at right tackle. In 2018 as a senior, he was once again the starting center.
Jenkins is a well-rounded blocker both in the run game and passing game, and is thought to be very intelligent. Here's his game last year against Alabama:
As they have shown repeatedly, the Eagles highly value offensive line versatility. With Brandon Brooks potentially not being ready for the start of the 2019 regular season, and Jason Kelce possibly retiring in the near future, Jenkins would give the Eagles another lineman capable of playing multiple positions.
Denis is a small safety prospect at 5-foot-11, 185, but as Jim Schwartz has shown, he doesn't care much about size at that position. While his production was down in 2018, Denis had 88 tackles, 7 INTs, 10 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles in 2017.
Even if Rodney McLeod returns to the team next offseason, the Eagles can use added depth for their three-safety sets. It's also worth noting that Malcolm Jenkins will be entering his 11th season in the pros.
Hall is deep threat with good size (if accurate) at 6-foot-3, 195 who has averaged more than 20 yards per catch over his career.
In 2018, Hall was off to an excellent start, but he missed part of the season with a groin injury and a death in the family. In an Eagles offense that desperately needs a player who can stretch the field vertically, Hall is an obvious fit. Here's a highlight reel, with an odd choice of background music:
Hall's speed could open up the intermediate areas of the field, where Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz can do more damage.
Granderson was a lightly-recruited player who played linebacker and tight end in high school, while being listed at 6-foot-6, 185 pounds. You can see how skinny he was in his high school highlight reel. At Wyoming, he is now listed at 6-foot-5, 261 pounds, so he put on over 70 pounds to play DE, and apparently shrunk an inch.
In his third year at Wyoming in 2017, Granderson broke out, collecting 78 tackles (16 for loss), 8.5 sacks, 2 FF, and 2 INTs. IN 2018, those numbers fell off sharply, as he had 40 tackles (7.5 for loss), 3 sacks, and no forced fumbles. A highlight reel:
Granderson has good quickness and athleticism from his DE spot, but is still developing. He could make sense for an Eagles defense that could have time to develop young pass rushers, depending on, say, Michael Bennett returning, and the Eagles also drafting a more pro-ready DE prospect in the first round.
Beckner was the 36th rated recruit coming out of high school in 2015, but a pair of knee surgeries (one on each knee) stalled his early college career. Over the last two seasons, however, he has 22 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. A highlight reel:
Beckner will be of interest to teams at the medical checks at the 2019 NFL Combine, but could be a a later-round pickup as a rotational interior lineman.
Pollard is a dynamic playmaker who did a little of everything for Memphis. He's an elite kick returner (6 kick return TDs in his career), while also playing running back and wide receiver. A highlight reel:
A common trait that the most potent offenses (Chiefs/Rams/Saints) in the NFL share is a dynamic running back who can create mismatches with opposing linebackers by catching the ball out of the backfield, down the field. Pollard has the receiving ability part down, but the tougher evaluation for NFL scouts will be whether or not opposing defenses will respect his ability to run the football at the next level.
At Memphis, Pollard has 139 carries for 941 yards (6.8 YPC) and 9 TDs. Those are good numbers, but represent a small sample size. Still, a creative offense should be able to find ways to get him involved and making plays in the NFL.
Yep, Kyle Shurmur is the son of former Eagles offensive coordinator and current Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. Once you get past that reality, Shurmur's kid is actually a decent Day 3 quarterback prospect who improved each year at Vanderbilt, and who possesses the size and arm strength at quarterback that the Eagles seem to prefer. His game vs. Notre Dame this year, in which you will see some really nice throws:
With Nick Foles almost certainly going to be on another roster in 2019 and Nate Sudfeld taking over as the No. 2, the Eagles could look to draft a third quarterback to develop behind the scenes.
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