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March 22, 2023

Eagles-only 2023 mock draft, version 3.0

Eagles NFL
032223NolanSmith Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Carter (88) and Nolan Smith (4)

As you're probably aware, the Philadelphia Eagles have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, and six picks total. While it's likely that Howie Roseman will move up and/or down the board as he usually does, we'll play it straight here and simply act as though the Eagles will stick and pick. In case you missed our Eagles-only mock drafts 1.0 and 2.0, you can find them here and here. Let's just get right to version 3.0, post-free agency edition.

Round 1, pick 10: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Smith was a highly rated prospect coming out of high school (2nd in the nation, via Rivals), who had the best SPARQ rating in his recruiting class. That means that he's an incredible athlete, in case you're unfamiliar with SPARQ. He also crushed the Combine, running an absurd 4.39 40 and vertical jumping 41 1/2" at 238 pounds.

Compare those numbers to Micah Parsons, for example:

Measurable Micah Parsons Nolan Smith 
Height 6'3 6'2 
Weight 246 238 
Arm length 31 1/2" 32 5/8" 
Hand size 11" 9" 
10-yard split 1.59 1.52 
40-yard dash 4.36 4.39 
Vertical jump 34" 41 1/2" 
Broad jump 126" 128" 

The Eagles love them some moldable athletes in the draft, like Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Jalen Reagor, Davion Taylor, Jack Driscoll, Casey Toohill, Andre Dillard, Avonte Maddox, Josh Sweat, etc. Obviously, some mixed results there. But Smith isn't just an athlete. He is also a physical run defender willing to set the edge so that his teammates can collect tackles, and in viewing a number of his interviews it's pretty easy to see that he's going to be culture fit in any locker room. For example:

Smith had an immediate role in Georgia's defense as a true freshman, but his production has left something to be desired. 2021 was been his best year, as he had 53 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one INT, and three forced fumbles. Some highlights: 

An easy comparison that I assume many will make for Smith will be Haason Reddick. Of course, the Eagles already have Haason Reddick, so where would Smith fit in? I think the answer is, it doesn't matter. Just go get that guy on your roster and figure out how to get him on the field in a position to make plays. The 10th overall pick should be allocated to a player you think can make an impact for the next decade, not just in 2023.

Round 1, pick 30: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland (6'0, 197)

Banks had just 1 INT and 3 pass breakups over his first three seasons (16 games) at Maryland, but was thought of as a breakout player in 2022 with 8 pass breakups and a pick. At 6'0, 197, Banks has decent size with sticky man-to-man coverage abilities.

Like Smith above, Banks tore up the Combine.

If Banks had more takeaway production, he would be talked about as a top half of the first round type of prospect. At pick 30, he would be a nice value, and in Philadelphia he would be able to ease into the NFL playing behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry before eventually taking over as a starting outside corner.

Round 2, pick 62: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida (6'6, 310)

Dexter is big, strong, athletic beast of a man who has the ability to dominate one-on-one matchups in the trenches. He is a particularly good run defender who can shoot gaps with his quickness, or two-gap and hold the point of attack. The latter skill is one that NFL teams found less valuable for a while, but are now coming back to, as noted by Daniel Jeremiah.

Of course, the Eagles traded up for such a player in the 2022 draft in Jordan Davis. Like Davis, Dexter is a player who has not played a ton of college snaps, and a quick glance of his stats won't wow anyone. Also like Davis, Dexter possesses a rare blend of size and athleticism, which he has shown in flashes, like here:

Dexter can play a bunch of positions along the defensive line, and his appeal to the Eagles would be that he and Davis would allow Sean Desai to play coverage on the back end, while also possessing upside as a pass rusher.

Round 3, pick 94: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU (6'8, 302)

Freeland is a tall offensive tackle prospect at 6'8 who moves well for a player with his kind of height, and tested extraordinarily well at the Combine. Oddly, he has short arms for a 6'8 dude.

Freeland has upside at tackle if he can refine some of the nuances in his game. A quick look: 

He has experience both at LT and RT at BYU, which makes him a swing tackle possibility for the Eagles in the short term, and an eventual long-term replacement for Lane Johnson. 

Round 7, pick 219: Jaren Hall, QB, BYU (6'0, 207)

One of the lesser-known quarterback prospects in this upcoming draft is Hall, who had 51 TDs vs. 11 INTs for BYU the last two seasons. But he can play. He has just OK velocity, but as you'll see in the below video he can feather throws in with impressive touch. He can also throw on the run and make plays with his legs. He reminds me a little of Russell Wilson, with a weaker arm.

The downside is that Hall will be 25 years of age when he is drafted in April, and he's short. Teams looking for "the answer" at quarterback will be turned off by both of those facts, but for the Eagles' purposes, Hall makes sense as a No. 3 behind Jalen Hurts and Marcus Mariota who can grow into a cheap No. 2, who oh by the way has some similar traits as Hurts.

Round 7, pick 248: Derius Davis, WR/KR/PR, TCU (5'8, 165)

Davis is a tiny-but-quick water bug type of playmaker who had 6 return TDs during his career at TCU. He was also used at times as a gadget guy on jet sweeps and reverses, and he produced his share of big plays.

Britain Covey finished the season on an upward trajectory as a returner in 2022, but Davis is a more explosive athlete with some home run potential.

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