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April 26, 2023

Final Eagles-only 2023 seven-round mock draft

In a new Eagles mock draft, the team trades up in the first round for star Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

Eagles NFL
042623JalenCarter Joshua L. Jones/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter during his time playing for the national champion Georgia Bulldogs.

The 2023 NFL Draft is now just a day away, so let's go ahead and put out our final Philadelphia Eagles-only mock draft of the season. As a reminder, after various trades, the Eagles currently have six draft picks this year, with two in the first round.

Round 1, pick 7 (trade with the Raiders): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia (6'3, 314)

The Eagles deal the 10th overall pick along with their second round pick to the Raiders to ensure they get their guy.

Eagles get Raiders get 
Pick 7 Pick 10 
 Pick 62 

• Why this type of trade makes sense for the Eagles: Many of the options that are likely to be available to the Eagles at pick No. 10 make sense long-term, but most don't also fit their short-term needs. It is unlikely that a true blue chip type of prospect will make it to pick 10. The Eagles have shown that they will aggressively trade up for players when they don't like what is likely to be available at their original pick. They did just that last year when they moved up for Jordan Davis, and they did it in 2021 when they moved up for DeVonta Smith.

• Why this type of trade makes sense for the Raiders: The Raiders' roster sucks, and they have holes galore. By moving back three spots — with a win on the point value chart — they land an extra second round pick, and can take the best offensive lineman or cornerback still available at pick No. 10.

Carter is a star interior defensive lineman who has an extremely impressive blend of quickness, power, and change of direction. He was at one point regarded by many as the No. 1 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, however, his stock has taken several hits over the past few months due to varying character concerns. 

His evaluation as a football player is easy — he's a beast who can impact the game in a similar way as Fletcher Cox when Cox was in his prime. 

The much harder evaluation is in the hands of chief security guy Dom DiSandro, who will help Howie Roseman and the gang determine (a) whether Carter can fit into the Eagles' sterling locker room culture, and (b) whether he can maximize his potential. If Carter's character is deemed good enough by the Eagles, I have little doubt that they will aggressively pursue a trade up to go get their guy. 

Pick 30: Trade with the Titans

Eagles get Titans get 
Pick 41 Pick 30 
Pick 72  

• Why this type of trade makes sense for the Eagles: Again, the Eagles are entering this draft with just six picks, and none in rounds 4, 5, and 6. It makes sense for them to try to acquire more mid-round picks.

• Why this type of trade makes sense for the Titans: There are a number of teams picking early in the second round who have a need at quarterback. It would make sense for one of them to trade up into the back end of the first round for guys like Will Levis or Hendon Hooker, with the added benefit of a fifth-year option.

Round 2, pick 41: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson (6'2, 235)

One of the popular players to be mocked to the Eagles at pick No. 10 has been Georgia's Nolan Smith, an uber-athletic, versatile front seven defender. A player who has similar athleticism to Smith is Simpson, who blazed a 4.43 40 at the Combine at 235 pounds.

In the past we have compared Smith's measurables to Micah Parson's, and, well, you can play that game with Simpson, too:

Measurable Micah Parsons Trenton Simpson 
Height 6'3 6'2 
Weight 246 235 
Arm length 31 1/2" 32 3/8" 
Hand size 11" 10 1/4" 
10-yard split 1.59 1.55 
40-yard dash 4.36 4.43 
 Bench press19 25 

That speed shows up on the field, as you'll see in the highlight reel below:

We wouldn't normally project a linebacker this early to the Eagles, who don't value the position highly, but Simpson is more versatile than your typical off-ball linebacker. He can rush the passer (6.5 sacks in 2021), play the run, and he can cover tight ends as well as big slot receivers. He could probably play either the SAM or WILL spots in the Eagles' defense, and help disguise the Eagles' pass rush plan playing on the other side of the field from Haason Reddick.

The knock on Simpson is recognition skills, which theoretically could be offset by Nakobe Dean, whose game is all about recognition. Simpson could be the athletic complement to the more cerebral Dean, while also providing some added pass rush juice.

Round 3, pick 72: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina (6'1, 180)

Smith is an aggressive, twitched-up press man corner who likes to get physical with receivers. The downside is that he is also grabby in coverage, and he'll whiff on some tackles when he goes ankle diving. Still, the athletic traits are there, as he is sticky in coverage and he is good at locating / making plays on the ball. 

Smith would have to sit behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry early in his career, but that would give the Eagles' coaching staff the chance to work on eliminating some of his bad habits behind the scenes before he's thrown to the wolves.

Pick 94: Trade with the Bears

Eagles get Bears get 
Pick 103 Pick 94 
Pick 133  

Why this type of trade makes sense: Pick 94 feels like another prime spot for the Eagles to trade back, again, since they have no picks in Rounds 4, 5, or 6. Perhaps a team loaded up with Day 3 picks could look to move up, like the Bears, who have six.

Round 4, pick 103: Wanya Morris, OT, Oklahoma (6'5, 307)

Morris was ESPN's ninth-ranked high school recruit in 2019, who initially enrolled at Tennessee before transferring to Oklahoma, where he was a backup at first but eventually became a starter at RT. It's probably safe to say that his college career did not live up to his promise coming out of high school.

Still, Morris is a legitimate NFL prospect because of his pure physical tools, and because he has extensive experience playing at LT (at Tennessee) and RT (at Oklahoma). The Eagles value versatility, and they have a vacancy at swing tackle. There is also some thought that Morris could play guard.

Jeff Stoutland has a way of coaxing the best out of prospects with upside, and Morris feels like that kind of player. 

Also, he's named after Wanyá Morris of Boyz II Men fame, so, you know, Philly guy.

Round 4, pick 133: Daniel Scott, S, California (6'1, 208)

Scott has good size at 6'1, 208, and he's an impressive athlete. He also had good production the last 2 seasons. 82 tackles, 3 INTs, 5 pass breakups, and a forced fumble in 2021. 85 tackles, 3 INTs, 7 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles in 2022. 

In 2020, Jeff McLane of the Inquirer documented the extreme number of players that the Eagles have drafted who are represented by Rep1 Sports, Carson Wentz's agents. Wentz is gone, but the Eagles haven't stopped drafting Rep1 clients. In 2022, for example, the Eagles selected Cam Jurgens, Grant Calcaterra, and they signed Britain Covey as an undrafted free agent. All three of those guys were repped by Rep1.

Just FYI, here's Rep1's clientele list in the draft this year:

  1. Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
  2. Cody Mauch, OT, NDSU
  3. Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
  4. Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
  5. Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
  6. Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
  7. Daniel Scott, S, Cal
  8. Ryan Hayes, OT, Michigan
  9. Jaren Hall, QB, BYU
  10. Junior Fehoko, DE, San Jose State
  11. Kendall Williamson, S, Stanford
  12. Spencer Waege, DE, NDSU

The players from that group that I believe make the most sense for the Eagles are Mauch, Bergeron, Freeland, Scott, Hayes, Hall, Fehoko, Williamson, and Waege.

Round 7, pick 219: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA (6'2, 203)

Thompson-Robinson makes sense for the Eagles for a lot of the same reasons that Marcus Mariota made sense in free agency. Like Jalen Hurts, Mariota and Thompson-Robinson can threaten opposing defenses with their legs. Should Hurts go down, the Eagles wouldn't have to throw out huge chunks of their playbook, particularly in their RPO attack, like they did with Gardner Minshew a season ago.

Thompson-Robinson was a five-year starter at UCLA, throwing for 88 TDs vs. 36 INTs, and completing 63.3 percent of his passes on 7.9 yards per attempt over his college career. In 2022, he completed 69.6 percent of his passes on 8.3 yards per attempt, while throwing 27 TDs vs. 10 INTs. He showed significant improvement each year, as did Hurts during his college and professional careers.

Thompson-Robinson has a fun highlight reel:

Should the Eagles draft Thompson-Robinson, he would be the No. 3 in 2023, assuming he could beat out Ian Book for that job, and ideally would progress enough to be a trustworthy — and very cheap — No. 2 behind Hurts in 2024 and beyond.

Round 7, pick 248: Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota (5'8, 203)

Ibrahim is a compact, physical runner who seems to like contact, and finishes his runs, often with authority. He also has good vision, and knows what holes to hit as blocking develops in front of him. In that respect, he has a chance to be a good short yardage guy. In 2022, Ibrahim was a workhorse, carrying 320 times for 1665 yards (5.2 yards per carry), and 20 TDs. A look:

On the downside, he only has 19 career college catches, he'll turn 25 in September, and he's slow. (He skipped testing drills at the Combine, likely knowing it wouldn't go well.)

Some potential UDFAs who make sense

• Jaquan Amos, DB, Ball State: Amos was a standout at Villanova, where he had 149 tackles, 25 pass breakups, 8 INTs, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 4 defensive touchdowns in 3 seasons. He transferred to Iowa State, and then again to Ball State, where he had 95 tackles (6.5 for loss), an INT, and 5 pass breakups in 2022. Safety/corner hybrid.

 P.J. Mustipher, DT, Penn State: Mustipher is a 6'4, 320-pound run-stuffing DT who suffered an ACL tear in October of 2021. He returned to action for the start of Penn State's 2022 season, and played in every game. The Eagles could use another young, big body in the middle of the line, and Mustipher can probably be had as a UDFA, with some upside being further removed from his injury.

• Junior Fehoko, DE, San Jose State: Fehoko had 16 sacks and 5 forced fumbles the last 2 seasons.

• Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska: Mathis played his first four seasons at TCU, but transferred to Nebraska for his final college season. He had his best season in 2020, when he had 44 tackles and 8 sacks. Good length at 6'5 with 35 1/4" arms.

• Kendall Williamson, S, Stanford: 6'1, 202, and he ran a 4.44 40. That's enough to get an invite to training camp.

• Spencer Waege, DT, North Dakota State: 6'5, 295. 9 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles in 2022.

• Lou Hedley, P, Miami: Hedley was a 2021 Ray Guy Award semi-finalist in a year that four punters got drafted. He's a big, 6'4, 220-pound Aussie who has averaged over 45 yards per punt over his career. Hedley (D.O.B. 6/27/93, according to this site) will be 30 years old before he ever punts in the NFL if he gets that opportunity, so teams might not be interested in using a draft pick on him. BUT... his son lives in Philadelphia, which would make the Eagles an appealing landing spot should he go undrafted, and the Eagles decide to give Arryn Siposs long overdue competition in 2023.

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