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April 24, 2018

Final Eagles-only mock draft

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042418RoyceFreeman Scott Olmos/USA TODAY Sports

Oregon RB Royce Freeman could be a target if the Eagles do some wheeling and dealing in the middle rounds.

The 2018 NFL Draft is now just two days away, so let's project the Philadelphia Eagles' picks for the final time this offseason. As a reminder, the Eagles only have six draft picks this year, and none in the second or third rounds. We'll project that to change in this draft.

We haven't repeated any players from previous "Eagles-only" mocks (listed below).

• Eagles-only mock draft, version 1.0

• Eagles-only mock draft, version 2.0

• Eagles-only mock draft, version 3.0

• Eagles-only mock draft, version 4.0

In our final version, there will be a few repeats, and some trades.

Round 1: Eagles trade out

On Monday, we published the Eagles' top 10 options with their first round pick. Option No. 1 was to trade back into the second round. The team that I believe makes the most sense as a trade-back partner is the Green Bay Packers, who have 12 picks in this draft and could be looking to move back into the back of the first round. Here's the trade I envision there, with the value of each pick, per the trade value chart, in parentheses:

 Packers getEagles get 
 32nd overall, 1st round (590)45th overall, 2nd round (450) 
  101st overall, 4th round (96)
  133rd overall, 4th round (39)
 TOTAL: 590TOTAL: 585 


In the wake of this trade, the Eagles would then have four fourth-round picks that they could potentially use to get back into the third round.

Round 2 (45th overall): Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh (6'7, 305)

O'Neill is a local kid from Salesianum School in Wilmington, DE, who enrolled at Pitt as a tight end before moving to RT initially, eventually finishing out his college career at LT. His LT-RT versatility will be a check mark in his favor with Doug Pederson. 

As you might expect of a converted tight end, O'Neill has excellent athleticism for an offensive tackle (though he does have Burger King hands):

O'Neill was so impressive athletically, in fact, that Pitt used him as a ball carrier on trick plays. I never get enough of watching these. Here he is on a throwback screen:


And here he is on an end around:


While O'Neill is athletically gifted, he is an unfinished product whose technique needs refinement, and many analysts believe he needs to add some strength in the weight room.

For the Eagles' purposes, O'Neill is a perfect fit, in that Jeff Stoutland will have plenty of time to coach up his mechanical deficiencies while O'Neill adds some bulk. O'Neill could be an eventual replacement for Jason Peters, whenever Peters decides to retire.

Round 4 (101st overall): Fred Warner, LB, BYU (6'3, 236)

Warner is among the better linebackers in this draft in coverage, which is what Jim Schwartz prioritizes in his linebackers. He doesn't have huge tackle numbers (86 and 87 in 2016 and 2017, respectively), but he makes plays in the passing game, as he had 4 INTs and 11 pass breakups the last two seasons.

In the highlight reel below, watch how many plays he makes on the perimeter in open space against wide receivers with the ball in their hands.


Warner plays a lot more like a safety, but he has the size and aggressiveness of a linebacker. The Eagles have good depth at linebacker, but Warner could be added insurance for the injury-prone Jordan Hicks, whose future with the team is questionable in 2019 and beyond.

TRADE UP: The Eagles move up in the fourth round by dealing Mychal Kendricks.

The Bears badly need help at inside linebacker in their 3-4 defense, and the Eagles are able to get a deal done with Joe Douglas' old friends in Chicago.

Eagles get Bears get 
 105th overall, 4th round133rd overall, 4th round 
  Mychal Kendricks


Kendricks' 17-year tenure on the trade block finally comes to an end.

Round 4 (105th overall): Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon (5'11, 229)

Though he does not have the anywhere near the speed or elusiveness of, say, a guy like Saquon Barkley, Freeman is a big back at 229 pounds who moves faster than you would expect. Over his career at Oregon, Freeman put up huge numbers, though he has a lot of mileage on his legs.

Royce Freeman Rush Yards YPC TD 
 2014252 1365 5.4 18 
 2015283 1836 6.5 17 
 2016168 945 5.6 
2017244 1475 6.016 
 TOTAL947 5621 5.9 60 


Freeman also has receiving skills. Over his career at Oregon, Freeman has 79 catches for 814 yards (10.3 YPC) and 4 TDs. His highlight reel:


The only two running backs currently on the team that are certain to be on the 53-man roster are Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. Ajayi is now in the final year of his deal, and the Eagles have openly acknowledged his knee issues, making his long-term standing with the team something of a question mark.

Freeman could fill Ajayi's role in 2019 and beyond.

Round 4 (130th overall): M.J. Stewart, CB/S, North Carolina (5'11, 200)

During the pre-draft process, the Eagles have brought in a number of defensive back prospects who can potentially play in the slot. One who has not yet visited the Eagles (or at least it hasn't been reported that he has) is M.J. Stewart of UNC. At the NFL level, I believe Stewart will be best utilized as a safety and slot corner.

Stewart's stats at North Carolina:

 M.J. StewartTackles (TFL) INT FF-FR PBU 
 201426 (0.5) 0-0 
 201562 (2.5) 1-0 14 
 201666 (3.5) 2-3 11 
 201745 (5) 0-0 12 


That stat to note above is Stewart's pass breakups. Breaking up more than 10 passes in three straight seasons shows consistent production. He's also a physical tackler in the run game from the corner spot, something that will appeal to Jim Schwartz, who took pride in the Eagles' top-ranked run defense a season ago. A highlight reel:


Schwartz loves his safeties to have cornerback in their backgrounds. The Eagles are thin on safety depth, and I believe that Stewart could be a good third safety, with the potential to contribute early in his career in the slot.

Round 4 (132nd overall): Chris Herndon, TE, Miami (6'4, 245)

With the losses of Trey Burton and Brent Celek this offseason, tight end is an obvious need. Herndon is an athletic but raw tight end with modest production (1048 career receiving yards), but has more upside than most of the players in this stacked tight end class.

Here are all his catches in 2017:


The Eagles signed former Packers tight end Richard Rodgers, who should get them through 2018, while Herndon would be more of a long-term answer as the team's second tight end.

Round 5 (169th overall): Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida (5'11, 197)

Callaway is a second-round talent who won't even be on a number of draft boards at all, because of his off-field issues.

As a receiver, however, he is a flashy prospect with good athleticism and return ability. A highlight reel from 2015 and 2016:


As noted, Callaway comes with baggage galore. From NFL.com:

He faced a sexual assault trial between his freshman and sophomore year but was cleared of those charges before the 2016 season by admitting during the hearing he was "so stoned" he did not want to have sex with anyone. He was also cited for marijuana possession in May 2017 as a passenger in a car stopped because the driver wasn't wearing his seat belt; he pled no contest to possession of paraphernalia in July 2017. Calloway never played in 2017 because of his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with other teammates.

Yikes. Still, the Eagles have taken chances on players with off-field concerns in the past who have paid off. For example, Jalen Mills was thought of by many as a Day 2 talent, and he has quickly proven to be a legitimate NFL starting corner. The Eagles happily scooped him up in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and could strongly consider doing the same with a player of Callaway's ability if he's still there.

We'll project the fifth round for Calloway, as that's where the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill landed in 2016.

Round 6 (206th overall): Tremon Smith, CB/PR, Central Arkansas (5'11, 186)

Smith is a very off-the-radar player, who was not invited to the NFL Combine, and is the 54th ranked CB at NFLDraftScout.com. However, the NFL is well aware is Smith. His overview, via NFL.com:

Extremely confident and extremely greedy as an on-ball defender, Smith was asked to play the role of island defender and did so at a high level. While he faced a lower level of competition, he possesses the size, speed, athletic ability and instincts that should be able to translate to the league. Smith has the potential to fight for either an outside or slot role, but he'll need to play with better discipline in order to avoid penalties and big plays.

Jim Schwartz loves him some finger-wagging corners, and the Eagles have a hole in the slot. In 2017, Smith had 5 interceptions, and was Central Arkansas' primary punt returner. Here's a bad angle highlight reel:


Smith would make sense as a developmental prospect at slot corner and punt returner.

Round 7 (250th overall): Kentavius Street, DE/DT, North Carolina State (6'2, 280)

During the 2017 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected Sidney Jones, who had ruptured his Achilles during the pre-draft process, knowing that he likely wouldn't play at all during the 2017 season. He was a pick for 2018 and beyond.

In 2018, a player who might make sense as a draft-and-stash guy would be Kentavius Street, who tore his ACL while working out for the Giants a few weeks ago.

Street is an interesting prospect from the Eagles' perspective, as a player who can play inside and outside, much like Michael Bennett. Street's best attribute is his strength. Here he is squatting 700 pounds, which is ridiculous:


The Eagles don't have many team needs, so they don't have to worry about their later-round draft picks providing any sort of immediate contributions. At DT, they have Haloti Ngata on a one-year contract, and Bennett (who kicks inside on obvious passing downs) essentially on a string of one-year team options, so DT depth is a potential need in 2019 and beyond.


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