With the ink drying on the book of NFL free agency, team needs both in the short and long term have shifted, and with it we can start to get mock drafts that are looking closer to what will actually happen in April.
The Eagles are a great example, in January and into February, the popular pick was a wide receiver, usually but not always Corey Davis. Then free agency happened, and the Eagles, as we have suggested/hinted/insisted/demanded, signed two wide receivers, making filling the position in the first round far less urgent. But they’ve lost both starting cornerbacks and a starting defensive tackle and not added anyone in free agency, making it obvious that the Eagles are going to be getting some defenders early in the draft. And now the mock drafts are reflecting that reality.
Will Brinson, CBS - DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State
The Eagles need more bodies in the middle along with Fletcher Cox after seeing Bennie Logan leave for Kansas City.
Yes, the Eagles need a new defensive tackle. That’s plainly obvious. Thanks for the in-depth explanation there William. If they just “need more bodies” then wait until a later round to add some.
But the Eagles need more than just a warm body, they need a talented one who can be a starter. McDowell might be that guy, but he had a disappointing junior season before declaring, and then at the Combine one team said he had the “worst interview we did” and another called his interview “awful.” Ouch.
Dieter Kurtenbach, Fox Sports - DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
The Eagles need a cornerback in a big way, but their need on the defensive line looms larger in the moment. Philadelphia can wait on a cornerback — there’s a ton in this class. They can’t wait on replacing Connor Barwin.
The Eagles could wait to get a corner, but with a depth chart of Jalen Mills and four guys with one combined snap on defense last year, they probably shouldn’t. On the other hand, they do need a defensive end, and the sooner the better when it comes to drafting them. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If Barnett is on the board, that probably means the very top tier CBs are off the board, and in that case taking perhaps the 2nd best DE at 14 has logic behind it. Best player available and all that.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer - CB Tra’Davious White, LSU
The Eagles may be high on last year’s seventh-round corner Jalen Mills, who played in 16 games and started two last year, but after cutting Leodis McKelvin and letting Nolan Carroll walk in free agency, Philly’s top priority needs to be addressing depth at the position. Picking White here is a nice start. The LSU product drew praise from Philadelphia vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas at the Senior Bowl, and he has the size, speed, and confidence to start from day one. He could factor into the Eagles’ return game early on, too.
Case in point with the top tier of the CBs not being there: in this mock, Marshon Lattimore and Marlon Humphrey off the board, and of course Sidney Jones suffered a torn Achilles. In such a scenario the Eagles could take Barnett (who went two picks later), or possibly Alabama LB Reuben Foster (who went on the next pick), which could then put them at risk of being on the tail end of a run on CBs in the 2nd round. Taking their top choice of the best of the rest of CBs has logic behind it.
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated - WR John Ross, Washington
Signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith were impressive coups for the Eagles, but they shouldn’t prevent them from taking a player like Ross. Even with that duo and Jordan Matthews, the Eagles don’t have a catch-and-run gamebreaker.
The Eagles still need to draft a WR, where have I read that before? (Shameless plug alert) Why, right here.
It’s possible the Eagles take a WR in the 1st round, but that seems unlikely. Expect them to take one later in the draft, but not at 14. The Eagles are in a position where they have to draft for need, and WR isn’t at the top of the need list.
Four mocks, four very different picks. I love it.