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NFL Mock Draft 2018: ESPN Mel Kiper 1.0 Edition

Who should the Eagles pick?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Cactus Bowl - Kansas State v UCLA

We interrupt our NFC Championship Game preview coverage to bring you everyone’s favorite meaningful activity: a mock draft!

That’s right, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper released his first 2018 NFL mock draft on Thursday. Here’s who he has the Philadelphia Eagles taking in the first round. Via In$ider:

30) Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Jason Peters, a stalwart at left tackle for the Eagles, turns 36 this month and is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. Can they really expect him back at his best? I don’t think fifth-round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the answer as his replacement, either, which means Philadelphia could move super athletic right tackle Lane Johnson to Carson Wentz’s blindside, and draft a new right tackle. Miller is a developmental prospect with a 6-8 frame and limited game time. He has a high ceiling.

Offensive tackle is definitely a big need for the Eagles. Early buzz indicates that Jason Peters plans to come back for the 2018 season, but even if he does, the Eagles will need a replacement plan behind him. Peters turns 36 years old on January 22.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been serviceable in Peters’ absence but he’s hardly shown the makings of an ideal long-term starter. At the very least, it’d be wise for the Eagles to hedge their bet with Big V and bring in more competition at such an important position.

Here’s some more information on Miller from CBS Sports.

UCLA’s Kolton Miller is the left tackle who’s primed for a major draft rise over the next few months. The Bruins’ blocker flashes outstanding balance for his size when moving backward and forward -- in pass protection and in the run game -- and is a through-the-whistle player who often overpowers defenders.

At 6-8 and 310 pounds with seemingly long arms, he has elite measureables.

Per Pro Football Focus, Miller allowed just 15 quarterback pressures (two sacks, eight hits, five hurries) on 544 pass-block snaps in 2017, which was good for the site’s 10th-best Pass-Block Efficiency score among 121 qualifying offensive tackles. In a pass-happy NFL, Miller’s pass-blocking prowess will likely be the main reason he’s picked in the first round.

While grabbing a tackle in the first round would be ideal, the Eagles don’t need to force a pick there. Their roster is talented enough that they should be able to sit back and truly select the best player available that falls to them. It’s really nice to be able to say that.

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