The 2018 NFL Draft is 69 days away. Mock draft season has already begun and there’s no shortage of opinion as to whom the Philadelphia Eagles might select with the No. 32 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking this week.
FanSpeak (Custom) - Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The Eagles won a Super Bowl by building through the trenches. They should continue to prioritize linemen high in the draft. It’d be great for the Birds to pick up an offensive tackle this year since Jason Peters is 36 years old. Given any potential concerns about JP, short-term and long-term, it really wouldn’t hurt to have at least four quality tackles. The hope is that offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland can mold a player of Brown’s massive size and length.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Trey Burton is a free agent and Brent Celek could be a cap casualty, so tight end could emerge as a need for the Eagles this offseason. If both are gone, a player like Andrews would be a nice addition. While he doesn’t blow a lot of people away as an athlete, he has excellent hands and is fast enough to get up the seam.
ESPN (Todd McShay) - Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
After winning a Super Bowl with a backup QB, it’s fair to say this is a deep roster. The Eagles have the luxury of drafting for value, and it’s never a bad idea to add depth along the defensive line. A twitchy one-gap DT with the tools to continue to develop, Bryan is raw, but he has the athleticism to mold and good get-off quickness. He could work into Philadelphia’s defensive line rotation behind Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan.
NDT Scouting (Benjamin Solak) - Ronald Jones, RB, USC
Ronald Jones was built to run in this Philadelphia offense, which relies on outside zone concepts, but also wrinkles in pass-catching reps and power-blocking runs. Jones is a bit of a projection after his limited usage in USC, but he has electric change of direction ability and excellent vision. Philadelphia isn’t in desperate need of a RB, but Jones’ selection allows them to move on from Jay Ajayi after he hits free agency in 2019.
Rotoworld (Josh Norris) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
It is difficult to find a real need on the Eagles. Linebacker is one spot, due to potential free agents and injuries in 2018. But with LeGarrette Blount a free agent, Jay Ajayi nearing the end of his rookie deal and a tight cap, why not add a great running back talent like Guice?
PhillyVoice (Jimmy Kempski) - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
In 2017, Hurst had 59 tackles (13 for loss) 5.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Those numbers aren’t great, but make no mistake, Maurice Hurst is awesome. He’s quick, fast, he sheds blocks, and he constantly makes plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. There’s no earthly reason Hurst should be available at pick 32, but it has happened with undersized defensive tackles in the past. At 6’2, 280, Hurst is far from a prototypical defensive tackle. Geno Atkins fell all the way to the fourth round in 2010, and Aaron Donald to the 13th overall pick in 2014, despite being clearly more talented than many of the players taken before him. Has the NFL learned their lesson on that?
NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah) - Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Eagles love explosive defenders who play with an edge. Evans fits that profile.
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks) - Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Evans is a rugged ILB perfectly suited to play as a “plugger” behind a talented front line.
NFL.com (Charley Casserly) - Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Philly has worked to improve the CB position, but the Eagles still need help there.
NFL.com (Lance Zierlein) - Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Hernandez showed what he was capable of at the Senior Bowl and would be another powerful run blocker to help maintain a diverse offensive scheme.
NFL.com (Chad Reuter) - Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
Not every NFL scout believes Jefferson is worthy of a first-round pick, but I think the Eagles could benefit from his size and athleticism inside or outside.
CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
The Eagles have made a point of drafting depth at the defensive line, so it would hardly be surprising if they decided to invest more assets in the position, especially with Chris Long not secured for the long haul.
CBS Sports (Jared Dubin) - Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Eagles might have the best roster in football. They’re going to lose some guys this offseason, though. Super Bowl champs always do. The strength of this team is its defensive line, and taking Bryan would help ensure that remains the case next year and beyond.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
He is a tough, nasty player who knows how to get to the football. The Eagles could be losing Nigel Bradham to free agency and Jordan Hicks is coming off a major injury.
CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Crosby is a glider when getting to the second level and plays with a low, balanced base. He’s the type of offensive linemen the Eagles would likely have higher on their board than other teams due to what they ask of their blockers.
CBS Sports (R.J. White) - James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
The Eagles have no Day 2 picks, and it makes sense for them to trade down if they aren’t in love with how the board shakes out by the time No. 32 is on the clock. One guy that could make sense for them is Washington, who is a vertical threat with big-play ability to stretch the field for the Eagles offense while replacing Torrey Smith’s snaps if his option is declined.
CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Ronald Jones, RB, USC
With LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles headed for free agency, Jones would add some much-needed depth. That said, Jay Ajayi and Super Bowl hero Corey Clement return (along with Wendell Smallwood) but as Blount proved in 2017, you can never have too many talented backs in a game where injuries can derail a season.
NFL Draft Scout (Rob Rang) - Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Super Bowl champs boast one of the more complete rosters in the NFL but could use an intimidator in the back end. Harrison remains better against the run than the pass at this point, but he could be afforded a “redshirt” year with veterans Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod already in place in Philadelphia.
DraftTek (Broz) - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
The 2018 NFL Draft is going to be pretty enjoyable for Eagles’ fans to watch. The Draft will be held in Cowboys Country, so not only will we be able to hear the phrase “Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles” echoing through Jerry’s precious stadium every five minutes, but we’ll also get to watch hordes of bottle-chucking Eagles’ fans invade Arlington and cause mass panic. The one downside is that we’ll have to sit through 31 other RD1 selections before drafting, but that’s a pretty sweet problem to have.
When the Eagles finally do pick, look for them to bolster the O-Line if there is a tackle of value available. With so few picks, the Eagles can’t afford to reach here, but if there’s a guy that can improve Carson Wentz’s protection, they’ll jump at the chance. The Eagles surrendered 36 sacks during the regular season, which isn’t great. The protection improved in the post season, however, as the team led all playoff contestants with just two sacks allowed. Future HOF Tackle Jason Peters swears he’ll return for 2018, but at 36 and coming off a torn ACL, the Eagles can’t afford to count on him. Second-year tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai improved as much as anyone on the team, so it’s not as if Philly MUST scramble for talent here. However, if competition and depth can be added, the team should do so. UCLA’s Kolton Miller is a guy that’s picking up steam. With only two sacks and five QB hurries allowed on 544 pass-blocking snaps in 2017, as well as possessing the wing span of an albatross, Miller is the kind of lineman that can shoot up draft boards with a strong Combine.
B/R (Matt Miller) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
General manager Howie Roseman and vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas have done an amazing job of stocking the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles. So much so that it was hard to find a need that matched with the value of players available in this mock draft.
Because of that, and because of my no trades rule, I’m predicting a slight reach to draft Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. A junior entry into the class, Vander Esch is one of my favorite players in the draft. He’s a physical, athletic linebacker with the tools to be a three-down player. Given Jordan Hicks’ struggles to stay healthy, this pick does represent a need in Philly.
There are other potential needs, like offensive guard or more depth at wide receiver, but getting a rock-solid linebacker would take an already great defense to a pretty awesome place.
Sporting News (Eric Galko) - Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
The Eagles need to start looking at moving on from Jason Peters. Kicking Lane Johnson to the left side and/or looking for a plug-and-play left tackle to keep Carson Wentz upright is a must. Jones is underrated and can do that for the Eagles.
LB Rashaan Evans - 3
RB Ronald Jones - 2
DT Taven Bryan - 2
OT Orlando Brown - 1
TE Mark Andrews - 1
RB Derrius Guice - 1
DT Maurice Hurst - 1
CB Donte Jackson - 1
OG Will Hernandez - 1
LB Malik Jefferson - 1
DE Marcus Davenport - 1
OT Tyrell Crosby - 1
WR James Washington - 1
S Ronnie Harrison - 1
OT Kolton Miller - 1
LB Leighton Vander Esch - 1
OT Jamarco Jones - 1
LB - 5
OT - 4
DT - 3
RB - 3
DE - 1
TE - 1
WR - 1
CB - 1
OG - 1
S - 1
Offense - 10
Defense - 11
- With more than two months until Draft Day, there is no consensus favorite for the Eagles. Rashaan Evans is the most popular name for now.
- Linebacker is definitely a need for the Eagles. I do wonder if they value the position highly enough to go that direction in the first round. The guy would have to be an absolute stud, I’d think.
- Some people might not like defensive linemen being mocked to the Eagles but I wouldn’t hate the team going in that direction. Again, this team builds through the trenches, and we saw how that paid off with a Super Bowl win.
- I can’t see the Eagles going guard or cornerback in the first round. I can see safety, though, considering how Malcolm Jenkins isn’t always lining up on the back end of the defense.
Per @PFF, here’s how Malcolm Jenkins lined up during the 2017 season.— Brandon LII Gowton (@BrandonGowton) February 17, 2018
Slot cornerback: 30%
Outside cornerback: 4%
- Who is your early favorite for No. 32?