The 2018 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away! Mock draft season is in full gear and there’s no shortage of opinion about who the Philadelphia Eagles could select with the No. 32 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking this week.
Bleeding Green Nation (Benjamin Solak) - Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Opening things up with Goedert was a no-brainer--even with Zach Ertz on the roster. It’s deeper than that. Firstly, Philadelphia’s in a spot to go BPA at 32--and of course, every team wants to go BPA, but given Philadelphia’s strong starting roster, the entire Draft is a depth-building mission, and especially at 32, they’ll look to add a top-tier talent that’s fallen. Goedert is an excellent example of value that tumbles, given his hamstring injury at the Senior Bowl that kept him out of the spotlight in the pre-Draft process. His testing at his Pro Day, however, was everything you could want: 35” vertical, 10’1 broad, 6.87 3-cone (!!), and 4.06 short shuttle--and Eagles TE coach Justin Peelle was on hand. Goedert immediately steps in as both WR3 and TE2, providing Philadelphia with personnel versatility unparalleled in the NFL since two guys named Hernandez and Gronkowski played together in New England. A no-huddle Philadelphia offense with Alshon, Agholor, Ertz, Goedert, and (insert RB here) has the versatility to run 99% of the offense. Goedert is the one stone to the two birds of WR and TE depth.
Bleeding Green Nation (Benjamin Solak, again) - Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
Now, Ejiofor plays at around 6’3, 270 lbs. Michael Bennett: 6’4, 275. At that size, they both provide an excellent inside rush presence, and have incredible stoutness against the run. Ejiofor has awesome length as well, which allows him to stack and shuck when reading the backfield. That hand usage shows up in his pass rushes as well, as he excels at softening edges and clearing his opponent’s chest. We’ve got a rusher here who knows how to create his own rush angles, has a plethora of moves and counters, and can play against the run from the inside and outside. He’s a Day 1 starter on any team. Of course, Philadelphia can go the developmental route—they have the time and depth. But if Ejiofor drops to 32, he’ll be an excellent value pick for any team, and Philadelphia could potentially still snag him with a trade-back to boot.
Bleeding Green Nation (Michael Kist) - Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The internal debate here, based on who was available, was between the play-making Alexander and the mauler OT Tyrell Crosby from Oregon. I would applaud the addition of Crosby, as it addresses a long-term need. I’ve pounded the table for over a year about the need for a solution at tackle, as I don’t believe Halapoulivaati Vaitai is anything more than a depth piece and a spot starter. Tackle is also higher in regard to positional value, but when you consider the wide gap on my board between Alexander and any other available prospect, combined with the immediate need to upgrade nickel, Alexander is a slam dunk.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville [Trade down]
The Eagles, meanwhile, can still find a good cornerback at the top of the second round, like Louisville’s Jaire Alexander.
SB Nation (Staff) - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Carson Wentz is coming back from a torn ACL, so bolstering the line to make sure he stays protected isn’t a bad investment at all. He helped Josh Rosen become one of the top prospects of the draft, so you’d imagine he’s good at what he does.
Rotoworld (Josh Norris) - Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Slot corner is the most immediate need for the Eagles. I could totally see them add a running back or playmaking receiver, but both are luxury choices. The Eagles have a ton of depth at outside corner, yet nothing on the inside. Jackson is super-fast and has two years of starting experience.
ESPN (Todd McShay) - Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Super Bowl champions don’t have many holes on their roster. Harrison is a talented free safety with excellent size and good speed. He’d be another nice matchup piece for a strong Eagles defense.
ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr.) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Philadelphia’s second-round pick goes to the Browns from the Carson Wentz trade (I think GM Howie Roseman & Co. are just fine with that), while its third-round pick is in the Bills’ hands as a result of the Ronald Darby-Jordan Matthews swap from last year. Hear me out on a running back with the last pick in the first round: A knee injury caused Jay Ajayi to drop in the 2015 draft, and while he impressed after the midseason trade from Miami, I don’t think we can automatically slot him in as the Eagles’ top back for the next five years. Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey are also on the roster, but none are as talented as Guice, who I think can be a much better pass-catcher than the LSU offense allowed him to be. Guice would add to an already-loaded offense.
PhiladelphiaEagles.com (Tommy Lawlor) - Justin Reid, S, Stanford
The 6-1, 204-pound Reid is the kind of versatile, highly productive player who would make sense for the Eagles. He can play safety or corner. He can play in the slot. Reid has a good combination of size and athleticism. In 2017, he picked off five passes and had 6.5 tackles for loss. That shows he has good ball skills and also can make plays around the line of scrimmage. I think the Eagles would try Reid in the slot initially. Patrick Robinson left in free agency so the Eagles are unsettled there. Reid played in the slot for Stanford in 2017 so that’s a role he’s got experience in. He also has the skill set to handle it. Depending on how things go in the future, the Eagles could leave Reid in the slot or they could move him back to safety. He can play in the box or back as a centerfielder. Reid is a gifted defender who can do it all. He would give the coaching staff a lot of options, something that is critical in today’s NFL where matchups rule the game.
PhillyVoice (Jimmy Kempski) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Before the start of the 2017 college football season, I thought there was a legitimate debate over whether Saquon Barkley or Derrius Guice was the better player. To be clear, I thought it was Barkley, but not by as wide a gap as others. After a 2017 season in which Guice battled through injuries and saw his yards per carry drop significantly, he was no longer thought of by anyone as being anywhere close to the same category as Barkley. Still, Guice is very gifted, and I think he’s going to be a great player in the NFL. With the draft two weeks away, it’s crazy to me that many expect Guice to fall anywhere near where the Eagles are picking at 32nd overall. If he’s there, I can’t see how the Eagles can pass on him. Guice has good speed, quick feet and cutting ability in traffic, as well as good balance and change of direction at top speed. He also runs with violence. While the Eagles have not yet given up on Donnel Pumphrey or Wendell Smallwood, they also cannot be counted on for any kind of meaningful role until they prove they deserve one. As such, the Eagles are left with just two running backs who are certain to be on the roster in 2018, in Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. Ajayi is now in the final year of his deal in 2018, and the Eagles have openly acknowledged his knee issues. Will the Eagles let him walk in free agency next offseason? It’s very possible he won’t be on the team in 2019. That leaves Clement as the only sure-fire long-term back on the roster, and so, the Eagles would be wise to draft one now who can be a long-term answer at the position, while also potentially becoming an immediate contributor. It doesn’t take long for running backs to make significant contributions in their rookie seasons. In fact, in each of the last two seasons, a pair of rookies (Kareem Hunt in 2017, Ezekiel Elliott in 2016) led the league in rushing yards. With a team like the Eagles who are trying to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, Guice would give them a potential impact player from Day 1. From a long-term perspective, because Guice was Leonard Fournette’s backup at LSU for two seasons, he has low mileage. He’s also only 20 years old, and could be a high impact, low cost player for at least five years.
DraftAnalyst (Tony Pauline) - Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
A highly rated linebacker has always been a consideration at this spot, and Evans could be a steal.
NDT Scouting (Joe Marino) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice is too tantalizing of a playmaker for the Eagles to let slip by them at the end of the first round. He can make a dominant rushing attack even better.
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks) - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Eagles have the luxury of taking the best player available at the bottom of the first round. McGlinchey is a rock-solid edge blocker with experience playing left and right tackle.
CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
The run on offensive linemen continues with Crosby, a compact, athletic left tackle to ultimately replace Jason Peters.
CBS Sports (Jared Dubin) - Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The defending champs land a strong corner to replace the departed Patrick Robinson.
CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
The Eagles have a ton of options here and can certainly go best player available, but it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to grab a tight end as a replacement for Trey Burton.
CBS Sports (R.J. White) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Eagles need to start thinking about life after Jason Peters, and Williams gives them a talented player to develop into a starter at tackle. If he ultimately proves unable to handle the position, he’d be a fine long-term starter inside. Not a bad Plan B for a first-round pick.
DraftTek (Broz) - Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
The object of this mock draft is not necessarily stating what I think the Eagles should do with their picks, but rather to predict what I think they will do with their picks. Luckily, I’m a B.P.A. kinda guy, and the Eagles are a B.P.A. kinda team. For weeks, DT Maurice Hurst has been the pick here, a choice that leaned heavily toward the talent of the player rather than the need at the position. If the draft on April 26th played out the way this CMD did, I think the Eagles would spend all 10 of their allotted minutes fielding calls from teams jonesing for Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph. Chances are, the Eagles have a group of five or so players they’d love to see slip to within their range at 32. If that happens, I think they “stick and pick”. If all the players they have draft-crushes on are gone, then it’s very likely that the guy they could pick at #32 would be very similar to the guy they could pick at #42 or #50. In this scenario, the Eagles would likely sell their pick to the highest bidder amongst the QB-desperate teams. So the question is, would CB Mike Hughes inspire the Eagles to run to the podium with his name on the card, or drop back 10 spots to acquire a third-round pick? In my opinion, it would be Option C: wait and hope to get your socks knocked off with an above-market-value offer, but then happily taking Hughes if nothing crazy was offered. The Eagles have few holes on their roster, but slot corner and returner are probably the two biggest. Like Rasul Douglas a year ago, Hughes has a knack for finding the ball when it’s in the air. Unlike Douglas, Hughes has very quick feet, great change of direction, and the ability to recover quickly using his speed if he is beaten. Hughes notched four INTs and 11 passes broken up in 2017. More importantly for the Eagles next year, Hughes scored on one punt return and two kickoffs, showing his versatility in the return game. In my book, Hughes is easily one of the 20 best players in the Draft.
NFL Draft Scout (Dane Brugler) - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Running back isn’t the most pressing need, but Guice is excellent value at this point and most believe this will be Jay Ajayi’s final season in Philadelphia.
Yahoo (Jason Owens) - Ronald Jones, RB, USC
The Super Bowl champions are obviously not brimming with draft needs and could look to trade down here. If not, running back seems a good fit. The Eagles let LeGarrette Blount go in free agency and don’t have an obvious No. 2 back behind Jay Ajayi. This is a great spot for running back value, and Jones, an explosive runner with game-breaking speed, would provide the Eagles a formidable one-two punch out of the backfield.
PennLive (Daniel Gallen) - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
The Eagles shipped vertical threat Torrey Smith to the Panthers in a trade this offseason, so they’ll be looking for another speedster who can push defenses. Kirk has blazing speed and can do so much more as a shifty playmaker in space. Kirk would be another weapon for Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson to work with.
First Coast News (Mike Kaye) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Eagles have some serious question marks at linebacker and Vander Esch seems to be a solid choice to bolster Philadelphia’s starting lineup. The Eagles don’t have a Day 2 pick, so they have to choose wisely here. Philadelphia could also trade out of the first round to pick up additional picks from a team looking to steal Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph before the second round.
NJ.com (Joe Giglio) - Justin Reid, S, Stanford
At 6’1”, 204, Reid is the perfect modern-day versatile safety. In his rookie year, Reid could replace Corey Graham in Philadelphia’s effective three-safety look. By 2019, Reid could replace Rodney McLeod as a starter and become one of the NFL’s best backend players. If Reid is there at 32, the Eagles will be enticed to stay with the pick, not trade back.
NJ.com (ESP) - Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Eagles have a lot of options at No. 32 overall, and trading down is one of them -- assuming they get an offer to trade back. The key will be, is Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson there? If he is, the Eagles could very well get an enticing enough offer to trade No. 32 overall. If they don’t, don’t be surprised if they stick at No. 32 -- and if they do, chances are their pick will be a defensive lineman. Since taking over the Eagles, Howie Roseman has shown that he values three positions the most -- quarterback, offensive line and defensive line. The Eagles won’t be taking a quarterback, and at No. 32, it is unlikely the best player will be on the offensive line. That leaves the defensive line, and chances are that Bryan will be the top player. Bryan checks a lot of boxes for the Eagles, as he can play all of the positions along the defensive line, but is big enough to play defensive tackle. The Eagles need a third defensive tackle they can develop and have split time with veteran Haloti Ngata next season. Bryan is considered one of the best athletes at the defensive tackle position, and some have compared him Houston Texans’ defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
Draft Countdown (Scott Wright) - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Jason Peters is 36-years-old and coming off an injury so it may be time for Philly to find a long-term solution to protect Carson Wentz’s blindside. Sure Halapoulivaati Vaitai has performed admirably when pressed into action, but do they really want to put all their eggs in that basket? There was a time when it looked like Williams might be the first offensive tackle off the board, but a disappointing, injury-shortened junior campaign raised concerns amongst scouts. Some now feel his best fit at the next level will come inside at guard. At his best Williams is a well-rounded blocker with the ability to maul in the run game and the athleticism to pass protect on the edge. Williams could even start out on the interior in Philadelphia before eventually moving back outside. The Eagles could also be in the market for an upgrade at linebacker, where they don’t currently have many guys they can count on. Don’t rule out a safety either since Malcolm Jenkins isn’t getting any younger and there isn’t much in the way of depth.
DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Protecting Carson Wentz should be the top priority for the Super Bowl champs moving forward, especially with veteran Jason Peters coming off a season-ending injury and playing in the twilight of his career. What better way to fill that need than with a Philly native in McGlinchey, who is as polished and experienced as any tackle in this year’s class.
RB Derrius Guice - 4
S Justin Reid - 2
CB Jaire Alexander - 2
OT Connor Williams - 2
OT Mike McGlinchey - 2
OT Tyrell Crosby - 1
OT Kolton Miller - 1
CB Mike Hughes - 1
CB Donte Jackson - 1
CB Isaiah Oliver - 1
RB Ronald Jones - 1
WR Christian Kirk - 1
LB Leighton Vander Esch - 1
LB Rashaan Evans - 1
DT Taven Bryan - 1
S Ronnie Harrison - 1
TE Dallas Goedert - 1
DE Duke Ejiofor - 1
OT - 6
RB - 5
CB - 5
S - 3
LB - 2
WR - 1
DT - 1
TE - 1
DE - 1
Offense - 13
Defense - 12
- There are 18 different players mocked to the Eagles this week.
- Offensive tackle, running back, and (slot) cornerback are the main three positions of focus. Safety and linebacker are close behind. I could definitely see the Eagles addressing any of those areas at No. 32.
- A couple mocks have the Eagles trading down. Also very possible.
- The tight end buzz has died down a little, which reflects how I feel about the Eagles’ chances of taking one early on.
- Derrius Guice is the most popular pick for the Birds. The Eagles are showing a lot of interest in him. My understanding is that it’s not just smoke. Based on what I’ve heard, I’d be very surprised if he gets passed on at No. 32.
- Who do YOU want the Eagles to pick?