The 2019 NFL Draft will be here before you know it. Mock draft season has already begun and there’s no shortage of opinion as to whom the Philadelphia Eagles might select with the No. 25 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking this week.
FanSpeak (Custom) - Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
The Eagles prefer to build through the trenches and they also value college prospects with a strong record of college production. Sweat boasts exactly that with 105 total tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, and one forced fumble in 27 games played.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Jason Peters turns 37 this week, and time is running out on his outstanding career. It would be smart of the Eagles to draft his replacement now and make sure he’s ready to go. Little is a classic left tackle with size and athleticism to mirror speed rushers and the edge.
The Draft Network (Jon Ledyard) - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
I don’t even know what the Eagles need because their entire roster was basically on injured reserve this season, but Rodney McLeod is coming off a season-ending injury and Malcolm Jenkins is getting up there a little bit. Adderley can play cornerback and both safety spots, bringing much-needed flexibility and play-making ability to an Eagles secondary that lacked both far too often this season.
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
The Eagles have joined the ranks of the NFL elite by investing heavily in the offensive and defensive lines. Lawrence is a rugged nose tackle with the size and strength to erase runs between the guards while also collapsing the pocket with bull rushes on passing downs.
CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Adderley made a name for himself over the final months of the season and the FCS standout could find himself among the first 32 players taken. He’ll have a chance to prove himself at the Senior Bowl and the biggest question might be his size -- is he big enough to play safety over the course of an NFL season -- because every other aspect of his game checks all the boxes of what teams look for in a defensive back. Either way, Corey Graham is 33 and is headed for free agency and ranked 57th among all safeties, according to Pro Football Focus. The Eagles need to upgrade the position.
CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Dillard is a pass-blocking wizard, and he stoned edge-rusher after edge-rusher at the Senior Bowl thanks to his smooth footwork and surprising power. He could start as a rookie or learn from Jason Peters for a year, which would be ideal for him and the Eagles.
DraftTek (Broz) - Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
The Eagles’ defensive line will be undergoing a significant transformation this offseason. DE Brandon Graham, a mainstay on the line for years, will be a free agent. The author of perhaps the biggest play in Eagles’ history (strip sack of Tom Brady to secure Super Bowl 52) says he’d be willing to take a team-friendly deal to return. Translated: “Give me 60 million dollars and we can be friends”. It’s not a given that he walks...but chances are he’s gone. DE Chris Long, who’ll be 34 before next season, is already taking shuffleboard lessons in preparation for his retirement. DT Tim Jernigan missed most of 2018 and is a major injury concern. Whether he’s cut, or re-signed to a much cheaper deal, it would be wise not to count on him going forward. Lastly, I’m not sure what city or state the lumbering Haloti Ngata is sitting on top of right now, but he won’t be stealing paychecks from Philly in 2019. Luckily for the Eagles, this is a great draft for defensive line re-tooling. The Eagles have Pro Bowler DT Fletcher Cox and his 10.5 sacks, the promising DE Derek Barnett, and maybe 33-year-old DE Michael Bennett to work with. Aside from those three, a large chunk of the team’s 44 sacks from this past year need to be replaced. I’m sure the Eagles would prefer to use this pick on a dynamic pass-rushing defensive end; however, in this CMD, no available DE justified the pick. DT is also a huge need. It was startling to see the instant dropoff in play by the Eagles’ defense against the Saints when Cox left for a chunk of the game. DT Christian Wilkins would represent a huge upgrade to anyone else the Eagles trotted out there next to Cox. With 5.5 sacks, 14 TFL, and frequent QB pressures in 2018, Wilkins is a productive prospect with a LOT of upside. There’s only a certain number of human beings on this planet that can run a sub-5.0 forty while weighing over 300 pounds, and he’s one of them.
NBCSP (Dave Zangaro) - Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Wilkins (6-4, 300) is one of three possible first-round defensive linemen from Clemson. He’s not a super dynamic pass-rusher, but has the ability to beat 1-on-1s and create some havoc and can also stuff the run. The one thing that stands out about Wilkins is his motor. We know Joe Douglas loves high-motor guys and Wilkins fits that bill. I like his effort. He would make a great complement to Fletcher Cox inside. In four years at Clemson, he piled up 16 sacks and 40 1/2 tackles for loss. He had a tackle for loss and a half a sack in the championship game a couple weeks ago. Sure, he had a lot of talent around him, but I’m not going to hold that against him. The Eagles are in a state of flux at interior lineman. Cox is the centerpiece of the defense, but the spot next to him was a mess during the 2018 season. Tim Jernigan is under contract, but with a $13 million cap hit, he’ll need to restructure or he won’t be back. Then Haloti Ngata is a free agent and Treyvon Hester might be nothing more than a deep rotational piece. Getting a guy like Wilkins could really be a game-changer next to a game-wrecker like Cox.
The Athletic (Bo Wulf) - Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat probably has the most high-end name recognition among the non-quarterbacks, but the thought here is that one of two things will happen with Sweat. Either he’ll go in the top half of the first round, as some have suggested, or he’ll slide out of the first round entirely. Some whispers in Mobile suggest the latter is more likely. Howard, meanwhile, has been one of the biggest winners of the week of practice. Because the 22-year-old played at Alabama State, there were questions about whether he would hold up against the higher level of competition. He answered those questions in resounding fashion. At 6-foot-5, 322 pounds, no one in Mobile better embodies big, strong, powerful man. As for the fit with the Eagles, Jordan Mailata and Halapoulivaati Vaitai provide reasonable insurance for the future of the left tackle position, but Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas aren’t ever going to shy away from a premium talent at a premium position.
S Nasir Adderley - 2
DT Christian Wilkins - 2
DT Dexter Lawrence - 1
DE Montez Sweat - 1
OT Tytus Howard - 1
OT Andre Dillard - 1
OT Greg Little - 1
DT - 3
OT - 3
S - 2
DE - 1
Offense - 3
Defense - 6
- Six out of nine picks are linemen. We all know the Eagles are not shy to invest premium resources in the trenches.
- A trio of Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan (back on a pay cut), and Wilkins at defensive tackle sure would be nice.
- Who is your favorite for No. 25?