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NFL Mock Draft Roundup 2019: Experts think Eagles will pick one of two Clemson defensive tackles

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Who will the Birds take?

ACC Championship - Clemson v Pittsburgh Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

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) - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

The Eagles virtually got nothing out of their defensive tackles not named Fletcher Cox in 2018. Adding Wilkins to the mix will help ensure that’s not a repeat problem in 2019. Wilkins was an elite run-stuffer AND pass rusher in the college ranks. The Eagles love to build through the trenches and drafting Wilkins helps them do exactly that.

SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Dillard did well for himself at the Senior Bowl, an event that isn’t always kind to offensive linemen who get forced into constant one-on-one positions in practice. Dillard helped himself not only with his play, but by weighing in at 310 pounds. That should erase any questions about his size as a pro. Bookends of Dillard and Lane Johnson would give the Eagles arguably the most athletic tandem of offensive tackles in the NFL.

The Draft Network (Kyle Crabbs) - Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

The Eagles had success their first time dipping their bucket into the Mississippi State iDL pool (Fletcher Cox). Why not go again? The Eagles’ defensive system under Jim Schwartz calls for chaos up front: the defensive line is designed to get into the backfield and make a mess of things. Putting Simmons between Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett/Michael Bennett/Brandon Graham (Graham is a free agent) would certainly free up everyone on the line to make a mess of opposing backfields.

NFL.com (Lance Zierlein) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Haloti Ngata is due to hit the market this offseason, and will Timmy Jernigan be back in 2019? There could be an opening or two at DT, which would clear the way for Lawrence, who flashes the ability to manhandle opponents.

Sports Illustrated (Kalyn Kahler) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Lawrence is primarily an early-down run-stuffer, but he has a rare combination of size and athleticism and has flashed upside in the pass-rush. His gargantuan body type is really hard to find (6’ 4”, 350 lbs.) which makes him an intriguing pick for the Eagles, whose recent success has come in large part from investing heavily in offensive and defensive lines.

PennLive (Daniel Gallen) - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

It’s a deep defensive line class, one that Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman called “historical,” so there should be some prime options available for the Eagles at No. 25 at the tail end of the first round. Wilkins is athletic and spent his college career creating havoc for ACC opponents at Clemson. He would slot in nicely in the defensive tackle rotation.

DraftTek (Broz) - Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

I’ve been saying for months that the Eagles’ RD1 pick will almost surely be a defensive lineman due to this historically-strong D-Line class, coupled with the fact that the Eagles tend to select the best player remaining from the non-QB “money positions” (D-Line, O-Tackle, CB). However, the more buzz some of these O-Tackles are getting, the more I think that position could become a sneaky RD1 possibility. After all, in an offense-driven league, what’s more important than providing a safe and healthy environment for your franchise QB? Errrr, I mean YOUR FRANCHISE QB!!! These days, sometimes I feel like the GM that throws resources at his defense, is like that guy back in 1995 who, after flipping a coin, invested his life savings in Excite.com instead of Google. Nevertheless, at least for one more week, the Eagles select another D-Lineman in this CMD. This time, it’s the immensely talented Jeffery Simmons from Mississippi St, whom some feel is a Top 5 player even in this draft. Simmons has ideal size for a 4-3 front, and is extremely athletic and disruptive. He has an explosive first step and can get into the backfield in a hurry...perfect for the 1-gap system Jim Schwartz uses. Despite constant double-teams, Simmons racked up 7 sacks and 30 TFL over the last two seasons. If Simmons can convince teams that he doesn’t have character-issues, he’ll be gone long before this spot.

The Big Lead (Jason McIntyre) - Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

There is a lot of uncertainty heading into the offseason about the Eagles defensive line. Three players, age 31 or older, could be moving on.

NBCSP (Dave Zangaro) - Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

With how much talent there is in this draft at defensive line, I don’t think the Eagles should wait to take one. Allen would be a good pick at the bottom of the first round out of BC. Allen (6-5, 285) had 6 1/2 sacks as a senior, but also proved to be very good against the run and creating negative plays. In his last two college seasons, Allen had 30 1/2 TFLs. The Eagles love pass rushers who get after the quarterback, but they need their ends to stop the run too and Allen can do both. Allen’s best game of the season came against Temple. He had two sacks, four TFLs and two batted passes. The one thing that stands out about Allen is his effort. It’s always there. Brandon Graham is set to be a free agent, so if he leaves this offseason and if Chris Long retires, the Eagles need to replenish their defensive end rotation. Sure, they have other needs, but getting a pass rusher should be up there.

CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Johnathan Abram, SS, Mississippi State

Abram ahead of Deionte Thompson from Alabama? It could happen. Abram is bigger, more physical safety with plenty of dynamic physical traits, and Philadelphia has to build its secondary.

CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama

Thompson is one of the best safeties in this class and he would solidify an Eagles’ secondary that was replacement level in pass defense, according to Football Outsiders.

DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Philly’s lack of depth at corner was painfully evident as injuries stacked up down the stretch last season, and this offseason gives them a chance to address it. Baker is a tough, instinctive player with a nose for the ball who could become an instant starter.


SUMMARY

DT Christian Wilkins - 2
DT Dexter Lawrence - 2
DT Jeffery Simmons - 2
DE Clelin Ferrell - 1
DE Zach Allen - 1
S Johnathan Abram - 1
S Deionte Thompson - 1
CB Deandre Baker - 1
OT Andre Dillard - 1

DT - 6
DE - 2
S - 2
CB - 1
OT - 1

Offense - 1
Defense - 11

THOUGHTS

  • Defensive line continues to be the popular first-round pick for the Eagles. It’s exciting to think the Eagles can add a very talented player next to Fletcher Cox.
  • Safety was already a need prior to Rodney McLeod’s reworked contract but the fact he’s now going to be a free agent after 2019 stresses the future outlook of that position. The Eagles could easily go safety in round one.
  • I just don’t see the Eagles taking a corner in the first round.
  • Only one of these 12 mocks has the Eagles taking an offensive player.
  • Who is your favorite for No. 25?