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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Eagles give Carson Wentz a running back to work with

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Who will the Birds take?

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Orange Bowl-Alabama vs Oklahoma Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

I’ll believe the Eagles will take a running back in the first round when I see it but, hey, this was my simulation and I wanted to have some fun with it. Besides, all the top offensive line and defensive line choices were off the board. Jacobs is the No. 1 back in this year’s class. I like that he’s versatile (third down back skills), young (only turns 21 in two days), relatively fresh (didn’t have a huge workload at Alabama), and just overall talented. One thing that annoys me when people compare Carson Wentz against Jared Goff and Dak Prescott is that it never gets mentioned how those quarterbacks have fantastic running back talents. It’d be nice to give Wentz a really good back to work with for once.

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

Left tackle Jason Peters has struggled the past two seasons with injuries, and he could decide to retire this offseason. Even if he doesn’t, the time is now for the Eagles to find his successor. Dillard is an athletic blocker on the left side, and knows how to handle speed rushers.

ESPN (Todd McShay) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

It’s no secret that the Eagles want a cornerback, but this is some really, really good value. Put Lawrence next to Fletcher Cox and let those two plug the middle of a line that was in the bottom third in rush defense this season.

The Draft Network (Joe Marino) - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

There are a number of short and long-term concerns for the Eagles secondary on a defense that gave up the most passing yards in the NFC last season. A versatile defender with dynamic playmaking upside, Adderley would be a welcomed addition. Adderley’s range, ball skills, coverage awareness, processing skills, physicality and tackling ability are all plus traits and he checks a lot of boxes. Adderley was an absolute joy to study on film and is a first-round safety all day long, assuming he tests where I believe he will.

Rotoworld (Thor Nystrom) - Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

This might not be a rational, pick. But give me this one. I want the DeSean Jackson clone in green, grey and white.

NFL.com (Chad Reuter) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

If Haloti Ngata, who’s due to become a free agent, doesn’t return, Lawrence would be a good replacement.

CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

[Eagles trade down from No. 25 to No. 29] — Somewhat of a fall for Metcalf, but the neck injury and his lack of ability to run a full route tree are the reasons. The Eagles could be interested in more receiving weapons for Carson Wentz. Philadelphia gets Kansas City’s third in this deal.

CBS Sports (Ryan White) - Gerald Willis III, DT, Miami

Willis didn’t attend the Senior Bowl but he remains of the best defensive tackles in a ridiculously deep class of them. His ability to wreak havoc in the backfield will upgrade an Eagles’ unit that ranked 26th in pressuring the quarterback.

CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

The Eagles are going to have an interesting offseason, with a lot of players no longer under contract. If they land Leonard Fournette via trade they can focus on adding a defensive player.

Pro Football Focus (Mike Renner) - Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

The Eagles add an explosive bull-rusher to supplant the league’s preeminent bull-rusher in Brandon Graham. Philly can’t let their calling card defensively start to crumble.

The Athletic (Dane Brugler) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

With Haloti Ngata scheduled to be a free agent and Timmy Jernigan’s future up in the air, upgrading the interior of the defensive line is a possibility here. Lawrence is a rare mover for his size with the skills to be an above average run defender and developing pass rusher.

Bleacher Report (Matt Miller) - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

The Philadelphia Eagles have a solid secondary but could use help at the cornerback position, especially in the slot. Washington’s Byron Murphy is feisty, technically smooth and has shown excellent ball skills. So why is he on the board here? Teams could knock him for his lack of bulk on a 5’11” frame. Murphy has been electric the last two seasons at Washington, oftentimes showing up the teammates around him from previous draft classes. The Eagles could quickly fall in love with his playmaking skills and ability to close on the ball with special quickness and physicality.

NFL Draft Scout (Rob Rang) - Devin White, LB, LSU

Along with edge rushers and wide receivers, the Eagles face big decisions at linebacker with no less than four at the position set to enter free agency, including standout middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. Rather than pay a premium price to retain him, GM Howie Roseman may opt for a cheaper contract with the versatile and hard-hitting White.

Baltimore Sun (Jonas Shaffer) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first round since 1986, and the relative value of players at the position has only diminished in the decades since. But the Eagles seem likely to part ways with free agent Jay Ajayi and possibly Darren Sproles, and there’s not much star power elsewhere. Jacobs wasn’t a starter at Alabama but projects as a potential every-down back in the NFL, with a hard-nosed running style and well-rounded receiving skill set.

DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

There are bigger needs elsewhere on both sides of the ball for the Eagles, but that won’t stop them from taking one of the most dynamic playmakers in this draft if he’s still on the board. Jacobs was part of a loaded backfield at Alabama, but has the skills to be a full-time problem for NFL defenses.

San Diego Union-Tribune (Eddie Brown) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

The Eagles are not the same offense without a consistent run game. Jacobs is the total package with a lot of tread left on his tires — only 300 total touches in three years at Tuscaloosa. Top needs: OL, RB, CB.

DraftTek (Broz) - Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

A few newsworthy events pertaining to the Eagles’ defense have materialized since the last CMD a week ago: 1) Safety Rodney McLeod agreed to a restructured contract, freeing up cap space and ensuring stability in the Eagles’ Safety corps, and 2) DE Chris Long, who most assumed was a goner, made remarks indicating he could be back next year. That’s good news, because while the Eagles’ defense was respectable last year (12th in NFL in PPG Allowed, 7th in Rushing YDS Allowed, 8th in league with 44 sacks), they rarely were game-changers. The defense suffered a sadistic amount of year-ending injuries which crippled the unit, but also gave some young guys in the secondary some valuable playing time. The fact that these emergency backups held Drew Brees and the Saints to 20 points in the playoffs proves that some hidden gems have been discovered. Assuming the guys on IR return (Derek Barnett, Jalen Mills, McLeod, etc), the Eagles’ defense could once again become a weapon, providing they can find another good pass rusher. Rashan Gary is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. Going to Michigan as the unanimous top recruit in his class, he was one of the most heralded D-Line prospects in recent history. While Gary was very good for the Wolverines, his on-field production didn’t match the tremendous hype (9 sacks, 23 TFL in college career). Nevertheless, the ability, power, speed and raw tools are obvious. Gary’s name is frequently included in “Top 5 Players” lists, and while I would be leery of taking him that high, he is a steal at #25. The thought here is that NFL coaches will be able to unlock his potential and turn him into a pass-rushing, run-stuffing force that can play up and down a 4-man front in multiple packages. His potential is off the charts.

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

This pick is building plenty of steam because the team’s need and the player’s skill set have started to line up so well. The Eagles could use a space-eater to flank Fletcher Cox and Lawrence is a textbook inside run-stuffer with ideal size (6-4, 351 pounds).

USA Today (Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

For all of the hand-wringing over Philadelphia’s secondary, the once-dominant defensive line didn’t create the same kind of havoc it did in the 2017 Super Bowl campaign. At 6-4 and 340 pounds, the massive Lawrence can help dissuade opponents from double-teaming Fletcher Cox regularly while he plugs the middle.

Draft Countdown (Scott Wright) - Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

It was a nightmare season for the Eagles pass defense, which ranked 30th in the league. Philly could easily go with a cornerback or safety, although they do have some key pieces returning from injury to bolster the secondary. There is arguably even more uncertainty at linebacker, especially in the middle where the injury-prone Jordan Hicks is a free agent. The Crimson Tide always seem to have a stud inside ‘backer to anchor their defense. When Reggie Ragland went to the NFL they plugged in Reuben Foster. When Foster left it was Rashaan Evans’ turn. This year it was Mack Wilson, who very much fits within the parameters of that explosive, physical, aggressive, hard-hitting profile. The athletic Wilson is more than just a two-down run thumper though, displaying sideline to sideline range as well as the ability to excel in coverage.


SUMMARY

DT Dexter Lawrence - 5
RB Josh Jacobs - 4
LB Devin Bush - 1
LB Devin White - 1
LB Mack Wilson - 1
DT Rashan Gary - 1
DT Gerald Willis III - 1
WR Marquise Brown - 1
WR D.K. Metcalf - 1
DE Jaylon Ferguson - 1
OT Andre Dillard - 1
S Nasir Adderley - 1
CB Byron Murphy - 1

DT - 7
RB - 4
LB - 3
WR - 2
DE - 1
OT - 1
S - 1
CB - 1

Offense - 7
Defense - 13

THOUGHTS

  • Experts are all over the place when it comes to the Eagles’ pick. Out of 20 mock drafts, only two players showed up more than once.
  • I just don’t think the Eagles are taking Lawrence — a run-stuffing defensive tackle — at No. 25 overall.
  • I’d be surprised if the Eagles took Jacobs in the first round. But wouldn’t it be nice to, you know, actually feel excited about the running back position for once? It feels like it’s been way too long.
  • I don’t see a first round linebacker happening.
  • Who is your favorite for No. 25?