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 now that the first wave of NFL free agency is over.
The Draft Network (Custom) - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Eagles would be very happy to see Oliver fall to them here. The group of him, Fletcher Cox, and Malik Jackson would be quite the trio of interior defenders. Having three quality defensive tackles would allow the Eagles to rotate more and keep Cox fresher over the course of the season.
Bleeding Green Nation (Benjamin Solak) - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
It’s funny: this is a draft I would have been totally cool with before most of the Eagles’ free agent moves. Nothing that they’ve done — re-signings, additions, or losses — have really locked in any position in Round 1 or Round 2. Still focusing on trenches early, looking for a developmental starter at safety, and middle-round skill position guys if there’s a good value. As such, the Eagles’ most-frequent first-round selection remains: Christian Wilkins is a high-culture guy with a well-rounded skill-set, and he locks up the defensive tackle rotation — a point of weakness last season. Having a Fletcher Cox is awesome, and seeing him set career highs in a lot of key production points is sick — but Schwartz wants to bring that playing time down to keep him fresh. Wilkins serves that function.
Bleeding Green Nation (Michael Kist) - Nasir Adderley, FS, Delaware
The Eagles’ have shown an early interest in bolstering their defensive backfield by bringing in Florida safety Chauncy Gardner-Johnson on an official visit. Gardner-Johnson has been my highest riser when I revisited his film, boosting his grade to a first round value. He was off the board, but I ended up grabbing my highest rated safety anyway. Adderley has some of the best film you’ll come across in this class. In coverage, he shows the requisite range to play single-high, the short area explosiveness to click and clack on intermediate routes, and the ability to mirror receivers when playing closer to the line. Pro Football Focus’ Draft Guide has Adderley’s 2018 coverage stats as the following: 395 snaps, 23 targets, 7 receptions (30.4%), 74 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT, 1.3 passer rating (1st), 34.8% “forced incompletion percentage” (3rd). Against the run Adderley displays the physicality and tackling form needed to fill the alley. Adderley’s film study is readily apparent and it pairs nicely with his ability to react and redirect on the fly. Adderley is the perfect piece to plug into Jim Schwartz’s heavy MOFC coverage schemes.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Eagles had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season. Avonte Maddox looks like a solid player, but Sidney Jones has played just 10 games in two seasons, and Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas have been inconsistent. Baker is a pro-ready player who likes to get physical with wide receivers on the outside.
The Draft Network (Joe Marino) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Doug Pederson’s offense demands a lot of versatility from its skill players in terms of where they line up and how they are used. Jacobs is one of just a few truly multifaceted running backs in this year’s class, that can handle everything Pederson could put on his plate. Philly can address the defensive tackle position with better value on Day Two and snatch up the draft’s best running back at No. 25.
NFL.com (Charles Davis) - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Wasn’t the best combine for him, but his tape shows an ultra-competitive CB who contests all passes thrown in his area.
CBS Sports (R.J. White) - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: I think the Eagles are prime candidates to move up for one of the top corners, but when 20 picks go by and no one at the position comes off the board, they sit tight and land the talented Murphy, who should start from Day 1 even if Ronald Darby is brought back.
CBS Sports (Jared Dubin) - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Eagles could always opt for a defensive lineman, of course, but the secondary seems like a bigger need right now.
CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins returned for his senior season and put up the best numbers of his career. He can rush the passer and play the run and that versatility will complement Fletcher Cox.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
He tore is ACL in January, but he has top-10 value. The Eagles signed Malik Jackson, so they can bee patient with Simmons.
The Ringer (Danny Kelly) - Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The Eagles restructured left tackle Jason Peters’s contract to keep him around through 2019, but the team needs to start planning for a future without the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer. Keeping with their strategy of building through the trenches, Philly grabs Little here; he’s a massive lineman with athleticism, left-tackle feet, and a natural feel for pass blocking. He’s still raw, but a season sitting behind Peters is a great way to learn some of the nuances of the game. The depth he provides at both tackle spots doesn’t hurt either.
The Athletic (Dane Brugler) - Nasir Adderley, FS, Delaware
A Philadelphia native, Adderley to the Eagles would be a great story. More importantly, it would fill a vital need for the franchise. With cornerback feet, hips and experience, Adderley is ideally suited for a single-high role, using his range and awareness to drive and make plays vs. both the pass and the run.
Sports Illustrated (Kalyn Kahler) - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Eagles secondary was hurt by injuries in 2018, so I expect them to target cornerback as a major need. Scouts love Baker’s instincts in coverage.
NFL Draft Countdown (Scott Wright) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
As bad as the Eagles pass defense was last year the secondary cupboard is far from bare so they aren’t necessarily locked into taking a cornerback or safety with this pick. Philly hasn’t prioritized the running back position in recent years and it finally caught up to them, manifesting as one of the leagues worst rushing attacks. It’s time to invest in a dynamic lead runner that they can count on rather than their current mishmash of journeymen types. The ridiculously deep Crimson Tide backfield continues to churn out pro prospects, but Damien Harris was supposed to be the latest headliner. That all changed when Jacobs finally got an opportunity. Jacobs is a big, fast, explosive runner and also a terrific pass catcher, making him a perfect weapon for the modern game. . As an added bonus there isn’t a lot of wear on Jacobs tires, with most top running back prospects racking up more carries in a single season than he did for his entire college career. If a running back is going to be selected in the first round this year it’s going to be Jacobs as he’s the consensus “RB1”.
Bleacher Report (Brent Sobleski) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles are searching for a feature running back. As a result, every significant free agent at the position has been linked to the organization at some point. But Le’Veon Bell signed with the New York Jets. The Baltimore Ravens claimed Mark Ingram II. The San Francisco 49ers swooped in for Tevin Coleman. The Eagles’ search continues and could end during the draft. Alabama’s Josh Jacobs is the top running back prospect. The 5’10”, 220-pound runner never served as the Crimson Tide’s lead back, yet his skill set portends a heavy NFL workload. Jacobs displays the downhill power to run through defenders. His feet are nimble enough to evade tacklers in the hole. Most importantly, the 21-year-old ball-carrier is a nifty receiver capable of running more than dump-off routes. With Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement still on the roster, the Eagles can ease Jacobs into their rotation. Then they can expand his usage.
DraftBlaster - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
The Eagles fought their way into the playoffs, and still have a loaded roster. Their offensive line will need an injection of young talent, but they could very well do that as the draft progresses, and have the luxury of taking on some “projects” that they can develop for a few years. Their defensive line has some older players, and could use some youth at the defensive tackle spot.
CB Byron Murphy - 3
CB Deandre Baker - 2
S Nasir Adderley - 2
RB Josh Jacobs - 2
DT Christian Wilkins - 2
DT Ed Oliver - 1
DT Jeffery Simmons - 1
DT Dexter Lawrence - 1
OT Greg Little - 1
DT - 5
CB - 5
RB - 2
S - 2
OT - 1
Offense - 3
Defense - 12
- Hopefully the Ronald Darby re-signing will finally help mock drafters realize the Eagles are not taking a cornerback at No. 25.
- It still makes sense for the Eagles to go with a defensive tackle like Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins despite adding Malik Jackson. Jim Schwartz heavily rotates his defensive linemen anyway.
- The Josh Jacobs pick is going to be popular until the Eagles actually make a move at running back. We’re all waiting, Howie.
- Now that the first wave of NFL free agency is over, who do you want the Eagles to pick?