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Mel Kiper makes three “Grade A” picks for the Eagles in his 2019 NFL Mock Draft

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Another day, another mock draft. Earlier this week we looked at Todd McShay’s “Grade A” simulation for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now Mel Kiper has an ESPN mock of his own where he’s projecting what every NFL team SHOULD do and not necessarily what they WILL do.

Here’s a look at what Kiper thinks is best for the Eagles:

Round 1 (25): Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Round 2 (53): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

Round 2 (57): Bobby Okereke, ILB, Stanford

Philadelphia was the beneficiary of Baltimore trading up into the first round last year, as the Eagles got an extra 2019 second-rounder. And when you study this roster, you don’t see a ton of holes. GM Howie Roseman has done a nice job this offseason, adding quality veterans at running back (Jordan Howard), defensive line (Malik Jackson and Vinny Curry) and wide receiver (DeSean Jackson) but not committing a ton of long-term money.

So if I’m taking Roseman’s job as GM in Philly, give me an heir apparent for Malcolm Jenkins in Abram, a physical and tough tackler who can play in space. Howard is extremely raw -- he came to Alabama State as a 235-pound walk-on tight end in 2014 before putting on weight and moving to tackle. He needs reps but has potential. And Okereke can compete for the starting middle linebacker job, which is vacant with Jordan Hicks now in Arizona.

Kiper has previously mocked Abram to the Eagles in mock simulations where he’s projecting what he thinks Philly WILL do. And here’s how you, the readers, graded that pick:

Far from “Grade A” material.

It’s not impossible to envision the Eagles drafting a safety in the first round this year. There’s a need there. Malcolm Jenkins turns 32 this season after playing every single defensive snap in 2018. Rodney McLeod, who is coming off a serious knee injury, is set to be a free agent after 2019. It also needs to be considered that cutting Andrew Sendejo can potentially allow the Eagles to receive a fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. A rookie safety can supplant Sendejo in 2019 before taking over as a full-time starter in 2020.

The problems with the Abram pick, as I see it, are the questions regarding fit and value. Are the Eagles really taking a box safety in the first round? Is Abram really a first round prospect? Here’s how various media outlets have him ranked.

Daniel Jeremiah: 23rd
ESPN: 24th
CBS Sports: 43rd
The Draft Network: 65th
Pro Football Focus: 112nd

If the Eagles are drafting a safety at No. 25, I just feel like it’d be a player who excels more in coverage such as Chauncey Gardner-Johnson or Nasir Adderely. Or perhaps the Eagles could potentially grab Juan Thornhill or Darnell Savage on Day 2.

Moving past Abram, Tytus Howard is a prospect who’s definitely on Philly’s radar. The Eagles met with him at the Senior Bowl, used one of their 60 formal interviews with him at the NFL Combine, sent offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland to put him through his pro day workout, and hosted him on an official pre-draft visit in Philadelphia. There’s some sense to drafting an offensive tackle this year with 37-year-old Jason Peters likely done after 2019 and Halapoulivaati Vaitai currently set to be a free agent in March 2020. Maybe the Eagles see Howard as a replacement for JP despite also having Jordan Mailata on the team. Left tackle isn’t a position to treat lightly so it might not be the worst idea for the team to hedge their bet on Mailata. Then again, are the Eagles comfortable with using No. 53 on a developmental player?

No. 57 seems rich for Bobby Okereke. The Stanford linebacker is ranked No. 110 overall by TDN, No. 158 overall by PFF, and No. 164 overall by CBS.’s Lance Zierlein projects him as a selection in the fourth or fifth round. The Eagles can certainly afford to address the linebacker position in this year’s draft but I think they wait to do it on Day 3.

As with McShay’s scenario from earlier this week, I think it’s hard to give the Eagles an A grade for a haul that doesn’t involve selecting at least one defensive lineman with one of their top three picks. It feels like this class is too deep and talented for them to not land some early help there.

What say you? Is this really an “A” worthy mock for the Eagles?


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