Every year, the NFL team site writers here at SB Nation get together to do a mock draft. The setup is simple: each writer plays GM for their team and makes their first round pick. There are no trades.
Last year I had the Philadelphia Eagles taking Connor Williams at No. 32. He obviously went to the Dallas Cowboys in the real draft at No. 50 overall so you can say I was guilty of reaching.
I’m confident my selection in this year’s SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is no reach. My first-round pick for the Eagles this year is ...
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Gowton: Christian Wilkins could potentially be a trade-up target for the Eagles, so the thinking here is the team would be sprinting to the podium if he’s still available at No. 25. Philadelphia prioritizes building through the trenches; it’s a strategy that paid off with a Super Bowl win in February 2018. It’s a no-brainer for the Eagles to add one of the best defensive linemen in this year’s draft.
Defensive tackle might not *seem* like an immediate need given that the Eagles have Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson starting at that spot. But the 29-year-old Jackson is coming off a season where he was benched, and Jim Schwartz loves to heavily rotate his defensive linemen in order to keep them fresh. The trio of Cox, Jackson, and Wilkins offers a lot of pass-rush juice. Wilkins finished with the second-highest pressure percentage among this year’s interior defenders, according to Pro Football Focus.
Quite simply, Wilkins checks a lot of boxes. He boasts production, athleticism, talent, leadership, durability, versatility … you name it. The Eagles would love to see him fall to them.
Join @fduffy3 in the film room as he breaks down Clemson DT Christian Wilkins in the latest Meet the Prospect. pic.twitter.com/vzcbdeke8p— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 6, 2019
Here’s what SB Nation draft writer Dan Kadar had to say about my pick:
Finally! This is singlehandedly the biggest steal in this year’s SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. Although I have Jeffery Simmons rated higher than Wilkins, it’s understandable why the injured Mississippi State tackle would drop. Pairing Wilkins with Cox would give the Eagles one of the better interior duos in the NFL. Wilkins is an agile interior pressure player, and even has enough athleticism to play at end in certain situations. While the pick of Wilkins can be perceived as adding strength to a strength, the value is too good to pass up.
Brandon Lee Gowton: NFL Executive of the Year. Has a nice ring to it, right?
Unfortunately for the Eagles (and much more importantly, myself), I don’t think it’s very likely Wilkins drops to No. 25. It’s within the realm of possibility but I’d only put it at like, say, an 18% chance? Here’s how various media outlets have him ranked:
Daniel Jeremiah: 7th
The Draft Network: 15th
CBS Sports: 19th
Pro Football Focus: 25th
If Wilkins does fall, I think the Eagles would be very happy to have him. They’ve certainly been doing their homework as they formally interviewed him at the NFL Combine and brought him to Philly for an official pre-draft visit.
As a side bonus, it’s safe to say drafting Wilkins would please a number of Eagles fans as well:
Let's assume these are the Eagles' only four options for No. 25. Who should they pick?— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) April 11, 2019
Prior to picking Wilkins, the BGN war room did have some debate if Chauncey Gardner-Johnson could be a better selection. You can listen to that discussion on this special episode of BGN Radio featuring myself, Michael Kist, and Benjamin Solak. Listen below or [CLICK HERE]:
So, what do you think of my pick?
Grade my pick of the Eagles drafting Christian Wilkins at No. 25 overall
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Who should the Eagles draft at No. 25 overall?
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