The Eagles obviously have three picks in the first two rounds so that means there’s a total of six selections here for Philadelphia. Let’s take a look.
We’ll start off with Kiper’s picks first.
No. 25: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State — Time to start thinking about a Malcolm Jenkins replacement? He’s 31. Abram is my No. 1-ranked safety.
No. 53: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State — Unfamiliar with the 6-foot-5, 322-pound Howard? There has been some buzz around the former high school quarterback for the past few months. The Eagles will need a Jason Peters replacement at some point, right?
No. 57: Bobby Okereke, ILB, Stanford — With three picks in the first two rounds, the Eagles don’t have many immediate needs. They need contributors. Okereke could compete for the starting middle-linebacker spot after Jordan Hicks left in free agency.
Abram is who Kiper previously had the Eagles picking in his Version 3.0 mock draft. Again, I have a hard time envisioning Philly drafting a box safety with their first-round pick. If the Eagles are looking for an eventual Jenkins replacement, I think they’d be looking at safeties who excel in coverage, especially given those type of defenders are the prospects the Eagles have been showing pre-draft interest in. I’d also like to note Kiper has the Eagles passing on Cody Ford here to take Abram.
The Eagles have been showing a lot of interest in Howard this offseason. They met with him at the Senior Bowl, the Combine, and at their own facility for an official pre-draft visit. Philly could look to hedge their bet on Jordan Mailata by drafting another developmental tackle prospect like Howard and hoping for the best.
It’s easy to imagine the Eagles drafting a linebacker at some point this year since they don’t have an established starter in the middle of the defense. Okereke might be a reach here though with various scouting reports pegging him as more of a Day 3 pick.
Overall, not overly thrilled with this haul from Kiper.
No. 25: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia — Philly gets a super-instinctive cornerback here for a defense that was No. 30 in passing yards per game last season.
No. 53: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State — As a change-of-pace back behind Jordan Howard, Sanders provides reliable pass-catching out of the backfield.
No. 57: Juan Thornhill, CB, Virginia — How about another defensive back to restock the depth chart? The Eagles should challenge for the NFC East title this season if they can shore up the passing defense.
I’d be surprised to see the Eagles take a first-round cornerback given that they already have six corners who seem very likely to make the roster (barring trade) in 2019: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc. Darby and Mills are coming off injuries suffered in 2018 but they’re very much in the starting picture when healthy. Where does a rookie corner fit into that picture? I’m just not seeing it. I can understand the argument for the long-term need at corner. Darby and Mills will both be free agents after this year. Jones is very much injury prone. Maddox might be more of a nickel while Douglas has been up and down. But the Eagles’ actions this offseason are one of a team that’s really making an aggressive push to win in 2019. It doesn’t seem like drafting a first-round corner lines up with that goal. With that said, the Eagles ARE reportedly hosting Baker on a pre-draft visit, so I guess it’s not impossible they take him. If he’s CLEARLY the best player by far remaining on the board at No. 25, they should take him (or trade down). There’s just no need to force a pick at corner, though.
Sanders is an interesting prospect because there’s some thought he has untapped potential, especially as a pass catcher. He only had 32 receptions for 193 yards (low 6.0 average) and one touchdown for Penn State but he also had to deal with playing behind Saquon Barkley for two years. The Eagles should absolutely be looking for a dynamic, pass-catching back in the 2019 NFL Draft to pair with Howard. Sanders boasts quality athleticism and skills to believe he can be an early contributor in the Eagles’ running back rotaiton. There could be hope for him to eventually be the 1A in Philly’s system.
Thornhill, listed as a corner here, is a safety prospect that makes sense for the Eagles. Philly hosted him on a pre-draft visit and it’s not hard to see why they’re interested in him. Thornhill logged 26 passes defensed and 13 interceptions in four years at Virginia; he’s a play-maker. Thornhill’s versatility makes him a potential replacement for Jenkins (unlike the aforementioned Abram).
Overall, this haul seems preferable to what Kiper gave the Eagles. Even despite the first-round corner quandary.
So, what do you think? Who has the better pick for the Eagles?
Who has the better mock draft for the Eagles?
This poll is closed
Mel Kiper (Abram, Howard, Okereke)
Todd McShay (Baker, Sanders, Thornhill)