clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Safety and defensive tackle are the Eagles’ most popular first round options

New, comments

Who will the Birds take?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Florida vs Michigan Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft will be here in less than three weeks. Mock draft season is in full gear 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.

The Draft Network Simulator (Custom) - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

The Eagles would be fortunate to add this guy to their defensive line.

Bleeding Green Nation (BGN Radio) - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Wilkins contributes immediately on all three downs, giving the Eagles’ even more depth after the key signing of Malik Jackson. Keep ‘em fresh and keep ‘em attacking! From my pre-Combine top 5 defensive tackle piece: “Wilkins just gets after it. Whatever he lacks in length, he more than makes up for with high quality traits. He understands how to use his hands and read his keys while possessing good balance and flexibility. He also has better movement skills than you would expect from a man his size. A dog in pursuit, Wilkins is a playmaker whether being run at or away from.” Analytical Nugget: Ranked 5th of 24 defensive tackles with a 12.2% pressure rate (per the Sports Info Solutions 2019 Rookie Handbook).

SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

If one of the better defensive tackles drops, that has to be pick for Philadelphia. If not, a safety like Adderley could be attractive. Adderley excels in coverage, with his ability to track the ball and speed to close on a play.

ESPN (Mel Kiper) - Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Time to start thinking about a Malcolm Jenkins replacement? He’s 31. Abram is my No. 1-ranked safety.

ESPN (Todd McShay) - 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.

The Draft Network (Trevor Sikkema) - Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

I think it’s more likely than not that Gardner-Johnson is gone by the time the Eagles pick at No. 25 in the first round, but if he’s not, or even if he’s within striking distance in a trade-up scenario, I think he should be one of their top targets. The Eagles need help in their secondary overall. On paper, safety is the specific spot in which they could gain the most improvement. But they also need work in coverage at nickel corner. Gardner-Johnson gives them an immediate starter at free safety while also giving them the flexibility to play him at nickel corner against certain offensive weapons.

The Draft Network (Brad Kelly) - Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

It’s hard for me to imagine Philadelphia viewing recent addition Andrew Sendejo as a permanent presence on their backend, which stills puts them in the market for a safety in the NFL Draft. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson had an excellent 2018 season and has the scheme versatility that the Eagles covet. He has shown excellent range as well as the ability to play man coverage and fill against the run. No team would use his skill set than the Eagles.

Iggles Blitz (Tommy Lawlor) - Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

The Eagles most important player is Carson Wentz. He has been injured each of the past two seasons. I think it is imperative that the Eagles do everything they can to protect him. While the offensive line looks good on paper, depth is a concern on the inside. Brandon Brooks is recovering from an Achilles injury. He plans to be healthy for the season, but you cannot count on that. Lindstrom is a terrific guard prospect. He was a stud right guard in college and could be plugged in right away if Brooks isn’t ready to go for September. Lindstrom is 6-4 and 308 pounds. He is a lot of fun to watch. He fires off the ball on run plays and is able to get good movement. Lindstrom is strong and athletic. He is a solid pass protector. He reads stunts and loops well and has the agility to get them blocked up. Lindstrom has good athleticism. He blocks well in space. Lindstrom would make sense for the Eagles because of his talent and versatility. He played right guard and right tackle for BC. I think guard is his best position, but he could play on the outside if needed. He could also slide inside and play center. Lindstrom would be a smart pick for the present and the future.

PhillyVoice (Jimmy Kempski) - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Trade up! Let’s saaaaaay Oliver slips to, saaaaaay, the 18th overall pick, it would make sense for the Eagles to get aggressive and try to trade up to get him. A few weeks ago, we projected what the cost would be to make such a trade, and determined that historically speaking, the cost to move up from the mid-20’s into the teens was a third-round pick. Since the Eagles don’t have a third-round pick (thank you very much, Golden Tate), we figure it’ll cost one of the Eagles’ second-round picks, with a third-round pick coming back to the Eagles. Here’s what we have in mind — Eagles get: 18th overall pick (value of 900), 81st overall pick (value of 185), TOTAL VALUE: 1085... Vikings get: 25th overall pick (value of 720), 53rd overall pick (value of 370), TOTAL VALUE: 1090. Why would the Vikings do this? Well, they desperately need offensive line help, and there should be a number of worthy offensive linemen available at pick 25? Does that work for everyone? No? Well, the math works on the trade value chart, so shut up. Anyway, for a DT, Oliver is short and light, with short arms and small hands. He has to make up for that with athleticism, and he does. His athletic measurables were predictably outstanding at the Combine. Size is why Aaron Donald fell to 13 in the 2014 NFL Draft, and how Geno Atkins somehow fell to the fourth round in 2010. I do think the NFL learned its lesson on that, and isn’t worrying as much about their interior defensive linemen being 6’4, 330. Can they be disruptive? That’s what matters. An interior defensive line featuring Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Oliver, and Treyvon Hester would be a nightmare for many interior offensive lines.

The Ringer (Danny Kelly) - Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

Versatile slot corner and safety hybrid with ball skills, athleticism, and an aggressive and vocal on-field persona.

DraftTek (Broz) - Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

This is the first week where DT Christian Wilkins has been available and I did not select him. The reasons are twofold: 1) If I write one more article about Christian Wilkins, I may romantically kiss the business end of a paintball gun...and 2) I really don’t think Wilkins (or any other elite D-Line prospect) will be sitting there at #25, so I think it’s time to at least consider other options. If you frequent some of the other mock draft sites, you’re likely to see a lot of “experts” force-feeding the Eagles RB Josh Jacobs, or having them reach for a CB...but not here. In this CMD, I explore an option most people aren’t talking about: O-Tackle. “Yeah, but the Eagles have Jason Peters, Jordan Mailata, and Big V...THERE’S NO ROOM!” Ask yourself this: What if Jason Peters is available LESS this year than he was last year, or even considerably less...he is a year older, after all. And we KNOW Peters is done after this season regardless; do you really want to wait until he’s gone to address this issue? After TWO DECADES of ELITE play at LT with Tra Thomas and Jason Peters, I’m not content settling for mediocrity with Big V, or betting everything on Mailata who’s played less football than most high school freshmen. Wentz’s health is at stake here. Therefore, in this week’s CMD, we buck the trend and select OT Greg Little. Frankly, I’m not sure why this guy isn’t getting more love. Unlike Cody Ford or Jonah Williams, Little screams “Left Tackle” to me. He has a deep, natural knee bend, a great set of feet, and is a mature coachable guy with a high football IQ. Last season, against elite, NFL-quality pass rushers in the SEC, Little allowed just five QB pressures and four “blown blocks”...a day’s work for Big V. As a bonus, if Mailata pans out, I think Little’s skills translate favorably to Guard, which is a position of need for the Eagles anyway.

NFL.com (Charles Davis) - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

LB Jordan Hicks ran the defense well in Philadelphia when he was healthy, but now with his move to Arizona, a new leader is tabbed by the Eagles. Bush can fly around the field to make plays.

CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

After the 2017 season there were questions about Gardner-Johnson’s tackling ability but he proved he’s more than capable in ‘18, and his coverage ability makes him an attractive option for the Eagles.

CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Weird spot for the Eagles, who definitely don’t NEED help on the defensive line. They’re just in a good spot from a roster perspective right now, so why not grab a guy who is a top-10 talent, get a fifth year option on him and don’t have to worry about rushing him back to the field. It’s like the Sidney Jones plan but for the DL.

CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Abram is a tone-setter at safety and has some linebacker to his game. He could blossom into a superstar learning from Malcolm Jenkins for a season or two.

Pro Football Focus (Steve Palazzolo) - David Long, CB, Michigan

Long is sneaking into the first round as well as the Eagles need to continue to build cornerback depth. [BLG Note: ?????]

NBCSP (Dave Zangaro) - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Even after bringing back Rodney McLeod and signing Andrew Sendejo, safety should still be a draft need for the Eagles and they have a chance to take the top one off the board in the first round. Maybe it’s still more likely they take a defensive lineman in the first round, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of taking a safety either. The biggest knock on Adderley is that he played for a small program, but he has all the traits teams want in an NFL safety. At 6-0, 206, Adderley has good range and played cornerback earlier in his college career. The Eagles always value versatility in the secondary. There’s also a discernible intensity to Adderley’s game. In 2018, he had 87 tackles, four INTs and seven PBUs for the Blue Hens and has been a return man. The Eagles were reportedly at Delaware’s pro day to get a closer look at him. The Eagles have McLeod under contract for one more season, but he’s coming off a serious injury and his future after the 2019 season is up in the air. Malcolm Jenkins is 31 now. And Sendejo signed a contract for one year, but that’s not a reason to draft a safety. In fact, the Eagles could even cut Sendejo for a minimal cap hit if he doesn’t work out; that would also erase him from the comp pick formula, like Corey Nelson last season. If the Eagles drafted Adderley, he would figure in immediately as the third safety when Jenkins plays linebacker or slot corner, which means he would get decent playing time as a rookie. He’d also be groomed to become a starter in Year 2.

NJ.com (Joe Giglio) - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Blockbuster alert! The Giants trade down, passing on the chance to land a quarterback at No. 17, and allow the Eagles to take a defensive lineman that has Aaron Donald-like potential. The best defensive line in the NFL is solidified with this selection.

NJ.com (Zack Rosenblatt) - Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

The Eagles don’t have many actual needs for this season after acquiring Jordan Howard, but they do need depth at a few spots and to plan for the future at others. Defensive tackle falls into both categories, and Tillery is probably the best option available at this point. There are some questions about his commitment to football but his talent is undeniable and he’d only have to be the No. 3 defensive tackle in 2019.

97.3 ESPN (John McMullen) - Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

The options in play are Josh Jacobs, Chris Lindstrom, Johnathan Abram, Dexter Lawrence and Tilley, who is special as a person and a talent.

Draft Countdown (Scott Wright) - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

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. Instead Philly may look to replenish a once deep defensive line rotation that has been a victim of attrition in recent years. Especially on the interior, where there is little or nothing beyond Fletcher Cox and the recently acquired Malik Jackson. There may not be a more freakish blend of size, strength and athleticism in this class than Lawrence, who at one time was being talked about as a potential #1 overall pick. An immovable object in the middle, Lawrence excels at eating gaps, stuffing the run and occupying multiple blockers. Lawrence isn’t a dynamic pass rusher but uses an outstanding combination of quickness and power to disrupt in the backfield and make plays up front.

DraftKing (Lou Pickney) - Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

A versatile prospect, Ford had a breakout 2018 for the Sooners. He’s still somewhat raw and needs experience to reach his full potential, but much like Jonah Williams of Alabama, Ford is a remarkable athlete.

Sports Illustrated (Robert Klemko) - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

He would play right away in three-safety alignments for an Eagles team that likely feels like it’s a player or two away from returning to the Super Bowl, and with good reason.

USA Today (Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz) - Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

The trade for Jordan Howard both clarifies the outlook at running back and addresses Philadelphia’s biggest question mark. At his best working downhill against the run, Abram thrives when allowed to operate almost like a linebacker, though he could be a liability in coverage.

DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

The Eagles have bigger needs than corner, but passing up a complete player like Murphy would be difficult. While he lacks the elite physical tools of other corners in this class, Murphy’s instincts, intelligence and ball skills set him apart.

Optimum Scouting (Eric Galko) - Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

Eagles are one of three teams to work out Lindstrom extensively at his Pro Day. The others were Baltimore (could take him at 22) and the Packers (could take him at 32). Eagles could have him (or Dalton Risner) play either guard spots this year, and be in the mix for the right tackle spot once Jason Peters retires and move Lane Johnson to the left side.


SUMMARY

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson - 4
S Nasir Adderley - 3
S Johnathan Abram - 2
OG Chris Lindstrom - 2
DT Ed Oliver - 2
DT Christian Wilkins - 2
DT Jerry Tillery - 2
DT Jeffery Simmons - 1
DT Dexter Lawrence - 1
CB Deandre Baker - 1
CB David Long - 1
CB Byron Murphy - 1
OT Cody Ford - 1
OT Greg Little - 1
LB Devin Bush - 1

S - 9
DT - 8
CB - 3
OT - 2
OG - 2
LB - 1

Offense - 4
Defense - 21

THOUGHTS

  • This is the first mock roundup we’ve done that features no mock drafts from prior to the Jordan Howard trade. You might’ve been able to tell as much considering Josh Jacobs is no longer being mocked to Philly at No. 25. While I’d almost never say the Eagles taking a first round running back is “likely,” I wouldn’t rule it out completely. The Eagles are bringing Jacobs to Philly for a pre-draft visit, after all.
  • With running back out of the picture, safety and defensive tackle have taken over as the most popular Eagles picks. I think those are very good bets. It’s easy to see Philly addressing one of those spots in the first round.
  • We know Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is on the Eagles’ radar given that they brought him to Philly for a pre-draft visit. Some believe CGJ is more of a Day 2 pick (Kempski’s mock has the Eagles taking him at No. 53) but others believe he’s much better than that. CGJ is actually The Draft Network’s No. 12 overall prospect.
  • I can’t see the Eagles taking Abram at No. 25.
  • Jeffrey Lurie talked about how the Eagles believe in “volume” of draft picks at this year’s NFL owner meetings. Despite this, I do think a trade up is possible. The board doesn’t always shape up so well at No. 25 in some of these mock scenarios. And if a prospect like Ed Oliver falls further than expected, well, it could make sense to be aggressive and get him.
  • I’m pretty sure the Eagles are not taking “David Long” (or any cornerback, really, but especially not him) at No. 25. Thanks anyway, PFF.
  • Chris Lindstrom is gaining some buzz as dark horse pick. My first reaction is that I’m not a huge fan of drafting a guard at No. 25 but investing in the trenches is important. And Lindstrom does offer versatility.
  • What do you think of this week’s picks? Who do you want the Eagles to take in the first round?