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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: There’s an early favorite for the Eagles’ pick

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Who will the Birds take?

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College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL Draft seems far away but it 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 could select with the No. 21 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking in this week’s roundup.

SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Higgins may have only had three receptions in Monday night’s national title game, but he still profiles as a No. 1 receiver option in the NFL. As the season wore on, it was obvious that the Eagles need weapons on offense. A receiver like Higgins should be the first of a few added in this draft.

PhillyVoice (Jimmy Kempski) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Higgins is a tall receiver with a huge catch radius who aggressively attacks 50-50 balls and makes plays with his speed down the field. I believe that the perception among Eagles fans is that they must find a “burner” this offseason, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. While Higgins certainly has speed, he’s not your classic burner. More accurately in terms of the Eagles’ wide receiver position, in my opinion, the Eagles need everything, since they really don’t have anything they can feel good about long-term. Higgins would be an asset both in the red zone, which the Eagles seem to prioritize, as well as in between the 20’s, where the offense plodded along slowly all season after they lost DeSean Jackson.

The Draft Network (Benjamin Solak) - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

It will be tough for the Philadelphia Eagles as they watch their dream WR target leave the board just one selection before theirs. But that’s okay because the word on the street is they’ve done a ton of work on the WR and CB classes in the infantile stages of this draft cycle. And if the Eagles have really done their work, they’ll know Trevon Diggs has a first-round profile in coverage: length, strength, body control and long speed. Diggs is not a snug fit for off coverage, which is Jim Schwartz’s preferred alignment during his time in Philadelphia. But what the Eagles desperately need in the defensive backfield is ball skills, and that’s where Diggs outpaces the rest of the class.

The Athletic (Dane Brugler) - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Eagles’ secondary was depleted this season and it shouldn’t take very long for Fulton to grow into their top cornerback. Although he must become more consistent with his tackling and finishing skills, he has the instincts, footwork and toughness to play the position at a high level.

Pro Football Focus (Michael Renner) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

When DeSean Jackson went down, the Eagles receiving corps immediately became one of, if not the, slowest in the NFL. Ruggs’ possibly sub-4.3 speed changes that overnight. Of his 98 career receptions at Alabama, 24 resulted in scores.

Bleacher Report (Matt Miller) - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Speed on offense has to be the focal point of the Eagles’ 2020 offseason. Yes, Greg Ward Jr. provided a spark, but he can’t be the team’s plan at WR1 moving forward. With Alshon Jeffery’s body seemingly breaking down and Nelson Agholor regressing, this is a clear-cut top need. Laviska Shenault Jr. isn’t your traditional wide receiver. He’ll line up in the slot or in the backfield and has dominated with the ball in his hands. He’s also a stockily built player at 6’2” and 220 pounds who defenders have a hard time bringing down in space. Whether he’s compared to Percy Harvin or a college version of Sammy Watkins, Shenault is a proven playmaker who will finally give Carson Wentz a young receiver to grow alongside, as well as a player for opposing defenses to fear at wide receiver.

CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Xavier McKinney, CB, Alabama

32-year-old safety Malcolm Jenkins would like a new deal and Rodney McLeod could be headed for free agency. The Eagles would love to upgrade the cornerback position but three of the top CBs are already off the board. McKinney is a top-flight safety, and could possibly emerge as the top safety in the class by draft night.

CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Higgins gives the Eagles the best of both worlds at receiver — he’s tall and speedy down the field. Carson Wentz rejoices.

DraftTek (Broz) - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Most mock draft addicts will be clamoring for a WR here to fix this glaring positional weakness, but I expect Free Agency to be used to make this group respectable. The Draft should be used to add great players, not fill holes. If we go into the Draft still desperate for a WR, the front office has failed. Nabbing DT Kinlaw, WR K.J. Hamler , and Antoine Winfield with the first three picks would be nice. Kinlaw is a beast, and I’ll take Hamler in RD2 over Ruggs in RD1 any day.

NJ.com (Zack Rosenblatt) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

This is one of the most talented wide receiver pools in recent memory and the Eagles simply need to add one of this draft’s elite talents, which they might be able to do even at No. 21, if not through a trade up. Eagles fans would trade a limb for the right to draft Alabama’s Henry Ruggs, though it’d be shocking if he fell this far. More likely, the Eagles choose between Clemson’s Tee Higgins, Colorado’s Laviska Shenault or LSU’s Justin Jefferson. I went with Higgins. Yes, the Eagles need speed, but that’s also overlooking the fact that they also need everything else at wide receiver. They should be viewing 2020 as a clean slate, and Higgins can be the Eagles’ new Alshon Jeffery as an athletic, tall, physical outside receiver who should win most 50/50 situations.

DraftBlaster - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The lack of production at WR for the Eagles was staggering, considering they made it to the post season. Yes, it is a deep draft for wide receivers, but the Eagles have a need so dire, they really need to go after the best talent available in the first round and start rebuilding that unit.

USA Today (Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The necessity for the Eagles to upgrade Carson Wentz’s receiving corps was evident long before Philadelphia wound down the season with a skeleton crew of pass-catchers. The simple solution: Let Higgins go to work on the outside and increase Wentz’s margin for error with his jump-ball skills.

Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The Eagles are in desperate need of a big-play threat in Carson Wentz’s receiving corps given DeSean Jackson’s age and a breaking-down Alshon Jeffery. Higgins is a dangerous, all-around playmaker who can be a force in the red zone. At 6-4, 215 pounds, Higgins has posted 59 receptions for 1,167 yards and 13 TDs in 15 games. He also rushed for a 36-yard score against LSU.


SUMMARY

WR Tee Higgins - 6
WR Henry Ruggs - 2
WR Laviska Shenault - 1
CB Trevon Diggs - 1
CB Kristian Fulton - 1
CB Xavier McKinney - 1
DT Javon Kinlaw - 1

WR - 9
CB - 3
DT - 1

Offense - 9
Defense - 4

THOUGHTS

  • Who possibly could’ve guessed that wide receiver and cornerback would be the most popular picks?
  • Higgins is the early popular pick for the Eagles. The fit just doesn’t feel like a slam dunk to me. I don’t like this purported idea that the Eagles can’t be choosy at receiver and they should be happy with any quality talent that’s available to them. This team has devalued speed for way too long. The Eagles MUST get faster. Higgins has big play ability but I’m really not loving the profile of another jump ball guy. Neither is BGN’s Benjamin Solak, who has dubbed Higgins as a “fringe top 100” prospect.
  • Ruggs falling to the Eagles would be a dream come true. He’s destined to go off the board right before their pick, isn’t he?
  • Who is your favorite for No. 21?