The NFL Draft is the ultimate butterfly effect. One surprise selection, one bombshell trade, or a shocking slide can send ripple effects throughout the entire process and send perfectly cromulent mocks flying into the trash bin.
At The Draft Network they’ve done the best they can with their Mock Machine to take into account all their variables, and I spoke with Trevor Sikkema on the third installment of the 2020 BGN Draft series to pick his brain about his latest mock draft.
Sikkema had four quarterbacks go before the Eagles pick, which is great news. Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa (assuming he passes medically), Justin Herbert and Jordan Love all came off the board by the 13th overall selection. If you do some quick math, that’s sixteeen players left to be picked before the Eagles are on the clock, and they can’t all be wide receivers, right?
As far as the wideouts went, three were selected in the top twenty, and they’re the three everybody expects to go early.
Seeing as you can now do trades with TDN Premium, we of course had to have a conversation about why the Eagles would stick at 21st overall instead of jumping at the chance to grab Ruggs in front of the Miami Dolphins in this scenario. Ruggs has been heavily mocked to the Eagles and there’s no doubt that the interest in him will be palpable. There’s going to be no hiding the fact that the Eagles will want to add a burner that’s going to smoke the 40-yard dash somewhere likely in the 4.2s.
With Ruggs gone, that leaves the Eagles in an interesting spot. Do they take a swing on a wide receiver outside of the top three in the class like Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. or LSU’s Justin Jefferson? Or do they wait, knowing that they can grab another name in the second round due to the class being so absurdly loaded?
In this scenario, Sikkema attacked another need. It’s a scenario that very well could play out, especially if the wide receivers come off the board earlier than in his simulation. Sikkema ultimately grabbed Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs with the 21st overall selection.
“[Diggs] didn’t exclusively play defense until 2017 during his sophomore season and showcases an impressive feel for coverage duties, especially for a guy who is relatively new to the position. At the next level, Diggs profiles as a C2/C3 corner but he also excels in press coverage. Using him predominantly in off-man coverage would not be ideal, although his time at Alabama has exposed him to a variety of coverage techniques. Diggs profiles as a starting boundary corner at the next level.” - Joe Marino, The Draft Network
While that bit about “off-man coverage” probably raised alarms, we did see a shift in how frequently defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz pressed his corners in the second half of the season. That’s something I’ll be trying to quantify very soon with my own charting. I’ve done so in the past (albeit with a small sample size) and the results showed that the Eagles played considerably farther off than defenses with similar schemes against common opponents.
We know Jim Schwartz plays off coverage w/his outside CBs. How does it stack up to similar MOFC defenses vs. the same opponents? By my unscientific charting...— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) July 19, 2019
Average Outside CB Cushion:
vs. Houston: PHI 5.9, DEN 4.3
vs. Minnesota: PHI 5.8, SEA 2.9
vs. Dallas: PHI 5.4, WAS 4.3
Just how big was the shift in philosophy as the season went on? Does it allow for a different type of cornerback to be plugged into this defense without too frequently exposing their weakness? The answer to those questions is what I’m seeking but I can’t say for sure yet.
We talk more about this selection for the Eagles and several other topics regarding this mock on the 2020 BGN Draft #3! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!