The 2019 season is officially over and there are 78 days remaining until the 2020 NFL Draft. What better way to kill some time than by looking at who the Philadelphia Eagles might select at pick No. 21? Here’s the latest two-round mock draft from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar:
21. Philadelphia Eagles: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Although the Eagles need to address wide receiver, cornerback is arguably just as big of a hole. Henderson is a man coverage ace who rarely allows first downs and can lock down his side of the field.
Let’s first note that FIVE receivers came off the board before the Eagles’ pick here: Henry Ruggs III at No. 11 (noooo), CeeDee Lamb at No. 13, Jerry Jeudy at No. 15, Laviska Shenault Jr. at No. 19, and Tee Higgins at No. 20. Not an ideal situation for the Eagles!
As for the Henderson pick itself, well, my first impression is that this doesn’t sound like a Jim Schwartz cornerback. Via The Tampa Bay Times:
“He’s one of the quietest, least talkative players to come through Gainesville in years.”
Confidence — to an irrational extent, even — is a trait that Schwartz highly values in his corners. Just look at how much he loves Jalen Mills. This isn’t to say Henderson lacks confidence because he’s quiet ... but when I think of the Eagles’ defensive back room under Schwartz, I think of a loud group of guys with a lot of swag.
But enough about Henderson’s personality. What about his talent? He’s got a great athletic profile; the 6-0, 190 pound defender is expected to run in the 4.3 range at the NFL Combine. His speed helped him to post some impressive coverage stats as a sophomore, per Pro Football Focus.
Henderson’s junior season wasn’t as good, though.
[...] he was far from a lock-down defender in 2019, getting beat five times for plays that gained more than 40 yards. Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Missouri and Florida State each got by Henderson for huge plays. He also missed three games because of an ankle injury.
Henderson finished his final season at Florida without an interception. He also earned a reputation for not being the most physical player. Sounding less and less like a corner that Schwartz would especially value.
I tend to think the Eagles won’t be drafting a cornerback at No. 21. And if they do, I don’t think that player will be an immediate starter. The Eagles have already been linked to multiple free agent cornerbacks and I think the team will enter the 2020 NFL Draft with two outside starters in place. The Eagles were willing to draft a first-round replacement plan in Andre Dillard last year so maybe they’d go back to that well this year by selecting a corner to groom behind the player(s) they acquire in free agency.
Scouting report from The Draft Network’s Joe Marino:
NFL COMP - Greedy Williams
CJ Henderson has all the traits needed to be dynamic in coverage at the next level and two years of strong tape in the SEC to support the idea. His size, length, fluidity, quickness, speed and coverage instincts give him a chance to be a top corner that is tasked with shutting down the oppositions top receiver - he has every physical trait necessary to do so. While his ball production was modest at Florida, there are flashes of him making aggressive plays on the ball and positioning himself to disrupt at the catch point. Several of those instances show up in particular when he is in zone coverage and I really like his aggressiveness in that area. Henderson’s reluctance as a tackler is a red flag. We’ve seen some corners (Greedy Williams) overcome this at the NFL level, but his current temperament is alarming and something that will keep him off the field on Sundays if it doesn’t change. His entire approach to run support, tackling and clearing contact in pursuit spoils the film resume he’s produced in coverage. Henderson has Pro Bowl potential if he commits himself to competing in all phases of the position.
Kadar’s second-round pick for the Eagles is ...
53. Philadelphia Eagles: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
Hamler is the kind of speedster the Eagles really need to add to their receiving corps this offseason. There are concerns about Hamler’s size (5-9, 176 pounds) but he logged 16.9 yards per reception and 13 touchdowns in 26 games at Penn State.
Hamler seems like a nice consolation prize if the Eagles don’t get a preferable receiver target at No. 21.
Scouting report from BGN’s and The Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak:
Pro Comparison: Brandin Cooks
Summary: K.J. Hamler is a solid Day 2 candidate for teams looking for an electric playmaker to add to their receiver corps, and is of even higher value to spread-oriented offenses that want a starting slot through whom they can funnel much of their base/series offense. Hamler is at his best in the RPO game, where he can win against leverage against conflicted overhang defenders, then beat second- and third-level angles and turn simple, install box-counting plays into chunk gains. Hamler is further a candidate for an increased downfield presence, as he has the necessary long speed, second gear burst, and route-running to separate and beat safeties’ angles. Hamler should be protected from press coverage early in his career, and may just end up a solid slot in the NFL — but as a young player who is still growing into his frame and game, Hamler’s development is conditional on improved releases against press, which will allow him to win from the Z alignment and become a field-stretcher. Hamler is a high-floor player because of his return/space ability, but should become more at the NFL level.
How are you feeling about this mock?