The 2020 NFL Draft, which will NOT be postponed, is just 26 days away. Let’s pass the time until then by looking at who mock drafts have the Philadelphia Eagles selecting with the No. 21 overall pick. This roundup reflects how mocks have changed (or not) since NFL free agency began over a week ago.
SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
After adding four defensive backs in free agency, that need is no longer as pressing for the Eagles. That’s why I’m holding with Jefferson here. Jefferson would give the Eagles a dangerous deep-ball target for Carson Wentz.
Fake Teams (Pete Rogers) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Sticking with Jefferson here since the Eagles have done a whole bunch of nothing at the wide receiver position in free agency and need some serous help there. Jefferson would quickly become another young offensive weapon to pair with Carson Wentz and Miles Sanders.
The Phinsider (Justin Hier) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
After seeing Nelson Agholor depart in free agency, the Eagles give Carson Wentz a security blanket in the slot with Jefferson. Jefferson was one of Burrow’s favorite targets and was a key part of launching LSU to the top of the college football world last season. Wentz will be happy to have him around.
ESPN+ (Mel Kiper) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philadelphia addressed its hole at cornerback by trading for Darius Slay. The next hole that needs to be filled is at wide receiver, where Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson had injury-plagued 2019 seasons and rookie second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside struggled. That resulted in a tough year for Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense, although they still went 9-7 and won the NFC East. Since this is a deep class of wide receivers, the Eagles should come out of the first round with their guy. Jefferson, who caught 111 passes from Joe Burrow last season, is a great fit.
The Ringer (Danny Kelly) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Jefferson has a tall, sinewy frame and boasts elite short-area quickness. He posted incredible production for national-champion LSU in 2019, breaking a program record with 111 catches while finishing second nationally with 18 touchdowns. Lining up primarily in the slot, Jefferson glides off the line of scrimmage and conjures images of Doug Baldwin as a route runner: He varies the pacing of his route stem, lulls defenders to sleep, and then unleashes a devastating series of crossovers and jab-step jukes to create separation and put corners in a blender. (In one clip, I even saw him deploy a bounding Euro-step midway through a deep crossing route.) He’s unflinching over the middle, seeing the ball into his hands even when he knows a hit is coming. After the catch, Jefferson turns upfield and uses long strides to eat up yardage in a hurry. He’s a force at the catch point, too, consistently separating with subtle push-offs or jersey tugs before leaping into the air and contorting to pluck the ball away from defenders.
Pro Football Focus (Michael Renner) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Eagles have other glaring needs after the offseason, but the talent at the receiver position is too much to ignore. Jefferson figures to be Carson Wentz’s best friend after catching 19 of his 34 contested targets over the past two seasons.
NFL.com (Chad Reuter) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Jefferson’s playmaking skills will make the Eagles’ passing attack more potent — especially with a healthy Carson Wentz.
NFL.com (Charley Casserly) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philly needs juice at wide receiver. Jefferson provides that, having pleasantly surprised many with a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Jefferson would give the Eagles a speedy, big slot receiver they desperately need.
Yahoo! Sports (Eric Edholm) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Jefferson has primarily played the slot, and he’s not a textbook deep threat, but that’s OK. The Eagles need weapons, and Jefferson was as money as almost any receiver in college football last year. Ideally, he’s your No. 2, but he’s a strong No. 2 with the ability to pluck balls out of the air and keep the chains moving regularly.
DraftTek (Broz) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
I said a few months ago that if the Eagles exited Free Agency without adding respectable veterans at CB and WR, then Howie Roseman didn’t do his job. Well, the Eagles certainly bolstered the defense, but absolutely nothing was done to aid the worst WR group in the league in 2019. We’ve been told by media insiders that Alshon Jeffery is not coming back...which would mean the Eagles’ WR group consists of DJax (can’t stay healthy) and then a bunch of unproven young guys. Unless a trade is in the works, the Eagles are essentially forced to take a WR in RD1 now...and the rest of the league knows it.
Pro Football Network (Tony Pauline) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
I really want to put K.J. Hamler here. But the fact the Penn State product, who I believe is a better receiver than Jefferson, never worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine is a concern as we have no true marks for him. Jefferson won’t have to be a number one wideout, which will ease some of the pressure, and he brings the speed Howie Roseman wants. In the end, I believe the Eagles will move this pick if the opportunity presents itself.
Pro Football Network (Neal Driscoll) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
After missing out on one of the “big three” wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Eagles get the next best one. Justin Jefferson shined during the 2019 season from the LSU Tigers and can give Carson Wentz a bonafide weapon.
EagleMaven (John McMullen) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
There’s little doubt the Eagles would prefer one of the top three options at the position - Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and the Alabama duo of Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy. None of those will be there at No. 21 and the Darius Slay trade, in which two picks were sent to Detroit for the veteran cornerback, limits Howie Roseman’s ability to move up because the Eagles need bodies after two consecutive years with only five picks. Jefferson would be the top option left and one the Eagles like. The knock of just being a slot receiver should have been obliterated by the 4.43 Jefferson ran at the combine but because that’s where he lined up in LSU’s spread offense, it will continue to be a narrative. Drafting is about projection, though, and Jefferson isn’t some Wes Welker-like technician inside and actually needs to work on his route running at the pro level. What he does is make plays and Carson Wentz needs a playmaker.
Inside The Birds (Andrew DiCecco) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
I was tempted to slot Denzel Mims here, but the Eagles ultimately go with the pro-ready wide receiver in Jefferson, giving the offense a polished pass-catcher for Carson Wentz to grow with. Any questions about Jefferson’s speed were likely laid to rest once he ran a staggering 4.43 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, but he also demonstrated excellent concentration and route running during the on-field portion of the workout. The former LSU star appears most comfortable in the slot, but offers inside-outside flexibility. The Eagles offense is in dire need for a reliable receiver that can consistently create separation, while having the toughness and body control to come up with contested catches. Jefferson gives them that.
The Big Lead (Ryan Phillips) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philadelphia’s biggest need is beefing up Carson Wentz’s receiving corps, and they find a reliable, all-around weapon here. Jefferson is a guy who raised his stock big-time this past year at LSU. At 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, what he lacks in elite physical tools he makes up for in polish. He has good size and decent speed, but his best attribute is finding a way to get open. He ran a 4.43 40 at the combine, which solidified his status as a first rounder.
Rotoworld (Josh Norris) - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
That one game with DeSean Jackson was really fun, Philadelphia. The plan with the veteran vertical threat was clear - but unfortunately all of the eggs went into one basket. The Eagles acknowledged a need at corner but have deferred at receiver - so far. Reagor’s athletic profile is quite similar to D.K. Metcalf’s (minus a few inches): straight-line explosion with iffy agility scores.
The Athletic (Bo Wulf) - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Trading down is a dangerous game for the Eagles. It’s possible they could have their pick of the fourth wide receiver off the board at No. 21, trade down and then see a run on the likes of Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins and company. I wouldn’t rule out Reagor as the pick at No. 21 either. He offers the kind of downfield juice the Eagles are desperately seeking. (“Desperately Seeking Sudden” — is that something?) At the combine, Reagor (5-foot-11, 206 pounds) tested like a shorter version of DK Metcalf, running a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and testing above the 97th percentile in the broad and vertical jumps while finishing below the 8th percentile in both the 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone drill. But you don’t need to change direction if you just run down the field every play. Reagor, the son of former Eagles defensive lineman Montae Reagor, had an impressive sophomore year in 2018 with 72 catches for 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns before a disappointing 43 catches for 611 yards in 2019. The explanation for that downturn is TCU’s laughably bad quarterback play last season. It’s easy to envision the Eagles or any other team talking themselves into thinking they have a bargain because of that drop-off in production.
TouchdownWire (Doug Farrar) - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Eagles got better on defense in free agency with the acquisitions of defensive lineman Javon Hargrave and linebacker Jatavis Brown, although the loss of defensive back Malcolm Jenkins to the Saints will sting on the field and in the locker room. But just about everyone knows what still ails the Eagles based on last season — a receiving group that couldn’t stay healthy. Yes, it would be great if DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery could be on the field together in 2020 and beyond, but it’s time for head coach Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman to start preparing for contingencies. You may look at Reagor’s 2019 numbers (43 catches for 611 yards and five touchdowns) and wonder why he’s considered a first-round talent. Go back to 2018, when he didn’t have one of the NCAA’s worst quarterback situations, and watch him burn defenses for 72 catches, 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns. Every draft class has that one receiver who will blow up as soon as he has a functional NFL quarterback, and Reagor could very well be the 2020 version. If you want to know how explosive he can be, consider that 449 of Reagor’s 611 yards last season came through the air before the catch last season.
Blogging The Boys (David Howman) - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Eagles came into the draft with two big needs: receiver and cornerback. They solved one (partially) by trading for Darius Slay, and with their first pick in the draft they address the other. Reagor is far and away the most complete receiver on the board at this point, and Philadelphia can feature him heavily in their offense right away.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
They have to get help for their passing game. Mims impressed at the combine, and he would give Carson Wentz some much-needed help.
DraftWire (Luke Easterling) - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
After filling their biggest need on defense by trading for Darius Slay, the Eagles free themselves up to do the same for their offense with this pick. Mims backed up his strong film by blowing up the NFL Scouting Combine, showing off the size and athleticism it takes to be a top target at the next level.
NBC Sports Philadelphia (Reuben Frank) - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Howie Roseman has never drafted a wide receiver in the first round. Jeremy Maclin was the year before he took over as GM, and Nelson Agholor was Chip’s. Howie finally gets the Eagles the elite young wide out they desperately need.
CBS Sports (RJ White) - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Sure, the Eagles could take a receiver here, but they’ll still get a good one at No. 53 with the depth in the class. Even though LB is never a top focus for the franchise, they should jump at the chance to land one of the top linebackers in the class to address their biggest remaining need on defense.
The Draft Network (Jordan Reid) - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Hear me out: I know there are holes at receiver and cornerback still, but the draft is longer than one round. The Eagles should take the best player available and they need an athletic presence in the middle after patchworking it over the past few seasons. Patrick Queen brings a high upside and instinctive talent to the middle of a defense that has added some impressive pieces in Javon Hargrave and Darius Slay.
The Score (Daniel Wilkins) - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Eagles didn’t get involved in the expensive linebacker market during free agency, leaving the position as one of the team’s few pressing needs. Queen is an athletic three-down contributor who could lead an NFL defense for many years.
CBS Sports (Josh Edwards) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Denver looks like a likely landing spot for Ruggs so Philadelphia jumps them, similar to what they did last year to secure Andre Dillard. After landing Darius Slay, their list of needs is dwindling quickly.
NJ.com (Mike Kaye) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
[Trade up to No. 14] The Eagles need speed at wide receiver. That said, they also need wideouts who can make several different plays in the passing game. Ruggs is more than just a speedster and he will prove that even further in Philadelphia.
CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
It’s hard to imagine Jeudy as WR4 and lasting until the 22nd pick, yet here we are. This is more about the talented WR class and less about Jeudy, who was the best route runner in college last season. Either way, the Eagles get a much needed playmaker for Carson Wentz.
Bleeding Green Nation (Ben Natan) - AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa
While all signs point to the Eagles needing a receiver in the first round, there was not one available that was worth taking over a player like AJ Epenesa. I am confident in Epenesa’s upside in the NFL and what he could do in the Eagles defensive line rotation. Of course, if the Eagles make a move this week for a certain star pass rusher … this pick will seem redundant.
The Draft Network (Robert Judin) - Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
This is another pick where there are greater needs at other positions, but the long-term marketing play for Philadelphia can rake in dollars. The Eagles took Miles Sanders in 2019, and now they grab his former Penn State teammate, Yetur Gross-Matos. He’s from New Jersey, so the natural connection for two classic markets can be activated once again. Plus, his personal story has so many chapters to it, Philadelphia will look at him as a fighter and instantly fall in love with his perseverance.
FantasyPros (Kyle Yates) - Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Eagles need WR depth, but it’s hard to see them moving on from Alshon Jefferywith his cap hit. They need CB talent, but they’re signing so many players to come in and compete for those jobs in free agency. Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure is a big one for this team and Grant Delpitwould step right into that role. He’s best around the line of scrimmage and would be a tone setter on the back end once he’s fully healthy.
WR Justin Jefferson - 16
WR Jalen Reagor - 4
WR Denzel Mims - 3
LB Patrick Queen - 3
WR Henry Ruggs - 2
WR Jerry Jeudy - 1
DE AJ Epenesa - 1
DE Yetur Gross-Matos 1
S Grant Delpit - 1
WR - 26
LB - 3
DE - 2
S - 1
Offense - 26
Defense - 6
- Jefferson remains the clear favorite for the Eagles’ pick at No. 21. I can see it happening.
#LSU WR Justin Jefferson — Pro route tree in the slot.— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) March 27, 2020
• Hi-Lo concepts
• RPO + glance (quick post)
• Slot fades/seams
• Slide boot
6-foot-1, 202; 4.43 40 @NFLMatchup pic.twitter.com/7EVN6rfYBU
Here’s film guru Greg Cosell weighing in on both Jefferson and Mims (click to expand):
We will stay with WR today. Yesterday it was Pittman and HIggins. Today it's Denzel Mims and Justin Jefferson. It's a deep WR class. Different sizes, different traits, different ways to transition to the NFL. pic.twitter.com/P7292B627Z— Greg Cosell (@gregcosell) March 27, 2020
- Jalen Reagor had gone missing in the past couple mock roundups but he’s back now as the second most popular pick. He’s a bit of a polarizing prospect. Some love his explosive ability. Others are skeptical about his NFL projection. Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah, for example, doesn’t even have Reagor ranked in his top 50 prospects.
- Queen is the most popular non-wide receiver pick. Just can’t see the Eagles going linebacker in the first round.
- Jeremiah recently said he “wouldn’t be shocked at all” if Ruggs is the first receiver off the board. Along these lines, I wonder if Jeudy might take a Jeremy Maclin-like fall this year. Maclin was presumed to be long gone before the Eagles’ pick in 2009 but he lasted further than expected. Many are assuming Jeudy will go either first or second this year ... but Ruggs and/or CeeDee Lamb being selected before him doesn’t seem out of the question.
- Who do you want the Eagles to draft?