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ESPN’s latest mock draft doesn’t have the Eagles taking a wide receiver in the first two rounds

Say what?

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Mel Kiper published an updated post-free agency mock draft last week that has the Philadelphia Eagles taking a wide receiver in the first round. Not so shocking, right?

What IS surprising is that the latest mock from ESPN’s Todd McShay doesn’t have the Eagles taking a wide receiver in the first round ... or the second! Here’s a look at his latest picks for Philly.

21. Philadelphia Eagles — Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU

The void at wide receiver hasn’t gone away, and the Eagles will have to think long and hard about whether they are ready to enter the 2020 season with the oft-injured Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, along with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside off a disappointing rookie campaign, as their wideouts again. Justin Jefferson out of LSU is for sure in play at No. 21. But Philadelphia also could really use a spark in the middle of the defense. Queen is a rangy, off-ball linebacker with burst and great tackling ability.

53. Philadelphia Eagles — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

It’s another spot to maybe make a play for a wide receiver, but even with the addition of Darius Slay, the Eagles will be seeking cornerback depth in April. Johnson is strong in press coverage and flashes the ability to make plays on the ball. Philly has four picks in Rounds 3 and 4 to find a talented wideout, perhaps someone such as KJ Hamler, Donovan Peoples-Jones or Van Jefferson.

This would be ... quite the outcome for a team that literally did nothing to address their offense in free agency. If you factor in the Darius Slay trade, this projection has the Eagles spending (at least) their first-, second-, third-, and fifth-round picks on defense. Not to mention all the cap space that Philly spent on Jim Schwartz’s side of the ball. Seems excessive!

It’d be pretty crazy if the Eagles end up entering Day 3 without spending at least one pick at receiver. The idea that they can merely wait on a player at that position because the draft is so deep hasn’t worked out so well for Howie Roseman in the past. See: Donnel Pumphrey and Shareef Miller.

It’d be even crazier if the Eagles eschewed a first-round receiver to select a linebacker. That’s a position that the current regime clearly hasn’t prioritized, whether you like it or not. They haven’t drafted a Day 1 linebacker since 1979. I won’t believe they’re passing on Jefferson (who went to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 22 in this mock) and taking Queen until I actually see it happen.

The Eagles going with a cornerback in the second is more feasible. Slay is 29 and his contract extension really only guarantees he’ll be with the team though 2021. The starting corner job opposite of him isn’t exactly settled. Avonte Maddox is the early favorite but he’s not locked in. Sidney Jones could be an option but he’s also about to be a restricted free agent after 2020. Rasul Douglas, rumored to be on the trade block, doesn’t appear to be in the long-term plans. It could make sense to add another corner to the mix.

Ultimately, the Eagles failing to address their biggest position of need is a tough pill to swallow here. In a perfect world, you don’t want to force a pick, but I fail to see how the Eagles can wait until late on Day 2 to address receiver. Their remaining third-round pick is a compensatory selection (No. 103 overall) and only three spots separate it from being a very early fourth-round pick. Given their inactivity in free agency, the Eagles seem to be (questionably) counting on immediate impact from a rookie pass catcher. If that’s the case, they simply can’t wait this long. Heck, there’s a case to be made they should draft two in the first two rounds.


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