With the 2020 NFL Draft merely NINE days away, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has published his latest mock simulation (Version 4.0) that goes two rounds deep.
Kiper previously had the Philadelphia Eagles selecting Justin Jefferson at No. 21. This time around, though, Jefferson goes off the board to the Denver Broncos at No. 15. And that leaves a surprise name on the board for Philly’s first-round pick:
21. Philadelphia Eagles — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
This pick should be the best wide receiver on their board. Philadelphia doesn’t have many roster holes, but there’s a big one at wideout. And really, if I’m running the Eagles, I would look at trading up a few spots to get my guy. I suspect they’d be thrilled to get Ruggs, who is one of the fastest players in this class but is underrated as a route runner. This is a roster that can win the NFC East again.
There’s been thought that the Eagles will need to trade up to get Ruggs. Heck, Daniel Jeremiah suggested the Alabama speedster could be the first receiver off the board.
Thus, getting Ruggs at No. 21 feels like a steal. The Eagles could really afford to add a big play threat and Ruggs fits the bill with his 4.2 speed and 17.5 college yards per reception mark.
It’s just hard to envision Ruggs actually falling to the Eagles’ pick. It’s also not easy to imagine Philly being super aggressive when it comes to trading up since they only two top 100 picks.
Getting back to the Jefferson angle, there’s increasing buzz that the LSU product won’t be making it to the Eagles’ first-round selection. The aforementioned Jeremiah also linked him to Denver.
Denver Broncos offense in 2019— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 11, 2020
3rd down: 30th in the NFL
Redzone: 28th in the NFL
LSU WR Justin Jefferson in 2019
3rd down: 27 targets, 24 receptions, 17 1st downs, 6 TD
12 Redzone TDs (Most among draft eligible WRs)
I'd say this is a pretty good fit.
Even if the Broncos DO pass on Ruggs to take Jefferson, I can’t see the former merely falling to Philly. The Eagles haven’t done anything to disguise their need at receiver and therefore teams will be in position to trade ahead of their pick.
But, hey, it’s fun to dream about what could be. Maybe the Eagles find a way to get lucky on draft night.
As for the Eagles’ second-round pick, Kiper has Howie Roseman addressing another hole on the roster:
53. Philadelphia Eagles — Jordan Brooks, ILB, Texas Tech
I love this pick for the Eagles, who could get an immediate starter at middle linebacker. Brooks, my No. 3 ILB, is a 240-pound tackling machine and sideline-to-sideline defender who surprised me with a 4.54 40 at the combine. I liked his tape, but I didn’t know he was that explosive. He could be a menace in the NFC East for years to come.
There’s been some speculation that the Eagles could go linebacker in the first round for the first time since 1979. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it happen. Day 2 feels more realistic.
The Eagles must add linebacker talent at some point. Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Jatavis Brown, and Alex Singleton are currently the only five players at that position. None of them are “no questions asked” starters, though the coaching staff is high on Gerry’s potential. Gerry and Brooks could be the Eagles’ main two starters in 2020.
Scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
While his tackle production has been good in all four seasons, it’s hard not to come away from tape study feeling like his numbers should be even higher with his athletic traits and above-average instincts. Attacking blocks with better hand usage and greater physicality should allow him to eliminate some negative reps and become a more impactful player. He’s a potential future starter as an inside linebacker in even or odd fronts, but concerns with coverage duties could impact how teams see him as an every-down linebacker.
Should be a prominent Eagles target on Day 2. Schwartz wants a fast, pursuit defense and Brooks is tailor made for it. https://t.co/GdugjmVYLS— IgglesNest (@IgglesNest) April 14, 2020
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