You thought our weekly mock draft roundup was over because the 2021 NFL Draft has come and gone? Think again!
There has been no shortage of 2022 NFL mock drafts (including our own) published this week, so let’s take a look at some of the incredibly early options for the Eagles’ first-round picks next year. Philadelphia currently has its own first in addition to the Miami Dolphins’ first selection. The Birds might even have a third first-round pick if the Carson Wentz trade conditions are met.
7. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
After missing out on the top defensive backs this year, the Eagles snag arguably the top defender in college football to boost their secondary.
18. George Pickens, WR, Georgia
The Eagles got their #1 wide receiver in 2021 with DeVonta Smith, but they still need to rill out the rest of their receiving corps. George Pickens is immensely talented and should be healthy by the time of the 2022 draft.
21. Brenton Cox, DE, Florida
The Eagles can keep getting younger on defense with an athletic pass rusher who can also play the run.
7. Tyler Shough, QB, Texas Tech
The Oregon transfer should post monster numbers this season in a pointsball Matt Wells system, and the Birds are likely to be in the market for a passer if the Jalen Hurts experiment doesn’t go well. That’s also an experiment without too long a leash.
20. George Pickens, WR, Georgia
21. Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee
7. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
This is another spot where the pick could go a lot of different directions based on this season. If Jalen Hurts proves he’s the guy, then don’t expect the Eagles to look QB. If he provides doubt, then Howell would be an excellent pick. Howell followed up his 38-TD 2019 season — an FBS record for true freshmen — with 30 more in 2020, and he improved his completion percentage and yards per attempt along the way.
17. Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB, USC
Cornerback continues to be an issue for the Eagles, as they lack depth behind Darius Slay, especially with Avonte Maddox on an expiring contract this season. Philadelphia used a Day 3 pick on Zech McPhearson but has not invested a first-round pick in the position since drafting Lito Sheppard in 2002. Taylor-Stuart has 6-foot-2 size and speed, and I think he will have a big year in 2021. He has a lot of talent.
20. Bubba Bolden, S, Miami
This pick isn’t Philadelphia’s just yet, but since we are projecting the Colts to make the playoffs, we’ll say Carson Wentz plays 70% of the snaps this season and the Colts’ second-rounder involved in the offseason trade becomes this first-round pick. After getting a cornerback a few spots earlier, the Eagles can add a big, experienced safety here. Both starters — Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod — could come off the books next spring. Bolden transferred to Miami from USC two years ago, and he had a big 2020 season, making 74 tackles and tying for second in the nation with four forced fumbles.
6. Emory Jones, QB, Florida
This one is obviously a massive projection, as he’s only taken 95 career dropbacks. Jones is one of the best dual threats in the country, though, and he earned an 86.1 rushing grade on 35 carries last season.
19. Drake Jackson, DE, USC
Jackson is still only scratching the surface of what he could be for the Trojans after recording a 66.6 pass-rushing grade last season. His high-end flashes are as impressive as anyone’s in this class.
20. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Gardner broke onto the scene with a massive true freshman campaign that saw him earn a 90.2 coverage grade and allow only 39.7% of his targets to be completed. He followed it up by allowing only 17 catches on 40 targets for 221 yards as a sophomore in 2020. He’s a touch skinny but has first-round ability if he can fill out his frame.
6. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Jalen Hurts has a “prove it” season coming up, and if he doesn’t take command of QB1, then the Eagles will likely be in position to draft a different quarterback in the top 10. If the draft were tomorrow, Willis probably isn’t a first-round pick. But if he makes key improvements, scouts believe he could climb this high. Check out Bruce Feldman’s recent article on his exciting talent.
18. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Although he was injured during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Karlaftis was dominant as a freshman in 2019, leading the team with 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. His heavy-handed attack and GPS for the football should translate well to the next level.
21. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Washington has become the Pacific Coast version of “DBU” and McDuffie is next in line to be an early-round pick. Entering his third season as a starter, the California native doesn’t have ideal size, but he plays with obvious swagger and compete skills to stay on top of routes.
5. Sam Howell, QB, UNC
Even if you’re a big Jalen Hurts fan, if the Eagles are picking this high, quarterback will surely be their top target. Sam Howell is one of the most fearless passers in college football.
20. Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
Outside of having a fantastic name for an offensive tackle, Zion Nelson started all 13 games of the 2019 season at left tackle as a true freshman. He started another seven games the following season. At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he has the size and the experience to make his way into the first round.
23. Derion Kendrick, CB, TBD
Derion Kendrick was a player who many thought could be in the top 50 of the 2021 draft. After deciding to return to college instead of going pro, he was dismissed from Clemson’s football program. He’s a former 5-star prospect who is very talented, and regardless of where he transfers to, he will be on many team’s radars.
7. Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
How the Philadelphia Eagles actually feel internally about quarterback Jalen Hurts remains a mystery. But ownership seems to back last year’s second-round pick. Ultimately, Hurts’ performance this fall will determine whether the Eagles will be searching for another quarterback next offseason. Until then, the front office should heed Jeffery Lurie’s mandate and build around the young signal-caller. North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu isn’t a well-known name entering the next draft cycle. But he should be. “To me, he’s the most feared offensive lineman in the ACC,” an offensive line coach told The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. “He’s similar to [Mekhi] Becton but more of an interior guy. He’s got so much short-area power and explosiveness. He’s violent. You’d go watch him on film: ‘Oh, wow, he’s destroying people.’” Ekwonu received second-team All-ACC honors from the Associated Press as a tackle and guard. Like Rashawn Slater this year, don’t let slightly less-than-ideal height (6’4”) and length take away from the prospect Ekwonu is, especially since Andre Dillard hasn’t quite worked out to date.
18. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Philadelphia Eagles started to plan for their secondary’s future with the addition of Zech McPhearson in this year’s fourth round. But the cornerback’s addition is only the starting point. Darius Slay, who turns 31 next year, has salary-cap charges exceeding $22 million in 2022 and 2023. The likelihood of him staying on the roster at those numbers are slim to none. Plus, Avonte Maddox is entering a contract year. Basically, the Eagles could be without their top two corners a year from now. Florida’s Kaiir Elam became a full-time starter in 2020. The 6’2” cornerback showed excellent ball skills and the ability to play through the catch point with 11 defended passes and a pair of interceptions. Elam has the natural skill set to take over as the Eagles’ CB1 if the organization chooses to move on from Slay or be a wonderful complement to the veteran (at a reduced price).
4. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
You were looking for a specific name here. I know. That’s why I picked a different one. Everyone is penciling Derek Stingley Jr. in as the CB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft, and with good reason. He’s a tremendous talent at the cornerback position. However, at this time in 2020, Jaycee Horn wasn’t anywhere near Patrick Surtain II on the draft board. Then, two nights ago, he went ahead of Surtain at No. 8 overall. Andrew Booth Jr., who plays for Clemson, has that same kind of upside. He has incredible ball skills and body control — which makes for some exciting highlights — but he also possesses an enticing combination of mobile athleticism and disruptive length. An alpha at the catch point, Booth has the kind of turnover generation ability that teams like Philadelphia may crave.
20. Drake Jackson, DE, USC
The Eagles will soon experience major turnover on the edge, and they need to be ready. Versatile defensive lineman Drake Jackson provides the boost they seek in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, he’s a heavy-handed player with great urgency and force.
7. Drake Jackson, DE, USC
The highly touted Jackson became the first USC true freshman to start on the defensive line since Everson Griffen in 2007. Moving to the outside has unleashed his full potential, and that should be realized during a full season in 2021.
20. Cade Mays, OG, Tennessee
Mays started his career at Georgia before transferring to Tennessee and dominating for the Volunteers. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder will slot in beside 2021 draftee Landon Dickerson to give the Eagles a talented young interior on the offensive line.
8. Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
The Eagles finally get their first-round corner, and he’s the first off the board in 2022. The 6-foot-2 Banks is the latest in a long string of first-round Ohio State corners (Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward, Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette, Jeff Okudah). By 2022, it will have been 20 years since the Eagles drafted a first-round corner, Lito Sheppard out of Florida in 2002.
18. Justin Eboigbe, DE, Alabama
Only two of the Eagles’ 10 picks in the first three rounds from 2018 through 2021 have been on defense (Davion Taylor, Milton Williams), so after selecting corner Sevyn Banks at No. 8 they get the edge rusher they need at 18. Eboigbe, a 6-5, 285-pound athletic freak, will be the Eagles’ second Alabama first-round pick in two years after they had never taken one in the first 85 years of the draft.
23. Taron Vincent, DT, Ohio State
Fletcher Cox turns 32 during the 2022 season, and Javon Hargrave isn’t signed beyond 2022, so even with the addition of Milton Williams in the third round Friday, there’s definitely a need for interior line help. Vincent, the son of long-time Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent, missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury and started last season off slowly while still rehabbing. But he’s a big-time prospect and if he continues improving this year, he’d be a terrific fit in Jonathan Gannon’s defense (and the Eagles’ first first-round pick from Ohio State since Keith Byars in 1986).
5. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Unless there are glaring needs at, say, quarterback heading into the season it’s hard to predict what those needs will be by next January. But the Eagles have had injuries along the O-line torpedo their chances in recent years so it’s never a bad idea to upgrade the unit. Neal played guard early in his Alabama career, kicked out to right tackle last season and he’ll move to left tackle in 2021.
19. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State
Harrison looks the part, without question, but he’ll need his production and consistency to match that to work his way into the first-round conversation.
11. Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
The Eagles still may try to move Zach Ertz but it’s unlikely as they didn’t draft a tight end with any of their nine recent picks. They should be more comfortable moving on from his next year with Wydermer about to shoot up his stock as a receiver.
20. Kalir Elam, CB, Florida
The Eagles did address their secondary a little this year but they should be more in the reliable starting cornerback market. This big ballhawk could be huge for them outside.
5. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
16. Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
23. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
TRADE: Eagles send the No. 6, No. No. 17 and No. 25 overall picks to Detroit for the No. 2 overall pick.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (via Lions): Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Let’s say Jalen Hurts proves to be the Eagles guy at quarterback, and a move up the board or for a superstar veteran is no longer in the cards. The Eagles could use outrageous draft capital to move the board for this draft’s version of Chase Young. Thibodeaux is a monster, and could be the dominant force on a new, young defensive line in Philadelphia for years to come.
Average position: 5.2
CB Derek Stingley Jr. - 2
CB Sevyn Banks - 1
CB Andrew Booth Jr. - 1
QB Sam Howell - 1
QB Malik Willis - 1
QB Emory Jones - 1
QB Tyler Shough - 1
DE Drake Jackson - 1
DE Kayvon Thibodeaux - 1
OT Evan Neal - 1
OT Ikem Ekwonu - 1
TE Jalen Wydermyer - 1
CB - 4
QB - 4
DE - 2
OT - 2
TE - 1
Offense - 7
Defense - 6
Average position: 18.7
WR George Pickens - 2
CB Kaiir Elam - 2
DE Drake Jackson - 2
DE George Karlaftis - 1
DE Justin Eboigbe - 1
DE Zach Harrison - 1
CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart - 1
OT Zion Nelson - 1
OG Cade Mays - 1
LB Ventrell Miller - 1
DE - 5
CB - 3
WR - 2
OT - 1
OG - 1
LB - 1
Offense - 4
Defense - 9
CB Derion Kendrick - 1
CB Trent McDuffie - 1
CB Ahmad Gardner - 1
OT Charles Cross - 1
OT Cade Mays - 1
DE Brenton Cox - 1
DT Taron Vincent - 1
S Bubba Bolden - 1
CB - 3
OT - 2
DE - 1
DT - 1
S - 1
Offense - 2
Defense - 6
- These mocks will look very different leading up to next year’s draft.
- A number of these mocks didn’t have the Eagles getting the Colts’ pick despite having Indy in the playoffs. They must have just forgotten about the Wentz trade ... unless they’re all somehow confident the Colts will make the postseason with Wentz playing less than 70% of their offensive snaps.
- How Jalen Hurts performs in 2021 will obviously go a long way in determining whether the Eagles select a quarterback or not next year. The feeling here is that Hurts can’t leave any doubt. If he’s anything less than convincing as a franchise quarterback, I fully expect the Eagles to pivot to a new signal caller.
- It’s quite possible the Eagles won’t end up using all three picks and instead use some/all of them to trade for an established veteran (Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, someone else). Or they could look to trade up for a QB in the 2022 draft.
- There’s no consensus QB1 as it currently stands. Howell is the closest thing to that but the landscape could very well change. No one thought Joe Burrow was going to be No. 1 overall before his record-breaking 2019 season.
- Worth noting that Emory Jones, whom PFF has Philly drafting, overlapped with Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson in Florida over the past few years. They’ll have an inside track on him if he ends up being a viable option.
- Cornerback is an obvious position to mock to the Eagles given their current hole at that spot.
- Assuming the Eagles make at least two first-round picks next year, I’d say defensive end is a lock to be one of them. They highly value the position, Brandon Graham will be 34, and both Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat are currently set to be free agents after this season.
- For the sake of #JerseyNumberAnalytics, let’s please get Sevyn Banks on the Eagles and wearing No. 7. Future Hall of Fame career in that situation.