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Peter King mock draft has the Eagles using two first-round picks on defense

How do you like this scenario?

Georgia v Tennessee Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

What better way to kick off NFL Draft week than with a new mock?

And not just any mock but Peter King’s annual one and only projection based on what the longtime NFL insider is hearing.

Last year at this time, King had the Eagles passing on DeVonta Smith to take Jaycee Horn at No. 12. In hindsight, that selection may have been based on him knowing Philly’s preference. Jimmy Kempski has said that the Eagles would’ve taken Horn or Patrick Surtain II over Smith had they still been on the board.

And so one can only wonder if King might know a thing or two about the Eagles’ intentions this year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at his picks ... starting with No. 15 overall.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Davis, defensive tackle, Georgia

Flip a coin here. Davis or Trent McDuffie. (And won’t WIP have a good laugh at my expense when the pick is neither guy.) But I’ll go with Davis because of his freakish athleticism at 335, his ability to impact the game all over the defensive front, and the prospect that he can succeed Fletcher Cox (32 in December) as the toughest guy to block on the Philadelphia defensive front.

The best thing I heard about Davis after his 4.78-second dash at the combine (at 341 pounds) was from one coach who thought Davis could play nose on first down and three-technique (the interior rush player) on second and third downs. That’s not common. He didn’t have great college production—19.5 tackles behind the line in 47 games at Georgia—and that would be a big concern to me. But someone will take him in the middle of the round, because he’s got such great potential.

We made the comprehensive case for the Eagles drafting Davis last week. The short of the argument is that the Birds shouldn’t overthink it. If they have a chance to draft the most athletic defensive tackle prospect ever ... who happened to win an award for being the best defender in college football last year ... on the national championship team ... they should probably do that. Davis has the potential to be a needle-mover for an Eagles team that’s kinda floating in the middle of the NFL landscape.

King then has the Eagles slightly trading down from their pick at No. 18.

*22. Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Lloyd, linebacker, Utah

*Projected Trade: Eagles trade the 18th pick to the Packers for the 22nd pick and a late third-round pick, 92nd overall.

Dart throw. Howie Roseman could trade down again here. The receiver and corner markets, both of which he needs to hit before the end of day two, don’t align with what’s left on the board in this mock. Lloyd had experience doing everything in 32 starts over three Utah seasons. His 43 career tackles for loss show he’s a play-wrecker in the run game too.

One other point about Lloyd, wherever he goes: NFL Network will have an emotional feature story Thursday night about the two Utah players lost to gun violence in 2021. I’m told Lloyd’s words will be emotional and heavy in the piece—he was the Utah captain who had a huge burden on his shoulders helping his teammates get through the double-ordeal.

I can get behind the Eagles trading down from No. 18. It feels like they might be in a bit of a no man’s land at that spot where there isn’t a must-have prospect there.

I can’t get behind the Eagles drafting a linebacker in the first round. It just won’t be believable until we see it happen.

A lot of Eagles fans would love to see the team draft Lloyd. But one notable Eagles fan would not be excited about that move. Former Bleeding Green Nation writer and current The Ringer contributor Benjamin Solak joined The SB Nation NFL Show last week to call him the most overrated first-round prospect.

“It’s cool to look like Fred Warner and to have played in a similar area of the country that Fred Warner did in college. But ... and he’s tall, he’s good in coverage, he’s long. A lot of the Fred Warner highlights map onto the Devin Lloyd highlights nicely.

But there are two things that matter a lot.

Number one, Devin Lloyd doesn’t like to tackle. Linebackers have to be cool with tackling. Like, Darius Leonard is a tall, thin linebacker who is obsessed with tackling. Loves to hit, loves to force fumbles, unbelievable peanut punch. If you’re playing linebacker at 235 [pounds], you have to love to tackle. .You have to really love to play among the trees. [...] Lloyd doesn’t really like it as much.

[...]

Number two is coaches believe you what players can and can’t do by how they use them. And Lloyd is good in coverage. But Utah rushed him off the edge a fair bit. And Lloyd is like a fine edge rusher but it wasn’t like a Micah Parsons situation where we gotta get this guy rushing the passer. It’s like, if this guy is so good in coverage, why aren’t you asking him to do it? The old adage is that if they’re blitzing a guy, they do not trust him in coverage. That’s what they’re doing with Lloyd.

Solak added that there’s better value to be had at linebacker than using a first-round pick on Lloyd and named a number of Day 2 prospects that intrigue him.

Of course, that’s, like, just his opinion, man. Maybe the Eagles do really like Lloyd. And maybe he would be worth the investment.

In any case, it’s interesting to see this is what King has the Eagles doing as we’re just a few days out from the 2022 NFL Draft. Take it for what it’s worth, which is probably somewhere between more than ‘nothing at all’ and less than ‘incredibly meaningful.’

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Other observations from the mock:

  • No first-round wide receiver for the Eagles. That’s in part because four went off the board in the first 11 picks: Drake London to the Falcons at No. 8, Garrett Wilson to the Texans at No. 9 (via projected trade up), Jameson Williams to the Jets at No. 10, and Chris Olave to the Commanders at No. 11. King then had Treylon Burks going at No. 16, right after the Eagles’ selection of Davis.
  • King has Kayvon Thibodeaux falling to No. 13. I would think the Eagles might try to trade up at that point, assuming they’re not scared off by his potential red flags.
  • Again, I could definitely see the Eagles looking to move back from No. 18. It’s a matter of them finding a partner. But that might not be hard if there’s still a QB on the board and someone wants to jump ahead of the Steelers at No. 20. Or if Pittsburgh wants to preempt a team moving up to No. 19 and instead get their guy at No. 18.
  • Worth noting that King has the Eagles passing on Jermaine Johnson twice as he falls to No. 23. I have a hard time believing Philly would take Lloyd over Johnson in part just because of how they value those two positions.
  • The Cowboys pick up Tyler Linderbaum at No. 24. Not great.
  • The Giants get Charles Cross and Kyle Hamilton. Would be a nice haul for them.
  • King has Ojabo going off the board to the Bucs at No. 27. He said: “I don’t know that he’ll get picked in the first, but I do know four teams are intently interested in him.”
  • King has just two quarterbacks coming off the board in the first round: Kenny Pickett to the Steelers at No. 20 and Matt Corral to the Falcons (via trade up) at No. 32. No Malik Willis in the first round is an upset.