Mock drafts are a fun way to see where NFL experts think your team will go with their first or second round selections. Some go into deeper rounds, and it’s a fun exercise to gauge what prospects might be on your squad in 2019. However, most mock drafts are less than 25% correct at nailing the player your team drafts (don’t quote me on that number).
Rather than a traditional mock draft, I’ll continue to do what I did last draft and list about five prospects the Eagles might have on their radar. First, let’s start with their team needs as the free agency pool dwindles down to depth players.
The Eagles needs are, in no particular order, a linebacker, a third and fourth defensive tackle, a young and versatile protégé at safety, a speedy heir to succeed DeSean Jackson, offensive line depth, and potentially a quarterback or second offensive lineman. That’s seven needs coming into the draft. The Eagles hold seven picks in this year’s draft:
Round 1 (25)
Round 2 (53) – Baltimore Ravens
Round 2 (57)
Round 4 (127)
Round 4 (138) – Compensatory Pick
Round 5 (163)
Round 6 (197)
Obviously, trades happen all the time on draft day so the Eagles might acquire more picks or trade some to move up. In fact, one of the best moves for them is to trade back and get another pick to supplement the missing third-round pick. The exact same strategy they used at pick 32 last year to gain another pick that year and this season.
Despite this not being a typical mock draft, I’m going to give my two cents anyway. Assuming the top players on the Eagles board are gone and they trade back for an extra Day 2 or 3 pick, expect them to target Minnesota’s linebacker Blake Cashman or Alabama’s Mack Wilson.
This draft is riddled with interior defensive linemen and is top heavy at left tackle, two of the Eagles biggest needs. The linebacking class is not as deep, so making a move on a primary need with their first pick should be in the Eagles draft plan. If they stick with the pick or not, here are some prospects to keep an eye on in this version of an Eagles mock draft for their first pick.
LB Blake Cashman, 6-1, 237 lbs, Minnesota
Nigel Bradham should be moved the MIKE linebacker position with the departure of Jordan Hicks. Right now, KGH (Kamu Grugier-Hill), Nate Gerry, newly signed LJ Fort, and maybe Paul Worrilow are left to fill the SAM and WILL positions. While this is a great group of depth players that can certainly contribute, none seem to fit that starting caliber bill. Despite his size, Cashman is a vicious hitter. He ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and has the ability to cover sideline-to-sideline. Cashman arguably has the best instincts in the class and has a nose for the football. The Minnesota linebacker will challenge for the starting WILL position due to his above-average ability in coverage, even taking on tight ends.
S Deionte Thompson, 6-1, 195 lbs, Alabama
Free safety Rodney McLeod‘s contract is up after this season, and Carson Wentz’s extension is on the horizon. The Eagles are going to make some difficult decisions in letting players go via free agency in order to give Wentz that franchise quarterback contract. Drafting an heir apparent to Rodney McLeod makes sense for the Eagles, either with the 25th pick or early in the second if they trade down. This dude is too talented. Thompson is an elite ball hawk, has incredible range and instincts in coverage and will be drafted as a single high safety. The big question mark for Thompson is his size against bigger receivers and overall athleticism. Rodney McLeod is listed at 5-11, 183 pounds, so there’s that.
DT Dexter Lawrence, 6-4, 342 lbs, Clemson
Assuming the Eagles do keep the 25th pick and Dexter Lawrence is there, the Eagles could continue to bolster their defensive line. Dexter is a space-eating defensive tackle who has surprising quickness and bend for his size. He’s doesn’t bring much to the pass rush, but putting him next to Fletcher Cox would be an ideal situation for him. This draft is loaded with interior defensive linemen, and the Eagles need to fill out their rotation with one or two picks in this draft.
DT Charles Omenihu, 6-5, 280 lbs, Texas
This another prospect that the Eagles could be interested if they hold the 25th pick. Omenihu has exactly what the Birds like as a defensive lineman: versatility. He’s explosive with heavy hands off the line , a barrage of pass rush moves and has some elite length for batting down balls. Some of the knocks on Omenihu is that he has no “wow” factors in being an elite run stuffer or incredible pass rusher, but Omenihu does bring versatility to a defensive line that is beginning to age and looks thin at the moment.
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