The 2019 NFL Draft is almost here, therefore it’s time for me to do my Philadelphia Eagles mock draft. As invested as I am in the NFL Draft and as much as I study the prospects every year, I prefer to do my own mocks as close to the actual draft as possible because I like to get as many of my evaluations and grades done beforehand. Also, the several-month-long draft process that the league goes through is full of its varying reports, rumors, and narratives and they all can affect some of the projected selections throughout.

For my mock draft I did my best to have a balanced mindset between “What would Howie and the Eagles do” and “What would I do”. I’m sure this goes without saying, but my evaluations and grades for a number of these prospects are certainly different from that of Joe Douglas’ and the rest of the Eagles’ scouting department. But whereas I might have chosen a different prospect than they would have, I still kept in mind what the Eagles’ overall needs are coming into the draft, their tendency to focus on both the offensive and defensive lines, and just their overall philosophy of drafting the best player available.

To make my mock draft a bit more realistic (relatively speaking), this year instead of selecting players that I believe could be available when the team is ready to pick I used the Mock Draft Machine on to simulate 6 rounds of the draft (the Eagles don’t pick in the 7th round). This way I have an idea of who could possibly fall and who might not. Overall, it’s such a great tool and is a lot of fun to use.

I went through about 5 different simulations, trying some different selections at certain spots to see the different scenarios that would present themselves. The following mock is the one I was most satisfied with in the end.

From a big picture view, you’ll notice that I kept to Howie Roseman’s philosophy of building in the trenches and went with 2 offensive lineman and 2 defensive linemen. No one should be surprised if the Eagles actually do end up double-dipping in one of those positions, if not both.

I decided to go with all offensive players for the first 3 picks, and for 2 reasons. First, all 3 players were the best players available on my personal board at those times, so picking them was pretty much an easy decision for me. Secondly, with the organization showing once again that they’re all in on Carson Wentz (I’m expecting a contract extension for him sometime after the draft), I think it’s smart to give him as much support on that side of the ball as possible.

With the Eagles’ first pick I selected OT/OG Cody Ford. I have OT as the top positional need for the team going into the draft, so it worked out that the best player available is an OT. Ford is ranked not too far behind Jawaan Taylor and Jonah Williams on my board, making him my OT3 and well worth the value at 25th overall. But what’s also very appealing about him is that he can play inside at OG as well. That will be pivotal in 2019 due to the Achilles injury to Brandon Brooks and not knowing when he’ll be back to action. Ford can slide into Brooks’ spot for the short-term and possibly be the team’s long-term answer at either OT spot. He may have a higher ceiling as an interior lineman, but if he can develop into a good OT then he’ll offer more value there. Worst case scenario he’ll hold down one of the OG spots for several years.

In the 2nd round I gave the Eagles 2 of my favorite skill position players in the whole draft, WR Deebo Samuel and RB Miles Sanders. Some of you might not think that WR is a position of need, but if you follow the team’s trend over the past several years under Howie, you’d find that whatever position they bring in the most for private workouts is a likely tell of what position they’re looking to target in the draft. This year it’s been RB and WR that they’ve brought in the most. It’s possible that Nelson Agholor or maybe even DeSean Jackson aren’t in the team’s long-term plans beyond 2019, or they may just be looking for more dynamic play from the position overall, and if that’s the case then Deebo Samuel would be an excellent addition.

I’ve lauded Sanders in my previous articles, calling him not only the most complete RB in this draft class after Josh Jacobs but also the RB with the most upside. Does he have his flaws? Definitely, and that’s why he doesn’t get a 1st round grade. But the athleticism and versatility to be an elite RB in the NFL is definitely there. Sanders is just very raw so he needs more playing experience under his belt to iron out the inconsistencies and deficiencies on film. There have been reports that the Eagles are very high on Sanders, and I can only hope that is true.

The downside of going offense on Days 1 and 2 is the fact that I missed out on some really good DL talent early on, including having to pass up on Christian Wilkins in the 1st round. But I did get a pleasant surprise in seeing Gerald Willis fall to the Eagles at the first of their two 4th round picks. Willis has a history of character concerns, but after taking a leave of absence in 2017 he’s been heralded by his coaches and teammates as a much more mature person and a great teammate. If all that is true, he’s a very intriguing talent that could be a huge addition to the defensive line rotation with his explosiveness and relentlessness.

Jim Schwartz values versatility in his safeties, and that’s exactly what they’d be getting with Mike Edwards. He’s a smart defensive back who can not only play in zone coverage but can also come down and matchup 1v1 in the slot. He might have some range limitations when it comes to playing as a single-high safety, but he’d also be in a situation for his rookie season where he can sit behind Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and Andrew Sendejo and focus on special teams and developing. If he’s not McLeod’s eventual replacement at FS then he can be Jenkins’ eventual replacement at SS.

For the final two picks I gave the Eagles two trench prospects for them to develop and grow. Ryan Bates played predominantly at OT at Penn State, but could be better projected as an OG at the pro level. Either way, he’s another lineman that has versatility and gives the Eagles options. Wyatt Ray is an edge defender that fits the mold of what Schwartz looks for in his defense. He’s a smaller, finesse type of pass rusher that still needs a good amount of development but has flashed some impressive skills. Both offer really good value at where I have them picked.

I’m sure no one would be surprised if Howie Roseman traded up or down in the draft at any point. But in terms of trading up in the 1st round, I only see him doing so for one of the highly ranked offensive or defensive linemen if they somehow start falling on draft day. I don’t think he’d make a move like that for any other position. So, if guys like Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams, Ed Oliver, or Brian Burns start falling to the teens, don’t be surprised if Howie starts making some calls to grab one of them.

Other prospects that I like for the Eagles in the 1st round are IDL Christian Wilkins, OT Dalton Risner, and S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Other prospects that I like for the Eagles in the 2nd round are RB Darrell Henderson, OT Yodny Cajuste, and S Juan Thornhill.

Other prospects that I like for the Eagles in the 4th round are RB Justice Hill and WR Stanley Morgan Jr.