Whenever draft season comes around the popular thing to do amongst analysts and fans is mock drafts. This year I wanted to put together my personal “ideal” mock draft for the Philadelphia Eagles. I didn’t base it on what I believe Howie Roseman and the team will do, but rather what I believe they should do. I tried to be as realistic with my selections and choose players who have at least a solid chance of being available. It’s tough to do, especially the further along in the draft you go because you never know who could fall or who could be taken earlier than expected. But I didn’t want to use a simulator for this exercise because the results can be questionable at times and different simulators will vary based on their pre-set big boards. Therefore, I went off a combination of how I and several other evaluators have these prospects graded. Also, with each selection in rounds 1-3, I provided some other favorable targets that I’d be perfectly happy with drafting at that respective spot.
First, I decided to make a trade. I traded back a few spots in the 1st round with the Baltimore Ravens. Here’s the deal:
Round 1, Pick 28 (28th Overall)
Round 3, Pick 28 (92nd Overall)
Round 7, Pick 11 (225th Overall)
Round 1, Pick 21 (21st Overall)
Round 6, Pick 11 (190th Overall)
I don’t expect Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III, or any tier 1 players to be available at 21. Therefore, the best move would be to trade back. I think the Ravens will be looking to trade up and draft either Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray, and with them having 2 picks in each of rounds 2, 3, and 4 they’d probably be willing to trade one of their 3rd round picks to do so. For Roseman and the Eagles, this helps them recoup a 3rd round pick after they had given one up in the trade for Darius Slay.
Many want Roseman to trade up in the draft and select one of the top 3 WRs. And even though I’m not entirely opposed to that option depending on the price, it’s not the preferred route I’d go. First, I still think there are receivers outside the top 3 who have WR1 potential, they just have some small concerns here and there that need to be cleaned up. Second, it can’t be ignored how important it is to have the amount of picks the Eagles have this year, which right now sits at 8. If you look at the number of picks they’ve had in 2018 and 2019 (5 in each) you’d see one of the main reasons why there’s a lack of high-end young talent on the roster. Roseman has stated how the focus this year has shifted to the draft compared to years prior, and I believe he’ll stick to that. They gave up 2 picks in the Darius Slay trade already. If they trade up their pick total may decrease by 2 more. If the Eagles are left with around 6 picks only that’s going to hamper their ability to inject the roster with several young players to build with for the 3rd straight season. I just don’t see Roseman doing that, and I’d prefer that he doesn’t. I can see a trade up in the other rounds where the price wouldn’t be as high, but not in the 1st round.
Now, onto the picks!
Round 1, Pick 28 (28th Overall)
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
I realize there’s a chance that Reagor could be taken by the time the Eagles pick at 28, but I’m willing to take that risk here. He’s my WR4 and I have him as a late 1st / early 2nd round grade so the value here fits. But while I do prefer to trade back so I can add a 3rd round pick and still get him, I wouldn’t mind at all if Roseman chooses to stay put at 21 and pick Reagor there. This way they wouldn’t be giving another team a chance to select him before they could.
Reagor is the exact type of WR that the Eagles need. He’s an explosive deep threat who possesses elite speed and quickness. He’s a nuanced and sudden route runner who can line up both outside and in the slot. He can attack the ball at its high point with a good vertical catch radius and can play through contact. Reagor is one of the most dangerous weapons with the ball in his hands as a runner/returner, which adds to his versatility. And he is a passionate and tough competitor who plays with high intensity and energy. Reagor does have some issues with drops and not playing with full effort whistle to whistle at times, but I attribute a lot of that to frustration over the subpar (that’s putting it lightly) QB play. He may not have the most reliable hands, but I also don’t think they’re as big of an issue as some are making them out to be. His talent and skillset remind me a lot of Steve Smith Sr and DJ Moore; electric and dynamic playmakers who are used in a multitude of ways and play much bigger than their listed height would indicate. If the top 3 WRs are gone, and I expect them to be, then Reagor is the guy I’d target most for the Eagles.
— A2D Radio (@a2dradio_com) April 1, 2020
Other Favorable Targets (21 or 28):
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
Round 2, Pick 21 (53rd Overall)
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
“Why would you take another WR this early when there are other needs that need to be addressed?” That’s an argument I know many would make against this pick, and I completely understand where they’re coming from. However, while some may think that drafting one deep threat WR automatically meets the quota, I beg to differ. I still believe there’s a good chance that Alshon Jeffery isn’t on the roster at the start of the season. If that’s the case, the team would only have DeSean Jackson, Greg Ward, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside as their WR corps. Also, after the amount of injuries the Eagles have sustained along with the lack of a speed receiver in each of the past 2 seasons, you can’t have enough depth at that position. Therefore, just getting one explosive playmaker isn’t enough; it’s imperative that Roseman drafts multiple receivers with speed and dynamic playmaking ability.
I’m aware that LB is another position of dire need and that he needs to draft one pro-ready prospect for the defense. But there will be guys available in the 3rd round still, so passing on one here doesn’t mean it’s time to hit the panic button.
Other receivers like Devin Duvernay and John Hightower would be great options later, so I’m not opposed to going that route. But in the end, Hamler is just too dangerous of a player for me to pass up.
When it comes to the combination of play speed and quickness there’s no one in this WR class on Hamler’s level. He eats up cushion in an instant and immediately gets on top of corners who play him in off coverage. He’s flashed the ability to track the deep ball well and should be able to improve on it going forward. His nickname is “Joystick” because of his ability to execute sharp cuts at will. At any given moment he can make defenders miss in tight spaces and then kill their pursuit angles on his way to the end zone. That ability is showcased whenever he’s used as a runner or a returner. And to top it off, I love Hamler’s competitive edge. He may be small, but he isn’t afraid to be physical. Watch him on run plays and you’ll see a player who relentlessly competes from whistle to whistle. What holds Hamler back are his lack of size and drops, and both are legitimate concerns, the drops especially. Those concerns are valid. But when it comes to a player with the movement skills that he has, I’m willing to live with the drops a bit. Plus, drops can be fixed to a certain extent. He’ll never be the most sure-handed guy, but he can improve them.
There are examples of smaller WRs that never panned out as expected, but there are also examples of ones that have. I can understand the hesitancy in drafting Hamler with expectations of him being your team’s WR1. He’s not that type of receiver. However, in this scenario with Reagor being selected first, he wouldn’t have those expectations. Hamler can be a great WR2; someone who is best used as a complement to a WR1. I think Hamler could be this year’s version of Mecole Hardman, whom I loved last year too. And if he gets drafted by the Eagles, he’ll be able to learn from one of the most successful small receivers in NFL history, DeSean Jackson.
Adding both Reagor and Hamler to an Eagles’ offense that already has DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Miles Sanders as starters would make the passing attack flat out scary. Just as Roseman upgraded the offensive side of the ball significantly during the 2017 offseason to help Wentz’s development, it’s important to continue to build the roster with young offensive talent once again. Keep giving Wentz weapons.
Other Favorable Targets:
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Round 3, Pick 28 (92nd Overall)
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB,
Davis-Gaither needs to learn control and the appropriate times to slow down, but that’s a welcome problem to have if you’re getting a guy like him. He has a relentless motor that is paired with superb athleticism. His play speed going downhill and sideline-to-sideline is tremendous, and he has the quickness and agility to avoid blocks at a high rate to get to the quarterback or ball carrier. Davis-Gaither’s athleticism translates in coverage too. He’s able to stick in man coverage down the seams and can click-and-close well enough in spot zones. He just needs to fine-tune his spatial awareness as he can give up too much ground sometimes. His main flaw is that he’s more of a space player, not one who can shed blocks with power. But in Schwartz’s 4-3 Wide 9 scheme he won’t be asked to take on blockers as often. The Eagles’ defensive line creates gaps and its linebackers are tasked with attacking those gaps. Davis-Gaither would add much-needed speed to the 2nd level of the defense, something that has been missing since the departure of Mychal Kendricks and, to an extent, Jordan Hicks.
Other Favorable Targets:
Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
Willie Gay Jr, LB, Mississippi State
Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
Round 3, Pick 39 (103rd Overall)
Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
I can make an argument that safety, specifically a free safety capable of playing single-high, is a bigger need on this team than cornerback. There’s currently no long-term option on the roster, unless if the team views Avonte Maddox as one but that remains to be seen. Looking at the safeties in this draft class there aren’t many who can play a true centerfielder role. Ashtyn Davis might be the best one and would be a good option in the 2nd round. The next best prospect for that role after Davis would be Burgess.
Burgess isn’t a standout athlete. His speed and explosiveness are good but not great. He doesn’t have prototypical size for a safety either. However, what Burgess does excel in is his mental processing. He’s a highly intelligent player who shows great instincts for playing on the back end. He diagnoses plays and reacts correctly, resulting in him almost always being in a good position to make a play on the ball. Also, with him being a converted corner he does have the versatility to come down in the slot and play man coverage. And he’s not a liability in run support as a tackler either. He’s the type of player whose intangibles should help him have a long career in the NFL, even if he doesn’t end up being an elite talent. With the departure of Malcolm Jenkins and the uncertainty of Rodney McLeod’s long-term status with the team, Burgess would be an ideal fit for the Eagles defense and could fill in at FS during his rookie year if needed.
Other Favorable Targets:
Kenny Robinson Jr, S, XFL
Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis
Nick Harris, C, Washington
Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
Round 4, Pick 21 (127th Overall)
Reggie Robinson II, CB, Tulsa
While Roseman and the Eagles need to draft an outside CB within the first 4 rounds of the draft, I don’t see it being as dire of a need as WR, LB, or S. With Maddox and Sidney Jones competing for that outside spot opposite Darius Slay, one of them may play well enough there, at least in the short-term. Regardless, landing Robinson here in the 4th round would be an underrated acquisition.
What I love about Robinson is that he’s so well-rounded and there’s a lot to work with. He has a great blend of athleticism and length. He plays well in numerous coverages, whether it be man or zone, press or off, etc. He’s physical in both coverage and run support. Robinson’s best attribute though is his tremendous ball skills. Robinson is someone who has starter potential in a year or two if he can improve on his technique, which is his main weakness right now. He needs a coach to refine his game so he can best put his physical skills to use. Having Robinson on the roster would provide more competition for Maddox and Jones while also being a possible long-term investment for when Slay’s time is finished.
Round 4, Pick 39 (145th Overall)
Keith Ismael, IOL, San Diego State
Interior offensive line, specifically center, is a bigger need than some are making it out to be. We all know just how important Jason Kelce is to this offense. His elite football intelligence, competitive toughness, and athleticism have made him one of the best centers in the NFL, if not the best. With him getting up there in age and reports about him contemplating retirement it’s important to find his successor. I pondered going with Nick Harris a couple picks prior, but his lack of OG versatility wasn’t ideal. So that brought me to Ismael.
Ismael is very quick off the snap. He doesn’t have the best anchor and will have trouble one-on-one with powerful defensive linemen, but he plays with good leverage and his recovery skills help offset his deficiencies. Ismael’s overall athleticism and mobility are good, and he can be relied on when pulling and working into the second level. He plays with a tenacious motor and is always looking for work. His mental processing and overall football IQ are excellent. You can trust him with pre- and post-snap keys as he is always aware of what the defense is presenting. Ismael isn’t necessarily a high-upside prospect, but he has traits that make him a good backup option right now with solid starter potential down the line at any of the 3 interior positions.
Round 4, Pick 40 (146th Overall)
Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
The LB position for the Eagles is so barren that I’m picking another one here, and Taylor is a prospect who could catch the attention of fans once he gets on the field. Taylor has elite athleticism for the LB position. He gets downhill in a blink of an eye and has the agility and quickness to slip by blockers. In coverage, he’s able to stay in phase down the seam as well as mirror running backs sideline to sideline. If his skillset sounds familiar to Davis-Gaither’s, that’s because it is; he’s like a raw version of Davis-Gaither. So why would Taylor be available at this point in the draft? Because he’s very raw to the position. His mental processing and awareness just aren’t NFL ready yet (if you have time, research his background story and why he was such a late bloomer in high school). With Davis-Gaither already being selected a few picks prior, I would take a gamble on Taylor here. A pick like this could pay off big time in a few years. Taylor could end up being one of the biggest steals in this draft.
Round 5, Pick 23 (168th Overall)
Michael Warren II, RB, Cincinnati
With Miles Sanders and Boston Scott on the roster, the Eagles need to add a powerful, bruising RB to compete with Elijah Holyfield. AJ Dillon is a popular name amongst Eagles fans, especially after the success of Derrick Henry. But I’m a big fan of Warren and would love to see him in Philly. He’s a short and stocky runner with surprisingly agile feet and good power. What separates him from a lot of power runners is his ability as a receiver. He has great hands and is highly effective in the screen game. That type of skill set would be a welcome addition to the Eagles’ RB corps.
— A2D Radio (@a2dradio_com) April 3, 2020
Michael Warren II vs Boston College pic.twitter.com/JA41YpCWPJ
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) April 3, 2020
Round 7, Pick 11 (225th Overall)
Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
Honestly, I didn’t watch any of McDonald’s game film, so I don’t know much about him outside of the scouting reports that are available online. I just know that the Eagles have shown interest in him and that his draft profile seems like the type of prospect that Doug Pederson would love to develop as a future backup QB.