Eagles go heavy on defense in Mel Kiper Jr.’s NFL mock draft 1.0
Mel Kiper Jr. released his first NFL mock draft as the Eagles prepare for their NFC Championship game with the San Francisco 49ers.
There will be many opinions when it comes to who the Philadelphia Eagles should select at No. 10 overall in the 2023 draft, Kiper sees the Eagles sticking to their guns.
Remember, while the Eagles are getting ready for a big game, they still have a Top 10 pick, based on the trade they made with the New Orleans Saints.
Kiper has Philadelphia taking a defensive tackle in Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey.
Kancey's 2022 tape is extremely impressive, and I moved him way up my Big Board. He wreaked havoc the past two seasons, racking up 13.5 sacks when lined up as a defensive tackle, the most in the country. At 6-foot, 280 pounds, he's undersized, but so was former Pitt tackle Aaron Donald. (To be clear, he's not Donald, but he's still pretty good.) We know Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman invests heavily in the D-line, and Kancey would fit next to 2022 first-rounder Jordan Davis.
Among defensive tackles, only Georgia's tackle Jalen Carter, at No. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears, is off the board before Philadelphia takes Kencey is up in Kiper’s mock draft.
He had a tremendous year, compiling 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks and led all interior defenders with 14.5 TFLs as a senior.
We all know the Eagles love to build on both lines, but they cold be losing Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox in free agency, and adding a Top-10 talent wouldnt be a surpsise with this pick.
With their second pick in the first-round, which for this exercise came in at No. 30 overall. Kiper has the Eagles going to Alabama safety Brian Branch, with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson potentially being too expensive to bring back.
In that case, this pick is the best like-for-like replacement -- Branch can play as a slot corner or a deep center fielder, filling Gardner-Johnson's shoes. Branch is my top-ranked safety, but he'll be a cornerback on some teams' boards. I projected the Eagles to add a defensive tackle with the No. 10 pick, and injecting this defense with young talent should be their offseason priority.
Branch was a very important player on the Crimson Tide defense, recording 90 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks, seven pass breakups, two interceptions, a pair of quarterback hurries and also added two punt returns for 65 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown.
The NFL Draft is in Kansas City on April 27–29 and can be heard right here on 97.3 ESPN.