Extra Points Column: Time for Another Mock Draft
It's time for me to make a mock-ery of the NFL draft again.
Like everyone else, I really have no clue what's going to happen in Thursday's first round. The first three picks - LSU quarterback Joe Burrow to Cincinnati, Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young to Washington, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah to Detroit - are considered locks, but the rest of the opening round is a crap shoot.
That's especially true with the Eagles. With Joe Douglas now calling the shots for the New York Jets, it's going to be up to general manager Howie Roseman and vice-president of player personnel Andy Weidl to pick the players that they feel will help the Eagles reach the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season in 2020, if there is a season, that is.
Roseman has the reputation for being aggressive during the draft and he'll need to be if the Eagles want to wind up with one of the top-rated wide receivers. There's been talk they're trying to move up for Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. Or they may stay at 21 and hope that LSU's Justin Jefferson falls to them.
I have a feeling Jefferson will be gone by then, which means they could either grab Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk or shock everyone and draft a linebacker such as LSU's Patrick Queen or Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray. The Eagles haven't taken a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979, but they need help at that position after losing Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill to free agency.
There's also the possibility they move back if they feel Aiyuk, Queen or Murray will still be on the board in the mid-20s and acquire a few extra picks to go with the eight total they currently own.
Much of the intrigue revolves around the actual picking of the players. Originally scheduled for Las Vegas, it's being done remotely in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with each team make its picks from home. Supposedly, the trial run held on Monday did not go well.
Apparently, our local teachers have been able to conduct virtual classes with Zoom, Google classroom or other platforms - my family and friends had a great time playing trivia on House Party last week - but the NFL has been unable to get the bugs out of their draft process.
Assuming they are able to iron out the glitches, here's one opinion of how the first round will unfold Thursday. Spoiler alert: the Eagles get some help for Carson Wentz.
1. Cincinnati - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: No-brainer.
2. Washington - Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State: He'll be chasing Wentz for the next decade.
3. Detroit - Jeff Okunah, CB, Ohio State: Lions get their replacement after trading Darius Slay to Philly.
4. New York Giants - Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama: They desperately need help up front.
5. Miami - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: He'll be throwing to Southern Regional High School grad Mike Gesicki.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: If he's healthy, Chargers have their next franchise QB.
7. Carolina - Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: There are a lot of Tigers fans in Charlotte who would love this pick.
8. Arizona - Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa: Cardinals need to protect Kyler Murray.
9. Jacksonville - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida: Jaguars badly need some stability on defense.
10. Cleveland - Mekhi Beckton, OL, Louisville: Another team with issues on the offensive line.
11. New York Jets - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: Jets begin the run on wide receivers.
12. Las Vegas - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: Apparently signing Nelson Agholor wasn't enough.
13. San Francisco - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: 49ers get a dangerous slot receiver.
14. Tampa Bay - Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia: Now that he's reunited with Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady gets his new bodyguard.
15. Denver - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: Eagles are not happy.
16. Atlanta - Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State: Falcons need to replace St. Augustine Prep grad Jack Crawford, who signed with Tennessee.
17. Dallas - K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU: Another pass rusher for Wentz to worry about.
18. Miami - Austin Jackson, T, USC: Herbert will need protection.
19. Oakland - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: Eagles are really not happy.
20. Jacksonville - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: They never should have traded Nick Foles.
21. EAGLES - Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: He'll make an impact as a receiver and returner.
22. Minnesota - A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson: Vikings lost several defensive backs in free agency.
23. New England - A.J. Epensa, DE, Iowa: Look for the Patriots to move up for a quarterback.
24. New Orleans - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: Saints can always use defensive help.
25. Minnesota - Matt Hennessey, C/G, Temple: Eagles were hoping to take him later as Jason Kelce's heir apparent.
26. Miami - D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia: Salem native Jonathan Taylor is also a possibility.
27. Seattle - Joshua Jones, T, Houston: Russell Wilson didn't get much help last season.
28. Baltimore - Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: It's a two-hour drive to Baltimore from Salem.
29. Tennessee - Kristan Fulton, CB, LSU: Titans get their replacement for Logan Ryan.
30. Green Bay - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons.
31. San Francisco - Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan: Joins North Wildwood summer resident Mike McGlinchey on 49ers' offensive line.
32. Kansas City - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: Chiefs need to stop opposing offenses once in a while.