Philadelphia Eagles Go Defense-Heavy in ESPN 7-Round Mock Draft
After watching the Eagles wrap up their 2021 season that ended with a 9-8 mark and a ugly NFC Wild Card round exit, the Philadelphia Eagles have plenty of holes to fill in the upcoming NFL Draft.
ESPN analyst Jordan Reid has the Eagles addressing a number of those defensive holes in his seven-round mock draft released Monday, taking seven players on the defensive side of the ball with their 10 overall picks.
First up, the Eagles nab Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie at No. 15.
Time to break the streak for the Eagles? They haven't drafted a corner in the first round since Lito Sheppard in 2002. McDuffie makes a lot of sense here. Although he doesn't have the prototypical size (5-foot-11) or length for an outside corner, he plays much bigger than his size.
He is an intense run defender and isn't afraid to come up to the line of scrimmage and strike ball carriers. He played primarily zone coverage with the Huskies but has potential as a man corner because of his quick feet, patient technique and strong instincts.
Philadelphia’s secondary could use some reinforcements after losing Steven Nelson in free agency. Outside of Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, the Eagles’ cornerback room includes Kary Vincent, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott, Tay Gowan, Craig James, Jared Mayden and Mac McCain III.
Adding to Philadelphia’s defense didn’t stop there, with pick No. 18, Reid has the Eagles landing Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis.
Karlaftis is a tough defender with plenty of pop in his hands, but he won't be a fit for every defense. His versatility to play down the line of scrimmage will likely appeal to the Eagles even though his upside might not be as high as that of some of the other edge rushers in this class.
Karlaftis projects as a starter in defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon's scheme as a base end.
Though Reid feels Karlaftis doesn't fit into every defense, the analyst feels he is a good fit for Jonathan Gannon, projecting him as a starter as a base defensive end.
With Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett the lone returning ends who played meaningful snaps last season and Brandon Graham coming off a Achilles injury, adding more depth to the defensive end room is key this offseason.
The Eagles finally add a linebacker in Round 2, taking Alabama's Christian Harris at No. 51. Its no secret the Eagles need more help at the linebacker position and Harris would be an excellent addition to Gannon's defense.
General manager Howie Roseman is notorious for devaluing the second level of the defense, but Harris provides a lot of value for a team that desperately needs help at off-ball linebacker.
Reid then used Philadelphia's first of two third-round picks on offense, adding wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson from Kentucky.
Robinson had a magical season for the Wildcats after transferring from Nebraska. At 5-foot-8, 178 pounds, he could line up all over the offense. With a creative offensive mind like Nick Sirianni, his skill set could flourish.
Robinson caught 104 passes for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns with Kentucky.
Reid went back to the defensive side of the ball with pick No. 101, adding Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook.
The muscle of the Bearcats' secondary, Cook is a physical safety who changes the outlook of a team's run defense from the first day he's on the field. He also has value in coverage in split-safety looks, which is what Philadelphia specializes in under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
This would give the Eagles both a corner and safety in the top three rounds of the draft.
As we get into the third day of the draft, it was right back to the defensive side of the ball and the secondary. After taking a corner in Round 4 last year, Reid has them going there again in the fourth-round again, taking Zyon McCollum of Sam Houston State, who had the third-best 40-time at 4.36 seconds and finished with a career 13 interceptions and six force fumbles.
The Eagles have three picks in round five, with the first one, its back to the defensive line, adding Virginia Tech edge rusher Amare Barno. Barno made 78 total tackles (21.5 for loss) and 10 sacks in his two seasons at Virginia Tech and ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the combine. At pick No. 162 in Round 5, the Eagles finally dip their toes into the offensive side of things, taking Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. Robinson is coming off a 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns seasons, adding 35 catches for 296 yards and two scores. With their third pick in round five, they add to the offensive line, with 6-foot-6, 328-pound Tennessee tackle Cade Mays, who started 10 games for the Vols at right tackle in 2021.
Finally, the Eagles do not have a sixth-round pick, so Reid used Philadelphia’s seventh-round pick on Michigan defensive tackle Chris Hinton (No. 237), adding more depth to the interior of the Eagles defensive line.
The NFL Draft being on Thursday April 28th.