This morning we released a profile on Cesar Ruiz, the highest rated interior lineman prospect in not just the 2020 class, but arguably the past few years. It’s never a bad idea to invest a first round pick in the trenches, but it feels more likely that they try to address that on day two or three. Here are three prospects who would make sense.
Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU
Cushenberry is generally being mocked in the early second round, but if there’s a scenario where he falls to 53 the Eagles will certainly give him a look. His combination of flexibility, balance, and power is tailor-made for an NFL lineman.
He can seamlessly slide between center and guard, where he can push Seumalo from day one and give the team optionality along the line for years to come. As most centers tend to be, Cushenberry is intelligent and shows good instincts as a blocker.
He’s more powerful than he is light on his feet, but you wouldn’t mistake him for being stiff (his mobility is average)—all this means he likely profiles better at guard for the Eagles considering they way they use Kelce in space (though it’s not like they’ll be beholden to that after he’s gone).
Out of all the lineman on this list, Cushenberry is the least likely to be an Eagle for a variety of reasons, but if a talent like him falls to 53 they’d be foolish not to consider him.
Nick Harris, Washington
I selected Harris in my most recent mock draft (using a pick I added from a trade back in the first round) and he’s one of the most athletic lineman in the class.
Harris can play both guard and center, and has the sort of functional athleticism the Eagles love out of their lineman. He plays great in space, has sound footwork/hand technique, and possesses an advanced understanding of leverage and angles that allows him to compensate for physical limitations.
He profiles better as a center for the Birds because of his high IQ and ability to execute blocks in space, but he would hold up fine at guard as well. He could stand to get a touch stronger, but what he lacks in brute strength he makes up for with good balance and a tenacious on-field demeanor.
I’ll be surprised if he falls to 103 given the limited availability of lineman with his mobile skillset, but if Howie adds another top 100 pick in a trade back then Harris could be a guy he’s targeting.
Matt Hennessy, Temple
Hennessy was a three year starter at center for Temple, and he profiles as a perfect fit in our blocking scheme.
He’s a tad undersized and lacking in functional strength, but he makes up for that with excellent technique and a high IQ. He pairs good body control with impressive lateral agility to make for one of the more mobile IOL in the class—the exact type of player the Eagles should be looking for as an eventual replacement for Kelce.
Hennessy is tough as nails and was accordingly rewarded with a single-digit jersey number at Temple—an honor reserved for the team’s toughest leaders. He has the tools to excel in space, and the knock about his strength is overblown. He has all the intangibles you could want in a player, and if he’s available at 103 the Eagles should consider adding their center of the future.