The Eagles offseason has been eventful, to say the least. While trading a player you once considered the franchise quarterback is about as big of a move as an organization can make, I expect the rest of the offseason to be relatively normal. Next in the crosshairs: free agency. After that? The NFL Draft.
The Eagles have a total of nine selections in this April’s draft, beginning with the sixth overall pick in the first round. With the month of February coming to a close and the offseason in full swing post-Wentz trade, there’s no better time for our first Eagles-only mock draft of the season (courtesy of The Draft Network simulator).
This mock saw Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Penei Sewell, JaMarr Chase, & DeVonta Smith come off the board in the first five picks, and Fields (my QB3) was available (though I‘d also be fine with Trey Lance). There’s a very real chance three QBs are off the board before the pick at six, in which case the Eagles might need to be aggressive to move up and get “their guy,” but that’s a conversation for another day.
Round 1 (pick 6)
Justin Fields QB, Ohio State
Franchise quarterback is the team’s biggest need, and seizing on a high pick in a four-deep class is vital. For more on why QB is the best (and in my opinion) only option at six, you can find that argument here.
Fields is a 6’3” 225 lb athlete with a physical build and howitzer for an arm. A former five-star recruit who began his college career at Georgia before transferring to the Buckeyes, he has an easy delivery and dynamic arm talent. He knows how to tap into an athletic base to make impressive throws all over the field and into different windows. While his accuracy is good not great, he’s a natural thrower on the move and a natural playmaker on the ground.
The knock on Fields comes with his processing ability—making complex reads, decision-making against tight coverage—but that’s natural coming from the spread offense he played in at Ohio State, and it’s not unlike similar problems that Hurts still has. Sticking with that comparison, he’s bigger, faster, quicker, and throws with more accuracy and velocity. The physical tools and overall talent is unquestionable, and Howie can’t take this opportunity for granted.
Round 2 (pick 38)
Trevon Moehrig S, TCU
While every position is a need, the secondary has been lacking for a decade and continues to be the biggest weakness on that side of the ball. Plus, new coordinator Jonathan Gannon is a secondary coach by trade, and having dynamic players on the back end is key to running the single-high, cover 3 match concepts he favored in Indy.
Moehrig is the 23rd ranked player on my big board, and the Eagles would be wise to jump on him if he’s available at 38. Here’s what I wrote on him a few weeks ago:
“Moehrig is the most complete safety prospect in the class, excelling in single-high, in the box defending the run, and in man coverage. He’s a plus-athlete (not overly-explosive), instinctive in zone, and aggressive attacking the point of catch. While he’s a physical/willing tackler, he‘ll need to refine his technique to hang at the next level. There’s a lot to like here, and teams with a need at safety will be pleased with Moehrig, who can do a little bit of everything.”
Round 3 (pick 70)
Marlon Tuipulotu DT, USC
Investing in the trenches is key to a fast re-tool, and with Malik Jackson being released and Cox on his way out after next season the Eagles could use a body at the already thin defensive tackle spot.
Tuipulotu projects as an every down 3-tech in a 4-3 front, where he’ll primarily excel as a run-stuffer with doses of pass rush production. For 310 lbs. he moves light on his feet and possesses desirable body control. Pair that with advanced play recognition, sound technique, and a relentless motor, and you have one of the more complete DT prospects in the class.
Though not an elite athlete, he definitely has the twitch and reactive traits to make a real impact in the NFL. That being said, while he was available in this mock, I have doubts about a prospect like this being available in this range when we get to April.
Round 3 (pick 84)
Amari Rodgers WR, Clemson
Of all the holes on this roster none have been more headline-grabbing than at WR, and while it’s tempting to draft one in the first two rounds, the depth of this class (and overall market inefficiency of mid-round receivers) lends itself to waiting for value in rounds 3 or 4.
Rodgers developed a strong rapport with Trevor Lawerence throughout his career as Clemson’s starting slot receiver—amassing 85 catches, 1,001 yards and 8 TDs between 2018 and ‘19 before a breakout 2020 saw him grow into the go-to guy out of a thin receiver group (topping 1,000 yards and 7 TDs).
The classic stockier slot guy who’s built like a RB, Rodgers is fluid and sudden working in and out of breaks, and while he lacks elite burst, he’s a smart route-runner with reliable hands; developing good timing with his quarterback is vital to him finding success as a pro. He also possesses enough YAC ability to threaten defenses with manufactured touches in the screen game, the return game, and on jet sweeps and end arounds.
Reagor is in line to be the Z wideout in Sirianni’s offense, which leaves the team with voids at the “X” spot and in the slot; this pick hopefully solves the latter, providing help over the middle for Fields/Hurts.
Round 4 (pick 136)
Seth Williams WR, Auburn
In this mock I have them trading 151 and 155 overall to the Dolphins in order to move up 15 spots and get a guy with good value for this range.
With the very next pick they go for a prospect they hope can develop into a viable “X“ wideout, essentially filling the Alshon role of releasing off press coverage and winning with physicality along the sideline. Travis Fulgham is in house ready to compete for these snaps, but given reports of him lacking work ethic, the team needs to bring in fresh competition.
Williams availability speaks to the depth of this WR class, and at 6’3” 210 lbs. he has the physical build that NFL teams covet for this role. He’s not particularly quick, but he uses strength and improving technique to consistently release vs press coverage. While he’ll never truly separate from his man, his ball skills are excellent—displaying good feel, body control, and strong hands through the point of catch.
There’s really nothing to dislike about Williams. He may not be a burner, a major YAC threat, or be jittery in and out of breaks, but his projection as an “X” receiver in this league is rock solid. For what it’s worth, more competent QB play at Auburn would have allowed his talent/skillset to shine more, and because of that there’s more value here than what meets the eye.
Round 6 (pick 192)
Olaijah Griffin CB, USC
At this range of the draft the Eagles shouldn’t be looking for “lottery tickets” or elite athletes to develop, but instead players who have projectable skillets to their scheme and who could provide depth roles to a roster that‘ll need contributions from multiple rookies in 2021.
Griffin—the son of Warren G—is six feet tall with a long wingspan that allows him to be disruptive at the LOS and at the point of catch. He’s a fairly fluid athlete with good long speed and the overall traits to hang outside in the NFL. His skillset suggests a seamless fit in terms of handing the responsibilities of Gannon’s match cover-three defense, and good zone awareness and ability to decipher complex route combinations should allow him to see the field sooner than some suggest.
Corners that have projectable (and often scheme-specific) skillsets can always be found late, and the Eagles ought to be searching for replacement level corners in this range. Similar to WR, shopping mid-to-late rounds for prospects in the secondary is a good way to find value (i.e.: the gap between 2nd round corners and 6th round corners is smaller than between 2nd rd OL/DL and 6th rd OL/DL).
Round 6 (pick 220)
Camryn Bynum CB, California
A prospect in the same mold as the previously mentioned Griffin, Bynum is six feet, long arms, physical, etc… the only difference is less long speed. However, that should be less of an issue assuming the Eagles do in fact run the match cover three concepts that Gannon did in Indy. Bynum is equally adept at navigating zone coverages and deciphering route combinations, and at the risk of beating this point to death, this pick (same as the last) is all about fit, fit, fit.
Round 7 (pick 228)
Elijah Mitchell RB, Louisiana
Highly-productive in college, Mitchell would add depth to the RB room. There’s nothing sexy about his game but he provides a little bit of everything. He runs low and hard through contact, and has enough wiggle to pair with his urgency as a runner. He’s more powerful than his size suggests, and clearly runs behind all 218 lbs. on tape. Mitchell doesn’t have elite twitch or much burst but he’s an impressive athlete nonetheless. On top of that, soft hands and a good feel for pass-catching adds a dynamic that team’s should covet in a depth role.