The NFL Draft is finally just a week away and anticipation (more of a anxious excitement for Eagles fans) is obviously building.
The Eagles officially have eleven picks in the upcoming draft: (Round 1) 12th overall, (2) 37, (3) 70, (3) 83, (4) 123, (5) 150, (6) 189, (6) 224, (6) 225, (7) 234, & (7) 240. The way I see it, the team’s biggest needs are secondary and wide receiver, with every other position coming in a close third (rosters this decimated can’t afford to be picky).
Round 1 (pick 12)
Patrick Surtain, Alabama CB
I had what I felt was a choice between Surtain and fellow Bama product Jaylen Waddle, and opted for the safer bet in Surtain. I don’t expect him to be available at 12, but if he slips out of the top 10 the Birds shouldn’t hesitate to scoop him up.
Surtain comes from an NFL bloodline and looks every bit of it. His size (6’2” 208 lbs), length, athleticism, and overall physicality are elite for a corner; and strong technique—particularly in press-man coverage—puts his stock over the top. The one knock compared to other top CB prospects is a lack of top-end speed, but a 4.42-40 at his pro day should satisfy NFL scouts. This is a blue-chip prospect who should start in a man-heavy scheme and excel from day one.
Round 2 (pick 37)
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss WR
I mocked Moore here a few weeks back and he was once again my favorite option left on the board. There are a handful of wideouts in this range who I like, but he’s my preferred of the bunch. Here’s what I wrote a few weeks ago:
“Moore is undersized at 5’9”, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for him. He possesses elite change of direction skills, soft hands, and is equally tough at the point of catch as he is through contact after the catch. Despite his size he’s a real playmaker downfield, where he does a good job of tracking, adjusting to, and high-pointing throws in his vicinity. To boot, Moore absolutely feasts against man coverage, and as his route-running sharpens he’ll become even more uncoverable in this regard. While there is some doubt around his ability to release from press coverage on the outside, he’s talented enough to be a WR1 in this league solely from the slot.”
The more I watch and read about Moore the more I fall in love with him. While he’s projected to go in the early-second round reports indicate that his stock is rising as we get closer to Draft night.
Round 3 (pick 70)
Andre Cisco, Syracuse S
A torn ACL this past season has dampened Cisco’s stock a little, but evaluators aren’t ignoring the level of athleticism and playmaking he brings to the table. If he’s available at 70 the Eagles should absolutely gamble on the health of his knee for the opportunity to add a prospect who is otherwise considered a late-first, early-second round talent.
With both of the team’s projected starting safeties being over 30 years old the team needs to prepare for the future, and Cisco projects as an eventual starter on the back end where he’ll excel in deep zone coverage. There are concerns about his ability to play “centerfield” as a lone deep safety, and his man reps should be limited to backs and tight ends, but he possesses all the tools and playmaking instincts to succeed in two and three-deep looks where he can keep his eyes on the QB and play aggressive.
Round 3 (pick 83)
Ben Cleveland, Georgia IOL
The Eagles are far more settled at OL (both starting and depth) than some give them credit for, but given Howie’s draft record we shouldn’t rule them out of adding young talent at the position. Cleveland has legitimate NFL size and strength to dominate on the interior, and while I think he’ll hear his name called before 83, if he’s available the Birds should take a hard look at adding a lineman who has ample experience at the highest level of college ball.
He’s only an average athlete for his size but I don’t think he’ll be as scheme-limited as some evaluators suggest (though he definitely shouldn’t be asked to block and bend in space on the regular). His desired combination of strength, size, and passable athleticism (he ran an impressive 4.85-40 at his pro day) should check enough boxes for every NFL team. Although there may be better fits out there than Philly, he’ll definitely be on Howie’s radar.
*TRADE* Eagles receive [112 overall]—Lions receive [123 & 224 overall]
Round 4 (pick 112)
Benjamin St. Juste, Minnesota CB
This is another repeat from an earlier mock, and I even moved up a few spots to secure him this time around. When prospects with these tools fall through the cracks Howie needs to pounce on them.
St. Juste isn’t the most polished product, but he has the desired length and requisite athleticism to enamor pro scouts; he’s well-equipped to battle at the LOS in press coverage and contest at the point of catch. While he stands to improve from a technical standpoint—with his ability to process route combinations in off-coverage being a major swing trait—these tools are impossible to pass up this late in the draft.
Round 5 (pick 150)
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame TE
With Ertz presumably on his way out the TE position could use some youth. In this range of the draft you either find a prospect with untapped potential, or one who projects as nothing more than a depth piece, and I went with the latter here.
Tremble is an athletic blocker who is most effective when detached from the line and asked to make blocks in space/on the move. He was never a prolific receiver at Notre Dame (he’s not a sharp route runner) but he’s a decent enough athlete to make plays with the ball in his hands after the catch. He profiles best as a TE2 in a spread, run-heavy offense that can maximize his value in play action—a skillset the Eagles should covet with Hurts under center.
Round 6 (pick 189)
Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana RB
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.
Round 7 (pick 225)
Larry Borom, Missouri OL
Borom is limited athletically but he’s experienced all along the line and has the desired strength/size to stick in the NFL as a backup. Some evaluators see potential here if he’s able to tap into more athleticism and make strides from a technical standpoint, but others think he is what he is—a career backup/special teamer at best. Nonetheless he’s a body worth adding this late in the draft.
Round 7 (pick 234)
Dax Milne, BYU WR
Milne possesses good size, foot speed, and adequate route-running ability that makes for a solid base skillset. If he can become more physical at the LOS and and stronger at the top of his routes he could make a living as a depth WR on the outside, or a big slot who finds the soft spot against zone coverage. Consider Milne a low-ceiling possession receiver with early special teams appeal.
Round 7 (pick 240)
Quinton Bohanna, Kentucky DL
Bohanna is a thick run-stuffer who‘ll likely be targeted by odd-front teams because of his profile mainly as a nose tackle, but that shouldn’t preclude the Birds from adding someone who can eat blocks in the middle of the defense. At this range of the draft you’re looking for depth, and Bohanna is the mold of a DT4 who plays an unselfish role on obvious run downs.
I like the top half of this mock more than I do my last few picks, but you can’t win ‘em all. Surtain, Moore, and even Cisco should be plug-and-play rookies, and Cleveland wouldn’t be far behind as the next man up at guard. Throw in a real lottery ticket in St. Juste and a dynamic role player in Tremble and I can’t complain about this outcome.
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