I know the Eagles season to a bitter end on Sunday, but I must admit, diving head first into Mock Draft Season is going to be a blast this offseason. With three first round picks to play around with, the possibilities are truly endless.
I’ve yet to make any trades in my first-round mock drafts, but I decided to change it up a bit with this one. I was able to pull off a trade with the New York Giants to move all the way up to fifth overall. I figured since they have the fifth and seventh overall picks, they may be more willing to move back in the first round. And it turns out their virtual general manager agreed.
In this scenario, the Eagles give up the 16th overall selection in this year’s draft, along with a third round pick in 2023 to move up to five.
Let’s jump right into this first-round mock, starting with fifth overall…
5th overall, CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
*Trade* Eagles receive [5th overall pick] — Giants receive [16th overall pick, 2023 third-round pick]
After Derek Stingley Jr.‘s freshman year in 2019, a year in which he helped guide LSU to a National Championship, his top-10 status in any draft he entered was all but solidified. By most accounts, he’s a generational talent at the cornerback position and will undoubtedly be the first corner off the board come draft night.
His final two seasons at LSU were inconsistent, but he dealt with a bevy of coaching changes and nagging injuries. His tape still speaks for itself. Stingley does everything at a high level. Standing at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, he has prototypical size for an NFL corner. He has the speed to keep up with fast receivers and his foot work is second to none. The way he’s able to mirror receivers in man coverage is outstanding and his football IQ shines when he’s playing zone — using his smarts to read a quarterback’s eyes, along with anticipating routes.
What really separates Stingley from the competition is his ball skills. During his freshman campaign where he won the Jim Thorpe award as the best defensive back in the country, Stingley hauled in six interceptions and earned a 91.7 PFF grade, all at just 18 years old.
During his three-year career in the Bayou, Stingley allowed a 41.1 completion percentage when targeted, and he surrendered just seven touchdowns his entire career.
While corner isn’t the biggest need facing the Eagles defense, adding a prospect of Stingley’s caliber could completely change the complexion of Jonathan Gannon’s defense. For the first time in a long time, the Eagles would have a long-term solution at the cornerback position.
16th overall, LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
While Nakobe Dean gets a lot of the linebacker spotlight from this year’s linebacker class, and rightfully so, Utah’s Devin Lloyd is right there as the best all-around backer in this year’s draft class.
Standing at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Llyod is as athletic as they come at the linebacker position. Filling holes to take on blocks and track down ball carriers, check. Covering tight ends and running backs at a high level, check. Rushing the passer on blitzes at an efficient rate, check. Lloyd is the full package.
His 2021 campaign was his best season to date, tallying 111 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, seven sacks, four interceptions, six pass deflections, one forced fumble and fumble recovery, oh, and he also found the end zone twice. Dude is a stat sheet stuffer at the linebacker position.
After his athleticism is on full display at this year’s combine, his draft stock will certainly rise. But if he remains on the board at 16, the Eagles should absolutely take him.
19th overall, EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, FSU
As the Eagles transition away from Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan, they’ll need so supplement those losses with draft picks, and maybe even a free agency acquisition. Jermaine Johnson II out of Florida State would be a step in the right direction.
Johnson recorded 46 total pressure and 11.5 sacks for the Seminoles in 2021. He’s a big bodied pass rusher, standing at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, and he possesses the versatility to play in a multitude of alignments. At FSU, Johnson played standing up on the edge, with his hand in the dirt over tackle, and he even played some outside linebacker.
His athleticism really jumps off the tape. Johnson ran a 4.5 40-yard dash in high school and that speed shows up in his pursuit of ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. Along with his speed, he possesses an explosive first step and has showcased impressive lateral agility on pass rushing downs.
Johnson isn’t the best pass rushing prospect in this draft, but he has all the potential to be exceptional at the next level. Giving him time to develop alongside Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat would pay dividends down the road when he’s the full-time starter.
Eagles fans should be ecstatic if Howie is able to pull off a first-round like this. Two defensive starters with the first two picks, one of which is the No.1 corner in the draft class. Along with a solid pass rusher to inject some youth back into this defensive line.
Defense should be the top priority during draft night. Adding blue chip prospects at every level of the defense is key, regardless of position. Stingley, Lloyd, and Johnson would be outstanding building blocks for Gannon’s unit.