The draft is absolutely essential for any team who is trying to make a deep playoff run. A good draft class can boost a team into playoff contention, while a bad one can set them back a couple of years. Last year, the years scored on Dillard and Sanders, but seem to have missed on JJ Arcega Whiteside. The rest of the draft was lackluster, and the Eagles are now sitting at pick 21 with the future of the organization at stake. The Eagles are the second oldest team in the NFL, and infusing youth into the organization is imperative. This draft has massive repercussions on the future of the Eagles. The importance of the 2020 draft cannot be stressed enough.
Round One: Tee Higgins, WR from Clemson
It’s no doubt that the biggest weakness of the 2019 Eagles was the wide receiver position. Drafting a 6 foot 4, 215 pound receiver with an unbelievable catch radius and proactive athleticism will certainly help with that issue. There are other receivers that the Eagles could select such as Justin Jefferson, but Higgins feels to be a better fit. This is also assuming that Henry Ruggs is not available, and if he runs the 40 yard dash at the combine, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be available at 21. Even still, Tee Higgins would be a great selection that not many fans would disagree with.
Round Two: AJ Terrell, CB from Clemson
Another Clemson product, Terrell is excellent in man to man coverage, something that will certainly fit well with Schwartz’s scheme. He’s got range, height, and excels in press coverage. His only issue is tackling, but as long as we have quick, versatile linebackers and safeties, the Eagles should be able to hide him in that regard. Overall, Terrell is another solid pick at a position of need. That’s a common theme in this mock draft.
Round Three: Michael Pinckney, OLB from Miami
The future of Nigel Bradham in an Eagles uniform is in question. Many, like myself, believe that the Eagles should decline his option and let him explore free agency. That being said, LB is a position of need and the departure of Bradham would only hurt our LB core. Pinckney is a sure tackler and is able to record a sack here and there. The only issue is his pass defense, but much like we did with Bradham, we can hide him in coverage. Think of this pick as replacing Bradham with a guy with a similar skillset, just very raw. With the right coaching, he can develop very well.
Round Four: Leki Fotu, DT from Utah
I hate to say it, but Cox and Jernigan aren’t going to last forever. Neither is Malik Jackson. And drafting a young guy with potential (like Fotu) would be wise because he can learn behind Cox and our other elite interior linemen. Fotu is raw, yes, but then again it is the 4th round. He has strong hands, an excellent two gap player, and has a tremendous tackle radius in the backfield. He can stop the run, but doesn’t look versatile enough to play multiple gaps. But if we could find a sure run stopper in Round 4, it would be a solid pick.
Round Five: Jace Whittaker, CB/S from Arizona
Jace Whittaker was a CB who converted into Safety his senior year. His instincts led him to succeed at that position. His football IQ compensated for his short and skinny frame (5 foot 9 inches) and he has a similar playstyle to Avonte Maddox. Maddox has also been considered to make the transformation to safety. The two can compete and make the each other better.
Round Five (via the Patriots): Bryce Sterk, DE, Montana State
Never hurts to have more pass rushers right? Especially in Schwartz’s scheme, the more pass rushers the better. Sterk is a towering 6 foot 5 inches and can get to the QB in a hurry. He was second in the Big Sky in sacks and why not take another chance on a small school player? It worked for Carson Wentz. He struggles with quickness, but his strength made up for that in college. The transition from a small school in Montana to the NFL may be tough, but it is worth the risk, especially in the 5th round.
Round Six (via the Falcons): Cesar Ruiz, Center, Michigan
It’s very probable that Ruiz doesn’t fall this low. I wouldn’t be shocked if we select him in the 5th or even 4th round, but I’m feeling ambitious this mock draft. Ruiz is a special talent. He is powerful, quick, and athletic. And if you haven’t noticed, the common theme in this draft is to draft successors to our veteran players. Ruiz is exactly that. Kelce is not getting any younger and quite frankly, the Eagles playbook extremely reliant on Kelce and his mobility. Think about all the screens we run; I can’t name one other center who can do what Kelce can do. If Ruiz cuts a few pounds he can model Kelce a little bit. And Kelce can act as a mentor to Ruiz.