If Howie truly wants to get younger like he mentioned in his press conference, this draft is essential for the future of the Eagles’ franchise. The Eagles have eight total picks in this draft thanks to three compensatory picks handed out because of previous free agents who left the team. Various reports are being thrown out regarding the players that are being considered for the 21st pick, but it’s prime smokescreen season. Any report could be entirely false and a leak by a team in order to make their pick more valued in trade talks. With that being said, here’s my mock draft without any trades.
Round 1 Pick 21 – LSU WR Justin Jefferson
Pro Comparison – Marvin Jones
It’s hard to see why anyone doesn’t like Jefferson. Maybe they like another wide out more or believe Jefferson is a slot guy, but Jefferson ticks all of the boxes coaches are looking for in a wide receiver. He’s a tremendous route runner with solid hands (only dropped 5% of the balls thrown at him) who can track and high point the ball well. Through playing with Joe Brady at LSU, he proved that he is ready for a pro style offense and his performance against Oklahoma was nothing short of spectacular. He had 14 catches for 227 yards and 4 TDs in one of the most important games of his lifetime. He’s a baller. Ballers know how to get open and make plays. A constant knock I see on him is his inability to play on the outside as he sometimes struggled with press releases and physical corners. As Jefferson fills out his frame at the next level, this weakness should become less and less apparent. It’s tough to knock on Jefferson for his football ablity. People always seem to point to the fact that he received less attention playing next to Ja’Marr Chase or that Joe Burrow made him look good. But game film doesn’t lie. And when you look at the film, Jefferson can ball out.
Round 2 Pick 53 – Southern Illinois SS (maybe LB?) Jeremy Chinn
Pro comparison – Jaquiski Tartt
I know we already have three very capable safeties rostered for next year but Chinn’s versatility makes more than just another safety. He has the height, wingspan and physicality to become a LB in today’s NFL and that’s what I believe we should do with him: convert Chinn to LB. He’s 6’3″, 220 lbs, and has a wingspan of almost 6’5″. If he can bulk up a bit and reach the 230-240 mark, the Eagles would have a legit LB prospect in the locker room. His playstyle in college resembles a LB from a physicality standpoint; he was one of the best tacklers in the FCS. Even his body control and toughness resembles that of a LB prospect. The issue with this transition would be that he comes from a relatively small school against poor competition. The switch from FCS competition to NFL competition is no joke especially given the small school Chinn comes from. It may be too many moving parts for Chinn to handle, but even as a Safety, Chinn should excel under Jim Schwartz.
Round 3 Pick 103 – Florida WR Van Jefferson
Pro comparison – Rashard Higgins
There’s a lot to love about Florida WR Van Jefferson. Unfortunately there is a lot to hate about him too. For one, he’ll be 24 come his first snap in the NFL. To put that in perspective, soon to be 3 year player Avonte Maddox will also be 24 in September. Jefferson’s college production was also modest. But the potential for Jefferson is the intriguing part. He stands at a promising 6 foot 2, has great hands, and runs some of the best routes in this class of receivers. Being the son of a wide receiver coach will do that to you, as he is a tremendous route runner. He has some speed on him as well. He didn’t run the 40 at the combine and COVID-19 shut down his hopes of a pro day 40, but at the Senior Bowl, Jefferson was tracked at running a staggering 21 MPH. Only 3 ball carriers ran 22 MPH last year in the NFL. Jefferson has deceptive speed and tons of it. He’s an interesting candidate for sure, but one that many fans would be eager to see play out.
Round 4 Pick 127 – LSU C Lloyd Cushenberry III
Pro comparison – Corey Linsley
It may be wishful thinking to hope Cushenberry is available in the 4th round. But considering how rare centers are picked, it’s tough to estimate where a lot of centers will be selected. As far as a prospect, Lloyd checks all the boxes. He’s 6’3 with a solid frame and has a 7 foot wingspan. No, that’s not a typo, he legit has a 7 foot wingspan. He’s not the most mobile guy like we see in Jason Kelce, but he’s not stiff. With proper coaching, he can develop that part of his game. The most impressive part of his film is the fact that he lined up in a 1 on 1 a lot of times at LSU. In an SEC containing elite defensive linemen such as Derrick Brown, he held his own and managed to get to the next level when he needed to. He’s not going to be the heir to Jason Kelce, but he will be able to step in and offer elite run blocking.
Round 4 Pick 145 – Michigan State LB Joe Bachie
Bachie isn’t going to be the quickest, most agile tackler, but he’ll be a tackler. And after the departure of Bradham and Jenkins, two of the most sure tacklers on this team, tackling at the LB position is a point of emphasis as of right now. He’s not the best in coverage, but he’ll definitely be an improvement over Bradham’s covering ability. At the end of the day, if a running back breaks into the second level, we need sure tacklers. Bachie could be that guy if he lives up to his ceiling.
Round 4 Pick 146 – Florida DE Jonathan Greenard
Never hurts to have young pass rushers, right? At least we know Howie says that. Barnett’s time in Philly is reaching a decision as his rookie contract will expire soon. Greenard is a fundamentally sound DE who gets to the QB and aims to finish the play with a turnover. He suffered a couple injuries, but was able to fight through them in his time at Florida. He’s not the most standout rusher, but he’ll get the job done. Greenard would be a solid pick for the Eagles.
Round 5 Pick 168 – Boston College RB AJ Dillon
Dillon lacks elite elusiveness and agility, but do we really need that? Sanders and Scott proved to be a lethal duo late in the year, but liked a punch at the goal line and in short yardage situations. Dillon is a compact, downhill runner who can get the tough yards when you need him to. And at the end of the day, injuries happen in this league. Depth is crucial to any team who wants to make a deep playoff run; just look at the 2017 Super Bowl winning Eagles. Dillon is a viable backup option who will be sure to add some punch to this team.
Round 6 Pick 190 – Nebraska CB Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson in Philly! Lamar’s a 6’2 corner who is physical and has good ball skills. He shows potential in the press jam area of his game and can track the ball and cause turnovers. He does have a lot of sloppy play, as expected with a 6th round pick, but he has potential to be a rotational guy at the CB position.