So, this is my first ever attempt at a mock draft. I had a great time making this, and shout out to my good friend Justin Nguyen (@ZappaOMatic on Twitter do give him a follow) for helping me curate prospects to look at for this.
The Eagles need to address a LOT in free agency and the draft this offseason, and have plenty of picks to do so. They also happen to be lacking wide receivers in a year where they are calling it the best wide receiver class possibly ever. Howie Roseman and the gang know what needs to be done and I have faith in them to do it. So without further adieu, here is my first ever mock draft!
Round 1: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
It’s no secret that the Eagles need speed at the wideout spot, the fans know this as much as Howie does. Desean Jackson is 33, and coming off of a year where he spent most of the year out hurt. We saw what he and Carson could do week 1, and Henry Ruggs brings that to the table in spades.
A wideout with legit 4.2 speed, Ruggs can do what Desean can but cheaper, younger, healthier, and faster. He is incredibly explosive, and can make contested catches as well. If this new Eagles coaching crew can develop him and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, you have Desean Jackson and Alshon Jefferey 2.0 with plenty of youth between them.
Round 2: DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
With Timmy Jernigan set to become a free agent, and the Eagles loving to build in the trenches, Madubuike makes sense in this spot. He’s a very fast defensive tackle, which is something the Eagles could also use.
Madubuike recorded 5.5 sacks, 45 tackles, and 11.5 tackles for a loss in his junior season, and is dynamic and disruptive at the line. What he lacks in reach he makes up for with his hand technique.
There are concerns about his work ethic, and with his ability to keep his balance against tougher blocks, but if he’s there, the Eagles need to add him along with Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson on the d-line.
Round 3: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Just like at wide receiver, fans want the Eagles to use a premium draft pick in the secondary. However, I think that it’s worth the Sidney Jones like risk with Bryce Hall. In his junior year, Hall led the nation in pass breakups with 24, but returned to Virginia for his senior year, where he broke his left leg and dislocated his left ankle. This helped him to become a great team leader and a more selfless player off the field while still shining on the field.
Hall isn’t a very twitchy corner, and would have problems in man coverage against bigger receivers. Many scouts agree that his best production would come from a zone heavy defense, which just so happens to be Jim Schwartz’s forte. He is able to disrupt routes in press coverage and is more than willing to help out with run defense (It’s also worth watching his tape on corner blitzes, absolutely beautiful).
The former wide receiver always puts himself into a position to compete for the football at the catch point, and demonstrates good football IQ and is ultra competitive. Fans may be tired of the Eagles talking mid-round developmental corners, but if he’s on the board, Hall may be too good to pass up.
Round 3: OLB Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State
Linebacker has been a spot of concern for the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball, and with Nigel Bradham potentially departing, they need to address it. Akeem Davis-Gaither is a small school sleeper that could really thrive in Philly. He may be undersized at 6’2” 219lbs, but he is PHYSICAL.
He seeks out contact and hits hard, and is very slippery and quick with his low center of gravity. This will all really help him against the run. ADG, as I hope I get to call him, had 103 tackles as a junior, and then five sacks, eight passes broken up, an interception, and 101 tackles as a senior in 2019, earning him a trip to the Senior Bowl where he shined in the 1v1 drills and practice.
He’s a great matchup in coverage against running backs and tight ends, even though the coverage aspect of his game needs a bit of work. He also needs to add a little bit of weight and work on his block shedding. All in all, ADG could be a very Darius Leonard esque player that I really, really hope I get to see in midnight green.
Round 4: EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
It wouldn’t be an Eagles mock if they weren’t drafting a pass rusher, and if he’s available at this point Bradlee Anae might be a great pickup. In 2019, Anae had a destructive year, totaling 13 sacks with 41 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass batted, on top of an incredible performance at the Senior Bowl with 3 sacks.
Anae has a great bull rush, and can set the edge well. He’s also incredibly smart, has superb hands, and a blue-collar work ethic that really stands out. However, many are concerned about his agility and flexibility to add speed elements to his game.
He’s also not very long, as many offensive linemen will outreach him by at least 4 inches, but his squatty build likens him to another Eagles legend: Brandon Graham. Much like Graham, his low center of gravity makes him hard to hit for linemen, and therefore hard to stop. If he’s able to model his game off of BG, this could be a heist of a pick.
Round 4: S Antoine Brooks Jr., Maryland
Rodney McLeod is set to be a free agent, and Malcolm Jenkins has made it clear he doesn’t plan on playing under his current contract, so safety is a place that the Eagles need to address. Antoine Brooks plays in a very similar hybrid safety/linebacker role to Jenkins, and is very strong in run defense.
He’s at his quickest when getting to attack the play from the line of scrimmage, and ideally would have to have another safety or some kind of help behind him because of issues concerning his long speed against faster receivers. Since his sophomore year, Brooks has totalled 230 tackles with last year being his most productive, racking up 85.
He’s got an infectious energy to his play and a red hot motor, which makes him a good long-term replacement to play the same role that Malcolm Jenkins does currently.
Round 5: OT Matt Peart, UConn
Peart is really a developmental offensive line prospect, but depth at tackle is nice to have especially considering the injury history in the trenches over the past couple of years. Peart stands at an intimidating 6’7” which easily passes the eye test, and has great length.
He’s a natural athlete with prior experience playing basketball, and has experience playing inside at guard as well. He’s lean, he’s got great body control, and is very athletic at the second level, which allows him to help set blocks down the field in the run. Peart’s hands aren’t the best, and his stock is currently all over the place, but with some TLC and patience, he could be a decent starter in the NFL.
Round 5: WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
Jennings has been playing at Tennessee since 2015, and even with an up and down program, including an exit from the team after a spat with old coaching staff in 2017. When he was reinstated by new coach Jeremy Pruitt in 2018, he thrived with 57 catches for 942 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jennings had a strong Senior Bowl highlighted by a touchdown, and showed off his mismatch 6’3” size. Jennings is a tough, determined receiver that wants the ball in big moments. He’s not a burner, and his routes are more rounded, but Jennings is a physical player on and off the ball, and the Eagles can’t go wrong double-dipping into this worshipped 2020 receiver class.
Round 6: RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
If the Eagles let Jordan Howard hit free agency, they need to find another power running back to compliment the every down explosiveness of Miles Sanders and the shiftiness of Boston Scott.
At six feet tall and 250 pounds, Dillon is a brute of a runner that when running downhill is hard to bring down. In 2019, Dillon rushed for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has also consistently averaged around five yards per carry over the past three seasons.
Dillon is able to absorb hits and bulldoze his way down the field, and would be an incredibly smart pick to bring back the three headed monster that the Eagles run game has been utilizing since 2017 with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and LeGarrette Blount.