Eagles replace legend, add to defense in latest mock draft


MOBILE, Ala. — The Eagles will have a large contingent down here for Senior Bowl week and I have them taking one player from the group here in Mobile with one of their three first-round picks.

The Eagles have picks 15, 16 and 19 in this year’s draft. And all but the final two spots are locked in after the conference championship weekend.

Let’s get to the latest mock draft:

1. Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

There’s still a decent chance this pick could be one of those top edge rushers but it might make more sense for the Jags to replace pending free agent Cam Robinson with the guy most think is the top tackle in this class. Neal is 6-7, 350 and if all goes well could end up protecting Trevor Lawrence for the next decade.

2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

The Lions would be fine if Neal goes first. Because then they’d get the best player in the draft and he wouldn’t even have to leave the state. Maybe the Lions would be tempted to draft a QB but it’s too early for that. They have to take the best player on the board.

3. Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Once projected to be the No. 1 pick, Thibodeaux experiences a slight slide down to No. 3 but lands with a Texans team that needs all the help it can get. The Texans haven’t had a top three pick since they drafted Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 back in 2014.

4. Jets: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

I get why some opinions on Stingley might be split. His last two years at LSU were full of injuries and he played in just 10 total games in 2020 and 2021. But we saw what he did in 2019 as a freshman. He has all the ability in the world and has NFL All-Pro potential. That’s still enough for him to be a high first-round pick.

5. Giants: Ikem Ewonu, OT, NC State

Under Dave Gettleman the Giants really tried to fix their offensive line but it just didn’t work. So now new GM Joe Schoen has to finish the job. Neal is considered by many to be the top tackle in this class but don’t sleep on Ekwonu (6-4, 220).

6. Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

There’s no doubt that the Panthers desperately need to fix their offensive line and maybe that’s what they do with the No. 6 pick. But they need a quarterback badly too and in this mock they just can’t pass up on Pickett. They’re going to put him in a tough spot if they don’t get OL help, but Pickett still becomes the top QB in the class.

READ: Top Eagles storylines heading into Senior Bowl week

7. Giants [from Bears]: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The Bears took a good first step in the top 10 by landing a cornerstone tackle but now they come back and get one of the best defensive players in this class. A strong showing for a new GM. The Giants need a big-time playmaker on that side of the ball and Hamilton will fill that role.

8. Falcons: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

Atlanta desperately needs some pass rush help and Karlaftis not only has an impressive resume but he’s going to test really well too. He’s a physical freak and will likely be very impressive at the combine this year, enough to get him in the top 10.

9. Broncos: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The Broncos have been on a quest for their next quarterback for a while now and with a top 10 pick, they can finally make it happen. While I think Pickett is going to end up being the top quarterback taken, I’d put Corral at the top of the list. His accuracy and ball placement are great, he’s athletic and mobile enough to avoid pressure and he doesn’t have a rocket launcher but his arm is strong enough.

10. Jets [from Seahawks]: David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

With Ojabo sneaking into the top 10, that means both Michigan edge rushers are off the board very early. But if you watched the Wolverines this year, that’s not a surprise. While Hutchinson got a lot of attention, Ojabo is no slouch. He’s a tad raw but has immense potential. With Stingley and Ojabo, the Jets are really going for it.

11. Washington: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

This might not be the best quarterback class but they’re still going to go early. And this is a good time for Washington to make a move for one. They have options here. Maybe it’s Howell or Malik Willis or Desmond Ridder or Carson Strong. I have them going with Howell, who will get a chance to help his stock at the Senior Bowl this week.

12. Vikings: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The Vikings have a few different ways they can go but I’d put corner at the top of their wishlist and landing Sauce Gardner with the 12th pick is a nice option. The Vikings have tried a few Band Aids at corner but landing Gardner can solidify one starting job for the next several years at least.

13. Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

This is a pretty decent crop of receivers so it’s very possible one goes before this. After all, receiver is a position that often rises. But Wilson is arguably the best of the bunch and the Browns can make sure he doesn’t leave the state. If the Browns are going to try to get everything they can out of Baker Mayfield, they need to give him another target.

14. Ravens: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

This just feels like such a Ravens pick to me. Davis is a 6-6, 340-pound monster. The Ravens can give new DC Mike McDonald a blue chipper in the middle of his defense. Davis might get overlooked as a run-stuffing nose tackle but he shouldn’t. He’s a monster.

READ: Latest Eagles mock draft roundup

15. Eagles [from Dolphins]: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Eagles have back-to-back picks here so it doesn’t really matter which order they use them. So why not start off with one of the best cornerbacks in this year’s class. Booth (6-0, 200) has good size and length and has shown off his coverage skills during his career at Clemson. The Eagles can draft him and put him in that CB2 role opposite Darius Slay from Day 1.

This is a really good cornerback class, which can be taken in one of two ways. The Eagles could hope to wait for one in a later round, thinking that some good ones will drop. But they’ve been burnt by that thinking before. Sometimes, you just gotta get one before the run.

16. Eagles [from Colts]: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

This pick is somewhat dependent on Jason Kelce’s future. If Kelce decides to retire this offseason, then it’s a no-brainer. Draft Linederbaum, plug him in and hope you get another decade of strong center play. But even if Kelce returns, the Eagles have admitted they're still in a building phase. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to bring in Kelce’s replacement now and let him learn from the legend first-hand. Some players wouldn’t appreciate the responsibility of training their replacement but I get the sense Kelce would actually relish it.

Sometimes it’s tough to project where centers will get drafted. They typically don’t go very early. Sure, centers go in the first round but in the last 20 years, there have been 13 centers to be drafted in the first round and the highest pick among them was at No. 18. But I don’t get why you can’t draft a center early. We see how much they can mean to an offense.

17. Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The Chargers have clearly found their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, but in order for him and the team to reach its potential, the Chargers need to find a way to protect him better. The Chargers got a gem in Rashawn Slater last year but now shore up that right tackle spot and have yourselves bookends.

18. Saints: Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi State

The Saints might lose Terron Armstead in free agency this offseason. While they have plenty of pressing needs, quarterback and receiver among them, none of that stuff matters without a line. And after watching Cross drop to them this late, they make an unsexy but sound pick.

19. Eagles: Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State

The Eagles have a strong history of drafting players from the Senior Bowl and since I’m here in Mobile this week, let’s continue that. Johnson might not be the most talked about edge rusher in this class but I have a feeling the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder will begin to help his stock down here. Johnson is an explosive pass rusher with solid length, who also provides some flexibility. He’s a high floor, high ceiling player.

There’s no questions the Eagles need to replenish their edge rushers. Derek Barnett is scheduled to be a free agent. Brandon Graham is 34 and coming off an Achilles injury. That leaves Josh Sweat as their top edge rusher. Let’s pair him with another Florida State product with great potential.

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20. Steelers: Kenyon Green, iOL, Texas A&M

This is another possible spot for a quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. The Steelers could clearly use a replacement there. But they also need some offensive line help. Kendrick Green has guard/center flexibility so the Steelers can take another Green and put this one at guard next to him.

21. Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

I really thought about mocking Lloyd to the Eagles but I didn’t pull the trigger. It’s tough to figure out where he should go in this draft but there’s a very good chance he’s long gone by the 20s. If not, I could see Bill Belichick getting very excited about a true sideline-to-sideline playmaker to solidify his already impressive defense.

22. Raiders: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Raiders need speed. Enter Olave. At 6-1, 188, sure, Olave has a slight build. But he’s already a great route runner and averaged 15.5 yards per catch in his college career. The comparisons to DeVonta Smith are going to be there for Olave.

23. Cardinals: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

Georgia’s defense was absolutely stacked this season and Walker was a big part of that. He’s 6-5, 275, super athletic and versatile. It’s time for the Cards to replenish on their DL. Chandler Jones is likely gone and J.J. Watt isn’t getting any younger.

24. Cowboys: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

Dallas could use help on both sides of its line but giving them Leal to solidify the middle of that DL works, especially with Carlos Watkins and Randy Gregory set to be free agents. Dallas got a versatile defensive piece in Micah Parsons last year and that worked out pretty well. Not saying Leal will have that kind of impact, but he can play inside and out.

25. Bills: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Another good cornerback in this draft class. McDuffie could end up going even higher than this too. Cornerback isn’t the Bills’ top need but they get one and plug McDuffie into that CB2 role opposite Tre’Davious White, who is rehabbing from a torn ACL.

26. Titans: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Another first-rounder for that vaunted Georgia defense. Dean was the man in the middle for the Bulldogs and if you saw any Georgia game this year, you saw Dean all over the field making plays. For a team that is a serious contender, adding a player who can contribute right now makes a ton of sense.

27. Buccaneers: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

If Tom Brady actually retires, maybe things change. But if Brady is back and Chris Godwin doesn’t return as a free agent, then receiver is an immediate need. And if you’re the Bucs and you have a 44-year-old Tom Brady, forget the future. Draft for need and try to win another ring.

28. Packers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Another up-in-the-air quarterback situation. Aside from the Aaron Rodgers stuff, the top priority for the Packers should be to re-sign Davante Adams. So this pick could be to either replace Adams or to give him a dynamic complement. Either way, there’s some value here in Williams, despite his torn ACL. He likely slides a bit with the injury.

29. Dolphins [from 49ers]: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Dolphins are in a state of flux right now but what we do know is that Jaylen Watkins is a stud. And Miami can give him the perfect complement in Burks (6-3, 225), who is an absolute freak.

30. Chiefs: JaQuan Brisker, S, Penn State

There’s a noticeable difference in the Chiefs defense when Tyrann Mathieu is on the field, which makes me think the Chiefs could use another playmaker on the back end. Brisker (6-1, 204) is a very impressive athlete who can make plays all over the field. He’s a really versatile weapons that Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo could do a lot with.

31. Bengals: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

The Bengals have been very impressive in 2021 and Joe Burrow is already a star. But he was sacked 51 times, the most in the league, this past season. And the scariest part of the upcoming Super Bowl is wondering how the Bengals’ OL will handle the Rams’ DL.This season comes a year after we saw Burrow’s rookie season end with an ACL tear on a QB hit. Gotta protect the franchise.

32. Lions [from Rams]: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

A bit of a surprise pick. The Lions used their first pick on Hutchinson, the safe pick. But let’s get a little wild here. Jared Goff is the starter in Detroit for now, but does anyone really think he’s the long-term fix? Bringing in a player like Ridder, who has a ton of tools but needs refinement, could work out. Ridder (6-4, 215) has size, athleticism, a strong arm. He needs to work on his accuracy and decision making but he won’t need to start right away.

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