2024 NFL Draft

Filling some key needs in latest Eagles-only mock draft

Here's our latest crack at an Eagles-only mock draft about a month away from the 2024 draft.

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The NFL draft is getting closer and the Eagles have three picks in the first two rounds.

Even after their trade with the Steelers to acquire Kenny Pickett, the Eagles have eight picks in the upcoming draft and plenty of options that can help the team this year and in the future.

Here’s my crack at an Eagles-only mock draft:

1-22: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Yeah, I know the history. The Eagles haven’t taken a cornerback in the first round since 2002. But after Howie Roseman paid big money for a free agent running back anything is possible! All jokes aside, this is a good crop of cornerbacks in this draft and the value seems to line up at No. 22 for the Eagles to get a good one to develop for the long haul. Even if James Bradberry played well last season (he didn’t) the Eagles are still way too old at the position with him and Darius Slay and it’s time to get young. Kelee Ringo did some good things as a rookie fourth-round pick and he might be a future starter but there’s no reason to not try to add another.

McKinstry (6-0, 199) didn’t perform at the combine after it was discovered that he had a Jones fracture in his foot. But he did compete at the Alabama prod day and answered any questions about his pure speed. He did this before surgery and probably solidified his first-round status:

Of all the cornerbacks in this year’s class, McKinstry might have the highest floor. After all, he’s been a starter for three seasons at Alabama and has been consistently very good against SEC competition all three years. His teammate Terrion Arnold will probably go before him and there’s a ton to like about Arnold; but don’t forget about McKinstry.

2-50: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

There’s a very good chance the Eagles use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman; that’s their style. But if they wait until Day 2, they could land a really good one in Suamataia. Lane Johnson is 33 now and even though he’s still playing at a high level, the Eagles will want to plan for the eventuality of the end of his career. So landing a toolsy prospect who can learn under him, develop and perhaps even play guard in the interim should be appealing.

Suamataia (6-5, 326) has all the athleticism to be an excellent pro. He needs some refinement but that’s where veteran offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland comes in. Stout would presumably get pretty excited about getting his hands on a prospect like Suamataia, who happens to be the cousin of All-Pro Penei Sewell.

Suamataia began his college career at Oregon but transferred to BYU before the 2022 season. He played both left and right tackle in college and seems to have the traits necessary to play guard in the NFL too. Suamataia had a good showing at the Senior Bowl and then ran a 5.04 at the combine. There’s no guarantee he’s there when the Eagles pick at 50.

2-53: Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

The Eagles haven’t used a second-round pick on a linebacker since they took Mychal Kendricks back in 2012 but there will be some intriguing options in the second round this year if they want to go that route. It seems like everyone has a preference between Colson, Edgerrin Cooper and Payton Wilson but there’s a chance the Eagles won’t have their pick of those three by the time they’re on the clock in the 50s. So maybe this decision will end up being made for them.

Colson (6-2, 238) has good size, instincts and enough athleticism to cover too. He was a productive player for the National Champions and had nearly 200 tackles over his last two seasons at Michigan. He played through some injury this past season but showed toughness. His highlights are a fun watch:

Colson wasn’t able to perform at the Michigan pro day so we don’t have any testing numbers for him, which is a bit of a concern. Perhaps that drops his stock a bit and the Eagles could even land him with a modest trade down from 53.

4-120: Ainias Smith, WR, Texas A&M

The Eagles this offseason added DeVante Parker and Parris Campbell in free agency and maybe one or both of those guys really help during the 2024 season. Great. But neither signing should be enough for the Eagles to hesitate to draft their slot receiver in the draft. Smith is a really intriguing option.

Smith (5-9, 190) wasn’t able to do much at the combine after a stress fracture was discovered in his shin but he still put up 21 reps in the bench press. At the Aggies pro day, Smith ran a 4.48 and had a three-cone time of 6.86 seconds, which is also very important for a slot receiver.

At that pro day, Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead got an up-close look at Smith:

Smith missed much of the 2022 season with injury and returned in 2023 to have 53/795/2. Earlier in his career, he showed the ability to play running back and offers some gadget possibilities at the next level as well as ability to return kicks and punts. He’d be a really intriguing option as a WR3 to pair with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

5-161: Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

Tight end remains one of the Eagles’ underrated needs. They bring back Dallas Goedert but Jack Stoll left in free agency. So that means that the tight ends fighting for that No. 2 job right now are Grant Calcaterra, Albert Okwuegbunam and Noah Togiai. So it would make sense to take another shot at a tight end.

Johnson (6-6, 259) caught 77 passes for 938 yards and 12 touchdowns during his time with the Nittany Lions. Johnson has the size and athleticism that you’d want in a developmental tight end prospect. Johnson had a good showing at the Senior Bowl, an event the Eagles care about. He has upside as both a pass catcher and a blocker.

5-171: Grayson Murphy, Edge, UCLA

We’ll see what happens with Haason Reddick but even if the Eagles have a crowded edge rusher room, it’s not a reason to completely avoid a very important position in the draft. And we’re in the fifth round, so it’s not like we’re looking for starters at this point.

Murphy (6-2, 247) began his college career at North Texas but transferred to UCLA with his twin brother and fellow draft hopeful Gabriel and thrived. In 2023, with likely first-round pick Laiatu Latu getting a ton of attention, the other Bruins’ edge rushers were able to get home. Gabriel finished the season with 8 sacks, while Grayson finished with 5 sacks in back-to-back seasons. Gabriel is likely to go earlier than his brother — Gabriel was invited to the combine and Grayson was not — but Grayson is an intriguing prospect too. 

While Grayson didn’t get that invite to the combine, he performed very well at the UCLA pro day.

5-172: Trevin Wallace, LB, Kentucky

Another linebacker? Why not. We’re deep in the draft and the Eagles could certainly use more bodies at the position so it’s worth taking chances.

Wallace (6-1, 237) had a great showing at the combine and has impressive athleticism that’s worth taking a shot on in Day 3. He ran a 4.51 (93rd percentile), had a broad jump of 10-7 (92nd percentile) and a vertical jump of 37.5 inches (84th percentile). At the Senior Bowl, Wallace showed an ability to put that speed and athleticism to use:

At Kentucky, Wallace had 80 tackles and 8 1/2 for loss in 2023. He also picked off three passes in his college career.

6-211: Tyler Owens, S, Texas Tech

After beginning his college career at Texas, Owens finished at Texas Tech in 2022 and 2023 and became a contributor for that defense but is still somewhat inexperienced. Owens (6-2, 216) has intriguing traits that are worth developing. He had an insane broad jump of 12-2, just behind Byron Jones’ unofficial world record.

Even with that incredible broad jump, Owens stole even more headlines from his media session. You want a safety who doesn’t believe in space. He’s playing football down here on the ground.

If the Eagles are looking for a player to fill that LB/S hybrid, which is something they’ve flirted with in past years, Owens could be a nice fit. And if nothing else, he’d be an immediate special teams contributor.

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