Mock draft: Eagles trade with Steelers, land game-changer


We're officially less than a month away from the 2022 NFL Draft and with free agency (and the insane quarterback carousel) behind us, mock drafts can start to really hone in on team needs rather than just throwing darts.

The Eagles have three first-round picks, which unless they're traded will go a long way towards determining the fate of the Eagles' future. It's a gigantic opportunity for Howie Roseman to shape the franchise.

Let's get it rolling:

1. Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Hutchinson might be the most talented player in this draft between his size, speed, and pass-rush skillset. He will dominate off the edge no matter where he goes; with the O-line taken care of, the Jags add a monster.

2. Lions: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Jared Goff is not the guy in Detroit - he just can't be - so the Lions make a very bold move and take a quarterback way higher than anyone expects a QB will go this year. Goff can be the starter to begin the season and Willis can either take over mid-year or start 2023 as QB1.

3. Texans: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

Thibodeaux could easily go first overall. He's a complete edge rusher, the kind of guy who will contribute starting in Week 1. The Texans need to add talent all over their roster so they go best player available and nab a likely perennial Pro Bowler.

4. Jets: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Fourth overall seems high for a safety, but Hamilton is a can't-miss prospect and the Jets have been using stop-gaps on the back end since trading Jamal Adams away. Hamilton is a hard hitter, he excels in coverage - he can lineup anywhere on the field and have an impact. A total beast.

5. Giants: OT Evan Neal, Alabama

Neal could've gone first overall if the Jaguars didn't address the O-line in free agency. He's gigantic - 6-foot-7, 337 pounds - and the Giants both need to protect Daniel Jones to keep the ball in his hands and pave more lanes for Saquon Barkley. Problems addressed.

6. Panthers: OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State

Ekwonu's upside has scouts thinking he could wind up being the best O-line prospect in this draft. Carolina still needs to solve its QB quandry, but if they're not sold on anyone in this class they can set up for the future franchise guy by getting protection now.

7. Giants: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

Eagles fans would not enjoy this pick, but I think Stingley is too good of a prospect to pass up. He's 6-foot-1, he had six picks in 25 games with LSU, and he has the combination of instincts and speed to be DBU's latest star. 

8. Falcons: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

If Atlanta doesn't take a quarterback I could see them addressing wideout, where the cupboard is suddenly bare after Russell Gage's departure and with Calvin Ridley both suspended and likely gone next offseason. Wilson racked up crazy production for the Buckeyes in 2021 - 70 catches, 1,058 yards, 12 TDs.

9. Seahawks: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

Walker is a beast and is rising on everyone's draft boards, so if he lasts unti No. 9 Seattle will be thrilled. This best player available mentality: the Georgia product nabbed 6.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery last year, and his Combine testing was 99th percentile stuff.

10. Jets: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

The Jets tried to trade for Tyreek Hill to get Zach Wilson some help, but they struck out and now they'll use the draft. Olave is a smooth, speedy son of a gun who caught 35 touchdowns in 38 games with the Buckeyes. New York is still building for thie future and this is a cornerstone pick.

11. Commanders: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State

Getting Cross at 11 feels like value for Washington. They made the splashy move for Carson Wentz, and if the Commanders want to keep their QB from turning the ball over left and right they need to keep the pocket clean. Cross excels in pass protection and should start Week 1.

12. Vikings: CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Cincinnati

Sauce (!) Gardner could be the best corner in the draft in the end. He notched 3 INTs in each of his three seasons with the Bearcats, stands 6-foot-2, and is great in man coverage. Forget Patrick Peterson; this is the answer at CB2 for the Vikings.

13. Texans: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

A mini-run on corners! The Texans take a little bit of a gamble on a smaller corner in McDuffie, who stands just 5-foot-11 but has elite speed and athleticism. Scouts love what he put on tape with Washington.

14. Ravens: EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

A possible Eagles target goes off the board one pick too early. Johnson's had a great pre-draft run among draft heads. He brings big production - 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in a breakout 2021 season - and is an explosive, energetic guy. The ceiling is high.

15. Eagles: DL Jordan Davis, Georgia

Big boy's in town, Eagles fans.

I know Howie Roseman and the front office brought back Fletcher Cox on a one-year deal, but that absolutely should not preclude them from taking a generational-type talent in Davis. He's the kind of game-breaking defensive tackle that can revolutionize your defense for a decade.

Some have their concerns about how a guy at Davis's size - 6-foot-6, 341 pounds - and I understand the trepidation. It's the era of the ultra-athletic edge rusher, and defense is all about speed, speed, speed.

But guess what: Davis has that in bunches. He ran an absolutely absurd 4.78 (!!!) 40-yard dash at that size and seems to be the kind of athletic specimen who simply breaks models. He has Fletcher Cox 2.0 vibes, the type of player with unlimited potential.

Pairing Davis with Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams up the middle is a tantalizing possibility. No one would run on the Eagles, ever. I need this pick.

16. Steelers (via PHI): QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt


The Steelers send No. 20 and their 2023 3rd round pick to the Eagles in order to move up four spots, including crucially jumping past the Saints, to land the second QB of the draft. Pickett is a real question mark for a lot of draft experts; he had just one truly great collegiate year, but boy was it great. The Steelers need an actual answer at QB, and it's time to start throwing those darts.

17. Chargers: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

Doubling down on offensive line talent in back-to-back drafts is the correct decision when you know you've found your franchise quarterback. Starting Penning opposite Rashawn Slater sets the Chargers up for a decade of having QB, LT, and RT taken care of.

18. Saints: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

No QB tickles the Saints' fancy at 18, so they decide to get Jameis Winston help at wideout. Burks is a big, strong receiver who still brings speed. Burks is a big-play weapon - he had TD catches of 91, 85, 66, and 52 yards in 2021, plus a 49-yard rushing TD - and will excel in New Orleans' offense.

19. Eagles: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

The Eagles could choose to go the veteran route in finding their CB2 opposite Darius Slay, but I'd much rather they opt for a youngster on the outside - and Booth is exactly the right kind of guy to grab in the middle of the first round.

He's not the biggest-name corner in this year's draft class, but that doesn't mean he can't wind up being the best of the bunch.

Booth didn't have crazy INT production in college (just 3 INT in 24 career games), which will probably worry some Eagles fans. But that can happen at the collegiate level, where each team only has one NFL-quality corner (if that) and opposing QBs can avoid individual cover guys.

Booth is all about measurables, technique, and potential. His height (6-foot) and his long arms make him an exciting prospect in terms of his ability to cover guys in the pros. He's super fluid and should translate well to playing against NFL wideouts.

And when you're talking upside for a guy like Booth and his ball skills, look no further than this ridiculous display of his ability:

That's not a play just any college cornerback is making on a random Saturday. The dude is for real, and he'd be a welcome sight in midnight green for the next decade.

20. Eagles (via PIT): WR Drake London, USC

I wouldn't be surprised if Howie Roseman trades this pick for a future first-rounder, but if the Eagles are indeed on the clock and decide to use their third selection I'd love to see a wide receiver. This year's class has so much talent, it would be frustrating to look back on this draft and see all the names the Birds passed on.

London is so exciting as a prospect. He's young (he doesn't turn 20 until July) which is always a plus. He has size (6-foot-3 7/8), which would be a nice complement to the slight frames of DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. He had wild collegiate production in his final year at USC (88 catches, 1,084 yards, 7 TD in just eight games).

London isn't going to blow you away with his speed, but not every great receiver is some monster speed demon. He's the kind of wideout who does everything right when he's running routes and fighting for contested catches, a polished skillset any coach would like to draft.

There's so much to like about his game that the possibly underwhelming speed doesn't worry me one bit.

Here's what a scout told's Lance Zierlein:

"I don't care how fast he is, I wouldn't bet against him because his ball skills are really special."

Love it.

21. Patriots: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

Dean could be in play for the Eagles, if they believed in valuing linebackers. Alas, they don't and the Patriots do - and as Bill Belichick moves on from the Kyle Van Noy era he'd love to add Dean, a versatile LB who does it all. Dean's 2021 numbers: 6.0 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, 2 INT, and 2 forced fumbles. Pretty good.

22. Packers: WR Jahan Dotson, Ohio State

Aaron Rodgers currently has less help at wide receiver than he's ever had in his entire NFL career, so the Packers kind of have to go wideout. Dotson is small (5-foot-11) but he brings a 4.43 40-yard dash and ridiculous production as a senior (91 rec, 1,182 yards, 12 TD) to the table.

23. Cardinals: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

Another possible Eagles pick, Karlaftis has real upside as a pass rusher despite his lack of production statistically (just 4.5 sacks in 12 games) with the Boilermakers last year as opposing offenses keyed on him. He makes the Cardinals better after Chandler Jones bolted for the Raiders.

24. Cowboys: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa 

The Cowboys' once-vaunted OL has taken a few hits in recent years, and as they re-stock to keep Dak Prescott clean they need to upgrade the center position from Tyler Biadasz. Linderbaum is slightly undersized but is a blue-chip talent with a penchant for mauling. No-brainer.

25. Bills: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

With Levi Wallace now in Pittsburgh, Sean McDermott would like to keep his defense in tip-top shape. Elam's size (6-foot-2) and length make him an exciting young option to start opposite Tre'Davious White in the secondary. Elam had 5 INTs with the Gators.

26. Titans: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

Lloyd is an impressive, attacking linebacker who excels in coverage - he had 7.0 sacks and 22.0 tackles for loss this season, but he also had four interceptions and six passes defended - and brings the kind of versatility and athleticism that should make him a starting linebacker immediately.

27. Bucs: DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

Tampa Bay still doesn't have any huge question marks throughout the roster, but with Ndamukong Suh still a free agent the Bucs could stand to beef up the D-line. Wyatt is a potential Eagles choice if they don't want to take Jordan Davis in the middle of the first round; his production wasn't there in 2021 but the talent definitely is.

28. Packers: OL Tyler Smith, Tulsa

The Packers might be tempted to double up on first-round wideouts (it increases your chance of actually hitting on one!) but instead they choose to protect Aaron Rodgers through the rest of his recently-signed deal. Smith is huge (6-foot-5, 324 pounds) with crazy explosion out of his stance.

29. Chiefs: WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State

Tyreek Hill is gone, and while Juju Smith-Schuster and Marques Valdes-Scantling are fine stop-gap solutions the Chiefs need to find long-term answers for Patrick Mahomes at the wideout position. Enter the speedy Watson, who ran a dang 4.28 in the 40-yard dash. Speed, replaced. Watson caught 43 balls for 800 yards and 7 TD last season and he's a big body (6-foot-5).

30. Chiefs: EDGE Boye Mafe, Minnesota

With back-to-back picks in their pocket, the Chiefs now turn to defense. Mafe has been a popular name among draft experts in recent weeks, with his out-of-bounds athleticism (speed, strength, and size triple threat) and Kansas City decides to strike a little early so they don't miss a pass rusher with the a sky-high ceiling.

31. Bengals: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan

Ojabo tore his Achilles during his Pro Day, a huge bummer for a player who could've been picked in the Top 10. But his talent and potential are still too good to pass on, and the Bengals don't have any truly dire needs so they take a chance and shoot for value.

32. Seahawks (via DET): QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss


The Seahawks jump back into the first round for the final pick, sending No. 40, a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick from this draft to the Lions to jump up eight spots and grab a possible quarterback of the future. Corral is an interesting dual threat QB (20 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in 12 games this year) who can compete to start Week 1.

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