Eagles analysis

Top draft evaluator sees value in Eagles' taking CB in 1st round

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah sees plenty of value for the Eagles taking a cornerback in the first round.

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The Eagles haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since they took Lito Sheppard out of Florida with the 26th pick in 2002.

This could be the year to do it.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, a former Eagles scout, said on a national conference call Thursday that he sees value for the Eagles going in that direction with the No. 22 pick in the 2024 draft.

“I think it’s worth it,” Jeremiah said. “I think it’s a good group of corners. I think I have about 14, 15 with that top three round grade range there, which is a good number. I think there are guys worthy of picking there. And once you get through that top group, that second-, third-round range, a good number of those guys are going to be nickels. 

“In terms of guys who can play outside with the versatility to play inside, I think there will be options for them there where they’re picking.”

The Eagles will bring back Slay for the 2024 season but after that, the cornerback position is a bit of a mystery. James Bradberry is under contract but after a really tough 2023 season, the Eagles might move on. There were some encouraging signs from rookies Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks but it’s tough to tell what they are.

And, either way, Slay is 33 now and it’s time to think about getting younger at corner.

In his latest first-round mock draft, Jeremiah had the Eagles’ selecting Missouri cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr., whom Jeremiah said is his No. 3 cornerback in this year’s class.

Here’s a look at where the corners went in Jeremiah’s latest mock:

13. Raiders: Terrion Arnold, Alabama
15. Colts: Nate Wiggins, Clemson
17. Jaguars: Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo
22. Eagles: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri
25. Packers: Cooper DeJean, Iowa

After a season-ending injury as a sophomore in 2021, Rakestraw (6-0, 188) was a full-time starter in 2022 and 2023. While he tallied just one interception in his college career, Rakestraw broke up 24 passes. Jeremiah definitely seems to like the fit with the Eagles.

“[Rakestraw] kind of has some (Darius) Slay to him. Kind of build similar to Slay,” Jeremiah said. “Really, really tough, feisty, can press you. Plays with a ton of energy, which I love. I think they would get a kick out of that in Philly. Just a passionate, energetic dude. But real fast, real tough.”

Jeremiah said Mitchell would be a good pick for the Eagles but expects the Toledo prospect to be out of range based on his Senior Bowl performance and tape. Mitchell is likely going to have a strong Combine performance too.

The other two corners Jeremiah brought up when asked about the Eagles were Wiggins and DeJean.

“Wiggins is one I’m curious about, to keep an eye on from Clemson,” Jeremiah said. “He’s big and ultra, ultra fast. A really, really fluid kid. I think you’ll see him kind of rise up as we’re going through the process. Cooper DeJean from Iowa is pretty intriguing as well. Those guys are kind of in that range for me.”

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