March 25, 2024   7 MIN READ

Feeling 22!

For First Time Since '02, Birds Go CB In 1st Round


The final phases of the pre-draft process are officially in motion.

The conclusive evaluation pieces – such as Pro Days and 30 visits – are in full bloom. So are mock drafts and big boards, which typically render high variance as updated information is factored into evaluation.

The needs have altered for the Eagles – who now hold eight picks next month – since my post-Combine mock draft and my initial 1.0 version.

Get inside my mind and thought-process in my latest Eagles-only mock draft 3.0:

Nate Wiggins

GETTY IMAGES: Clemson product Nate Wiggins is an elite athlete and first-round cornerback prospect.

No. 22: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

I was conflicted between going back to the well and forecasting an offensive lineman or pivoting to cornerback, one of the few positions the Eagles have yet to significantly address in free agency. Troy Fautanu, my Mock Draft 2.0 first-round pick, would make a ton of sense here, as he offers both tackle and guard flexibility. But the former Washington product has enjoyed a strong pre-draft cycle, likely placing him out of reach by the time the Eagles are on the clock. The Eagles instead land a lengthy, plug-and-play cover corner in Wiggins, who offers fluidity, balance and the skill set to immediately contend with the opposition’s top receiver. Quick-twitch footwork and scheme versatility are other desirable characteristics. Wiggins becomes to first Eagles cornerback drafted in the first round since Lito Sheppard, a critical component to rebuilding a dismal pass defense.

No. 50: Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State

Offensive line ultimately wasn’t a fit in round one – as it’s tough to justify selecting a guard-only prospect in the first-round – but the Eagles waste little time in committing to the franchise’s philosophical approach to team-building. When assessing the roster, it’s apparent that right guard is arguably the biggest question mark as we draw closer to draft weekend, as vastly unproven second-year pro Tyler Steen is currently the favorite to start. Beebe, one of four interior linemen reportedly tabbed for 30 visits, is a powerful mauler who consistently wins at the point of attack and plays with requisite nastiness. Beebe is better as a run blocker, but a few months with offensive line guru Jeff Stoutland and the Eagles’ offensive brain trust will take shape without much of a ripple in the post-Jason Kelce era.

Ja'Tavion Sanders

GETTY IMAGES: Could the Eagles already be looking for Dallas Geodert’s successor in Texas TE product Ja’Tavion Sanders?

No. 53: Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas

Believe it or not, Dallas Goedert turns 30 at the end of next season. The Eagles also don’t exactly have a developmental-type talent waiting in the wings to eventually take the mantle, so the second round feels like a good spot for the forward-thinking franchise to bolster the position with the future in mind. Sanders (6-4, 245) is an athletic, pass-catching tight end with speed to separate and after-the-catch explosion. Sanders also fights for the ball in traffic, which allows Jalen Hurts to fit the football into tighter windows, arming the Eagles quarterback with another reliable mid-range option to turn to in critical moments. The Eagles, who need another receiving weapon, would check off multiple boxes with Sanders.

No. 120: Jaylan Ford, LB, Texas

The signings of Devin White and Oren Burks essentially draft-proofed the Eagles, preventing the urge to potentially force a selection at a position of need. Instead, the Eagles let the board fall to them and come away with an athletic second-level defender equipped to provide an early boost as a rookie. At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds and the ability to carry more weight on his frame, Ford would add some much-needed size and coverage acumen, and his propensity to make plays on the ball highlight Ford’s instincts and football intelligence. The Eagles met with Ford at the Combine and new linebacker coach Bobby King attended Texas’ Pro Day. Ford also has experience playing special teams, which is where he’s likely to make an immediate impact. I envision a world where the Eagles’ off-ball linebackers are White, Nakobe Dean, a rookie, Burks and Ben VanSumeren.

Evan Williams

GETTY IMAGES: Oregon’s Evan Williams is a safety prospect the Eagles have shown interest in during the pre-draft process.

No. 161: Evan Williams, S, Oregon

The Eagles met with Williams at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. They also attended Williams’ Pro Day, so there’s obvious interest. Williams (5-11, 200) is an instinctive, versatile defensive back who can play both safety spots and nickel, the latter of which factored into my thought process. Williams, who spent his first four seasons at Fresno State before transferring to Oregon, is the kind of rangy, high IQ defensive back who would seemingly appeal to new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whose scheme places considerable demands on the position. Williams’ punishing physicality and multi-faceted skill set will adequately complement another building block at the position in Sydney Brown.

No. 171: Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan

The Eagles benefit from a rich receiver class, landing an intriguing developmental wideout in Johnson. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound pass-catcher stood on his impressive Combine numbers – which included a 4.44 40-yard dash, 37.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 7-inch broad jump – at Michigan’s Pro Day, but Johnson is somehow still largely flying under the radar. Sure, his route running needs refinement, but Johnson is an above-the-rim wide receiver who thrives in contested-catch opportunities and aggressively attacks the catch-point. He’s also willing to do the dirty work and seemingly relishes his role as a bully blocker, a trait coveted by Nick Sirianni in the past (see: Zach Pascal). Behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith – and potentially DeVante Parker and Parris Campbell – Johnson would be afforded the time to blossom as a complete wide receiver. He’s only scratched the surface of his capabilities.

Mohamed Kamara

GETTY IMAGES: The Eagles usually don’t wait until Round 5 to get their hands on a pass rusher, but Colorado State’s Mo Kamara has tantalizing upside.

No. 172: Mohamed Kamara, EDGE, Colorado State

Surely you didn’t think I’d exclude an EDGE prospect from this exercise. Kamara, who has been on my radar for some time now, doesn’t boast the tantalizing, prototypical size for the position at 6-foot-1, 248 pounds. But the former Ram plays with good pad level, uses leverage to his advantage, and boasts a variety of pass-rush moves. Kamara’s hand usage is intentionally violent and his relentless motor constantly runs hot. Probably more of a situational rusher at the pro level but represents another developmental pass-rusher to nurture.

No. 210: Kimani Vidal, RB, Troy

The Saquon Barkley signing significantly curtails the urgency in addressing the position sooner, but even in this scenario, the Eagles land solid value in Vidal. Conjuring shades of Darren Sproles, Vidal – a rocked-up, 5-foot-8, 213 pounds – is dynamic as a pass-catcher and offers plenty of juice in the open field. I wouldn’t classify the former Trojan as a home-run hitter per se, but Vidal is slippery after the catch, showcases exceptional contact balance, and prone to finishing runs. Very good change of pace option who could fulfill a role similar to the one Boston Scott held for much of his Eagles tenure. It’s also worth noting the Eagles met with Vidal last week at Troy’s Pro Day.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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